Cambodia is a country that we fell in love with during our recent travels here at Coolector HQ and it’s because of extraordinary places like Sala Lodges that we simply can’t wait to go back again. Siem Reap treated us supremely well and things kept getting better after we chartered another tuk-tuk to take us on the short trip to the other side of town and the wonderfully authentic and traditional Sala Lodges – a truly unique hotel with an incredible backstory.
Sala Lodges delivers a unique experience quite unlike anything else we’ve seen here at Coolector HQ and when you delve into the history of the spectacular dwellings, you fall even more in love with the property – if, indeed, that is even possible. Consisting of eleven traditional wooden houses, which date back to the 1950s and which were carefully dismantled and painstakingly put back together in their new location, it’s hard not to be won over by the authentic, rustic charm of these stilted lodges.
It is like stepping into a delightfully welcoming little village with each lodge boasting their own quirks and individual charm and the delightful staff are full of insightful knowledge about the lodge’s history and Siem Reap’s many historical talking points. If you like your resorts overflowing with traditional charm and filled with local designs and furniture, Sala Lodges fits the bill incredibly well and you’ll find few places quite as relaxing as this in the whole of Siem Reap.
From the minute we arrived into the welcoming arms of Sala Lodges, it became immediately clear that this is a most special place indeed and though we were only there for one night, we would happily have stayed for so much longer such was the warmness of the staff, from the friendly team on the welcome desk through to the talented barman whipping up a storm in the cocktail department.
Located 8km from the heritage Angkor Wat site, which is a very viable bike ride should you so wish, Sala Lodges is just on the outskirts of the centre of Siem Reap and the resort offers eminently affordable tuk-tuks into the centre as and when you require them but, truth be told, you may find it difficult to tear yourself away from the serenity on offer at this utterly mesmerising resort. The fact they have chosen to make use of existing Khmer houses is something to be celebrated and they’ve done a phenomenal job to conserve their aged lustre and traditional features despite their relocation. Sala Lodges truly lets you delve headlong into an authentic Cambodian world and, trust us, you won’t want to leave.
Discovered in the Cambodian countryside and transplanted to a verdant spot on the edge of Siem Reap, all the lodges boast their own little eye-catching design features and whilst the exteriors have been kept as traditional as possible, the interiors have been given a sympathetic overhaul (such as the addition of bathrooms) to keep them in line with the resorts overall luxury status and setting. We loved the fact the team behind the resort had gone to such lengths to restore existing Cambodian properties and it added a wonderful level of authenticity to our stay that money can’t buy.
Local touches can be found throughout the lodges, their understated finish with touches of luxury really make Sala Lodges stand out from the crowd in Siem Reap and they offer a style of accommodation that you’re going to absolutely love if you crave the simple life in breathtaking surroundings. Supremely comfortable beds, exceptional wet rooms and, with our lodge at least (each is different remember) a fantastic outdoor veranda, all combine to deliver such an unforgettable, authentic experience that you’ll likely find yourself never wanting to stay in a chain hotel again.
Everything about the communal areas at Sala Lodges is small but perfectly formed and as there are just 11 lodges at the resort, there is no need for huge restaurants or other facilities. The small restaurant and bar adjacent to the resort lobby served first rate food and cocktails and we certainly recommend getting an in-room massage from local spa, Bodia, which was not only pleasingly affordable but about as relaxing as it gets.
As with each of the hotels we stayed at in Cambodia, Sala Lodges had a truly fantastic infinity pool which, again given the unrelenting heat at the time of year, was more akin to a warm bath than a swimming pool. Flanked by sun beds and situated in a peaceful, lush part of the resort’s grounds, the swimming pool served as the perfect place to relax and unwind and catch a few rays during our stay at Sala Lodges and, such is the intimate nature of the resort, you truly feel like you’re the only ones there at times, which is a pretty awesome experience when travelling.
Though we just had one night to enjoy the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of Sala Lodges, they will certainly live long in the memory and this authentic, sustainable resort is the sort of place we love here at Coolector HQ and should we find ourselves in Siem Reap again (which we almost certainly will), there’s little doubting we’ll be gravitating towards this wonderful resort. Cannot recommend highly enough and should you find yourself in Cambodia, it’s an unmissable place to stay.
Prices: £200 per night approx
Bookings: Sala Lodges