I get so excited when we discover a brilliant boutique hotelier who creates a fantastic product that is truly unique in the world. We have some favorites that fit this bill in popular destinations like New York and Paris … add Siem Riep, Cambodia (home of Angkor Wat) to the list! Phum Baitang is the second hotel to open by Zannier Hotels, an exciting new French brand run by a father-and-son team specializing in high-end hospitality and gastronomy.
When our ground operator first suggested Phum Baitang to me as we planned our Angkor Wat itinerary, I was momentarily concerned that something high-end and intimate would not be kid-friendly. I was ecstatic to learn that Phum Baitang includes families in their master plan and offers a fully staffed kids’ club, an ideal setup for parents who want to take advantage of the exquisite spa or simply get some downtime by the pool.
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But this isn’t the only compelling feature for families at Phum Baitang. From the spacious accommodations to the spectacular swimming pool, we give this property an A+ as an exceptional base from which to explore Cambodia’s cultural and historic jewels in and around Angkor Wat.
Phum Baitang is located in a neighborhood 15 minutes outside the city center of Siem Riep. We quickly learned that the minor inconvenience of having to drive a bit farther to reach the area’s main attractions is in fact a huge perk. The property is a literal oasis from the congestion and noise of the city center, and in a place known for sweltering heat and humidity, this is a massive benefit.
Zannier developed Phum Baitang on an open parcel of land and constructed a working rice paddy within the confines of the resort. Public spaces and 45 traditional Khmer-style wooden villas overlook the rice paddies; the result is visual magic. Guests are thoroughly enveloped in an almost surreally stunning setting. The rice paddies are functional, not just for decoration, and an oxen-led cart is hard at work during daytime hours. Families who seek accommodation experiences they absolutely can’t get at home should look no further.
Phum Baitang guests choose villas with or without a private plunge pool. Either way, accommodations are spacious, from 80 to 130 square meters, and include exquisitely designed indoor and outdoor living spaces. Neutral tones and clean lines make villas feel cool and crisp — heaven when the outside is hot and sticky. Old-world finishes are integrated with the modern design to ensure the sense of place isn’t forgotten. Bathrooms are massive with two sinks, deep soaking tubs, and rain showers. Sofa beds make it possible to sleep a family of four in one-bedroom villas.
At night, the rice paddies come alive with nocturnal buzzing and the lighting around the property is absolutely spectacular. Brave souls must be willing to swat away unwanted flying friends to sit outside, but it’s worth it — the night experience at Phum Baitang is so magical and exotic.
Phum Baitang has a wonderful selection of bar and dining outlets so guests don’t feel the need to leave the property after a long day of sightseeing. The stilted Cigar & Cocktail Lounge, set in a 100-year-old farmhouse overlooking the rice paddies, is quite simply and utterly a wow at sunset, as the light dips below the horizon and the entire resort takes on an orange glow. The craft cocktails are sensational, as are the snacks. There’s also a pool bar and Cambodian restaurant overlooking the rice paddies, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hang Bay is more upscale and modern with international cuisine. Kids’ menus are available, and overall we found the dining experiences delightful, with excellent food and an ample array of options for a variety of palates.
An infinity-edge swimming pool is heaven in the afternoon after a long morning of sightseeing. Poolside drink and dining is available. Although the pool is visually serene, a plethora of families are playing in and out of the water. It’s not crazy chaos, but a comfortable space where kids are free to be kids.
Meanwhile, the spa offers adults-only bliss. The same design genius makes this space a visual and sensory sanctuary. Natural elements and age-old practices from around Asia are fused together to provide a long list of delights. Serious thought has gone into offering something special to guests — it’s truly divine. There’s also a yoga pavilion and a fitness room.
The supervised kids’ club includes a home base room with crafts, games and activities. Kids join together in experiential activities with a local flavor, including cooking classes and rice-harvesting sessions.
TIP: Be sure and tell your Ciao Bambino Family Vacation Advisor if you foresee using the Phum Baitang kids’ club to make sure it is operational during your travel dates.
As I mentioned above, we truly appreciated Phum Baitang’s location outside the hustle and bustle of Siem Riep. The location is central to the area’s main attractions and the concierge staff can also organize a host of other experiential activities, including monk blessings for the entire family and vintage Jeep experiences.
We liked Phum Baitang so much that we’d go back just to stay at this resort, even if we weren’t touring Angkor Wat again — a true testament to the hospitality gem that Zannier has crafted.
Editor’s Note: Amie received a media package to review Phum Baitang for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy except where noted.
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