Angkor, the 12th century capital, the culmination of five centuries of Khmer civilisation, is living testimony to Cambodia’s ancestry as well as the foundation of their deeply philosophical identity; housing over 100 stone temples it reveals a religious kingdom of the most significant remaining Khmer architecture in the world. Amansara, provides a gracious contemporary gateway to this truly remarkable ancient epoch.
The resort Amansara lies in the former guesthouse of King Sihanouk. This classic sixties structure has been converted into a calm oasis on the outskirts of bustling Siem Reap.
King Sihanouk commissioned French architect, Laurent Mondet, in 1962, to build a guesthouse enabling visiting dignitaries to enjoy a cool and contemporary stay while allowing them to embrace the outstanding ancient ruins and temples within its jungle and rice paddy terrain. The ruins of nearby Angkor, clinging on in the clutches of forest and farmland are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranging from a cluster of bricks to the world’s largest single religious monument. Amansara, previously known as Villa Apsara, has had a fretful and fascinating legacy, though this splendid architectural gem, now meticulously restored and nurtured by Amansara, has maintained its spirit of intent. It rests as the ideal portal for discovering the incredible culmination of five centuries of Khmer civilisation, between 802 and 1220 AD, representing one of humankind’s most profound and long-lived architectural achievements.
This tranquil home offers a multitude of relaxing opportunities within its private garden enclave: a sultry curved slate swimming pool surrounded by bamboo and taupe cushioned loungers with a shaded pergola for alfresco delights; the Dining Room, previously the screening room of King Sihanouk, is both dramatic and outstanding with a cavernous seven-metre high ceiling and a well stocked walk-in wine cellar. The 24 suites are decorated in a classic Indochinese palette of cool grey, pristine white, dark timber and ivory with private courtyards and soothing water features with 12 offering private swimming pools. The Roof Garden, surrounded and shaded by trees, with mushroom hued cushions on low seating, is the ideal venue for relaxing by candlelight with pre-prandial drinks or, invigorating yoga sessions with the rising sun. The Spa, which has four immaculate treatment rooms in dark wood and fresh white, focuses strongly on therapeutic Cambodian techniques using organic products and faces an exceptional Angkor-inspired 43m sandstone bas-relief set above a green hand tiled reflective pond.
Every suite has access to its own custom fitted remork and driver, for personal expeditions into this rich and glorious land.
The Dining Room, near the swimming pool, is a focal point of the property and unique in design. It is circular in shape with a soaring seven-metre ceiling and has an informal ambience for dining or all day lounging. The menu offers both traditional Khmer and Western cuisines and features the freshest of seasonal produce. The dining room also features a walk-in wine cellar where guests may make their selection. Guests may also dine and snack poolside, or enjoy their in-room complimentary minibar that offers a range of healthy alternative herbal drinks as well as the usual favourites.The Roof Terrace offers a seasonal alternative spot for early evening drinks or lunch, with cushioned seating and low tables shaded by trees. It is also an ideal place for yoga or quiet contemplation, especially at sunrise.
The Library provides a range of coffee-table books, travel guides, novels, magazines, daily newspapers and complimentary Internet access via a Mac. Also on offer are a range of audio cds, board games and a comprehensive collection of reference books on the Angkor temples and Khmer civilisation.
Amansara works closely with knowledgeable sources in Siem Reap to invite visiting scholars for informal house talks and excursions to places of special interest. These sessions offer a close-up look at Angkor and Cambodia through the eyes of specialists in subjects as diverse as history, archaeology, architecture, satellite imagery, dance, culture and even puppetry.
The Gallery provides a variety of hand-woven silks, lacquer-ware, jewellery, local handicrafts, textiles and souvenirs.
Four treatment rooms, each with an attached relaxation area and private steam bath and shower, are available to provide guests with a range of massage and beauty treatments using Cambodian techniques and natural products. All the treatment and relaxation rooms look out onto a reflection pond that is set against a 43.2m sandstone relief.
Most of Amansara’s suites are set around a central, grassed courtyard. At one end of the lawn, adjacent to a shady pergola, is a 17.5m swimming pool with sundeck. A 25m by 5m lap pool is also available closer to the pool suites.
Wireless broadband connections are available in all resorts accommodations and public areas.