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Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh 

See the Phnom Penh Guide ›
92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh
Phnom Penh
Tel: 855 23 981 888
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The colonial-era Raffles Hotel Le Royal, located a five-minute walk away from Wat Phnom, seems to exist in a sepia-toned world far removed from tourist-oriented Sisowath Quay. Liveried staff serve cocktails garnished with orchids; dulcet tones from a classical musician's xylophonelike roneat ek fill the lobby; and a broad hardwood staircase dating from the hotel's 1929 debut leads to lemongrass-scented rooms with antique prints and original claw-foot bathtubs. Not that the rooms are totally retro: There's also cable TV, Wi-Fi, and cold storage–caliber air conditioning. A 1996 renovation added three wings (bringing the room count to 170), but request a Landmark room in the original building for higher ceilings and a more nostalgic mix of Cambodian and Art Deco decor. A quartet of "personality suites" are decorated with items relating to their famous occupants, including Charles de Gaulle and Jacqueline Kennedy. Downstairs, in the elegant Elephant Bar, order the Femme Fatale, a Champagne-based cocktail served to former First Lady Kennedy during her 1967 visit. The hotel grounds have been shaped into the capital's most intoxicating landscape, with frangipani and travelers' palms flanking the porte cochere and an interior courtyard bursting with heliconia, and shaded by rain trees.—Christopher Cox

Appeared in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, a directory of the world's best hotels and resorts, in 2007, 2006, 2005

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