Like every traveler who sets foot in Siem Reap, we came with the primary objective of visiting the Angkor National Park. Although we envisioned days filled with tomb raiding and ruin climbing, we knew that the combination of 4:30 am wake up calls and the hot Cambodian sun meant there was no way we would actually spend 12 hours a day exploring. We decided to splash out a little while in Siem Reap and pamper ourselves so we would have a nice place where we could retire and recharge during the middle of the day, which is how we wound up booking four nights at Passaggio Boutique Hotel.
Although there are certainly cheaper lodging options in Siem Reap, Passaggio is a really lovely mid-range option, perfect for “flashpackers” or backpackers who need a few nights of pampering. Located alongside the river that runs through city, it is within easy walking distance of the old market where you can shop for clothing, postcards and all your souvenir needs (though remember to haggle aggressively!). This is also Siem Reap’s core dining district and you will be spoiled for choice as along with many establishments offering traditional Khmer fare, international restaurants ranging from Indian to Mexican can also be found, and of course there are plenty of bars offering cheap pitchers of local beer everywhere you look. Passaggio is located close enough for convenience, but just far enough away so that you can escape the crowds and the noise in the evening, which early risers off to Angkor will surely appreciate. With this in mind, a ride from Passaggio to Angkor Wat itself only takes about 10 minutes, which means you won’t have to get up any earlier than you absolutely have to in order to catch that famous sunrise!
One of the reasons why we elected to stay at Passaggio was because they offered free, secure motorcycle parking out front of the hotel. There is a guard posted with the bikes at night and the gate is locked, so you can sleep soundly knowing your transportation is safe and sound. It is worth noting that in Siem Reap, foreigners cannot rent motorcycles but you can bring in bikes from other provinces, which is what we elected to do. If you are not comfortable with this option, Passaggio does offer bicycle rental for $2 per day, though by far the most convenient and popular option for getting around town & to the temples is via the omnipresent tuktuk. Staff at the front desk are more than happy to help you make arrangements and can set you up with a local driver & guide if that is what you want (though if you are more independent, as we are, they are not pushy or aggressive about promoting their own tours).
We stayed in a superior room, and it was by far one of the nicest rooms we have encountered in South East Asia: the room had great natural light and had plenty of space to stretch out. We appreciated the complimentary bottled water that we were provided with each day, as well as the mini fridge, which we used to keep it icy cold. The large wardrobe was perfect for keeping our bags out of sight (and out of mind) and we appreciated the simple design of the room, which helped it from ever feeling cluttered; the crown moulding on the ceiling was an unexpected but delightful pop of elegance! By far, one of our favorite things about the room was the Queen bed, which was large and soft and featured crisp white linens. The room also featured amazingly powerful air conditioning and we were able to access the hotel’s free wifi from our bed (though the service was sometimes finicky, at least on our laptop). Best of all, housekeeping stopped by to make up our room every single day, so we would return from temple hopping to a freshly made bed and fresh, clean towels in the bathroom.
Speaking of the bathroom, although it was small, it was Western-style and absolutely spotless. We really appreciated the powerful shower and the deep bathtub, and it was nice that shampoo, soap and a hairdryer were all present.
Along with motorcycle parking, I was insistent that we stay at a hotel that had an onsite pool. The pool at Passaggio definitely did not disappoint! Though not large, the saltwater pool felt very luxe and was the perfect way to refresh in the middle of the day. The cascading waterfall lent the area a tranquil environment, while Fluffy towels and lounge chairs with umbrellas were the icing on the cake. We spent many hours lounging here and taking the occasional dip in the pool to cool down. If there was one attraction that could compete with the temples of Angkor, this was surely it! For those who require even more relaxation, Passaggio also offers traditional Khmer massages for just $7 per hour!
One unexpected delight at Passaggio was the complimentary breakfast that is available from 6:30 – 9:30 every morning. We are used to hotel breakfasts in Asia being rarely worth the effort, but the breakfast at Passaggio was too good to skip: you could choose from omelets, muesli, and Asian options such as noodles & fried rice, but without fail, we always went with the grand daddy of breakfast, the American breakfast, which featured eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, bread, and fresh fruit… all included in the rate of our room! The portions were generous and were often big enough that we would skip lunch. On our first day of temple hopping, we were not going to be at the hotel during breakfast hours, but by informing them the afternoon before, we were able to get a packed breakfast of bread, jam and bananas. It wasn’t fancy, but we still appreciated the effort the staff went to to make sure we had something to put in our tummies.
As a final note, we were really impressed with the staff working at Passaggio. They were so warm and welcoming and extremely helpful. They answered all of our questions and met all of our requests with a smile and we felt extremely well taken care of. We appreciated the personal interest they took in us, always asking us about our day and what we had seen and done, and offering us excellent recommendations for local places to eat and even for Tony to get a haircut!
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Passaggio Boutique Hotel. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we opted to extend our stay by an extra day! It was the perfect base to explore Angkor, but more than that, it offered us a much needed place to unwind and relax for a couple of days. Although it was certainly pricier than other places we stayed while in Cambodia, it was excellent value for the money. This is the kind of the hotel you would easily pay three times the price for back in the U.S. and just goes to show that you don’t always get what you pay for, because sometimes you get more!
To make your own reservation at Passaggio Boutique Hotel, check out their website.