The Angkor Wat Sofitel is a gorgeous hotel complex, kept in pristine form by a staff endlessly scrubbing back the tropical mold threatening to blight every patch of stone or plaster. Flanked in green grass and hemmed in by trees from the raucous tuk-tuk drivers without, it really provided a haven of rest from dawn temple visits and dusty humidity.
The service was typically excellent, especially at the check-in desk and the main restaurant called The Citadel. The facilities were pretty much what you'd expect of a five-star hotel.
However there were some areas that were disappointing. The first of these was service in certain areas of the hotel, particularly in the bar area (Explorer's Tales), the swimming pool, and strangely- the breakfast buffet egg station.
In the bar area the staff had a very low command of English. It made expressing any request beyond a certain simple script very difficult. Also the staff didn't seem to grasp some basics of good food service. One evening (of our four-night stay) we ordered dinner at the Citadel, and were seated outside, since the main building was full to capacity. Fine. However there were mosquitoes there, so we asked to be moved to the bar- where they also serve dinner. Everything was fine until our dessert arrived halfway through our main course. It was a warm chocolate fondant with ice cream, so no matter how fast we raced to finish our main, the ice cream was melted and the 'warm' fondant cold by the time we reached it.
We tried to explain to the bar server why this wasn't really acceptable, but he simply appeared bemused. When we asked him to take it away and bring another, he was clearly confused, took the dish without apologising, then went back behind the bar where a minor scrum formed of staff and they spoke in their native language about it, pointing at the dish. Presumably they were trying to figure out what the problem was, but it just made us feel like ingrates for complaining at all. But this is five-star. We paid five-star rates. We shouldn't have to put up with staff who don't really know food service.
In the end we canceled the dessert and left feeling quite angry and vowing 2-star reviews on trip advisor. However the next few days managed to pull things back, with good service in the areas mentioned above. There was one odd hiccup at the pool, when trying to flag down some staff there to order food. We called to the man in question, waved, and he turned and looked at us for a good few seconds. He was quite close. We voiced a request for a menu. He simply turned away and went to do something else.
What was that? Made us feel foolish and an inconvenience. Probably he didn't understand English, but then why didn't he at least acknowledge us, and go to fetch someone who did speak English? He just brushed us off. Bad.
Oh, and the man on the egg-station at breakfast the first few days of our stay was a real scowler. How hard is it to smile? It made ordering an omelette feel like a trial.
A final point is that of value for money. We distinctly got the impression that the Sofitel was trying to milk us for money, which was quite discomforting considering we'd already spent a large sum on the room. A water bottle poolside cost $3. This is outrageous. The same bottle outside would have cost less than 10 cents. I can understand they inflate prices somewhat, but $3 for one bottle? And not even Evian! And not even anywhere to get free water, except deep inside the spa. That's just a scam, combined with the measly two free bottles of water they offer a day. Our mid-range hotel in Thailand gave four bottles free a day, and frequently offered free bottles whenever we ate, just because they cared more about service.
I recommend anyone staying at the Sofitel to take a $1 tuk tuk ride to a very nearby tourist market and buy several large bottles of water to cover their stay. You'd get 3 liter bottles for $3.
Last is the internet service. You get a 1mb down line for free, and must pay $15 a day to upgrade to 3mb a day. Contrary to how this sounds, it was not a 1mb cap for the whole day. It took some time to decipher that from the paper's unclear wording. It means a bandwidth of 1mb, which sounds respectable. However it was really nothing like 1mb. Even the simplest of pages loaded at an utter crawl, sometimes taking minutes just for a blog with no images. Frustrating, and not at all 5-star. Our mid-range Bangkok hotel loaded about 10 times faster. Offering this turgid rate, then offering upgrades, felt like another instance of cash-milking. WiFi should be fast everywhere in a 5-star hotel, as part of the package.
On the whole though, a good hotel, but just too many slip-ups to be considered five-star.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in landscaped gardens on Charles de Gaulle Avenue, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort is the closest Siem Reap hotel to the ruins of Angkor Wat. This unique Siem Reap Cambodia hotel is situated near traditional markets, tourist attractions and the airport. Enjoy the many features of Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, including 238 rooms, a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, spa, five food & beverage outlets, the Phokeethra Country Club, and a world class 18 hole golf course. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf Hotel Siem Reap
- Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Hotel
- Sofitel Siem Reap
- Siem Reap Sofitel