After an incredible few days exploring the Angkor Wat Temple Complex, I hopped on a bus down to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Rather than spending the rest of my time in Cambodia being swept up in the hustle bustle of city life, I decided I deserved two days of absolute serenity at The Balé Phnom Penh.
Located about 30 minutes outside of Phnom Penh, I suddenly felt transported to a zen oasis. There was absolute silence (something that’s very difficult to come across in Southeast Asia, but very needed) and the perfect setting to simply relax. The Balé Phnom Penh has only 18 elegant suites so that each guest can feel at home and “be” without having to worry about an influx of loud, noisy guests.
I was greeted with joyous smiles, a delicious tamarind drink, and taken to my beautiful room. The one-bedroom Courtyard Suite was exactly what I had (unknowingly) been seeking. It was an open-floor layout with a large daybed, flat screen TV, large work desk, and an elevated king size bed. Scattered throughout the room were local Cambodian artifacts and photographs, which was a nice touch.
Walking into the bathroom, there were two sinks, a walk-in rainwater shower, and a beautiful bathtub overlooking our private outside courtyard and daybed.
I spent quite a bit of time in our private courtyard practicing yoga, as our room came equipped with our very own yoga mat and foam roller, which totally made my stay (5 FT Fun Fact: one of the things I miss the most when I travel is my foam roller back at home).
The grounds themselves are modern and beautiful – from the walkway over the infinity pools draped with vines to the peaceful swimming pool overlooking the Mekong Delta, and the spa on site, our stay at The Balé Phnom Penh couldn’t have been any better.
We learned that the staff was almost entirely Cambodian from the local neighborhood, which I believe is always important. They call themselves “family,” and that feeling is made apparent; and, as a guest, they strive to make you part of their in-house family. There surely was a whole lotta love.
As The Balé Phnom Penh is a bit isolated from the big city, at first I was concerned about food. But, naturally, they’d had this covered when implementing their dining experience at Theato, their on-site restaurant. With the ability to eat in the restaurant, by the pool under the palm trees, or in the privacy of our suite, paired with the array of food options, it couldn’t have been better.
We had breakfast there each morning, and it wasn’t like your average buffet breakfast you typically find in a hotel; instead, it’s an a la carte menu with numerous options from which to choose. I had their soft-poached farm eggs on a toasted muffin with wilted spinach, hollandaise sauce, and truffled mushroom duxelle, alongside mini pancakes with homemade ricotta, fresh mango, yogurt ice cream, and mint leaves; and a smoothie of kale, orange, carrot, banana, and strawberry too. It was so delicious that I ordered the exact same thing the following day. Clearly I enjoyed their breakfast options…
Heading back to Theato for dinner, we had a three-course meal consisting of water buffalo skewers with bean sprouts, grilled baby okra and cardamom with cauliflower gratin, slow cooked and roasted salt & chili duck, and a whole rack of ribs basted in red khroeng spice. We finished off dinner by sharing their dark chocolate mousse with grilled pineapple and orange for dessert.
We then strolled back to our suite with bellies full and a sense of peacefulness for the day. I was truly blown away by The Balé Phnom Penh and expect to visit the next time I’m in Cambodia. Meanwhile, they’re part of a larger brand – Lifestyle Retreats – that has six other villas in Bali. I think I know where I will be visiting next!