Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Filed Under: Hotel Reviews, Hotels

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia: I’m In Love
Raffles Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh Review


Hotel Reviews Art

I’ve actually stayed at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap previously, when my husband and I visited in 2014, and it feels much the same now as it did then. Siem Reap, on the other hand, has since changed to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, as extremely rapid development has transformed the town.

And it’s interesting, because while I felt like Luang Prabang was about to be deluged by tourists in a fairly destructive way, it feels like Siem Reap is maybe starting to turn corner (after having been hit with their own destructive wave of tourists a decade or so ago). The influx of tourist dollars is finally being used for infrastructure, and while corruption still absolutely permeates the city (something that even impacted our stay at the Park Hyatt), there are visible signs of improvement.

Like, the airport is brand-new, and the roads in front of the Park Hyatt have been paved. We didn’t see any children selling postcards or candy. There’s an evolving culinary scene.

Those shouldn’t be major descriptive details, but if you were in Siem Reap ten, five, or hell, even three years ago, you’ll appreciate why those things were so noticeable.

The nice is that while the Park Hyatt itself obviously hasn’t moved, the location has become a bit more convenient. Obviously there are other properties on the outskirts of town that are more peaceful, or more convenient to Angkor, but as Siem Reap as a town is (slightly) less unpleasant these days, being in town and walking to restaurants and such was more enjoyable than it was on my last trip.

The property was built in 1957 as the stylish Hotel de la Paix, then was renovated and rebranded to the Park Hyatt Siem Reap in 2013.  The decor is a whimsical mix of art deco and Khmer design, with interesting architectural details punctuated by pops of bold color.

The entryway, for example, has framed art niches, plush rose chairs, and bright pink lotus flowers:

We arrived via taxi (more on why I don’t recommend booking cars through the Park Hyatt later on), and were escorted into “The Living Room” — an area that is both used as the hotel bar and for handling check-in. The Park Hyatt Siem Reap does have a reception desk, but it’s tucked away in a narrow hallway, so this is a much better way of managing the situation, especially as there were about a dozen other groups checking in when we arrived.

We were asked to take a seat in the back of the bar, then offered cold towels and a refreshing strawberry cocktail.

As we were checking in to suites, we were asked if we wanted to complete formalities in our room, but that is never my preference (especially when I need to take pictures), so we spent about 15 minutes in the bar going over paperwork and learning about the hotel amenities.

Afterwards, we were escorted up to our suites, which were on the third floor (or rather, accessed via the third floor).

As a side note, one of the things I liked about the Park Hyatt Siem Reap was the mix of art, like this more classic print, in a modern frame, set above a bowl of eclectic objects:

Those details really set the tone of the hotel, and made it feel both classic and current, which I enjoyed.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap Rooftop Garden Suite

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap has two different room types available using World of Hyatt points, at 12,000 points per night:

  • 1 King Bed
  • 2 Twin Beds

While it’s the same size, and doesn’t sound significantly upgraded, the “1 King Bed with Garden View” rooms aren’t standard room types.

I mention this because depending on rates, this may be a good property to use points at, but typically when I’ve looked at booking, the rates for the base rooms (when available) were <$150. We value Hyatt points at .015 cents each, so 12,000 points are worth ~$180 to us. So this is a property I would typically book through Hyatt Privé or Virtuoso, to get some extra benefits on an already reasonable rate.

In this case, however, not only were there not any base rooms available on points, the Park Hyatt Siem Reap was offering a promotion on their suites that was only available by booking direct. With a shrug and an “it’s the end of the trip, we paid roughly nothing in Hoi An, why the heck not?” I booked two rooftop suites, with breakfast included in the rate, for ~$250 each.

There are two of these rooftop garden suites at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, and they’re accessed via a hallway on the third floor.

I say “accessed” because these rooms are up a flight of stairs — as the room signs somewhat indicate:

There is an electronic lock and deadbolt on the door to the third-floor corridor, so if you have booked both rooms, you can use that entry and the foyer as one big room:

From the upper landing, room 342 is on the left, 340 is on the right, and the “pantry” areas of both suites can be accessed through those center doors.

It was definitely a bit of overkill.

The suite opened to a large living room, with enough plush seating to host practically everyone I know.

The living room had a large TV, and several thoughtfully-curated curio cabinets, accented by stacks of cloth-bound books.

Plates of fresh fruit were waiting in both rooms, along with sparkling water and macarons:

To one side of the living room was a narrow powder room, with a separate toilet area:

On the other side of the living area was a large “pantry” room with a sink, fridge/freezer combo, and the standard minibar and coffee setup (the latter of which really came in handy when I woke my family up at 4AM to go sightseeing the next morning).

That being said, I don’t really understand the point of dedicating so much space to a pantry. If you were having a large party in your room then I can see where having a staging/bar area with a separate staff entrance could come in handy, but that’s not really something I think of doing in Siem Reap. But that might just be me.

Anyway, the glass doors of the living room opened to a nice rooftop garden area, with a comfortable lounge chair.

My mom wanted nothing more than to just spend some time reading in these chairs, though unfortunately Siem Reap was…quite fragrant…on the days we were there, so being outside while in town wasn’t particularly pleasant.

On the other side of the garden was another panel of glass doors that led to the bedroom.

As a reference point, the living rooms, bathrooms, and gardens of both suites were roughly identical, with maybe some slight variations in the accessories. The bedrooms were quite different though, and while both were nice, if you’re booking just one of these suites, I’d be sure to ask for 342, rather than 340.

Both suites had a large king bed, and the same fun mix of decor styles that permeated the hotel.

And there were dual walk-in closets as well, which were definitely appreciated, as we were all at the “exploding suitcase” phase of the trip.

For suite 342, which is on the Western side of the building, a half-step led to a second seating area, with a chaise, two chairs, and floor-to-ceiling windows:

This room had a terrace as well, with views (such as they were) over the city:

   

The bathrooms were through the closets in both rooms, and with the dual-sinks and marble-clad walls they were immediately pronounced as the best bathrooms of the trip.

Not that the competition was that steep, of course.

We were also pleased to see the same “Cochine” bath amenities we’d enjoyed so much in Saigon make a reappearance.

One quirk of the bathroom (because on this trip, all the bathrooms have to have quirks; it’s basically a rule), was the shower.

In addition to the perfectly functional indoor space, there was a second door leading through the shower to the garden:

Where there was an outdoor shower!

Which, I am all about an outdoor shower, and having multiple showers available is awesome. But the garden shower couldn’t actually be accessed from the garden, only from inside the bathroom shower, and it wasn’t really practical to use both at the same time.

So that was weird.

Just to show you the other bedroom, over in 340 the suite had the same plush king-size bed, and similar decor:

But rather than a separate seating area and terrace, there was a single chaise next to the bed:

And the only windows were out to the garden (which, to be clear, was perfectly sufficient, and this was still an opulent and ridiculously oversized suite):

So these were very enjoyable rooms as a bit of a splurge, and the general prices of hotels in Cambodia made upgrading to this kind of suite less outrageous than it might have otherwise been. Of course, our moms loved it, which made it even more fun.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap restaurants

The main bar and lounge of the hotel is the “Living Room”, where we checked in.

They also serve cocktails and an afternoon tea in this space, and it was an enjoyable place to get out of the heat.

The Living Room was flanked by two terraces, both of which had and assortment of seating and a mix of ceiling and stand fans:

As a thoughtful touch, hand sanitizer and mosquito repellant were delivered along with the menus:

Happy Hour was also available in the Living Room — when I visited in 2014 there were additional bar specials for Hyatt elites, but that seems to have been discontinued (or at least wasn’t offered).

And yes, these are the happy hour prices.

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap also has “The Glasshouse”, which is a deli, coffee shop, and patisserie. It’s a very cute space, and while we only visited to grab iced coffees to go, we saw lots of families trying different flavors of gelato.

One of the terraces of the Living Room, along with the outdoor seating for the main restaurant (The Dining Room, where breakfast is served), flanked a stunning central courtyard, with this gorgeous tree:

Park Hyatt Siem Reap Apsara show

Bottom line up front here: I would not really go out of my way to see Apsara in Siem Reap. Phnom Penh may be a different story, but most of the opportunities to see the traditional dances in Siem Reap are large productions with somewhat dubious buffet meals.

Like a luau, but in Cambodia.

So with that as a background, the alternative at the Park Hyatt is perhaps a good way to get a sense of the concept, without getting locked in to an entire evening.

A few nights a week (and the schedule seems to vary, so your best bet is to email the concierge for days and times), the Park Hyatt Siem Reap hosts a “Cultural Dinner and Show” on the terraces surrounding the central courtyard.

The show is “review-style”, featuring dancers and fighters (honestly, there were way more martial arts demonstrated — with the accompanying yelling — than I thought was particularly enjoyable over dinner), along with traditional musicians.

While there is a special menu available during the show, it’s not required, so you can easily order off the regular menu, or just have a few drinks. As we knew we’d have a very early start the next morning, we decided it was easiest to just eat during the show, rather than going out afterwards.

We were offered an amuse bouche:

And then ordered a tasty seafood Amok (basically a fish curry), a stir fry, and two different chicken dishes:

The food was decent, but nothing really stood out. The prices also seemed ridiculous for Cambodia, or really anywhere — my fish curry was $25USD (+tax and service charge), which is what I’d expect to pay in somewhere like LA. In fact, our entire meal at a little French place the next evening was under $40.

So I wouldn’t really recommend eating here, though I don’t have any complaints about the food, and the staff was helpful.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap breakfast

I do, however, have some concerns about the breakfast, which is served in The Dining Room from 6AM to 11AM.

When I was here in 2014, the breakfast situation seemed disorganized — platters were sparse, ordering eggs and coffee from the kitchen took ages, and nothing was really the right temperature. I chalked it up to the hotel transitioning to a Park Hyatt, and general growing pains, and figured things would be dramatically better this time around.

Nope.

Based on our experience at two different times in the morning — once at 10AM, after visiting the temples, and then the next day at 6:00AM, when they were just opening — I think the buffet spread may be limited by design. At least, we never saw it replenished on either day, so you can imagine how it looked by 10AM.

First thing in the morning though, it was pretty:

In addition to the typical things you’d expect to see at a breakfast buffet, there was also a juice/smoothie bar, which was a fun idea:

And there was a decent mix of Western and Asian options:

Then a small selection of baked goods, with a disproportionately large assortment of jams and spreads:

Coffee, eggs, and other entrees were available to order, and while they took a very long time to arrive, the presentation was beautiful:

So overall I’d give the breakfast an “okay”. I really love that it is served until 11AM, and the setting is particularly nice if you sit outdoors, but neither the selection nor quality were really standout.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap pools

Given how outrageously warm it can be in Siem Reap, having a nice hotel pool to retreat to can make all the difference, and the Park Hyatt has two.

There’s a lap pool with a bit of seating on the lobby level:

And then an expansive space on the second floor, adjacent to the spa and a little gym:

The pool design was stunning, and visually refreshing after a dusty morning in Angkor. We spent a couple of hours lounging poolside, which was a nice way to spend the afternoon before heading back out for more sightseeing.

A tiny detail, but one we really enjoyed, was that every chair had a little fan. There were a few outlets as well, which I always appreciate, since I like to work outside whenever possible.

The pool area had a single attendant, but he did a good job of making sure everyone had water, offering things off the bar menu, and being generally attentive.

The concierge/front desk are perhaps not trustworthy

When I was at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, the staff was incredibly helpful, and seemed like they really wanted us to have a good impression both of their hotel, and of their country. The interactions seemed very genuine.

On this trip — and it’s possible that the clientele has just changed to where that’s no longer a practical aspiration — we didn’t particularly feel like the staff was interested in inspiring a return visit. Instead, it felt like the concierge/front desk staff in particular were on the take, or making recommendations with a primary focus on lining their pockets. Anything booked through the hotel also comes at a very high premium.

A van from the airport, for example, is set by law at $15, but the Park Hyatt lists it as $60 (and this is not even a luxury hotel car, which I’d understand charging a premium for). That’s somewhat to be expected, but a pre-arrival email also offered a car and driver for the temples for a day at $143 per person — only when I questioned the price based on my last trip to Siem Reap was I given the (correct) price of ~$95 total for the day.

I was also unable to get the concierge to help with executing our arrival plan. Our flight arrived at 4PM, and since we had our visas we wanted to go directly to the Angkor ticket office, then into the park for the sunset, then to the hotel. Rather than working with us to make that happen (even with the understanding that we were prepared for delays or things to not go to plan), they insisted it wasn’t possible.

(It was totally possible.)

On departure, we asked for the hotel to organize a taxi to the airport for a specific time. We confirmed it both the night before and in the morning before breakfast, but we ended up having to wait almost twenty minutes past the arranged time. When the van showed up, it was literally just “some guy in a van” and not a licensed taxi. Our moms were in the car before I was able to make adjustments, and it worked out fine in that we still paid the official price, but I very much felt like the hotel staff was splitting the fare with their cousin or something.

In a similar vein, we asked the concierge for help in making a restaurant booking our second evening. He took down all our info, then called us a few minutes later to say that he was unable to make a booking because the restaurant wasn’t in “our system”. I presume this meant there wasn’t a commission for the hotel if we ate there, but as both the hotel and restaurant have telephones, I didn’t particularly feel it was an acceptable answer for a hotel of any caliber, much less a Park Hyatt. We were able to make the booking ourself in a five minute phone call, so that was quite disappointing.

The Angkor Wat guide the hotel arranged was also very poor (though the driver was excellent). Based on these experiences, I would be hesitant to ask the hotel staff to plan any excursions or make any bookings, which is unfortunate, as when I was there a few years ago, the recommendations and guides were terrific across the board.

To be fair, Cambodia is incredibly corrupt right now, and so being on the take is a bit of the culture in Siem Reap. I’d have expected the Park Hyatt to be a bit insulated from that, but just a heads up that perhaps that isn’t the case at present.

Overall thoughts on the Park Hyatt Siem Reap

I really like this hotel — the design and styling are unique, and I love that the property has a boutique feel. I do, however, feel like the property has gone downhill significantly since I was there five years ago. The food and beverage are only okay, but prices have gone up dramatically all the same. The fantastic Hyatt Globalist recognition seems to have been cut, and our interactions with the front desk and concierge made us feel a bit uncomfortable.

So no major complaints, it just felt a bit less special.

Have you been to the Park Hyatt Siem Reap? How was your stay?

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Comments

  1. Concierge’s and hotels have to make money too. You pay a fee for convenience of them making the arrangements. Surely you know this from extensive traveling. And, like all tours and services, there are hits and misses. Even with high-end brand properties, airport transportation, for example, is outsourced and can appear to be just “some guy in a van”. Surprised at your critique.

  2. @RB
    they get paid for being the concierge, by the hotel that in turn gets paid by the guest who’s staying there.
    Please don’t act as if blatant overcharging and commission hunting is somehow something that you have to accept if you’re a hotel guest.

    If you want guests to return (and thereby securing the job that pays you), it should be in the hotel’s interest to satisfy their customers. And as far as I can see no outrageous requests have been made.

    I swear to god, some people will find a way to always blame the traveller and will be okay with any bs that hotels, airlines or tour operators put them through and act all “surprised” if someone is not okay with it.

  3. Great review, Tiffany. I’m staying here in August under an AMEX Fine Hotels rate.

    I’m disappointed to hear about the concierge. At a place of this caliber and a location where it’s more difficult to do these things on your own, it’s especially unfortunate. I was going to book my tour through the hotel, but it may seem like I will have to find another option.

    BTW, I want to get an early start at Angkor (sunrise, beat the heat, etc.) but come back for breakfast/rest, then go back to Angkor in the afternoon to continue the tour. Does that seem reasonable to do? Thanks.

  4. @ RB — Nope, they are paid a salary, and potentially receive tips. They shouldn’t be relying on commissions from vendors at the expense of the guest experience.

    This was definitely “some guy in a van” and not the taxi we’d requested — I do know the difference.

  5. @Daniel,

    Its pretty dang easy to do these things on your own. The hotel is right in town and English is well spoken. The concierge is not as bad as its made out to be.. but you are paying extra for the convenience. Its easiest to pay with US Dollars in Siem Reap so bring cash.

    As for leaving the complex / coming back, its not unreasonable.

    You can arrange for a self tour. Hotel will actually get you a tuk tuk (or you can easily get your own just outside). There is a “circuit” of three and IMHO Angkor Wat is the least interesting. You have to get a temple pass the day before (and its not cheap and the money goes to the Vietnamese).

  6. @ Daniel — Yep, that’s exactly what we did, and I’ll talk about that a little more in the next segment.

    I would definitely research for a specific guide on TripAdvisor or similar. There’s a huge difference between someone knowledgeable and someone who has just passed the basic licensing test.

  7. My favorite pic is the one with the Porsche SUV …. hilarious how this oasis has changed due to our mega population growth / tourism. Only 10 years ago it was all toyota type taxis and tuk tuk rickshaws. 2019: Aman Resorts and Porsche SUVs.
    Also, I enjoy reading your travel stories.

  8. I remember staying in this city 19 years ago. Paved roads were not as common. Paid like $20 a night for a double room with AC. Hot water consisted of water they poured into a tank painted black the the sun then heated up. Given all the developments i dont really desire to return to cambodia. I liked it the way it was. Laos was on my list of places to visit but it sounds too depressing now. I will just explore further out places in Vietnam.

  9. Great review, Tiffany! This will be very helpful as we’re planning a similar Vietnam/Cambodia trip. We definitely agree with finding a private guide via Trip Advisor outside of the hotel – corruption isn’t limited to Siem Reap, based on our experience.

  10. @Bill: I too visited Angkor Wat well before it became a major tourist destination. When I went in 1998 there were still UN trucks around the town, dirt roads and only a couple of hotels. We could walk around the temples without any crowds, in fact in many places we were the only ones there. It’s one of the few times I managed to be ahead of the trend when it comes to tourist destinations. It was a fabulous experience and one that simply cannot be repeated now with all the development. Bagan in Myanmar might come close to that experience right now.

  11. @Tiffany: Very thorough review, great job! The issues with the concierge/front desk are unacceptable and I would have written a complaint to the management detailing everything you wrote in your review. Especially in a tourist-centric destination like Siem Reap and at a 5-star standard hotel like a Park Hyatt, a high-quality concierge and service desk is essential and it sounds like they were well short of the mark to the point of affecting the quality of your stay. Their inability to book the restaurant reservation is a great case in point of how deficient they were. I’ve never been a big fan of concierges, but this is the absolute baseline level of what they should be doing. The management needs your feedback.

  12. It certainly sounds (and looks) like Siem Reip has evolved tremendously since I was last there a lifetime ago in 2007!

    You’re review is certainly most helpful for readers planning a visit – great tip to miss the Apsara dinner and just take in the show with a drink too. I tend to agree with your sentiment regarding organised tours/transportation direct with the hotel. In developing nations such as Cambodia you will pay a very hefty price premium for the third party suppliers to bring their standards up to a level in line with the expectations of the brand in which it is contracted.

    I do have some points of contention with your review however. Firstly, you mention late in the review that the Globalist benefits through World of Hyatt have been reduced subsuiquent to your stay five years ago in 2014. This is misleading as Globalist not World of Hyatt existed during 2014. Whilst management may have chosen to extend certain privileges to your reservation you may want to edit that peice.

    Having consulted in operational guest experience functions for the last five years, I can assure you that Hyatt is the only major hotel company that write commissions into their code of business ethics compliance and they never receive a kickback for any service they provided to a guest. They are stand alone in this policy and I have seen many a great concierge leave Hyatt’s doors for that reason alone. Whilst It is obvious that transparency was a factor in your expectations not being meet by concierge I can assure you the integrity you are very willing to call into question is misguided.

    Heading to the airport can often be a stressful occurrence yet alone when a delay in transport is being incurred. For reference similar delays occur when pre-booking Government regulated taxi’s in Australia as a regular occurrence. I assure you the hotel would have made every effort to work with the party chosen to facilitate your transport in a more fashion.

    Lastly, regarding your preferred dining venue not being in the hotel’s “system”, I would read through the lines on this one as the hotel did not have confidence in the food quality and or safety standards of the venue and did not want to proceed acting as your booking party. If this was indeed the case it could have been communicated much more effectively, and that does seem to be pattern in what I am taking from your review.

    Thanks once again for the contribution and the review.

  13. btw, I wouldn’t recommend burning points on the Park Hyatt cause really from a value perspective you can get essentially a luxury hotel room in Siem Reap for about $35-40. They are kind of all over the place.

  14. @ Justin — I did, and spoke with the manager on duty after the reservation fun. The gentleman was apologetic, but didn’t do anything.

  15. Thorough and honest review Tiffany. Many thanks.
    I’ve recently found concierges to be borderline useless/corrupt, and not just just in Cambodia(though it sounds endemic there).
    Beside the odd restaurant reservation that we are unable to make ourselves, we rarely ask them for anything. I guess we’re jaded but they all seem to have a motive far beyond their salary and our satisfaction.
    If they would do a great job I am more than happy to tip handsomely. Sadly, they seem to be getting worse.

  16. @Tiffany: Wow, that’s illustrative that they didn’t do anything but apologize. Suggests to me that the problem stems from the management. I’m really surprised they didn’t offer to comp a meal to make amends.

    @Toby: That is an extremely generous interpretation of the events. I would point out though that just because something is written in policy (ie. commissions) does not mean that it’s actually acted upon on the ground. Also: “I assure you the hotel would have made every effort to work with the party chosen to facilitate your transport in a more fashion.” How can you possibly know this without actually being there? The proof is in the pudding and the very fact that the car was 20 minutes late shows that they didn’t. That car should have been waiting for its passengers 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Jeez even car services in NY do that.

  17. @Justin Siem Reap is not NY. Costs and prices are not as well. Brand expectation cannot translate from country to country all the time. Peninsula Hong Kong vs. Peninsula Manila anyone? You are in Siem Reap / Cambodia, so regardless where you stay a 20 minute delay is not beyond belief, especially given traffic and how it can be unpredictable and congested. Expecting a taxi 15 minutes early is ridiculous. Transportation companies need to make money and like planes, sitting or waiting makes nothing. Having traveled to these destinations, however, and experiencing these places behind just the hotels and outdoor showers, I embrace the fact that things don’t always work like clockwork.

  18. @ Toby — Thanks for the thought-provoking comments! I’m sure that with your consulting experience you can appreciate better than most that while the paperwork may say one thing, the implementation on the ground is often quite different. While the hotel contract with Hyatt may prohibit kickbacks, are you 1000% confident that there’s enough management supervision and enforcement to overcome the local culture and ensure each individual employee is following the contract terms precisely? I’m not, because I stay in a lot of hotels, and getting the “brand-standard” number of water bottles in a room is often a near-impossibility, much less anything else.

    As far as the restaurant goes, I would certainly understand if there were quality concerns (and agree that could have been articulated better if that was the case), but this was for a highly-regarded restaurant in Siem Reap that is known for having a kitchen run to European standards. When I discussed this episode with the manager on duty, he acknowledged that it was a fantastic restaurant, and that there was no reason for the concierge to not have been able to book it.

    And of course I’m well aware that Hyatt has rebranded their loyalty program (we’ve written about it extensively!). The perks offered to top-tier guests at the time of my last visit (a special happy hour menu, a discount on spa services, other small touches) were not contracted requirements under the old program, but management felt they were worthwhile. Regardless of what the tier is called, those things are no longer being offered, which I think is worth mentioning for people considering a repeat stay. The Park Hyatt Tokyo, in comparison, used to have a reception for Diamond guests. They now have the same reception for Globalists.

    So I certainly appreciate where you’re coming from, but am afraid your assurances are a bit optimistic.

  19. Stayed in the EXACT same room when I visited with my parents and wife. Loved it. That upper pool is one of my favorites in the whole world, as well.

    Hope you had a chance to eat at Cuisine Wat Demnak. One of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and the course menu is only ~$30.

  20. @RB: Thank you for letting me know that Siem Reap is not NY. I wouldn’t have known that. My point in referencing NY is that even in NY, which isn’t exactly strong on customer service and has highly unpredictable traffic, car services (from my experience) that are pre-booked will make sure they arrive on time. The problem with your argument is that you say it was a taxi, except the point of Tiffany’s story was that the hotel DID NOT order a taxi but rather a car service type van. Given that it was a car service, there absolutely should have been an expectation of timeliness.

    And yes, the WHOLE POINT OF A BRAND, especially a 5-star brand is to have a baseline consistency of service. So yes, to a base level, hotel brand expectations do translate from country to country, especially at the 5-star level.

  21. @Tiffany – You mention that the suite rate was a direct booking special. How did you find out about the special? Good to know, at least for other Hyatts.
    I stayed at the LeMeridien at about the same time and had a much nicer experience, even though the Hyatt has a much better location. I was dubious about my choice but thanks to you I feel much better. Great and very detailed review.

  22. I have two friends who work in the hotel industry (Intercontinental and Marriott in the US) and both told me to never book anything through the concierge. hmmm….

  23. Sad but Siem Reap has turned into a sh**hole! Living as expat in Thailand, all I can say is that they offer there everything more expensive along with worse quality. The dollar as main currency is killing everything . I took my parents there 2016, because of my dad’s childhood dream or Angkor Wat. In the end he rather enjoyed the outer , more quiet temples.

  24. Really nice and thorough review, with the only aspect of the property not pictured being its very limited fitness center.

    I have stayed at this property 5 times in as many years, the last time being this January, and have gotten outsized redemption value out of it each time. It’s the property where I have redeemed the free anniversary award night that I get through the Chase Hyatt visa card.

    The first time I stayed there, I’d booked a 2-night revenue stay in a standard king room that I then upgraded to a suite using one of two complimentary suite upgrade certificates that I had gotten as a signup bonus when I was initially approved for the ‘old’ Chase Hyatt visa. On top of the 2-night revenue stay, I’d added a 2-night C+P award, which would have required that I vacate the suite after 2 nights and move to a standard king. However, I lucked out because the manager decided to avoid me the hassle of having to switch from the suite to the king, and simply let me spend all 4 nights in the suite. Kool.

    I have been treated extremely well at this property despite having the lowest Hyatt elite status each time I have stayed there. When I was there in January, I was upgraded to a room with a view and a bit more space, despite being a just a lowly Discoverist. I am toying with the idea of returning there for my 2019 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm).

  25. As usual, another gorgeous review, Tiffany. You’re so thorough and honest. Thanks for all your attention to detail!

  26. @Tiffany

    Where was the dinner?

    I was pretty set on staying here when my wife and I visit in November but now I’m not so sure. Folks, any other recommendations for 5 star hotel in Siem Riep where we can expect a better experience?

  27. I am skeptical of food criticism made by someone who orders waffles and pancakes instead of num banh chok (fish curry noodle soup) for breakfast at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap. That being said, I recall the breakfast buffet not being replenished towards the end of the service. Amok is a curry, but it should have a custardy consistency; the dish in your photograph does not look like a custard at all and was clearly not steamed in a banana leaf.

    The Park Hyatt is a lovely property, but Siem Reap itself is not a very pleasant tourist destination. Pub Street is an abomination.

  28. @ cargocult — If it helps, I actually didn’t order either. In a clarification conversation the previous evening, Chef Pisith took away that I couldn’t have wheat, and so had his staff bring those gluten-free items unsolicited.

  29. Being ‘germphobic’ and Siem Reap, the city, being essentially a dump, I resolved to have nearly all my meals in the PH restaurant during my 5 separate visits. In general, I found most of the items I ordered (usually Cambodian/Khmer dishes) to be quite good and, importantly, quite clean. Not being a food aficionado, I will avoid making recommendations, but I never got sick from eating in the property restaurant and that is good enough for me 🙂

  30. Thank you for a wonderful review.
    Our experience last year with the Concierge at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap made us feel like the concierge service operated as some sort of “free agent,” and there was a lack of coordination, with redundant booking, and no real follow through.
    There was a mixture of genuine hospitality among the staff with others that came across as “scamming.”
    Perhaps it is a reflection of our experience throughout SE Asia.

  31. Getting around the PH Siem Reap concierge shenanigans: always “do everything yourself”!

    Never arrange anything through the hotel concierge (this is generally true for most the region) because you’ll invariably pay more. For transportation from and back to the airport and around in Siem Reap, wait until you get there to make the arrangements. When you arrive at the airport, you will be able to get an official taxi/car that will cost you $10-$15 to the city. During that initial trip, your driver will offer to take you to the “Temple” (Angkor Wat) for a rate that is generally the same or below the “official” rate. Take it because it will be the best that you’ll do. After the driver drops you at PH from the airport, arrange with him (usually a man) to pick you up and take you back to the airport on your departure day. He will be there and on time (of course, he would have given you his phone number so you can contact him to confirm your departure time and ensure that he is still on board).

    That is how it’s worked for me on 5 separate visits. In fact, on my first visit, the driver requested just $35 to take me to the ‘Temple’ for which he stayed with me the whole day, waiting in parking lots while I was sightseeing. In the end I paid him $50 as I felt like it would be a rip-off to pay him just $35 for the all-day service that I got.

    G’day.

  32. In Cambodia you should never ask your hotel to arrange anything for you. They will always wrangle a commission out of it, so either you end up paying more, or if the restaurant or tour you want to go to doesn’t pay commissions, the hotel will either refuse, or lie and say they are fully booked. As someone who has worked for a tour business in Siem Reap, I can tell you that we dreaded the calls from hotels and wished customers would just contact us directly.

  33. This seems to be the De La Paix where I stayed when Bill Bensley had recently redone it….but the gorgeous outdoor restaurant seems to be missing from the pictures…the roof top pool was wonderful.
    Confused about everything else though…and Concierges are there to facilitate and get you the best tables etc….NOT to profit via kickbacks…

  34. @Justin. But NY IS strong in car service as far as needs/demand and type of consumer, (premium) costs, and competition. How can you even compare the two places for car service? DCS said it best – why would anyone use conceierge service in SE Asia- especially for transportation- unless you are an 80 year old first time out of the US. But especially some blog trips – the reviews don’t sound as if these are travel savvy actions – experienced travelers can get around very easily and at a reasonable cost, on their own with just a small by of effort and research.

  35. @ RB — I arranged almost all transportation for four people for three weeks on my own, using a variety of methods from the Grab app to tuk tuks. And when the hotel was unable to make the arrangements I wanted on arrival, I did that too. But I don’t see how asking someone at a luxury hotel to call a cab is a ridiculous ask?

  36. @Christian asks: “@DCS – If you find Siem Reap to be a dump, why return so many times?”

    Well, because that is part of its charm! Despite being dumpy, the place real and brims with life. Have you seen those TV shows about the “lives of the rich and famous” in which everything, from lawns to the mansions and their interior decors, looks absolutely perfect (the opposite of a “dump”), but the featured people do not seem to connect to anything or to anyone in the real world and, as result, seem pitifully isolated and unhappy? Well, Siem Reap is the opposite of that. It will not be featured on the “lives of the rich and famous”, but the lives and the fun there are real, from mingled and bartering with merchants in “Night Markets”, to sharing travel stories with a total stranger from South Korea who is there because he too loves to travel for the fun of it, to marveling at the TEMPLE followed by a beer and a dance at the ‘Temple Bar’ on Pub Street — a small multi-national community.

    In short, Siem Reap is a dump with a character where human connections are genuine, almost at the primeval level. As such, it is the perfect travel spot for someone like me.

  37. Loved this place. But you’re in cambodia. You need to try the street food! Which is only $5 for a complete meal!

  38. I was in Siem Reap a little less than 2 years ago. Did not stay at the Park Hyatt, but did experience the rampant dishonesty. We took a flight on Vietnam Airways from HCMC to Siem Reap. The airline did not load enough arrival cards. We were told no worries as they are all over the arrivals area. So we arrive, do the visa on arrival and then are told we have to pay $5 USD each for an arrival card. There were about 6 of us, 3 different couples, all English speakers who were made to wait an hour before we were given the proper arrival card. This is not the visa on arrival as that we paid for and was put in our passports. When finally I went to the visa people and complained, and asked for a manager. Suddenly the forms were found. I was pissed! We waited over an hour after all the other passengers had left. It did not make for a good first impression. We did not have any other issues after that, but it most definitely left a sour taste in my mouth for Cambodia. As much as I loved Angkor Wat, my hotel and our really good guide, I doubt that I would go back.

  39. I stayed here last year. Have done 37 of the 41 Park Hyatt’s currently open. Did not like the service one bit. Staff at front desk just like you said were unhelpful and generally not able to facilitate simple requests. Especially important when realistically only THEY speak the local language. Gym was exceptionally small. Restaurants average. Room was nice, but damp and a strange smell always. Management did not do much to provide an enjoyable experience even as a Globalist.

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