In December 2017, Jim and I took a 10 days trip to Cambodia. We wanted to reward ourselves with something nice as a quick escape from Shanghai’s craziness. After a lot of research on where to stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, SIM Boutique Hotel stood out and became our first choice.
We arrived Phnom Penh with an overnight bus from Siem Reap and grabbed a tuk-tuk to go to the hotel. (By the way, hands down, it was the best overnight sleeper bus ever.) We couldn’t check-in since the room was not available yet. However, the staff quickly brought us glasses of water and let us rest in the lobby.
Newly opened in the last quarter of 2017, everything was brand new at SIM Boutique when we stayed. As one of the tallest buildings in Phnom Penh, the rooftop provides a great view of the city. I wouldn’t consider SIM’s location “downtown” since there wasn’t much to do around, but the area is relatively quiet. The popular riverfront, Sisowath Quay is easier to access from the hotel with a tuk-tuk. The hotel staff helped us to get a tuk-tuk and made sure the price was reasonable. They were also very helpful when we asked them about things to see and to do around Phnom Penh.
What are within walking distance
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is about 15 minutes walk away, which is a must visit if you want to truly understand Cambodian history from their perspective. The Olympic Stadium is right next to the hotel, but if you’re in Phnom Penh for a short tour, I don’t see any reasons to go there.
There were a few local eateries nearby. After we recouped a bit, we decided to find a place for breakfast. When we came back, our room was ready for us. I was impressed because I certainly didn’t expect them to let us check-in early.
If you are looking for a unique cultural activity to do around Phnom Penh,
we took a Khmer music instrument class through Backstreet Academy and had a blast. Learning traditional instrument from local musicians is a great way to get in touch with the local culture. Check out my vlog for the class!
We booked their Deluxe Double Room. As soon as we stepped into the room, we had a hard time pulling ourselves out of it. The room was spacious and stylish; simple yet careful with details. We couldn’t restrict ourselves from taking photos. From an influencer’s point of view, this hotel is definitely very Instagram-able!
The bathroom is equipped with both a shower and a bathtub. Our room was on one of the top floors of the building, so you get to oversee the whole Phnom Penh when you take a bath. They also replenished the toiletries and cleaned the room daily. I know this sounds like what a normal hotel would do, but that wasn’t our experience while in Cambodia, so we were very happy with it.
The staff and facilities
We took other guests’ reviews seriously, so when we read that there was only one elevator to accommodate a 16-story building that it could take a long time to wait for the elevator, we hesitated. However, it really wasn’t as bad as other guests described. Another issue was the staff would take a long time to deliver what you requested. We asked for a wine opener, and we had to call the reception again after 30 minutes.
One situation that truly disappointed us was how they arranged the new year’s eve service. One of the reasons we booked the hotel was because of its rooftop, and we were looking forward to a nice rooftop dinner on new year’s eve. However, the hotel decided to host a new year’s eve event that charged way too much in our opinion. They also suspended all room services that night, and only guests who paid for the entrance ticket could have access to the rooftop! I believe a hotel should not sacrifice the regular services because of special events – that’s unfair to guests who don’t wish to participate. If I’d offer some constructive suggestions, I would say that the hotel needs to organize better with their events, and the staff needs more training.
What we love about Sim Boutique Hotel
Aside from what I mentioned above, we love the fact that the owner of the hotel is a Cambodian woman because we like to support local business, and the room rate was decent for such a hotel. We also love their breakfast buffet. They make soup noodle and omelette on site. There’s also a good variety of fruits, bread, coffee, juice, breakfast food, and Cambodian food to choose from.
Want to book or Compare it with other hotels?
I book hotels through Booking.com since I usually find the best deal there, especially after becoming a .genius frequent traveller with them. Sign up and book with Booking.com to get € 15 off on your first booking after your stay. If you already have an account, you can book SIM Boutique Hotel through here or compare it with other hotels in Phnom Penh.
We stayed at SIM Boutique Hotel from December 29th, 2017 ~ January 1st, 2018. All opinions are my own.
Also published on Medium.