By: Abigail Gilbert
The days of the $2 room for budget travellers are gone, but it’s possible to balance budget and comfort for a memorable stay in Phnom Penh. Hidden boutique hotels, swimming pools and garden locations that don’t break the bank? Read on for our recommendations for cheap and mid-range guesthouses and hotels in Phnom Penh.
Long Lin House is actually in four locations close by each other on St 19 and St 172. The staff are very friendly, helpful and amusing, with excellent English. The best rooms come with a private balcony, usually unheard of in this price range, along with little touches like free drinking water, wifi and toiletries. A basic fan room with TV and shared bathroom is $7 a night, rising to $15 for a private bathroom with hot shower, air con and balcony. Centrally located within 10 minutes walk of the riverside, National Museum and Central Market, enjoy the real life of Phnom Penh going on outside your door.
#159, Street 19, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: 855 (0)23 99 24 12
Top Banana is a popular choice with backpackers looking for cheap and cheerful: somewhere to hang out and meet people. It’s basic but clean – cold water and fan double for around $7 or splash out on aircon and private hot shower for the $20 mark in recently renovated rooms. There’s a lounge dedicated to relaxing, a bar that’s popular with expats and a restaurant serving until 11pm. Located on the third-floor at one end of a popular evening area, the nearby venues and guesthouse bar mean this is the ideal choice for sociable night-owls. It’s a three minute walk to Independence Monument and most of the must-sees are a short ride away.
#9, Corner Street 278 & Street 51, Boeung Keng Kong 1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: 855 (0)12 885 572
Billabong Hotel is as much of an oasis as the name suggests – tucked away near Central Market the entrance is uninspiring, but just wait until you get inside! With only 20 rooms from $32 for a standard, $45 with a private balcony and pool view, up to $75 for a deluxe triple, bookings are recommended. The largest rooms are around the saltwater pool, perfect for a dip after a dusty day. An inclusive breakfast is available all day at the al fresco restaurant, which has a selection of Western and Asian dishes. Rooms in the new wing have balconies and slighty firmer beds. Popular with families, this hotel is great value for money and is a magnet for returning guests.
#5, Street 158, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +855 (0)23 223 703
Behind a white-washed wall, you will find The Little Garden Hotel in a modernist-style villa in a quiet residential area. With just ten bright and airy spotless rooms with beautiful tiled floors and hot water, this really is a little gem. Each room is individually decorated with silk cushions, wall hangings, lamps and modern bathrooms. Top floor rooms have private terraces with views across the city. Prices from $35 for a standard single to $50 for a superior double or twin, and inclusive breakfast for all rooms. The tropical garden has a pool exclusively for guests and a small cafe serving salads, snacks and shakes. The location is a bit away from other hotels and tourist attractions, but a short tuk tuk ride will get you wherever you want to be.
#8, Street 398, Boeung Keng Kang I, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: 023217871
Phnom Penh dream
The Willow Boutique Hotel is less than a year old, in a transformed villa that used to house the European Union offices. Located on a side street close to the Independence Monument, also home to the popular Sovanna restaurant, this is the perfect base to explore the city. The wood panelled reception and a sweeping wooden staircase make for an impressive entrance to the stylish and carefully decorated rooms above. The garden restaurant is the ideal setting for your complementary breakfast, and serves a selection of Asian and Western food all day. Friendly staff, supremely comfortable beds, soft towels and enormous rooms mean you may not want to leave. Room rates from $45 for a queen room, $66 for a deluxe double with balcony up to $77 for a suite with king size four poster bed, separate lounge and private balcony or courtyard garden.
#1, Street 1, Boeung Keng Kang 1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +855 (0)23 996 256
Located a short ride from the night-life on Street 51, Circa 51 is a relaxing boutique that aims to make you feel like you’re at home. Housed in a villa once owned by a princess, the lush garden boasts a generously sized pool and a terrace restaurant. Each room is uniquely designed and decorated, full of Asian and art-deco touches. Equipped with TV, DVD, mini-fridge, air con, robes and hairdryer, rooms range from $45 single rooms to the $100 terrace suite with a garden view.
#155, Corner of Street 51 and Street 222, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +855 (0) 12 585714
A fragrance of lemongrass drifts through the corridors at the Boddhi Tree Aram, tucked behind the National Museum. Enjoy the quirky touches such as kimonos in your room, carefully chosen art and a piano in the lounge. This place is begging you to pick up a good book and relax. The white rooms come with wooden furniture, flat screen TVs, mosquito nets, controllable air con and free wifi, but without a minibar or safe. With a total of 12 rooms in two buildings, there’s plenty of space to spread out on the balcony cushions or in the lush garden restaurant. Guests are given complimentary use of the pool at the Himawari hotel, a short hop away. Book ahead for cheaper rates than those quoted on their website ($76 to $82 for a double room with kingsize bed).
#70, Street 244, Chhay Chomneas, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel: +855 (0)23 211 376
As many hotels are converted villas, most don’t have elevators, so check your room’s location if you don’t fancy lots of stairs. Peace and quiet is at a premium in this bustling capital city, and usually to be found down an alleyway or a small side-street. Don’t be put off by the entrance to your hotel – remember that intermittent lighting and few people is what’s going to give you a good night’s sleep. Ask your hotel for recommendations for tuk-tuk drivers and restaurants – they are the locals in the know.
Want to know how to stretch your budget in Phnom Penh? Read about what you can get for $5