Raffles Revamps its Cambodia Properties

Raffles is certainly one of the more established international hotel brands in Cambodia, having been around since the late '90s. While the country is heating up as one of the most desirable tourist destinations of late, the two properties in the country are ready to step up their game in order to accommodate this new wave of inquisitive travelers.

Travel Agent sat down with Peter Foster, the area director of sales and marketing for Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Siem Reap. Just nine weeks on the job, Foster is eager to implement some changes that are sure to please both new and repeat visitors.

Both hotels are housed in historic buildings that date back to the 1920s and 30s. "These were the two original luxury hotels in Cambodia," says Foster. "And they were the first back on the block after the country's period of turmoil and strife."

Also new in town are the general managers at each property, both of whom have strong backgrounds in the food and beverage service. The three men have put their heads together to come up with exciting new plans for visitors. Among these, we most liked the themed dining nights. We were told past events have included a durian tasting night as well as a traditional Cambodian crab night, both of which were widely well received by guests. Foster has also reintroduced Afternoon Tea at both properties, while the general manager at the Grand Hotel d'Angkor is introducing special wine tasting evenings.

As of November 1, the Grand Hotel d'Angkor will introduce personal butler service for all guests. The same service will be available to guests in Phnom Penh in December.

Foster also tells us that it is his wish to develop a three property package between the two Cambodian hotels and the Raffles in Singapore so that travelers can have a chance to taste Southeast Asia. His vision involves a different event in each hotel, whether it be a culinary event, spa treatment or tour. Guests will have the opportunity to mix and match to create the kind of experience best suited to them. There is no slated debut for this package, but Foster plans to put it in motion on his return to Cambodia.

In the wake of 2009 (and even the struggles of 2010) these are important properties to keep on the radar. 2008 was the best year for Raffles in Cambodia. The numbers in 2010 are climbing steadily, but Foster believes that the hotels are on track to exceed 2008 numbers in 2011. We were also told that the U.S. market is the greatest asset to these properties. Twenty-five percent of guests at the hotels are from the U.S.

Also on the radar: Raffles will open its Paris property (Le Royal Monceau) on October 20. A new all-villa property is also slated to open in Seychelles in January 2011.

Visit www.raffles.com.


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