The best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools include a monumental pool modelled on an ancient Khmer Empire royal baray at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, a rooftop pool looking through the tree canopy at riverside design hotel Treeline, and an infinity pool overlooking the Angkor temple forests at The Beige luxury tented camp.
As the temperature peaked at 35°C yesterday here in Siem Reap and perspiration trickled down my back, I found myself forming a mental list of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools. As the handyman climbed up a ladder to inspect our leaking air conditioner that had been blowing warm air for three days, I dreamt of climbing down a ladder into one of Siem Reap’s best hotel swimming pools – any of the pools below would’ve done very nicely.
Life in Cambodia’s northern city of Siem Reap is virtually back to normal – the ‘new normal’ of course, where we find ourselves frequently squeezing sanitiser into our hands, wearing face masks to go shopping, and having security staff check our temperatures on the way into supermarkets and malls. I slipped on a face mask before opening the door to the air-con guy (he was already wearing one) and sprayed the door handles with Simple Green after he left.
Staff at Siem Reap’s best hotels, many of which only recently re-opened for our postponed Khmer New Year holiday, wear clear face shields, check guest temperatures, and provide kits to guests that include masks, thermometers and sanitiser. Accommodation booking sites now rank hotels for the number of safety measures they have in place, from contactless check-in and check-out to physical distancing rules, and the Siem Reap hotels with the best swimming pools rank very well.
Best Siem Reap Hotel Swimming Pools – From Monumental Garden Pools to Rooftop Infinity Pools With Treeline Views
As I publish this, Cambodia has had no new cases of COVID-19 for the twelfth consecutive day (the last was reported on 14 August 2020), with just 273 cases, 264 cases recovered, and zero deaths. Berlin-based Tourlane recently released research results identifying the top 10 safest destinations in the world and Cambodia was #7 alongside Jordan, French Polynesia, Greece, Uruguay, Italy, Japan, Ireland, and Botswana. Thailand was #1 with 3,377 cases as at 16 August, with 440 in quarantine, 125 receiving treatment, 3,194 recovered, and 58 deaths. If I didn’t live in Cambodia, I know where I’d be heading when I could travel again.
Best Siem Reap Hotel Swimming Pools
A hotel with a swimming pool is a must in Siem Reap, especially if you’re planning to spend your days scrambling around the empty UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor temples. The best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools include one of the city’s largest at stylish Templation, one of the closest hotels to Angkor Wat, and a palm-shaded pool at one of Siem Reap’s loveliest boutique properties, Maison Polanka. These are our picks of Siem Reap’s best hotel swimming pools and you’ll find reviews of more Siem Reap boutique hotels here, many with gorgeous swimming pools.
At 700 square metres and holding one thousand cubic meters of water, Templation’s colossal swimming pool is one of Siem Reap’s largest and is easily one of the best of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools. Located at the centre of two hectares of lush, sprawling, frangipani-filled gardens, the jade-coloured tiled pool is just what you need after a morning exploring the temples. Just three kilometres from Angkor Wat, the chic low-rise boutique resort is secreted down a lane off a quiet road on the edge of Angkor’s forests and yet just a 10-minute drive to the centre of Siem Reap. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you to stay, there are 29 more gorgeous private pools on the property, split between 20 pool suites and nine pool villas. Those private lodgings and an expansive, open-plan, alfresco area that holds the restaurant, lounge and bar, with plenty of space between seating, makes this a perfect spot to stay if you’re keen on social distancing.
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Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
The majestic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a heritage treasure that I always suggest for history buffs and lovers of historic hotels – you’ll want to check into one of the antique-filled rooms with polished floorboards in the original building, not the newer extension. However, I also recommend ‘Le Grand’, as my Cambodian friends still call it, for keen swimmers. The monumental swimming pool – inspired by the ancient Khmer Empire royal barays or pools that were used for bathing by the kings – is another one of Siem Reap’s largest pools and is the best choice for those who like to do their daily laps without bumping into paddlers. Raffles not only boasts the best of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools as far as I’m concerned, the sumptuous hotel also has beautiful garden suites with breezy patios, from where you can step directly down onto the shaded manicured lawns and stroll across to the pool. Raffles remains closed at the moment but should open soon as domestic tourism is picking up in Siem Reap.
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Located down a dirt lane behind the Buddhist temple of Wat Polanka, a block from one of the more serene parts of the Siem Reap River, Maison Polanka feels like it’s one of Siem Reap’s best-kept secrets. While it doesn’t win any Trip Advisor awards – the Cambodian-French owners Nathalie Saphon Ridel and Jean-Pierre Martial leave those to their son, Fabian and his partner Viroth who own the multi-award-winning Viroths boutique hotel, below – Maison Polanka is very well-known by those in the know. The exclusive and intimate property – which consists of three traditional Cambodian wooden houses, one of which used to be the family home, a garden spa, and alfresco dining area and lounge – is the location of another of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools. Hidden behind high walls, within sprawling tropical gardens, the beautiful deep-blue swimming pool is surrounded by a timber deck and shaded by towering palm trees. While the whole estate is so alluring that it’s very hard to leave, the swimming pool is especially so, particularly in the late afternoon, when it must be one of the most tranquil spots in the whole of Siem Reap. If you can’t bring yourself to go out, dinner in can be arranged – overlooking that swimming pool. Read more about Maison Polanka here.
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The city’s hippest boutique hotel, Viroth’s is one of our personal favourites. An award-winning hotel, it’s also home to another of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools. The alluring pool at retro-chic Viroth’s hotel all at once evokes the heady days of Phnom Penh in the swinging Sixties, when Cambodia’s capital was considered to be ‘the Pearl of the East’, infused with old-school Hollywood glamour. What makes the palm-fringed 20-metre swimming pool so stunning is its backdrop – the gorgeous design of the hotel itself, which is inspired by the mid-century modernism of Cambodia’s Golden Age. On one side of the pool is the sleek white exterior and balconies dripping with greenery. On the other side, the breezy café-bar, inviting lounge and fish-bowl restaurant (it’s air-conditioned), decorated with modernist furniture and vintage objects. It’s not just the considered design and sense of style that makes Viroth’s special and its pool one of Siem Reap’s best, it’s the outstanding service. This is a hotel where staff waiting on the stairs greet you upon your return from excursions with cold scented towels to wipe the sweat from your brow and glasses of iced lemongrass tea to refresh you. That same kind of service is provided pool-side making this another hotel that is very hard to leave.
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Fifteen metres above ground and overlooking the forest canopy that surrounds Angkor Thom temple, the infinity pool at THE BEIGE is thoroughly unique and is easily another of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools. Though this is where I need to clarify that this luxurious tented camp is located out of town, some 20 minutes from Siem Reap Airport and 30 minutes from the centre of the city, but less than 15 minutes to Angkor Thom, the massive temple city that adjoins Angkor Wat in Angkor Archaeological Park. This is another property that is ideal if you’re quarantining with accommodation in standalone luxury tent-style lodgings on laterite bases, some with their own private plunge pools. There’s also a library, an in-house restaurant and bar, and an outdoor lounge-deck with fireplace overlooking the river and fields. The property can arrange picnics at an empty temple and morning visits to your ‘tent’ by a retired elephant and mahout if you’re social distancing. And if you’re not, there’s a shuttle service to the city centre.
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Back in the heart of the town, you’ll find another of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools (pictured above) at the stunning Treeline Urban Resort, a contemporary design hotel on the banks of the Siem Reap River. Settle into a sun-lounger by the alluring second-floor infinity pool and you’ll be gazing at the gorgeous green canopy of lofty trees than line the riverside. The swimming pool may not be unique and nor is it the largest, but its setting is unbeatable – especially with a gin and tonic in hand. Order a Cambodian-made Seekers Mekong Dry Gin with kaffir lime from the adjacent alfresco Canopy Bar, before you choose your sunbed. Owned by Cambodian architect Hok Kang who is passionate about nature and art, the eco-friendly boutique hotel features fifty art works by Cambodian artists Sopheap Pich, Sothea Thang and Nov Cheanick made from natural materials, such as palm leaves, pods, seeds, and stones and the 48 light-filled rooms – many of which have tempting views of the pool – are decorated with handmade furniture, ceramics by local artisans Loyuyu, and textiles by ethical zero-waste brand Tonlé. There’s a copy of The Hidden Life of Trees in every room. Perfect poolside reading.
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We’ll be adding more of the best Siem Reap hotel swimming pools here as hotels re-open and we update our reviews. If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, also see our recommended hotels in Phnom Penh and Battambang, all tried and tested. Want help planning that trip? I craft bespoke itineraries and am happy to help.
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