The three o’clock afternoon sun was draining all our energy. Our ride halted in front of a shophouse building that seemed to be stuck in a time warp. The narrow road was lined with trees and the quiet neighborhood was in stark contrast to the busy downtown goings-on. We were immediately greeted by the manager who led us to the receiving area; a modern retro chic space which echoed throughout 1920 Hotel, our home for two days in the heart of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
It was our third day in Siem Reap and after spending two nights on a resort which is far from the city center, me and my buddy decided to spend our last two days in the Old Market area so we could party all night at Pub Street. And we’re dead serious about it ‘coz all of our Pub Street memories were about loosening up and meeting great travelers around the globe.
Me and my buddy were on the first city on our second stop of Same Same Summer Trip 2017, our annual two-month summer backpacking trip. We've covered our favorite spots in Malaysia with our moms and carried on with our trip to Cambodia as we bid farewell to them. We flew for a four-day jaunt shying away from the usual Siem Reap temple hopping tours as we had covered almost all of it during our past two visits (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Siem Reap).
Coming from a three-day staycation on a resort away from the city center, we were shuttled to our new home in Siem Reap for an overnight stay. Refreshing view of lush trees lined the street as we were dropped off right in front of 1920 Hotel.
1920 Hotel has this charming feel with vintage cinder blocks used as partition on the foyer. It evoked an airy feel and added character to the old school shophouse. The decorated tiled flooring in mustard yellow and grey gave a unique and colorful play to the neutral finish of the walls. Following the shophouse concept, floral and geometric patterns were chosen for the encaustic floor tiles which were all imported from Europe. Fresh plants added a natural touch to the entrance hall as well.
We were given lemongrass iced tea as welcome drinks and were led to the indoor patio where the modern vintage theme was still evident. Handmade bamboo straws were utilized on the drinks indicating that 1920 Hotel is eco-friendly as well. We chitchatted a bit with the very hands-on manager as we filled out the form to complete the checking-in process.
The boutique hotel offers a wide range of accommodations that will suit all types of travelers. There are 10 well-appointed rooms with only one funky stairwell that leads to all of the rooms. An airwell was also utilized to open up the space with its natural lighting on the indoor patio; it looked like a mini version of a Chinese courtyard.
Natural breeze, fresh plants, airy feel and relaxed vibe; I immediately felt at home as we enjoyed the drinks at the courtyard. Heeding the call for an afternoon siesta, the fun conversation was cut short as we needed to settle in our room.
Billeted on a Premier Room at the third level, we entered our home for two days and were transported back in time. A floating wood platform bed frame rested on a wall with an edgy headboard. A floating night stand completed the clean finish with a night lamp and a vintage telephone.
A wooden ledge across the bed served as the entertainment rack and work table. There were also a coffee and tea-making amenities, complimentary drinking water, and a wardrobe closet with mini fridge and in-room safe.
The layout and design was conceptualized and executed pretty well as everything is in perfect harmony to the modern retro theme of the hotel.
The en suite toilet and bath was a unique space in itself. You wouldn’t imagine that wood, encaustic floor tiles, granite shower floor tiles and moss green brick wall tiles would work together right? But 1920 Hotel, with its formidable design team, incorporated everything very well; a cute pink lotus flower completed the overall look.
I pushed aside the heavy drapes that revealed our yet-to-be favorite spot in the room. The spacious private veranda offers a great view of the neighborhood as well as a nearby temple. My buddy immediately prepped up some coffee (amidst the afternoon heat) as I started lounging on the veranda.
That same afternoon, we went to Preah Prom Rath Pagoda (which is literally a stone’s throw away from 1920 Hotel) and walked further to the riverside where we had afternoon snacks before heading to the Old Market. It was our first time to stroll around this part of Siem Reap even though we had two prior visits in the city. Well, those two visits in the past were dedicated to our great temple hopping tours.
It was rewarding to have a downtime in Siem Reap with nothing to worry about which temple to visit or not. We had more time to chill on the open parks leading to the Night Market where some locals were enjoying traditional games such as jianzi (which is very similar to the game sipa in the Philippines).
We also had a lovely local dinner at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant (which deserves its own blog post)and then headed towards the famed Pub Street to enjoy 50-cent beers (US Dollar is mainly used in Cambodia). We reveled like we were paid to like teeners with raging hormones. Pub Street is one of our favorite party streets in Asia and almost all the time, we get to mingle with other backpackers who share the same vision with us.
Going back home was easy as it took us only 5 minutes by foot. We were greeted by a staff when we reached 1920 Hotel and were asked of our preferred breakfast for the next day. That night, I slept like a baby while my nerves were still grooving to the rave party music at Pub Street.
I woke up to the beaming morning light passing through the sheer drapes. It was our last day in Siem Reap and we have all the time to chill before we head out to our next destination.
We went downstairs where the staff met us with their morning greetings as we settled on the foyer for breakfast. My plated meal of fried rice and sausages looked perfect. My buddy opted for fried noodles and was satisfied as well.
I went back to bed and lounged some more before we leave. When our tuk tuk driver was there to pick us up, everyone bid their farewell with hopes of our return anytime soon. And I wouldn’t mind, really, if I go back to a lovely place over and over again. Khmer hospitality and tradition were truly exemplified by 1920 Hotel. My only regret though was that we only had two days here, hopefully next time it will be longer.
Street 9, Phum Mondul 1, Sangkat Svay Dungkum,
Krong Siem Reap (Old Market), Cambodia
Contact Number: (+855) 63.969.920 | (+855) 99.915.917
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
She is a student of life. She loves to read, sing, swim and drink black coffee. Adores the sunset and the sand on her feet. Hates conformity. Loves individuality. She has the most amazing day job - being a public high school teacher.