If any one development reflects the growing prosperity and thriving tourism in Southeast Asia, it’s the number of 5-star hotels and luxury properties popping up across the region. Unique small hotels are multiplying as well. Be sure to take a look at lodges such as the Shinta Mani in Siem Reap -- properties involved in serious philanthropic projects. You can enjoy every amenity while helping out local communities and organizations.
RAFFLES GRAND HOTEL D’ANGKOR
1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Lobby of Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, is a chic blend of French Colonial design and Cambodian art.
One of the few truly historical properties in Siem Reap, near the Angkor Wat Compound, Raffles was built in 1932. Khmer Rouge guerrillas almost obliterated the hotel during the late 1970’s. But, after extensive restoration, the hotel reopened and quickly reclaimed its ranking as one of the finest properties in Asia. Art Deco design, French Colonial architecture and Cambodian art combine harmoniously. The property also boasts nearly 15 acres of gardens on Tonle Sap Lake -- perfect for sunset cocktails.
Rooms are exceptionally large. All include minibars, daily turndown service and wireless internet. Large suites have walk-in wardrobes, bathrooms with free-standing claw-footed tubs and separate showers. Two-bedroom villas have spacious living and dining areas with a full pantry and private wine cellar. Twice-daily housekeeping, as well as 24-hour personal butler service are provided.
Rooms at Raffles are exceptionally large.
A complimentary daily Champagne breakfast is available for all guests. And each room receives a fruit plate daily. Several restaurants are located throughout the hotel. Restaurant Le Grand specializes in indigenous Khmer cuisine. The Elephant Bar is as legendary as the hotel itself.
A spa with a full range of massage and water therapies is on site, as is a Jacuzzi, gymnasium and pool.
Evening turndown service and Champagne breakfast are all standard at Raffles.
Restaurant Le Grand specializes in indigenous Khmer cuisine.
Performances featuring traditional Cambodian dancing are offered at Raffles.
SHINTA MANI RESORT
Oun Khum & 14th St.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Exterior of the Shinta Mani Resort - which also functions as a philanthropic organization.
This beautifully-designed resort is the flagship of the Institute of Hospitality, which trains young Cambodians to work in hotels and restaurants. Additionally, your lodging fees -- which are exceptionally moderate given the style and service at the resort -- will go to support local projects for transportation and clean water.
Rooms are large and comfortably appointed with either garden or pool views. Artwork showcasing the images of Angkor complements the modern, stylish interiors. All come with fully stocked mini bars, daily complimentary fruit plates, turndown service, LCD TV, soundbars and iPod docks.
Eye-catching artwork in the stylish rooms at Shinta Mani.
Kroya which means “food” in the Khmer Royal language is the hotel’s unique restaurant. The menu showcases a modern interpretation of classic Khmer cuisine with fresh local ingredients.
A special feature at the Shinta Mani Spa is the Khmer Coffee Scrub, that combines white clay and organic Cambodian coffee beans from the hill tribes of Rattanakiri Province to create an aromatic rejuvenation.
Kroya restaurant features fresh local ingredients.
Beautifully-designed lap pool at Shinta Mari. An excellent spa is on the property as well.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The highly-rated Amansara is the former guesthouse of Cambodia's King Sihanouk.
Contemporary rooms offer complimentary mini-bars; many have private plunge pools.
Bathrooms offer soaking tubs and a separate shower.
The Amansara Dining Room offers both Khmer and Western cuisines. Guests may also select wines and cheese from a walk-in cellar.
The Amansara, is so renown, the management doesn’t even bother with a nameplate out front. The former guesthouse of King Norodoom Sihanouk has 24 suites, half of which have private plunge pools. All suites offer spacious living areas with king-size beds, large sofas and a dining area. The bathrooms offer soaking tubs and a separate shower. A complimentary mini-bar with a broad range of snacks as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is also included.
The Dining Room presents both traditional Khmer and Western cuisines. Guests may also select wines and cheeses from a walk-in cellar. The spectacular Roof Terrace serves lunch and evening drinks.
The spa offers guests massage and beauty treatments using Aman’s natural spa products. Amansara was listed by Travel + Leisure as one of the World’s Best Hotels in 2013 and was on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List for 2012.
THE RED PIANO GUESTHOUSE
N341, 50 miles Northwest of the Old Market
Svay Dangkom, District 1
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Red Piano Guesthouse - Cute and comfortable.
Cute and comfortable, the Red Piano Guesthouse opened in 2000. There are 15 rooms total, all with private baths and showers. Breakfast is included and the rates are around $25.00 a day -- quite the deal!
Best of all, you’re right around the corner from The Red Piano restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with some of the tastiest curries you’ll ever encounter. And, of course, you can have your photo taken at the same table Angelina Jolie and her film crews sat at while making Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
The Red Piano Restaurant & Bar - A celebrity hangout
PARK HYATT SAIGON
2 Lam Song Square, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Spectacular 20-meter pool at the Park Hyatt Saigon
Glamorous lobby at the Park Hyatt
Guests may indulge in two, distinct restaurants.
A 5-star property and one of the top hotels in the area, the Park Hyatt features generously-sized rooms with French Colonial style furnishings. Bathrooms are done in white marble with walk-in rain showers. Suites include a separate living area and large bedroom. All rooms overlook the spectacular 20-meter pool. In addition to the lap pool, an indoor whirlpool, steam room and state-of-the-art fitness center are available to guests. The Park Hyatt Spa features three private treatment rooms with terraces overlooking a tropical garden.
Lounge area at the Park Hyatt.
Two restaurants are included on the property. Opera offers Italian cuisine and Square One features a Vietnamese and Western menu. Guests can also take advantage of cooking classes and afternoon teas. A particular indulgence is use of the hotel S-Class Mercedes to tour Saigon or shop Dong Khoi St. The hotel is also adjacent to the opera house and Ben Thanh Market.
19-23 Lam Son Square, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
One of Saigon's most historic properties, the Caravelle originally opened on Christmas Eve in 1959.
Opened on Christmas Eve in 1959, the Caravelle has long served as one of Saigon’s most prestigious properties. Designed by both French and Vietnamese architects, the progressive hotel was one of the first structures to install air-conditioning. During the 1960’s the Caravelle became home to the Australian Embassy, New Zealand Embassy and the Saigon bureaus of NBC, ABC and CBS.
After the American withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975, the hotel was taken over and operated by the government. Then, in 1998, the hotel was relaunched and an impressive 24-story tower was added to the original ten-story building with it’s striking, curved balconies.
Pool-side at the Caravelle
Rooms are large with LCD TVs. Guests have access to Club Service with a buffet breakfast as well as tea and coffee throughout the day. Evening cocktails and a wide range of canapés are also provided.
There are two restaurants on the property along with the legendary Saigon Saigon Bar. During the 1970’s, the rooftop bar was the centre of operations - both professional and social - for the international media. From their tenth-floor perch, cold beers in hand, journalists could, by the war’s closing days, see the front line from their bar stools. Today, thankfully, the views are of sunsets and the bright Saigon skyline.
Large, comfortable rooms with expansive views of Saigon.
The legendary Saigon Saigon Bar, once the hangout of international journalists, now a lovely spot to enjoy a sunset.
MARRIOTT RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE HOTEL SAIGON
8-15 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Panoramic river views from the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Saigon.
Located in the heart of Saigon’s business and entertainment district, the 5-star Marriott Renaissance offers panoramic river views and quick access to Saigon’s main attractions. Rooms have king-size feather-top beds and mini-bars. Access to club lounge facilities is standard.
There is also a rooftop pool, spa, fitness center, and several restaurants, including Kabin -- known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, specializing in Cantonese cuisine.
Updated lobby at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel
Kabin -- one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area is located at the Marriott Renaissance.
656/52 Cach Mang Thang Tam St.
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Charming, family-run hotel, Ma Maison prides itself on service and decor.
This charming, family-run hotel prides itself on its Provence style decoration and bistro. Located outside the city center, the property also provides a look at a typical Vietnamese neighborhood, with local shopping and restaurants. The bistro serves Asian and European dishes, as well as vegetarian meals.
There are 12 rooms, each with a private bathroom. A business center, limousine, internet, laundry and room service are provided.
The bistro at Ma Maison serves Asian, European and vegetarian dishes.
SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI
15 Ngo Quyen St., Hoan Kiem District
One of the oldest hotels in Vietnam, the Metropole opened in 1901.
One of the oldest hotels in Vietnam, the Metropole opened in 1901 and welcomed luminaries such Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham. Located in the French Quarter, across from the Hanoi Opera House, the property still provides world-class service and has beautifully preserved the original French Colonial aesthetic.
The 364 rooms have polished hardwood floors, mini-bars, large writing desks, LCD TV, and wi-fi. Bathrooms have large footed-tubs and separate showers. Suites are sumptuously appointed and provide 24-hour butler service.
The Sofitel Metropole has beautifully preserved the property's original French Colonial aesthetic.
Three restaurants maintain three distinct culinary choices. Le Beaulieu is notable for its French cuisine and wine pairings. Angelina serves an Italian menu, while the Spice Garden is authentic Vietnamese. The hotel’s three bars also include La Terrasse du Metropole -- a longtime favorite in Hanoi and Vietnamese version of a Parisian sidewalk cafe.
Le Spa du Metropole is highly regarded and provides oils and lotions by Grasse parfumier. A pool and fitness center are on the property as well. Guests may also play golf at Hanoi’s best courses: Van Tri Golf Club, considered one of the best in country; Tam Dao Golf Resort and the dramatic mountain landscape of the challenging Phoenix Golf Resort.
The hotel maintains 364 rooms.
Suites are sumptuously appointed and provide 24-hour butler service.
Three restaurants are available to guests.
Guests also have access to a pool and fitness center, as well as golfing on some of Hanoi's best courses.
INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE REVIEW
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District
The intercontinental provides an island retreat, but is still near the center of Hanoi.
The hotel's three restaurants are even more dramatic with the island locale.
Only minutes from the center of Hanoi, the Intercontinental provides a welcome retreat from city noise and hustle. Guests can enjoy tranquil Tai-Chi lessons by the pool or cocktails and sunset views over the lake from the outdoor terrace.
Rooms are spacious with large private balconies. Minibars, LCD TVs and turndown service are standard. The Executive Club Level provides 24-hour Butler Service and a Business Center.
Three separate restaurants are on the property. Saigon serves Vietnamese cuisine from dramatic, glass-fronted kitchens. Milan offers authentic Italian cuisine in a contemporary setting. Café du Lac brings contemporary French brasserie-style to Hanoi. The tropical Asian ambience of Sunset Bar is made even more dramatic by the island locale.