My partner has already given a fairly scathing review of this hotel but it deserves two! I use trip advisor a lot when booking hotels and had seen a few bad reviews when i booked Royal Empire, but overall it seemed ok, unfortunately it wasn't!
We're pretty easily pleased when going away, I do expect good service in hospitality and I do expect cleanliness. If we pay expensive(ish) I expect a higher quality and when we travel budget then I'm 100% fine with budget....
We booked Royal Empire expecting 4*.
On Check in we were shown our room, it was big which was a positive but it smelt of damp and the silk decorative bed cushions were dirty and smelt of greasy hair. Not sure they've ever been washed.
I was pretty sure we'd booked a room with a balcony which this room didn't have, we called down to reception to ask them to check, they said they'd call us back but never did. As fairly easy travelers we weren't too fussed and also our guide for the following day had arrived at reception so we went to meet him & forgot about it.
We were on a 5.30am start the next morning, breakfast started at 6am but our guide had mentioned the hotel would sort a packed breakfast to take with us. We then asked reception and also asked if they could book us a boat to Battambang for two days time! They said yes to both, perfect.
The next morning, up at 4.30am we tried to make a coffee in our room but the kettle was broken so we went down to reception to get our packed breakfast and see if they had coffee. They had no idea what breakfast we were talking about but managed to get some bits together, the coffee was not on so early but they would make sure they fixed our kettle for later. They never did!
After returning from our trip, and after the lack of response to the balcony and now lack of breakfast we thought we'd check on our boat tickets. After several blank looks across the team we were asked "what price were we quoted?" we said we hadn't been given one as yet (but our guide had indicated it was approx $25usd so we had a rough idea)
They quoted us $44usd, we then mentioned the $25 mark and "oh yes, they were very sorry, $44 was the price to Pnomh Penh, we were right, it was $25". We later find out that a boat to Battambang in the tour operators is $23 and the cost to Pnomh Penh was $36.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to barter on the streets, go for best price etc, I'm also happy to pay $2-$3 booking charge if that's what the additional charge is. But this was a 4* front of house reception, I expect transparency on charges not to be conned.
On our last night we went to dinner in town, we had little cash left (maybe out fault) but cards are quite limited use in Cambodia so having paid for our meal in cash we were down to $5. We also have Hong Kong cards so are limited on cash points we could use and the one in town was ooo. Knowing we had another 6.30am start to Battambang we thought we'd head back to the hotel as they'd be able to help with cash! Worst mistake ever.
At first we asked could they put money exchange onto credit card having explained the machine was ooo, not they couldn't. So then we asked could they put a charge to the room (adhoc charge or misc charge) and give us the cash, no they couldn't. We then got our iPad to look up all the ATMs that would accept our card, took it to reception, could they tell us how to get there; no they couldn't! Could we use either the hotel company car (that had collected us from the airport) or hotel tuk tuk (that had dropped us in town) to drive us if WE could direct them and we'd pay when we had cash, no they couldn't!
We were told to get a tuk tuk from the street; we re explained we had no money as the atm was ooo to which reception laughed at us, this was somewhat frustrating as this was what we had been explaining for last 45 minutes.
Going to bed deflated, we realized we had some HKD so thought get up early, check out, change money and go.
Next morning, we were leaving at 6.30am so went to reception at 5.45am to change the HKD, we couldn't. We'd have to wait till 6.30 when someone else started, eventually they did exchange the money for us after we went through again what we had the night before.
On paying our room bill $5, we gave our card and was told no, card payment had to be over $20 and so we had to pay cash with money we'd literally just exchanged. Somewhat exasperated I re explained the ATM was not working, we'd been trying night and morning and could the hotel help us as we had little cash, again no they couldn't! Eventually they took our card, at now 6.25 am we ran through to get breakfast and asked them to let us know when the driver came. The driver came, they didn't let us know?!?!
I got the impression even then that staff still were expecting tips, in fact I got the impression the whole time they were nice purely to receive a tip.
Fortunately the driver that picked us up, whilst he couldn't really understand English, could understand we needed an ATM; we didn't think he'd be able to help but when we got to the boat ticket office the manager shouted "hey, you want cash, jump on my bike". Whipped us off to a cash point and all was ok within 5 minutes. He did it for free but we gave him a tip.
Hilarious that the guy we bought two boat tickets off went out of his way to be helpful yet the 4* hotel couldn't manage it once.
Faith restored, we went on to stay at a further 4 hotels across Pnomh Penh, Siem Reap & Battambang - they were all excellent, super friendly, super helpful, very sincere! Not sure whether we were just unfortunate to have a catalogue of mistakes but I was very very unimpressed by Royal Empire.
Oh and the wifi drops out every 2-5 minutes in the rooms!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built around a stunning landscape with Khmer décor and hospitality, Royal Empire Hotel offers visitors to Siem Reap the ultimate in luxury and services. It features an outdoor salt water pool, a restaurant and bar, and free Wi-Fi access.Fitted with wooden flooring and styled with eclectic Khmer touches, spacious rooms at Royal Empire Hotel are designed to be your home away from home. Each room comes with satellite TV, safety deposit box, complimentary bottled water, tea /coffee making facilities, bathrobes, slippers and a private bathroom with bathtub, show cubicle, bathroom amenities and hair dryer. Guests can enjoy a dip in the outdoor salt water pool, workout in the fitness centre, and indulge in massage and spa treatments while delighting in the splendor of historic and charming Siem Reap Angkor.Emerald Restaurant specializes in both local and international cuisines ranging from Khmer, Chinese, Thai, Asian and Western served in a modern Khmer-styled setting, and offers a sensational view of the pool and landscaped garden through its towering glass walls. Hotel is only 2-minute walk to the Angkor Shopping Arcade night market, 5-minute walk to Cambodian Cultural village, less than 5-minute drive to the Pub Street, and only 10-minute drive away from Siem Reap International Airport. ... more less
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