When I travel on my own, I prefer to stay at local B&Bs or smaller boutique hotels, rather than cookie-cutter commercial hotel chains. It’s one of the reasons I decided to sign up for GranTourismo’s Culinary Tour of Cambodia – because they promised accommodation at local-owned and operated boutique hotels like Templation, in Siem Reap.
At the end of a long driveway, in a quiet residential neighbourhood, sits Templation. Inspired by the ancient city of Angkor, Templation is designed in a contemporary, minimalist style. Breezeblocks, stone guardian lions (or ‘foo’ dogs), a waterfall pond, open-air structures, and native fauna everywhere – are a nod to Khmer culture. The roofs of all stand-alone buildings are very smartly kept cool by plants grown on them, and natural lighting and ventilation play a huge part in the design and ambience at Templation.
The atmosphere at Templation is serene, yet comfortable. Cool tones of concrete-grey contrasted by pastel hues of green, yellow, and blue, with pops of bold, bright orange (the hotel’s signature colour) and metallic accents make for a warm and inviting colour scheme. The main building has an open-floor plan, and houses the Reception, Shop, and Restaurant-Bar, which opens onto the main Swimming Pool.
Casually luxurious, Templation is an advocate of Sustainable & Responsible Tourism, and recruits all their staff locally. The environmentally-conscious hotel also recently installed solar panels for electricity, to make the best use of Siem Reap’s sunny days.
I stayed in a Junior Suite, which was a large bedroom with an en-suite open-air bathroom. My room overlooked the pool, and had lovely French windows that opened out onto a small sit-out, surrounded by lush greenery. I even had my own stone guardian lion to keep watch!
My king-size bed was exquisitely comfy, and I never had a restless night’s sleep in it. I also loved returning to the room after a long, hot day, and walking barefoot on the smooth wooden floors of my bedroom. The complimentary turn-down service every evening, very thoughtfully included a bowl of fruit – usually bananas and longan.
The open-air bathroom of course, was one of the main highlights for me. Taking a shower under a sunny sky; in the rain; and under the stars are experiences one doesn’t get to indulge in very often. The tub was like a miniature swimming pool – and, though I didn’t end up using it, I was sorely tempted to have a soak. Maybe, next time!
Of course, the Junior Suite was air-conditioned and also equipped with a ceiling fan, an extra sofa-bed, a mini bar, electric kettle (with complimentary tea and coffee), closet with a safe, television, desk, toiletries, bathrobes, and munchies to nibble on.
Templation boasts one of Siem Reap’s largest swimming pools – a whopping 700 sq meters – every water lover’s dream. Since I spent most of my day outdoors, trekking over temples and exploring the countryside with GranTourismo (and I’m not much of a water person anyway); I would usually skip a dip in the pool, in favour of a shower and cat-nap in my room. The lime-green recliners did look comfy, and perfect for working on a tan.
Since Templation was only a short tuk-tuk ride away from downtown Siem Reap, I was able to spend an afternoon checking out a local craft market and grocery store (for ingredients to bring back, of course) with my host, Lara. For the indulgent and restless, Templation also houses an on-site Spa and Fitness Center.
Always a hearty affair, breakfast was included in the room cost, and a choice between local (Khmer), American, Continental and Asian set menus was offered, in addition to side dishes. Often times the hotel would pack a breakfast box for each of us to take (upon prior notification), if we were setting out for the temples before dawn. Room Service was delivered promptly, and piping hot.
Templation also has an outsourced laundry service which I made use of on multiple occasions. It was convenient and hassle-free, and the Housekeeping staff always took great care to ensure that I got my clothes back on time. Early mornings were made easier by arranging wake-up calls with the Concierge, so we could be up and about to make it to the temples on time.
What made my stay at Templation all that more enriching, were the exceedingly warm and smiling staff. Whether I was passing them by on the way to my room, or ordering food, or waiting for my laundry – everyone was genuinely nice and helpful, and not just because they were trained to be. It’s the charm of the Cambodian people – they’re some of the loveliest I’ve ever met (more on that in my next post).
Would I stay at Templation again? Without a doubt. I found it to be the most value-for-money casual-luxe hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. On my next visit, I’d definitely want to make more use of their amenities, though.
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The price of my stay at Templation was part of the Cambodia Culinary Tour package I paid for, hosted by GranTourismo. You can view the other rooms and pricing for Templation on their main website here. All views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, based on my personal and first-hand experience.