Open Door. Open Hearts
By Pamela McCourt Francescone
The handsome façade and square gray columns shimmer in the water of the lily water feature that leads to the lobby, and on to the central courtyard with the black swimming pool flanked by tall palms. Moulded walls and high ceilings give a contemporary nod to the magnificent Angkor Wat temples, as does the candlelight flickering on striped floors and hushed corridors. Guests are greeted by smiling doormen who rush forward with a warm welcome and chilled towels, and are then graciously offered a glass of sparkling wine.
Shades of gray, white and black bedeck the spacious guestrooms, some with balconies and courtyard views, others with small gardens that lead out to the pool area and the Pool Bar. Making it tempting to relax on the sun beds and then chill out on the poufs, the same shade of orange as a Buddhist monk’s tunic, or at the tables to enjoy a cocktail or a snack.
Guestrooms have framed black and white temple details and artefacts hanging over the super-comfortable beds, and the ceiling in the Kroya Restaurant is a huge light box with the impressive floor plan of the main Angkor Wat temple. Outside on the terrace patrons dine on swing couches while enjoying the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a blend of delectable Khmer flavours and colours. In the top-floor Spa guests indulge in treatments in the private rooms or on the terrace, and the menu includes the enticing Khmer Café Scrub.
Guided tours to the nearby Angkor Wat temples are a must, but just as interesting are visits to the many outlying temples and day trips to Tonle Sap Lake. Open Doors, Open Hearts is the motto of the Shinta Mani Foundation that interacts with the local community for hospitality training and agricultural projects. For each night in the Shinta Mani Club and the Shinta Mani Resort, which is just across the road, $5 goes to the Foundation.
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