At first I felt my senses overloaded with sounds, images, smells, tastes, and textures. A cacophony of voices speaking in foreign tongues. Bird and animal cries, the humid fragrance of tropical flowers. But soon the sensorial chaos melted into a rhythm more meditative, stretching across time. Incense burning on a Buddhist altar. The sound of chanting synched to my own breath. The gnarled curving mass of a giant silk-cotton tree, roots splayed across weathered stone. Jungle rising to a ceiling of mist. From a stone temple wall, an ancient face—smiling Bodhisattva. I felt my pulse, the empty sky, the folly of thought, persistent eternity. I breathed in and out. I felt myself smile.
Khmer for “green village," Phum Baitang is an elegant contemporary hideaway wrapped in eight acres of lush gardens and paddy fields near Siem Reap—rural Cambodia at its most sublime. Spacious, stilted wooden thatched-roof villas form a village-like cluster inspired by traditional design, while contemporary interiors hewn from natural materials capture the zen beauty in imperfection and impermanence. An existing ancient farmhouse on the property has been converted into a luxuriant lounge furnished with rattan wing chairs and plush oriental carpets. The hotel’s Bay Phsar restaurant has a local market feel where guests can pick their own fresh ingredients and spices, and where the rice comes from the surrounding paddy fields, while a tranquil spa temple, yoga pavilion, and an outdoor pool with bar beckon visitors to unwind after exploring Angkor’s mystical landscape of Buddhist temples, floating cities, and 12th-century Khmer ruins.
"Our hotels have neither trend nor strategy—what they offer is a way of living that is free of pretention"Arnaud Zannier, Founder and Owner of Zannier Hotels
Inspired by da Vinci’s adage “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” property developer Arnaud Zannier sees his work in hospitality as the closest interpretation of his personal values and Phum Baitang, at the gateway to Angkor’s World Heritage sites, as a study in purity of form and spirit. “What’s the point of going to Cambodia to stay in a hotel that cuts you off from the real spirit of the country?” asks Zannier. Instead, the property, with its mindful interpretation of a traditional stilted village, elegant design, and meticulous local integration, ensures total cultural immersion in Cambodia’s Siem Reap region. The hotel, Zannier says, “represents the birth of a new approach, driven by my own personal values: innovation, integrity, simplicity, and the pursuit of excellence.”
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