Raffles is housed in a local landmark building, a superb example of the great European resort hotels that flourished in Asia in the 1930s. The Grand Hotel d’Angkor opened its doors in 1932, when globe-trotting was glamorous and hotel developers strove to provide guests with luxury and refinement during their travels abroad. Word of the temples at Angkor Wat was getting around and Cambodia was welcoming more guests each year. All of High Society wanted to see the sights for themselves, and they needed somewhere to stay.
Bungalow culture was thriving but visitors wanted more. After long journeys, they desired luxury accommodations and pampering service, rooms that provide all the comforts and facilities of home with private balconies, bathrooms and inspiring views, and a restaurant and bar where travellers can share stories and laugh about each other’s exploits. Thay wanted a place where they could feel as welcome as family in far-off foreign places. And so the Grand Hotel d’Angkor came to be. And grand it was.
The main building is French Art Deco at its finest imbued with local style. The long corridors and repeating lines created a cosmopolitan atmosphere that was all the rage at the time. Early plans for 40 rooms quickly became 60, then more and more as demand increased and the travel industry boomed.
The original timber elevator in the lobby has taken movie stars, prime ministers, iconic first ladies and sultans to their spacious guest rooms, each artfully decorated, no two alike. The halls, salons and gardens have set the stage for incredible joy and peaceful negotiations, having also witnessed unthinkable grief in more troubled times. They are said to have received the visitation of two highly revered figures of Cambodian folklore, the Big God and the Small God. Visit their shrine in the gardens to be blessed with good fortune. The statues also have an intriguing story to tell – just ask our resident historian who will be happy to fill you in on historic details and the mythology that Cambodians hold so dear.