When it comes to family trips, I am the one who does all the research and bookings. In all our family trips, I am most particular about the place(s) we stay. Food I am not so critical but accommodation is the ONE which often makes or breaks a trip. Cleanliness, comfort, cost and fellow travellers’ reviews are my key considerations.
Since we did not go anywhere during the September School Holidays, David and I decided we would surprise the kids with a new destination which the entire family hasn’t been before during Children’s Day weekend. Given that we only have 3 days to spare, we picked Siem Reap, Cambodia. Chiefly because, you know – the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Angkor Wat.
Even though Siem Reap is not exactly the de-facto family destination (at least not yet for many Singaporean families), our trip turned out to be so enjoyable and memorable. Siem Reap, as a city, is surprisingly very family-friendly and compact. This makes it very easy to navigate around (traffic’s not as mad as Bangkok!). Among the places we’ve travelled around the world, Siem Reap now ranks top of our list of favourite short getaways for families.
To bring kids to Siem Reap, Cambodia, you must pick a good hotel. This is where the newly opened Courtyard by Marriott, Siem Reap Resort makes all the difference. With its modern, award-winning Khmer architecture, sleek decor and family-friendly amenities, the Courtyard by Marriott, Siem Reap Resort stands in stunning contrast to the ancient sites of nearby Angkor Archeological Park, just 15 minutes away.
Staff: Every time we return to the hotel, the kids would run enthusiastically into the arms of the front desk staff who would in return welcome them with an embrace. This has never happened in any hotel we’ve stayed in and shows the personable nature of Cambodians.
From the head chef to waiters to the drivers, every one of them has a special affinity to the kids. One can feel that from their smile and their mannerism when they speak and interact with our kids. Their raw, sincere, unbridled service made us feel as if we were old friends who are welcomed by the hosts. What surprised us honestly is that all of them could converse in English rather fluently so language is not a barrier in Cambodia.
Kids Club: The kids automatically and enthusiastically gravitated to the kids’ club that is stocked with books and toys for ages 3 to about 6. A boon for parents who want some time to unwind on our own while on vacay. Older kids from 6-10, like our daughter, found the outdoor playground and some of the craft materials and books appealing too.
The modest Kids’ Club is manned by staff during the day. The two staff that were present were competent and we felt safe to leave our kids (ages 4 and 10) with them. We like the fact that the outdoor play area is within sight of the indoor area. There’s also a kids’ toilet within the kids club, making it safer and easier for the kids to use the conveniences.
Family Rooms: We love these connecting Deluxe Pool-view rooms. Two large adjoining rooms with two separate bathrooms and balconies overlooking the hotel pool. The kids have their own space and we parents have our privacy.
The comfort and cleanliness level of this Courtyard Family Room exceeded our expectations. We love its plush beddings, thick comfy mattress, bespoke bathroom accessories and accentuated with prompt, impeccable housekeeping service. Perfect in every way!
Family Programmes: Aside from the Kid’s Club, the hotel has lined up programs for families with little guests to enjoy. One of the activities we tried was the Cambodian Culinary Class that began with a guided tour to the local wet market followed by a hands-on cooking session with the hotel head chef, Chef Chanrith !
We had such a blast learning how to cook authentic Khmer cuisines, under the patient guidance of Cambodia’s top chef. The kids made their own Cambodian salad, spring rolls and western pancake while David and I whipped up a scrumptious Khmer stir-fried beef. It may look simple but the experience was exclusive and remarkable. Thereafter, our family sat down to savour the lunch which we’ve cooked. Another beautiful memory clocked!
One-stop Trip Planning: It’s never easy planning for a trip with young kids, particularly to country that we are unfamiliar with. Fortunately, the front desk staff was very willing and helpful to assist with our itinerary planning. No details were spared to ensure that our kids’ needs were looked into. These special touches that are small but monumental include:
- Recommending family-friendly attractions like Khmer pottery making and Artbox Museum Siem Reap.
- Packing snacks and drinks for us before we set off for the early morning Sun-rise Angkor Wat tour.
- Arranging an English-speaking tour guide to ensure there is no miscommunication and one who could engage our inquisitive kids!
Food: For dining and entertainment, there will be a casual, all-day dining restaurant, a Pool Bar & Grill, and a lobby loungeGiven that we are not adventurous enough to eat Cambodian street-food on our first visit, the diverse range of food from Western, Chinese and local Khmer food options available at the hotel’s restaurant made it a worry-free, fuss-free trip for us when it comes to meal-times.
We were initially unsure if Cambodian food would be too spicy but no, there are many soupy and palatable dishes for kids and adults alike. Plus, the kitchen of Lok Lak is very obliging even to cook dishes not on the menu to accommodate the kids’ taste buds.
In-house Amenities and Services: The hotel offers a full-suite of room service. It was extremely helpful when we needed fresh laundry as we had packed light.
In-room dining with virtually the entire selection from the menu of Lok Lak restaurant was also helpful! On days when the kids and us were totally knackered from travelling, to have our favourite food served piping-hot to us in the room was a small luxury we indulge on our travels!
Facts and Features
Here are other note-worthy facts and features of the hotel which makes it excellent as a base to explore Siem Reap.
Distance: The hotel is conveniently located within 30 minutes drive from the airport and other major attractions, including the UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat. In short, there is really no need for any long car rides. This makes it a most convenient city hotel when touring Siem Reap.
Large Pool: The large saltwater pool is impressive and forms the central recreational feature of the hotel. One-third of the pool is dedicated as a shallow pool for young kids to play in, and comes complete with a simple (but fun) water slide. Needless to say, it was tough trying to get the kids to get out of the pool after each swim!
Other recreational facilities include a fitness centre and a full-service spa including a relaxation lounge and a foot reflexology area.
Spa (for Mummy and Daddy Yay!): Quan Spa, the hotel’s resident spa is strategically a mere hop skip and jump away. With a totally immersive ambience of peace and relaxation, the spa offers soft and gentle Cambodian-style massage that is soothing and relaxing. The spa is perfect for tired parents who need that bit of rejuvenation after managing hyperactive kids on holiday and after exploring the sights of Siem Reap, especially Angkor Wat!
Letter to the GM
If we were to sum up our experience, we would say wholeheartedly you’ve assembled a very distinct hotel with a very special crew. One that genuinely values human connections at heart. Every guest who has passed your doors brings with them a special memory of your hotel. You have set the benchmark for being a luxurious family-friendly oasis that is perfect for exploring the rustic charms of Siem Reap. Your staff has won our hearts many times over and we are so glad we’ve chosen to know Siem Reap through Courtyard by Marriott, Siem Reap Resort. Please allow us to give your hotel a standing ovation and a heart-felt ‘Orkun’ (Thank you).
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT, SIEM REAP RESORT
Address: No 0609 Road 6A, Phum Chongkoesou, Khum Slor Kram, Siem Reap 17251 Cambodia
Contact Number: +855 63 968 888
For more information or to make a reservation, please call +855 63 968 888 email: reser[email protected], or visit www.courtyardsiemreap.com.
Thanks to our sponsor, we are giving 1 reader the chance to experience a 3D2N stay in connecting Deluxe Rooms with Poolview with daily Breakfast (for 2 Adults and 2 Kids below 12 years old) at the all new Courtyard by Marriot, Siem Reap Resort (worth S$800)!
To participate, simply:
The giveaway ends 10 March 2019 and is open to readers in Singapore. The winner will be contacted via FB inbox and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All steps must be completed and incomplete entries will be disqualified. Please note that all Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no authentic posts or very few real friends) will be disqualified. The winner will have to redeem the free 3D2N stay at the resort before 30 Nov 2019. All the best!