sofitel phnom penh phokeethra
There is nowhere across the globe, that will arouse your senses as that of immersing yourself into the Khmer ancient surroundings and be welcomed with splendid hospitality other than Sofitel Phokeethra. The luxury hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has a strong colonial air throughout its being. A space where you will find your salvation whilst scurrying the historic and modern intertwined, forming a timeless environment throughout its natural gardens and ancient setting.
This is not an average ‘luxury hotel’ based on a predestined concept, Sofitel Phokeethra has been crafted with sheer contemporary French elegance with respect to its surroundings and nations historical records, and love stained throughout the design and the grounds it rests on, so guests can experience all that Phnom Penh holds and offers to those willing to make the adventure. The name ‘Phokeethra’ derives from the Sanskrit words Bhogi, a powerful Phya Naga serpent spirit, and Dhara, meaning a large city. Phokeethra, the city of the mythical Naga, is a regional legend symbolising peace and prosperity which gives clues to the identity and spirit of this hotel and all it evokes.
The founding bank of Sofitel was ‘Banque Paribas’, opening the very first five-star hotel in Strasbourg, France on 26th June 1964 and in the ensuing half century went on to be acquired by AccorHotels in 1980. Sofitel quickly developed a worldwide reach as its values and offerings where desired around the world, and Robert Gaymer-Jones (ceo 2007-2013) and Sébastien Bazin (ceo 2013-current) went on to transition Sofitel to where it is today. Sofitel Phokeethra opened its doors on December 11, 2010.
This five-star property offers swish and stylish rooms, multiple iconic and mouth-watering restaurants and bars, a spa to unwind-rejuvenate and replenish, meeting rooms to conduct affairs and a 1,800sqm ballroom which is perfectly fitted for your Magnifique wedding, which will not only sweep the bride away but also the guests as they dine under the opulent crystal chandeliers crowned under sophistication yet in a simply elegant setting. A property which is tailored, with a dedicated and loving team, paying close attention to the small details and providing world class service, allowing the guests to fully relax and enjoy all that Phnom Penh has to offer whilst dreams are morphed into reality.
Recognised as one of the World’s best hotels which combines Western luxury with a warm and gentle Khmer ambiance. The Sofitel is only one-minute walk away from the Mekong river, which runs all the way from China through Laos, Myanmar before reaching to Cambodia. Enjoying a prime setting – where you receive a unique insight on how the locals go about their daily lives on the riverbank. You can easily go on an excursion on one of the charters and sail to historic towns such as Oudong, which was a royal residence and the prior capital of Cambodia for more than 250 years until 1866. A monumental royal necropolis of sovereigns of several centuries is scattered on top the prominent bisected mountain, which runs from the southeast to the northeast.
You can opt for Sofitel to take care of all arrangements providing an unmatched experience. From planning and execution in advance to the moment you step off the plane after a long exhaustive flight, to be greeted by a brand ambassador with a warm and inviting Khmer welcome as the sun beams down. With a fleet of BMW limousines, you can be sure of enjoying luxury and star quality.
As soon as you exit the vehicle at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, you are greeted warmly, and your luggage discreetly handled. As you first step into the Sofitel palace, you become amazed by the grand lobby, and wonderful sculptures as you are surrounded with high ceilings and beautiful marble constructs. Whilst a classical pianist sits with his back in posture expressing himself, playing beautiful renditions that echoes throughout the lobby presenting similar vibes of the Carnegie Hall in New York’s seventh avenue, a level of grandiosity to experience at least once in a lifetime and is prelude for what is to come. Phnom Penh Phokeethra
Checking in has not been so effortless as the professional and pleasant ladies and gentlemen at reception greet you with both warmth and efficiency. The hotel keeps its historical charm at reception as you can see portraits framed above reception of the royal family (Portraits of King Norodom Sihanouk and Norodom Monineath Sihanouk Queen and King Norodom Sihamoni), introducing profound figures of Cambodia’s history to all walks of life. Your senses are enriched as you smell and sip on the traditional pandan leaf infused lemongrass tea, an aromatic whiff so good you will sit in the lobby and request more. Setting a refreshing tone as you are guided by an ambassador, flowing to your room whilst enjoying the intricate layout of interconnecting corridors and rooms filled with breathtakingly artistic décor and paintings.
As you open the door to your superior room, or even suite – you enter your own timeless French evocative colonial home, with polished hardwood floors and 47-140sqm of spacious living area, as the sunlight enters past your private balcony and into the room, It is easy to feel comfortable, especially with a complimentary minibar(which by the way is not mini at all!) with such an extensive selection to easily unwind with your 42 inch flat screen on display. Lanvin luxury bathroom amenities at abundance, separate shower and Jacuzzi situated in a large marble bathroom and a huge walk in closet.
A restful sleep is most definitely assured with the standout feature being the King Sofitel My Bed, just be careful not to sleep in for breakfast – that would be unforgiving and highly regretful. The balcony has an incredible vista of the Mekong River and the outlying tropical jungle past the river, as you realise the five-star prime setting. A perfect space for enjoying holidays with your loved ones as well as for business travellers to create Magnifique- unforgettable memories in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Everything works intuitively at Sofitel Phnom Penh, reflecting all the hard work of the team and management and the Khmer inspiration has on this exclusive hotel. The level of personalization is remarkably high, and you feel like royalty. You can see Sofitel respecting and preserving the culture and heritage of Cambodia in this iconic residence.
Guests are made to feel easy and relaxed as the charming temperature- controlled swimming pool is only a hop, skip and waddle away from the restaurant. A place to cool down after working up a healthy sweat in the fitness centre, SO yoga class, or finished up in the squash and tennis courts and want to lounge at the famous Sofitel Luxury pool under the turquoise parasols and lay back on a sun-lounger as you sip on stellar cocktails or perhaps a nutritional offering in the welcoming embrace of Sofitel.
The exquisite reflecting pool soothes the soul like a restful yoga pose and catches the light like Cambodian royal silk. Redefining relaxation with unobtrusive service and guests can peacefully enjoy the serenity. You are made to feel restful with the generous garden space surrounding, with subtle accent colours celebrating the greenery around, contrasting emphatically with the palette of dreams as deep light wells penetrate, drawing natural illumination into the open plan garden, extending the feeling of tranquillity and openness. Simply put, mystically magnifique.
Upstairs you can unwind with a signature massage as the therapists and assistants combine ancient Khmer traditions with refinement and skill of French cosmetology. The Sofitel has a long line of A-list guests, and the first port of call is to up the glam factor at the Sofitel Spa, with a choice of one of the many treatments to awaken the senses to feel re-energised with a selection of health and beauty remedies. Embarking into a beautifully dim-lit room, you can close your eyes and discover a new realm as you soak in the enhancements – both herbal and floral, and release the stress, forgetting about daily life whilst enjoying and listening to soothing instrumentals. An unforgettable moment, to experience the avant-garde Khmer style with colonial French touch as you rediscover your inner harmony upon graceful and fragrant surroundings.
Since its opening in 2010, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra has matured into an elegant enclave for fine art and local refinement and has a long-standing reputation as a hub of subtle artistic ideals. Extending across the lobby with its vaulted ceiling and corridors, and in the arrangement of events on New Year’s Eve, Christmas and valentine’s day; the words of prominent poets, architects, visionaries can be found in the art gallery atrium. With displays crafted and painted by visionaries expressing the spirit of the Kingdom of Cambodia, flowing colourfully throughout the space – exploring the possibilities of how art can maintain heritage and culture.
Every taste can be satisfied with Sofitel’s globally inspired cuisine, including world-class culinary chefs who exhibit excellency in everything they do, and inspired dishes utilising ingredients found both locally in Cambodia and internationally. You have some incredible choice when it comes to a distinctive mix of offerings at the many restaurants. Whatever restaurant you choose, you are bound to have a mesmerizing experience whilst you dine and relax within a mix of treasured décor and sophisticated ambiance, the perfect accompaniments to any great meal.
You have the choice from La Couple –an all-day, multi-cuisine eatery that has live food stations and champagne brunches and extensive buffets for all temptations within a very French ‘30s-era colonial feel. Hachi offering the freshest exquisite, Japanese sushi and sashimi amongst many other delights on offer, all are deliciously simple and simply wonderful. Fu Lu Zu offering elegant surroundings, and a pallet of Chinese regional delicacies including dim sum. Do Forni has an intimate setting with an open kitchen that serves upscale authentic Italian Cuisine in both style and menu. And guests with a sweet tooth and an entirely different feel can enjoy Chocolat, a wonderful venue to stop by for a cup of fine coffee or tea.
Each restaurant has a relentless commitment to personal service from the moment a guest books through to checkout and culinary expertise like that of Michelin quality, and if you can’t finish – the restaurant will cleverly package your leftovers into a small box labelled with care to take back to your room. You can also lay back in bed if you cannot get out of the stuffed duvet as the dinner menu is serviceable, if not sensational.
Le Bar is the main attraction and has been elegantly placed in locality within the western quadrants of the lobby, resting next to the upstairs handsome cigar room and with not so much distance to get back to your suite (which is very handy). They have deconstructed the usual formalities of the lobby into an exquisite social hub, encouraging conversation if you wish – or to relax in quietness at the rear, which is great for community ambience.
The designer really knows how to engage the guests with a gorgeous yet surprising, quirky touches with tastefully appointed décor, while still hitting all the notes of five-star functionality and timeless vibe and nothing falls short of spectacular. I highly recommend the ‘Oyster fine de Claire from the pacific’, or perhaps some ‘Caviar oscietre perfection’ is both divine and flavoursome, the ‘Phokeethra salad’ is both light and delightful, all paired beautifully with a high west double dry or glass of bubbly! Le bar is the perfect place to be during any event held at Sofitel, relax with a bespoke candle-lit table as operatic or classical live music is situated in front – where you can watch classical Khmer local dancers, join hand in hand under Sofitel’s magical and extravagant embrace.
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra has been a symbol of prosperity in Cambodia, opening opportunities and education for the local people and building leaders for the next generation. It was through a hardworking and dedicated team and thousands of guests adventuring to this place that truly shaped the hotel and made it iconic. As the nation has had its difficult history in the late 1900’s, through a severe humanitarian crisis – it was the generosity and kindred heart of the Khmer people who repaired and preserved the land, making it a beautiful kingdom.
By adventuring to Phnom Penh, you are letting yourselves in for a remarkable unforgettable experience which money cannot buy, blending the timeless and the timely as well as the expected with the unexpected in the heart of Phnom Penh.
You will be in safe hands and can tailor the trip however you feel by reaching out to the team at Sofitel. Giving maximum enjoyment as you wander out into the ancient city early in the morning as you hear the prayers echoing across the city in a fantastical setting and you can go sightseeing and visit the many attractions, such as the Royal Palace, Silver Palace, Wat Phnom, Independence monument, the variety of markets ( Central, Orussey, Tuol Tompoung, kandal) and the historical museums and archives – or perhaps a river excursion only a stone throw away. Returning to your own sacred home that has all the amenities you would ever require, a place which you can fully relax and think.
If you visit Sofitel, when the dusty monsoon season arrives between October to April – be sure to leave your umbrella at home. Also, be sure to leave any pre-determined notions you have at home – as Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra will blow away your wildest dreams, a few temptations that might allow you to pack your suitcase now and fly off to a place where everyone is solicitous of your welfare and happiness without undue fawning, as you indulge in the history, culture and scenery.
This article was written by Ryan Ward( Founder of Liive.org) who came to Sofitel on New Year’s eve with partner Channisai Muong in 2019, and had an unforgettable experience because of the incredible service and all Sofitel had to offer, and wanted to share his thoughts and help tourism in Cambodia grow.
Phnom Penh Phokeethra
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