What a great feeling to read this letter from a recent guest at the hotel! We always hope that we offer a unique experience and that the hotel is living up to guests, and our, expectations, so when we get a letter like this, it just makes our day! I’ve printed it out and given it to the staff, but also wanted to share it here!
I just thought I would share with you all this great hotel we stayed at in Siem Reap. It is called Journeys Within Boutique hotel and whilst I have put a review on trip advisor which should be on the site in a few days whilst everything is fresh in my mind thought I would email direct as I know some of you are thinking of running the half marathon next year and the rest of you are involved in First Hand and might like to know of an organization also helping the people of Cambodia.
Jamie and I both wanted to run the half marathon and also take the children with us to Cambodia so the issue was who was going to be able to look after the children whilst we ran the race and also preferably bring them along later to watch us finish. I contacted several hotels including the Victoria, but none could guarantee that someone could mind the children, apart from Journeys Within Boutique Hotel. It is owned and run by Andrea and Brandon who have lived in Siem Reap for 8 years. They have two children aged 6 and 5 and so as a result completely understand what kids need/like! The pool is lovely with loads of pool toys, a great childrens menu, our extremely spacious, tastefully decorated and planned rooms were interconnecting. The rooms were so large that you you could probably fit 4 or 5 kids in one room! They also had netbook computers in the rooms, which was useful and free wifi of course.
The staff are all extremely helpful, polite, the transfer to and from the airport (all of about 10mins) was punctual and efficient. We ate out at several recommended restaurants including the FCC but the best food was the hotels and also very good value. Breakfasts were huge and you order the night before so the kids thought this was great and would be salivating over waffles, crepes, fruit shakes etc. The Amok fish was heavenly.
They had arranged several tours for us and the guide was extremely knowledgeable and took us the back way into Angkor Wat meaning that we were going in the opposite direction to the flow of all the other tourists. We went on a fantastic half-day quad biking tour, which was the best way to see the countryside, and for the children this was the highlight of their trip. On race day itself, an early breakfast at 5am was provided as well as a tuk tuk at 5.30 to the start. Andrea then very kindly, after the children had had their breakfast bought them, together with her children out to the start to watch us finish.
Not only do they run the hotel in Cambodia but they offer tours in Laos, Burma and Thailand but more importantly they really have put back into the community. Right next door to the hotel is a large school where they have over 700 students ranging in age from 3-30 learning all types of skills, English, Korean, Mandarin, Sewing etc. They have a well programme and have built and maintain 300 wells in the surrounding Siem Reap area. They have a university programme etc. Sarina went next door to see an Art class for kids in progress. They run other programmes including a micro finance scheme whereby they lend money to those (mainly women often existing on or below the poverty line) at very low interest rates to help them run their own little businesses and try and lift them out of poverty. There is much more information on the website www.journeys-within.com but I just thought you might like to know about a lovely place to stay that also puts a lot back into their community too!
I have attached a couple of photos one of the hotel – we were staying in the ground floor of the house on the left hand side of the photo furthest away from the pool. Feel free to forward this on to anyone else you know that might be planning a trip to Siem Reap!