A Night at the Museum

After staying at Samanea, Kep, and admiring such things as 15th century Myanmar ceramics at reception, I was excited to see what Belgian antiques dealer, Alain Garnier, had done with Governor’s House, Phnom Penh, his first foray into the world of luxury and boutique hotels.

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Although the building itself is 150 years it has only been a hotel for two years. It felt like stepping into a museum but with the feel of a colonial mansion home. The foyer is a blend of funky bar and antique furniture, including a cabinet form Versailles, and an impressive triple height atrium.

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I admired the polished teak floor boards as I climbed the sweeping staircase. I passed a wall of bells and glassed in Buddha figures on the way to my room.

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Inside my room was an antique wardrobe in which to hang my clothes and a pre-Pol Pot era traditional Khmer desk from which to work. I found out that another room even had a desk which once belonged to Winston Churchill but a booking meant I didn’t get a chance to sit at it (or on it).

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The public areas were comfortable and inviting. I also spent a lot of time working from one of the tables dotted around the atrium and balconies, listening to the soft music playing in the background. A nice place for afternoon tea or cocktails too.

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Of course, I spent some time in the garden pool. Due to the shade in the rear garden the water was cooler than the warm bath temperature I’ve gotten used to in Cambodia and was wonderfully refreshing after a day of walking about town, visiting (other) museums and the like.

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The welcome from reception on arrival included a message on a chalk board (with the ‘e’ at the end of Simone!). This meant that it was easy to meet the other solo traveller by the poolside bar in the evening. She already new my name.

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There was a choice of outdoor or air conditioned dining. It was here I learnt the secret of baking the perfect baguette, probably the best I’ve eaten in Cambodia (I can’t tell you, it’s a secret).

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Governor’s House was a perfect place for my city break in the capital. It’s in a nice neighbourhood with gorgeous buildings and some nice restaurants within walking distance (and even a bakery, my favourite kind of business).

With my love of history, it was a great feeling to be so up close and personal to the history in and of the hotel. From the elegant façade and the beautifully polished teak floors to the antique chairs, I felt right at home.

Governor’s House is a member of Secret Retreats, a collection of boutique residences, hotels and boats throughout Asia and a brand that provides experiences for the discerning traveller.


I was a guest of Governor’s House but all opinions are my own and nobody from the company reviewed or approved the text.

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  1. Pingback: Leaving Cambodia - a Final Glimpse at Phnom Penh - The Track & Off ItThe Track & Off It

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