The FCC Angkor by Avani
A stylish boutique hotel with Resort Charm in Cambodia's charming city Siem Reap
Siem Reap, one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Asia. The small but lively city with creative village flair has so much to offer! With a buzzing Foodie culture, endless charming cafés, a flourishing arts & craft scene and a vibrant nightlife you might forget about the rich history of this region and its close proximity to Cambodia’s highest cultural treasures: The ancient temple city of Angkor Wat.
The Hotel & Facilities
The 80- room boutique hotel is indeed a city property, but certainly has a resort hideaway look & feel. The FCC boasts abundant greenery and opens up its tropical jungle oasis to guests staying here. Hotel buildings were carefully designed around century old trees to preserve them and lush canopies of Banana palms and mango trees provide relaxing shade in the heat of Siem Reap. Strolling around the hotel gardens, you might completely forget that you are actually in the heart of a vibrant city – how wonderful is that. The abundance of tropical flora and lush vegetation soothes the mind and creates a relaxing atmosphere around the entire hotel. The extensive hotel facilities include a saltwater lap pool as the garden’s centerpiece with elegantly arranged sunbeds, a pool bar café, a state-of-the-art gym, a holistic spa, a small gallery displaying works of Cambodian artists, a boutique selling Khmer clothing, arts and crafts, multi-functional meeting rooms and an air-conditioned library. After a long day of temple-hopping in Angkor Wat, you will absolutely love lounging by the pool and let the amazing experiences sink in over a cocktail. There are also the two restaurants “Scribe” and “Mansion” with several sitting areas and terraces.
The Design & Inspiration
Staying at The FCC Angkor both feels like visiting Cambodia’s past and present. Historical thoughtful Khmer touches meet modern French colonial chic design elements. “We wanted it to be relaxed, a place where anyone is welcome. It’s about being happy and enjoying life, and to share in this space the liveliness and spirit which FCC was built,” says Malee Whitcraft, the Dutch-born talent who oversaw the design project at FCC Angkor when Avani Hotels & Resorts took over the property. One of my favorite areas was the hotel lobby, an al-fresco community space featuring massive banana trees and an impressive copy of Angkor Wat’s Temple ruin walls. The overall mix of designs from local bamboo, effortless boho outdoor living, chic brass elements and architectural grandeur blends so well, you cannot help but feel at home straight away. The former residence of a French colonial Grosvenor has always been a place of international meetings and the exchange of ideas. The FCC Collection was In 1990, the mansion was remodeled by the British architect Gary Fell and taken over by the FCC – the foreign Correspondents Club of journalists in Phnom Penh. Drawing design inspiration from this properties’ rich history surely wasn’t too hard, as the art of writing and the spirit of journalism can be found all around and decades of stories and style take center stage at the FCC Angkor by Avani. Murals with inspirational quotes and lovely old typewriters decorate guest rooms, scrolls with letters are used in vases, rotary dial phones are the desk’s center piece – the art of communications is all around. Even though the theme of decorative words strongly influences the entire resort design, it does not overpower it and leaves room for local elements such as wood and traditionally woven Khmer artisan fabrics. Needless to say, I wanted to pack the entire resort into my bag and take it home. Their topical modern chic might just do the trick for my little Munich apartment.
The Rooms & Suites
In total, there’s five room types to choose from. All of them offer tropical views over the gardens or the pool. Choose a comfortable deluxe or premier room if you’re traveling alone or as a couple, or upgrade to a suite to accommodate f.e. a family. The bright and airy design combined with nostalgic décor will make everyone feel right at home. There’s stylish copper bath fixtures, Khmer ceramics and my favorite element of all: a vintage typewriter by Groma. When it comes to hotel beds I am a picky sleeper, the beds at the FCC Angkor were nothing but heavenly. I usually am a soft pillow enthusiast and the selection of pillows offered something for everyone from firm to fluffy-soft. If you’d like to opt for a bathtub you should choose a suite as deluxe rooms and premier rooms come with spacious walk-in showers.
The Restaurant & Bar
At the main house there’s the timeless restaurant “The Mansion” on the second floor with a luxe yet homey atmosphere. To say that I was utterly in Love with the artistic floor tiles, the peacock chairs and French wood elements would be an understatement. The luxurious tropical interior and outdoor spaces can be enjoyed all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To sit on the sunlit balcony and enjoy a healthy breakfast became my favorite morning routine in Siem Reap.
During dinner time, “The Mansion” was lit romantically with candles and atmospheric light. The chicken amok, a traditional Khmer curry dish, should definitely be your main course one evening, they prepare it with such flavorful depth – it was delicious. Downstairs in the garden at “Scribe” lighter foods and snacks along with Asian fusion dishes, or grilled delights are offered with creative cocktails. Along the well-stocked bar area it’s a lovely place to sit in the evening and relax next to the water reflections of the front lawn element. Scribe is an alfresco bar in the FCC’s front garden, build around tree. The cocktail concepts were crafted by British mixologist Mark Lloyd and can be tasted among sugar palms and frangipani trees. I ordered a Gin and Lemongrass drink, it was fragrant and fresh, just the way I like it. A personal highlight of mine was the chewable lemongrass straw - extra flavor, extra sustainable. There’s also a cosy mezzanine area with tree house feeling as the platform has been built around a massive tree. Try a cocktail with the famous local Mekong dry Gin.
What’s up in Siem Reap?
Step outside your hotel and find a buzzing village full of culture, life and colors. There’s a Buddhist monastery right around the corner of the FCC Angkor where you can wander around praying halls and a colorful garden with symbolic statues. The main reason to visit Siem Reap is of course to visit the temple ruins of Angkor Wat. Most of my favorite spots are conveniently located around the Old Market and Pub Street of Siem Reap. Old Market offers great motives for photography: Fruits, vegetables and spices but you can also shop Cambodian fashion and souvenirs, art and meet smiling people.
Wandering around the stalls you’ll find some vendors offering fried insects and even tarantula spiders. At night fall the streets transform to colorful bars and clubs. Especially the notorious pub street will have you dance all night long. There’s great DJs firing up the many bars. How about a night at the Bar “Angkor What?” Drinks are affordable at USD 1,5 for beer and USD 2-3 for cocktails. Some of my most fun party nights were celebrated here in Siem Reap!
There are also countless boutiques with beautiful fashion, accessories and crafts but also more and more sustainable shops with homemade cosmetics are popping up. Siem Reap is also known as foodie heaven and has become serious competition for Bali with its bowls, vegan options, stylish boho cafes and coconut lattes. What amazed me was the fact that there’s free high-speed wifi available almost everywhere. You can see digital nomads all over working away creatively on their laptops. I feel so at home in this city, it’s a wonderful place to shop, eat, enjoy and simply live.
Visit Siem Reap comfortably with Thai Airways flights operated by Thai Smile from Bangkok and stay at the FCC Angkor “Like a home away from home, FCC Angkor’s doors are wide open—won’t you come in?” Room Rates start from USD 100 per night. Find more information on www.avanihotels.com/en/angkor-siem-reap For a relaxing holiday full of culture and adventure inquire for a trip with the german luxury agent Airtours. They not only have the best guides and connections but will explain the rich history and traditions wonderfully in English and even German. There's special experiences such as a traditional blessing by monks in Siem Reap's Buddhist monastery, Airtours can help arrange these unforgettable encounters. Have a great Trip!