From the clamour and commotion of Cambodia’s capital, the Vattanac Capital Tower sweeps dramatically skyward and up to the luxe hotel Rosewood Phnom Penh occupying its uppermost floors. Its naga-dragon-inspired design – complete with slinky reptilian-like scales – made it an instant landmark and a fitting home for this ultra-sleek urban getaway. As you exit the elevator to the 35th-floor lobby, huge floor-to-ceiling glass walls inspire gasp-worthy views over the city. A hushed refinement typical of the luxury brand fills every elegantly dressed nook, from its raft of top-notch dining spots to its sunshine-flooded spa. But crowning it all is the hotel’s ritzy sky bar, whose cantilevered terrace and spectacular panoramic sunset vistas draw a who’s-who of Phnom Penh high-society.
Get this when you book through us:
A private guided four-hour city tour in an electric tuk-tuk
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £318.85 ($387), including tax at 20.054 per cent.
Rates do not include breakfast.
Rosewood Phnom Penh provides free drop-off rides within two kilometres of the hotel with its own fleet of eco-friendly, leather-lined ‘remorks’ (Cambodian tuk-tuks).
At the hotel
Fitness centre, spa, coffee shop, bicycle rental, concierge, speedy free WiFi. In rooms: 55-inch TV, Bluetooth speaker, fully stocked gourmet minibar, Nespresso coffee machine and TWG tea kit, wireless charger, slippers and terry cloth bathrobes, free bottled water, Christophe Laudamiel bath products.
Our favourite rooms
You don’t have to worry about a room with a view, as those sweeping Phnom Penh vistas are guaranteed every time. For extra-glorious cityscapes, however, we love the corner Mekong Suites where you can enjoy the panoramic views from the comfort of your bed. A bedside touch-screen panel opens the window blinds for an especially dramatic reveal every morning.
A 22-metre mosaic-lined swimming pool feels vast for its elevated setting, with cityscape views and poolside day-beds adding to the impressive scene. There’s even a special pool menu to peruse while you dry off.
The hotel’s Sense spa offers massages based on ancient Khmer healing practices and native ingredients. Cutting-edge cosmetic treatments claim to roll back the years, and if your feet need a treat there’s a dedicated pedicure-podiatrist studio too.
If you’re planning on visiting any temples (and why wouldn’t you?) remember that less flesh is best. In the heat, a pair of loose-fitting trousers does the job and accessorising with a pashmina is a useful trick.
A 35th-floor gallery showcases a collection of artwork by some of Cambodia’s best-known and up-and-coming artists.
Parents can drop the sprogs off at a supervised playroom and babysitting services cost around US$10 an hour. Little Smiths are also treated to in-room goodies such as mini bathrobes and slippers, activity packs and a cuddly toy.
Rosewood’s chain-wide eco-forward efforts are certainly applied at this outpost, from smart in-room energy-efficient tech to green bathroom products. Fresh produce is also sourced with a commitment to local farmers and indigenous agriculture.
A far corner table in the Brasserie Louis allows diners on both sides to enjoy those spectacular cityscape views if the conversation lulls.
You might have guessed dining here demands a little spiffing up, so anything that goes with flip-flops is a no-no.
It’s hard not to be wowed by the high-end-hotel-level of dining options on offer – a total of six in fact. Brasserie Louis is where most choose to start the day, with wraparound windows combining city panoramas with breakfast. It’s a fine and bright lunch venue, too, with its French-Khmer menu dotted with bouillabaisse and boeuf. For more atmospheric Chinese-style fine dining, book a table at Zhan Liang; highlights include a premium tea ‘library’ and a centrepiece roasting station. Sophisticated grill restaurant Cuts pairs flame-cooked seafood and steaks with a choice of hundreds of wines. Iza is likely the best place in the city for Japanese Izakaya-style dining, complete with three prep zones – an interactive robata-yaki grill, sushi-sashimi station, and the noodle corner. For more casual dining, Living Room provides a calming, sun-filled space for snacks and afternoon teas. And there aren’t many hotels that boast a resident pastry chef, but the Patisserie in-house French bakery has just that.
Little after first opening, Sora had garnered enough acclaim to put it among the finest bars in Southeast Asia. And it’s not just for the swoon-worthy views from its cantilevered terrace. The spectacular setting is matched by decadent drinks menus that include eco-conscious cocktails and an encyclopaedia of spirits, joined by live music by top local and international talent.
For something a little more private members’ club, the Whiskey Library is all glossy leather high-backs and dark wood panelling. It has also compiled the country's widest selection of single malts you can pair with up to two dozen of the finest cigars.
Zhan Liang: 8:45pm. Brasserie Louis: 9.15pm. Cuts and Iza: 10.15pm.
You can order up from a separate menu for in-room dining delivered around the clock.
Vattanac Capital Tower
66 Monivong Boulevard
Sangkat Wat Phnom
Khan Daun Penh
The hotel is located in Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh’s buzzing central business district and old French Quarter.
Phnom Penh International Airport can take anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes by car. The Rosewood offers two swanky airport transfer options: a Jaguar F-Pace or a Jaguar XJL (US$82 or US$108 each way).
The city’s iconic Phnom Penh Royal Railway Station is just a five-minute walk away. From here trains connect directly to the airport and destinations throughout the country as far as the Thai-Cambodia border.
Hiring a car at the airport is an option, but most visitors get by perfectly well with the city’s fleet of budget-friendly taxis and tuk-tuks. If you do arrive with your own wheels, parking underneath the Vattanac Capital Tower is free of charge during your stay.
Worth getting out of bed for
As tempting as it is to spend your stay gazing out over the city from the hotel’s lofty confines, there’s plenty to tempt you back down to earth. If shopping is on your agenda, you have two very different experiences on your doorstep. Adjoining the hotel is the sleek Vattanac Capital Mall, home to a roll-call of global luxury brands. You’re also a short stroll from the city’s Central Market, a vast art deco landmark stuffed with row after row of colourful stalls.
The nearby riverside Royal Palace is a must for most, too, with its gleaming gold spires and Silver Pagoda. You can plot your walk around the district’s various gilded temples, but be sure to include Wat Phnom among them. Even better, the hotel can arrange a morning visit where you can start the day with a monk’s blessing. Other hotel-organised outings include tours around the city’s surprisingly impressive Sixties-era architecture and street art scene.
For some of the most authentic Cambodian cuisine barely-a-sweat-breaking stroll away, book a table at Kravanh. It’s one of the city’s more upscale options set in a colonial mansion, serving flavour-rich and colourfully presented dishes. The setting is surprisingly peaceful for the locale and you can choose between a table inside or on the restaurant’s leafy terrace. Another nearby eatery worth leaving the hotel for is Metro Rahu. It’s housed in an unassuming low-rise building a few blocks away, and serves a moreish menu of Asian-fusion fare in a smart, low-lit setting. Steaks for sharing and a good small-plate selection make it a great spot for communal dining.
You certainly don’t need to leave the hotel for a decent cup of coffee, but if you’re at ground level and in need of a shot, try nearby Noir Coffee Vattanac Park. It has an airy vintage vibe, top-notch roast and even views of the Vattanac Capital Tower. They may have branches throughout Phnom Penh, but don’t let that put you off grabbing a cup of Joe in local chain Brown Coffee. There’s a great one riverside set in a cavernous redbrick heritage building.
There’s certainly no shortage of nightspots around the hotel, especially in and around the nearby Sangkat Phsar Chas neighbourhood. Locals and tourists have been rubbing shoulders at the lively Shanghai Bar for many years, and a revamp has added an extra chill-out floor and a roof garden. If you’re after something a little more artisan, Hops Craft Beer Garden is a first for Cambodia, serving everything from their IPA to red stout brewed to traditional German techniques. Brits hankering for a taste of home can also chow down on fish and chips in wheat-beer batter.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this elevated hotel in Phnom Penh and unpacked their betel-nut box and temple rubbings, a full account of their sky-high city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Rosewood Phnom Penh in the Cambodian capital…
When you’re whizzing up the high-speed elevators, floor numbers flicking past, the sensation in your stomach is part-altitude, part-anticipation. The Rosewood Phnom Penh’s soaring steel-and-glass-dragon design sets the tone for something rather special, and it delivers on its lofty promise as soon as you step inside. Of course, the swoony city-and-river vistas take centre stage, with barely a corner of the property not privileged to the sea of red-tiled rooftops, clusters of high-rises, and pinpricks of glistening stupas. But the breadth of features are dizzying, too, from its raft of refined restaurants to its sun-filled spa to its spectacular sky bar. And complementing all its elevated elements is a genuine engagement with the city, with features such as free tuk-tuk rides around town and immersive street-art tours. It all adds up to a rarefied slice of luxury, with its head in the sky but its feet on the ground.