We had an amazing evening at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. One of Asia’s great classic hotels, it originally opened in 1932. It and sister hotel Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh are the only two luxury hotels in Cambodia that pre-date the civil war and Khmer Rouge era. Raffles celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012.
But since our Myanmar-Cambodia trip, there’s been a significant refurbishment and upgrading of two enormous private villas in Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s lush tropical gardens.
Named Villa Uma and Villa Kama, the spacious two-bedroom villas offer stylish accommodations that include a large drawing room and dining area, butler’s kitchen, wine cellar and private terraces with sundeck chairs, day beds and private access to the largest swimming pool in the Kingdom as it’s known locally. Rooms are decorated with original Angkorian artifacts, antique furniture, Persian-style carpets and wooden floors.
For those dreaming of an exotic getaway for the holidays check out this list of more luxurious Raffles properties to suite any taste worldwide.
If You’re Going: Our introduction to Siem Reap was through an unforgettable journey with Abercrombie and Kent. Check out their upcoming Cambodia and Angkor Wat tours or call 888.785.5379. To plan a Raffles holiday getaway at any of the featured properties, contact www.Raffles.com or call 800.768.9009 in the U.S. & Canada or +800 1 7233537 (+800 1 RAFFLES).
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National International Travel Examiners Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
The mystical ancient temples of Angkor Wat have been drawing travelers to Siem Reap, Cambodia – and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – for many years. There’s nowhere more magical to spend Christmas morning than watching the sun rise from behind the temples. Guests can try their hand at cooking classes for authentic Royal Cambodian cuisine with some of the recipes originated from the Royal Household, or disappear to the spa for relaxation. See traditional dancers ward off the spirits and encourage peace and happiness for the year ahead. Stays at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor over Christmas start at $405 per room per night. Details: www.raffles.com/siemreap
Raffles Beijing Hotel
Raffles Beijing Hotel sits at the point where old world charm and opulence meets the exuberance of 21st century China. Over 90 years, the hotel has witnessed key social and political events in the capital, playing a key part in the history of the city. With an enviable address closer to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City than any other hotel in town, Raffles Beijing is perfect for the hustle and bustle of the city while offering an oasis of calm inside. Guests should call upon John Spooner, Raffles Ambassador at the hotel, to discover the best of Beijing – from trips to the Great Wall, to visits to the 798 Art District, blending the ancient with the modern. From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum stay of three nights at Raffles Beijing with ‘The World and You, with Raffles.’ Details: at www.raffles.com/beijing.
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Somerset Maugham once said “Raffles stand for all the fables of the exotic East,” perfectly encapsulating the lush gardens, courtyards and fountains, verandahs and colonnades which make Raffles Hotel Singapore special. Guests will swap Christmas trees for traveler’s palms, rustling quietly in the breeze, and the story of Christmas for stories from Leslie Danker, Resident Historian at the hotel – topped by the tale of a runaway tiger in Singapore, found under the Bar & Billiard Room in 1902, before being shot. With the scent of frangipani wafting through the incredibly private gardens, and the Afternoon Tea tradition taking a festive turn, Raffles Singapore offers a totally different holiday breas. From December 1, 2013 to February 7, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum stay of two nights at Raffles Singapore with ‘The World and You, with Raffles.’ Details: www.raffles.com/singapore.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
The Cambodian people are striving to reignite the traditional Khmer arts that were lost during the war, and visitors are discovering that Phnom Penh is at the heart of the Cambodian cultural revival. Built in 1929, Raffles Hotel Le Royal has played a central part in the history of the capital. Full of atmosphere and authenticity, the hotel is allowed to display the Royal crest above its door and to serve original Khmer dishes created from recipes from the Royal kitchens granted to them by the late King Father Norodom. Instead of a Christmas turkey dinner, learn to prepare dishes served in the Royal Palace at special gatherings, including the flavorful Amok Trey (coconut fish mouse steamed in mild spices) and crepes filled with mung beans and grated coconut. Culinary classes at Raffles Hotel Le Royal are available on request, with a minimum of five guests. Details: www.raffles.com/phnompenh.
Sun-seeking families will delight that temps at Raffles Dubai are around 80°F in December making Christmas unforgettable. Our stay at the iconic pyramid hotel included a fantastic spa visit. Families will delight in the fun-packed Raffles Play Room and a 20-foot high advent calendar, plus afternoon teas and seven restaurants and bars in town, Raffles Dubai is ideal for all ages. Spectacular sunsets over the Dubai skyline, outdoor pools and a botanical garden will create lasting memories – as well as a private entrance to the Wafi Mall for a Christmas shopping extravaganza. From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum 3-night stay at Raffles Dubai with ‘The World and You, with Raffles.’ Details: www.raffles.com/dubai
Raffles Praslin, Seychelles
Set on the northern tip of Praslin in the Seychelles archipelago, Raffles Praslin lets you swap Christmas trees for Coco de Mer palms in your own island paradise. Enjoy the comfort of a private pool villa and a legendary Raffles butler to take care of every detail. Relaxation and rejuvenation is the order of the day – from sunrise yoga classes for mom and deep sea fishing for dad, to brand new paddleboards for children to master, and the promise of a visit to see the giant turtles on Curieuse. Treatments at the signature Raffles Spa are based on the philosophy of transformation – encouraging guests to arrive as one person, and leave as another – without an ounce of Christmas stress. From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum three-night stay with ‘The World and You, with Raffles.’ Details: www.raffles.com/praslin
Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris
Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris offers an inspirational children’s program, Le Petit Royal, ideal for treating kids for Christmas – and enjoying a magical break in the City of Light. Hand over the children to Maria de la Chica, director of children’s relations, and the rest is taken care of: DJ lessons for teens; being a Paris Reporter for a day for budding journalists; personal shopping for catwalk queens-in-the-making; or pizza cooking classes for mini Michelin Star Chefs and even creating their own perfume under the supervision of a professional perfume designer. Meanwhile parents can disappear into the sublime Spa MyBlend by Clarins for some winter down-time, sip cocktails at Le Bar Long and lunch at La Cuisine – recently awarded a Michelin Star. From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum three-night stay at Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris with ‘The World and You, with Raffles.’ Details: www.raffles.com/paris
Raffles Makati, Manila
Vibrant and glamorous Manila brims with fine restaurants, world-class shopping, a vibrant night life and endless beaches. At its heart is Makati, the fastest growing cosmopolitan center in Metro Manila. Here a striking, newly built, 30-floor landmark tower is home to Raffles Makati – a 32-room. all-suite luxury hotel on the 9th-11th floors, each with its own Raffles butler. Away from the buzz of the city, guests can sip specially crafted cocktails in the Long Bar, and make the most of two swimming pools and the Willow Stream Spa – the ideal combination of city and relaxation. When the city gets to be too much, guests can head off to nearby islands for world class diving and time on the beach. From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, enjoy a complimentary night’s stay with a minimum two-night stay at Raffles Makati with ‘The Wor.ld and You, with Raffles.’ Details: www.raffles.com/makati.