After numerous wrong turns, I finally reached the street that harbors the hotel I was staying in. It was past midnight in Siem Reap, and I was trying my hardest not to look crazy drunk as I walked back to the hotel after a night of partying in Pub Street. When I finally made it to the reception, a helpful staff member smiled at me, took the key to my room from the pigeonhole, and handed it to me. Great service — it was that one asset of Mandalay Inn that I saw radiate through even when I was severely intoxicated.
Mandalay Inn is a budget hotel located along Sivatha St., just five minutes away from the Old Market and the Siem Reap River. It is tucked in a city corner where several inns and hostels abound. I booked this hotel upon the strong recommendation of a friend, who was with me on this trip. He had been to Siem Reap more than a couple of times before and each time, he stayed at Mandalay Inn. Never, he said, did he encounter any problems and the staff had grown to know him already.
We arrived in Siem Reap in the early evening and their employees were the first to greet us after a long time trying to find the hotel. That’s probably the only complaint I can think of about the place, it’s not very easy to spot. There was a small red signage by the gate but there was also a tree blocking it.
My original plan was to stay in Siem Reap for only three days and head back to Bangkok. We spent all our nights at Mandalay Inn and the experience at this hotel was more than satisfactory. We booked a twin room for USD10, which did not come as a surprise to me since I already had an idea of the price range of the budget hotels in Siem Reap. I was surprised, however, by the size of the room. It was bigger that I was expecting and the bathroom was also much, much more spacious that the picture I painted in my head.
The room was equipped with cable TV, a fan, a lamp, hot and cold shower, and a safety box — just the basic things you would want in a room. Yes, it was not air-conditioned but there was really no need for it when I was there. It was actually cool, almost cold, inside the room. It was also very clean and the bedding smelled nice. Guests are requested to remove their slippers or shoes when entering the building (but of course you may take them inside your room), which makes the common area squeaky clean. The wooden floor is so shiny all the time that it felt like stepping on it was a mortal sin. Or something.
There are wooden sculptures of Buddha and other religious figures at the common area, which also houses a good number of books that guests may use. It was actually very quiet inside because it fostered a library-like atmosphere.
But it was the service that really stood out for me. They were always smiling and were very willing, if not eager to help. And you I could feel that they were sincere in offering help and making sure that we were well-taken care of. They were generous with information and they became my go-to people when confirming prices, directions, and other useful details.
Mandalay Inn also offers Angkor Wat tours and other travel packages, as well as shuttle and bus services for those who wish to visit other parts of Cambodia, Thailand, even Vietnam. We booked our bus ride back to Bangkok with them, no problem. They also have a small restaurant but I never got to try it.
Would I recommend this hotel? Definitely. I don’t see any reason why not. The location is okay, the rooms are clean, and the service is fantastic. It delivered much more that I was expecting from a budget hotel.