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Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia
While “safe” and “clean” used to be our only requirements for accommodation, we have come to appreciate all that boutique hotels have to offer. Especially when it comes to comfort, style, and involvement in the local community. That’s why we’re happy to share our Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel review with you.
Aside from their peaceful and convenient location, gorgeous rooms, stunning pool and gardens, and delicious food, Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is focused on having a positive social impact, starting with their staff and extending into the Siem Reap community and beyond.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is located down a quiet dirt road off of Angkor Night Market Street. It’s just a short tuk-tuk ride from the Night Market and Pub Street. You will be close to the action while avoiding the chaos of staying directly in town.
A Little Background
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel was started in 2015 by Ilana and Adam, an adventurous couple from Brisbane, Australia with backgrounds in music and marketing. They started the hotel in partnership with Ilana’s mother Carmel, who has a long and successful history in the hospitality industry.
Carmel also runs a catering company in Australia that offers employment opportunities to immigrants and refugees. Her dedication to providing opportunities for workers extends in the mission of Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel and is evident in the way all three owners talk with pride about their staff. There is a feeling of family when you speak with anyone working at the hotel that makes coming back at the end of the day feel like home.
Arrival and Check-in at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel
When we pulled into the bus station in Siem Reap a tuk-tuk driver from Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel stood outside holding a sign with our names on it. There’s nothing like arriving in a new place after a long journey and not having to hassle with finding transportation to your hotel, especially when it’s complimentary. With a mixture of gratefulness and excitement we jumped into the tuk-tuk and bounced toward the hotel.
We pull down a quiet dirt road off of Angkor Night Market Street and stopped in front of a gray, unsuspecting wall. As we stepped out of the tuk-tuk and onto the property, we were greeted with huge smiles from two young men in tropical button up shirts, palms together in front of their chests in the traditional Cambodian greeting.
The pathway to the hotel is lined with green palms, and instantly we were transported into a jungle oasis. Through the greenery on the right, we spotted a sparkling blue saltwater pool lined with lounge chairs and big umbrellas, with a fully stocked bar adjacent, promising relief and refreshment in the afternoon sun. But first, check in.
Cold water and chilled Tiger Balm scented towels were brought over the moment we sat down. After handing over our passports to be copied and filling out a quick form with basic information, the check-in process was complete.
Staff members immediately grabbed our bags and led us through the colorful lobby, down a quiet hallway, and up a wide wooden staircase to our room on the second floor, passing beautiful Buddha carvings and artwork along the way.
When we arrived at the top floor and looked out at the sweeping views of the surrounding neighborhood, we noticed some very surprising neighbors! Cambodia is one of few places left in the world where crocodile farming is allowed, and there is a farm within view of the hotel. It was fascinating (and kind of freaky!) to observe them throughout our stay.
There are 13 rooms in the main hotel building and only two Premier Double rooms on the top floor where we were staying. The hotel has expanded in 2017, adding 12 newly renovated rooms in an adjacent building on the property.
We were blown away when we walked into our room. The large space was designed perfectly to accommodate every need for a long or short term stay.
A staff member guided us through the room, showing us the fully stocked mini-fridge below a large marble-topped bar, which included a complimentary bottle of wine and a fresh tropical fruit basket.
A French press and kettle with freshly ground artisanal coffee sat on a table nearby the large flat screen TV. There was also an electric safe below the bar, perfect for storing our passports and cash.
A writing desk sat in a well-lit nook under a window, and I instantly envisioned myself writing there, wearing one of the soft white bathrobes and cozy slippers hanging in the closet across the room.
The bed was huge and inviting with soft, high-quality linens, and two impressively folded towels shaped like elephants sitting on the light blue runner lying across it.
Locally made art pieces depicting scenes of Cambodia, and unique woven lanterns brightened up the space.
Wooden slats created a comfortable barrier between the bathroom and the rest of the room, perfect to continue conversations while getting ready at the vanity.
The bathroom was large, especially by Cambodian standards, and had a rainfall shower with good pressure, and included toiletries.
Meals at Baby Elephant are prepared with local, organic ingredients whenever possible. Care is taken to ensure vegetarians and vegans have plenty of options on the menus.
Baby Elephant serves up a filling and delicious à la carte breakfast every morning, included with your room rate. There are ten options to choose from, along with a bowl of fresh seasonal fruits with honey and bottomless coffee and juice. At least we think the drinks were bottomless since Stevo ordered at least three orange juices every day!
If you are in the mood for a relaxing afternoon or night in, the all-day food menu will not disappoint. There is a great selection of Cambodian and international mains available. We had a vegetarian burger and a beef burger, which were both excellent.
We also enjoyed snacks from the poolside bar menu in the afternoons and delicious cocktails made with fresh ingredients during happy hour. The deep fried taro spring rolls with sweet and spicy sauce and Ginger Rogers cocktail were some of our favorites.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel offers in-room or poolside massage and spa services, which can be booked through the reception team. They have their own signature aromatherapy oil called the “Baby Elephant”, a combination of natural coconut oil, ylang-ylang, and grapefruit.
The Activities and Facilities
The upper balcony of the main building has a small outdoor gym with yoga mats, free weights, a stationary bike, and elliptical machine. It’s one of the only places you can do yoga where you’ll have a view of crocodiles while in down dog!
Baby Elephant has expanded its program to include more fitness classes. The schedule changes from time to time depending on the availability of the teachers, but yoga classes and other creative or fitness activities are always available so guests leave feeling nourished and inspired. The schedule of activities is updated here.
The inside dining and bar area have beautiful pops of color with Cambodian silks and locally made handicrafts. The artwork inside includes album covers and portraits of Cambodian rock and roll singers, in line with Illana and James’ background in and love for music.
The downstairs garden, adjacent to the beautiful salt water swimming pool, is a lush and tropical setting perfect to enjoy a meal and relax. There has even been a marriage proposal in the small cabana there!
Baby Elephant offers bicycle rentals. Biking is a great way to explore the city and even the temples in the cool season!
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel supports the local community in Siem Reap by partnering with ethical and responsible Cambodian businesses and using and recommending their products and services. A few of these are:
- Saarti-ethically produced home and body products using natural, high-quality ingredients, free of chemicals.
- The Little Red Fox Espresso-involved in initiatives to keep Siem Reap clean and promotes the arts through rotating galleries and events for musicians and artists year-round.
- Phare the Cambodian Circus-their mission is to revitalize the arts in Cambodia and create meaningful and financially sustainable employment opportunities for Cambodian artists.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel owners Ilana and James are active members of the Siem Reap community and know a lot about what’s going on around town. They are extremely friendly and happy to have a chat.
Ilana writes a blog on the Baby Elephant website to inform guests about the best places to eat, shop and sightsee in town, along with guides for festivals and events. She even puts together a monthly newsletter to ensure you won’t miss out on any fun happening in Siem Reap!
Baby Elephant had all of the details covered to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable from the moment we arrived until we sadly had to depart. The staff are always helpful and on alert, ready to meet your requests and offer suggestions. They are able to book you a tuk-tuk to the temples or wherever you need to go, and their drivers are reliable and fair. They can also help you book a guide for the temples and make reservations for restaurants and shows.
Above and Beyond
I became sick half way through our trip with a strange fever that came on quickly and lasted 48 hours. I was so grateful for the care that was taken by both the owner Ilana and the staff to ensure I was comfortable and fed, and to help me find a good doctor in Siem Reap. We haven’t experienced this level of service or attention in many places and were so thankful for the assistance.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel offers a range of room options:
- Premier Double rooms-Where we stayed-so luxe! Like I mentioned earlier, we were blown away by the fabulous amenities. Hello bottle of wine and bathrobes!
- Deluxe Family rooms-Has two double beds. Great for groups too.
- Deluxe Double and Twin rooms-Larger space with a King bed and excellent amenities. Can also fit an extra bed.
- Classic Double rooms-Spacious with a King bed and excellent amenities.
- Budget Double and Budget Twin rooms-The budget rooms are definitely a steal! The rooms are simpler, but you still get all of the fabulous hotel amenities like the salt water pool, gym, excellent service, and à la carte breakfast is still included.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel provides a level of comfort, style, and service to make your stay in Siem Reap unforgettable. We love their involvement in the local community and use of local and sustainably produced products. Weeks later we are still missing the comfy bed, beautiful pool, friendly staff, and crocodile neighbors.
We definitely recommend staying at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel if you are traveling to Siem Reap!
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