Saturday, September 25, 2010

'Quay' The Urban Savvy?

Hantu Laut

Rated by Tatler Travel Guide 2010 among the best 'Urban savvy"

I am not a reader of this ostentatious society magazine, happened to stumble on it on the Internet.

My wife and I stayed at the hotel for one night to check out whether it lives up to its reputation.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this less is more place, they have rooms or suite rooms tastefully designed, clean, functional and a bathroom that bespeaks opulence that most ladies would go head over heels to have it in their homes.

This is not run of the mill room you find in many large hotels , it's trendy, it has all the trappings of luxury and comfort, big flat screen LCD TV, DVD player, double-glazed glass to keep the street noise out, motorised curtain, dimmer to all lights, remote controlled ceiling fan, huge writing table and a huge air-conditioner that can give you the Arctic cold and all for a steal.... US$130 and a give back of $30 which you can spend on food, booze or whatever you fancy in any FCC outlets.

If you are not familiar what FCC is, it's stands for Foreign Correspondents' Club and has a number of hotels and F&B outlets in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.The Quay and another sister hotel the FCC Hotel are both owned by FCC.They also have affiliated clubs in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

The room we stayed has a small balcony that overlooks the Tonle Sap/Mekong River and bird eyes view of the Sisowath Quay Esplanade that brings daily hive of activities at dawn and dusk but would become completely empty during the day.

If you see rubbish in other parts of the city this place seemed to have been spared the squalor of a poverty stricken nation. More amazing the Tonle Sap which ebbs and flows into the Mekong is so free of rubbish, flotsam and jetsom it makes Kota Kinabalu waterfront looks like one big watery landfill.

After all the veneer of refinements and good tastes, you wouldn't believe what we got to dry our bodies with.

The guy from Tatler must have liked the frayed worn-out towel, or  was given one of those voluptuously fluffed and expensive towel because the hotel probably got wind of what he is up to.

The towel reminds me of all Sutera Harbour Hotels where the towels have seen better days, from the Magellan to Menukan and Kinabalu Park, where you get a big 'Good Morning' (you know what I mean) towel as your bath towel.

These are small annoyances we can put up with.The bigger bombshell came later at night, noise of people chattering that seemed to come not from the street below but from the corridor outside our room.Annoyed, I went outside to check but could not see anyone but soon found the source.The hotel has a huge airwell running from the ground floor where the lobby and restaurant is right up to the 4th floor, the highest floor where our room is situated.

Another thing, none of the free Wi-Fi in the hotel work while we were there.

So much for being 'urban savvy'.

It would have been a very nice place if they can iron out the minor irritations.

Lest, I forget, they are also very thoughtful of your health and well being, they keep a stock of condom in the room which you can use but have to pay for it if you are a single man in need of companion to while away your night .

Hot and captivating, Phnom Penh is Graham Greene-ish, dissolute and beguiling. Away from the whirling ceiling fans, the deep-fried spiders and the honking mopeds is a new, simple, modern nook that’s absolutely charming. A sister to the famous Foreign Correspondents’ Club, it has just 16 carbon-friendly rooms, full of granite-edged tubs and Arne Jacobsen chairs. This is the place to be in the city of misfits (the capital of a country whose own King spent many years as a ballet dancer in Paris), overlooking the Mekong, the main artery of all Asia, and surrounded by street caf├ęs bristling with baguettes and local spices. The bistro is fantastic – amazing hot lemongrassy soup – and there’s a great pool. The Quay is an immediate hub, the hot hangout.


Phnom Penh, Cambodia



Cleveland Collection (tel: 0845 450 5732


Double, from £70, including breakfast.