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The 'bargain-basement five-star hotels' in Siem Reap are shrouded in mystery.


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Three hotels in Siem Reap have been named in a respected US travel publication as among the world's 10 cheapest five-star hotels.


The three hotels – Grand Venus La Residence, Grand Elysee La Residence, and the 15-room Angkor Aurora – were ranked eighth, ninth, and tenth on a list titled "These 10 Five-Star Hotels Around the World Cost Less Than $40 Per Night," accordingly.

 

The three hotels were all listed as having a room night fee of $39, and the list was published on September 30 by the monthly New York-based Travel + Leisure magazine, which stated that each hotel featured "has been independently picked and reviewed by our editorial staff."

 

It's also a bit of a mystery how the magazine discovered the three small and very unknown hotels strewn across Siem Reap.

 

But the true mystery is how these hotels give five-star service at such unbelievable low prices, a riddle that even hotel professionals in Siem Reap are baffled by. As one hotel owner put it, "Something is amiss — these hotels cannot be five stars for $39 a night."

 

However, Samreth Narong nicknamed Johnny, the general director of Odomreach Enterprise, the company that oversees the hotels and provides some centralized expertise and amenities, disagrees.

 

"We achieved five-star ratings because we supplied complete facilities and comprehensive services," he says, adding that good employees helped keep costs low as well. He adds, "Thanks to my staff for their contribution." “We wouldn't be where we are now if it weren't for them.”

 

But even before it was published, Travel + Leisure's article was out of date because hotels, hit hard by the double whammy of disrupted roadwork and pandemic woes, shut down on and off, reduced services, and shut down websites, abandoning the notion of attracting international guests in favor of pitching for a domestic Khmer clientele by converting hotel Facebook pages to mostly Khmer language.

 

Samreth Narong, who holds two university degrees in education and economics, began working at the Economic Institute of Cambodia as an enumerator in August 2010. He was promoted to senior editor of full SEO solutions in June 2011 and team head of Sophy Santhana Internet Marketing Service in October 2011.

 

He helped establish Odomreach Enterprises, a premium hospitality management firm, in August 2016, and it employed around 200 people and had four hotels on its books before the outbreak — the three described in Travel+Leisure, as well as the Angkor Elysium Suite.

 

"I own the Angkor Elysium Suite, rent the other three, and serve as managing director for all of the properties," Samreth explains. "First, I opened Angkor Elysium Suite, then Grand Elysee La Residence, Grand Venus La Residence, and Angkor Aurora," Samreth explains. "From operating Angkor Elysium Suite, we gained more real-world experience, and thanks to the great staff, I opened the other three."

 

"From a personal standpoint, I opened these little boutiques based on market categories and locations."

 

"Technically, everything is controlled by the central office, and we have a manager on-site who is in charge of single proprietorship properties."

 

"We founded Odomreach Enterprise to manage hotel operations for other property owners. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has completely ruined everything.

 

"We no longer provide full services and facilities, and we now only give accommodation and breakfast." I took down all of the webpages and other materials pertaining to international visitors, and we're now focusing on locals."

 

He went on to say that another issue in Siem Reap is the turmoil generated by seemingly never-ending road construction.

 

"Because of the ongoing road construction, we may be able to open only one property or we may have to close all of them," he says. "As for Covid, I'm not a big fan of it."

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