To expect the unexpected, would be an understatement. Java House River Park is a beautiful 36-room boutique hotel in the center of Siem Reap, Cambodia. When I was researching for my trip in May, I fell in love with the impressive photos of Siem Reap displayed on the hotel’s site and was intrigued to find out more. Yet, when we were welcomed at the airport, I realized that our stay would be more than picture perfect.
A Tuk Tuk whisked us off in the warm peaceful night as we freshened up with cool face cloths and chilled water from our #RefillNOTLandfill water bottles. #RefillNOTLandfill, being one of the initiatives supported by the hotel to reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste created by tourists.
Although, we were tired from our long travel day (my flight to Siem Reap was 18hours from Vancouver and my cousins flight was 20 hours from San Francisco) seeing the smiling faces of Jaya House staff made us excited for our stay to finally begin.
The hotel grounds are tropical and lush which complement the contemporary design palate. I especially loved the pop of color found in the large lotus flowers that were folded delicately and found in our room and other areas of the hotel. So intrigued, we had an impromptu flower folding session with the house florist to show us how to create the look.
The room itself was majestic. From the indoor, and outdoor shower, the concrete tub – and that was just the massive bathroom. The bedroom itself had two large sitting areas – my favorite was the bench at the end of the bed that was shaped like a boat and filled with soft pillows.
The complimentary mini bar was stocked with unique juices, Angkor Wat beer and hand enough room to keep our glass water bottles cool. Above the fridge a selection of organic loose-leaf tea were displayed. Although it was hot and humid, the nights were cool and it was nice to end the day with a cup of tea rich in flavor.
The next day we indulged in a magnificent breakfast feast at the hotel restaurant, Trorkuon. We became accustomed to filling our plates with fresh papaya and the local Khmer dessert of the day, as well as the standard go-to eggs benedict. Midway through the week, we discovered the iced coffee with condensed milk that was amazing.
Being hungry was definitely not an issue, the daily fruit platter in our room was always replenished with plantains and dragon fruit and the turn down service had a sweet treat for us. Upon arriving back to the hotel from our daily adventures, the house made ginger or lime (my favorite was the ginger) lemonade kept us hydrated.
After filing our stomachs – we went poolside. After all, we didn’t travel all this way not to lounge by the pool and do absolutely nothing. Lucky for us, there were two to choose from, a saltwater and chlorine pool. Both equipped with amazing poolside service. Even after the filling breakfast, we still had room for vanilla ice cream in homemade waffle cones and mango with chili powder.
The on-site River Park Spa was an easy way to decompress furthermore with homemade coffee and sugar scrubs and 2 hours massages. We floated from the spa back to our room in pure bliss.
To round off our stay, we enjoyed mojitos on the beautiful rooftop, River Sky Bar. The perfect way to catch the Siem Reap sunset.
Jaya House River Park recently celebrated their 6-month anniversary and with their impeccable quality of service and beautiful curated grounds; I imagine the hotel will be Siem Reap’s not-so-secret oasis and be enjoyed by all in years to come.
By Elena Murzello