Merry Christmas from Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel!
Our guests often tell us how much they enjoy our poolside playlist. Hotel co-owner Adam Scott is a DJ with more than 20 years of experience behind the decks. He takes great pride in having brought together some of the sultriest tunes for you to listen to while relaxing at Baby Elephant.
From yacht rock to French pop and African jazz to Cambodian golden age, Adam has made sure to curate a mix of music that should impress even the most discerning music fan. So enjoy your Christmas present for 2017 – our first ever Baby Elephant mix, the first in a regular series.
The SR Monthly is a hand-crafted e-mail round-up of the latest goings-on in Siem Reap and at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, as well as news from Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, curated by our passionate team and delivered to your inbox once a month – all designed to make your next trip to Siem Reap extra-special.
This edition was sent on 10 December 2017. Want to be in on the action next time around? Subscribe for free right now – just click here.
Baby Elephant guest Máire wins the 2017 Angkor Half Marathon
Congratulations to our guest, Irish athlete and poolside babe Máire Nic Amhlaoibh, who won the Angkor International Half Marathon this year! Máire is a Singapore-based expat and senior physiotherapist at Ufit Clinic Singapore. This was her third time competing, and her first time to place first! We were proud to host her and all our amazing runners. Thank you for choosing Baby Elephant!
Pop by and see our sleek new look!
We’re thrilled to announce that Baby Elephant is looking more fabulous than ever – even if we do say so ourselves. Together with our talented artist-in-residence Tamara Venn, we’ve been putting the finishing touches to an exciting new look for our public spaces, especially our ground-floor lobby, restaurant and bar in the hotel’s west wing. Think a mix of moody greens and irresistible mid-century furnishings with a local flavour, all designed to make you want to linger a little longer. If you want to see it for yourself, pop by and join us for a cocktail at the bar – don’t forget our two-for-one happy hour runs every day from 5pm until 7pm. (Better yet, book a few nights with us and truly soak up our nourishing vibe!)
Tuck into your festive meal at Baby Elephant!
How are you celebrating Christmas in Siem Reap? Between now and 25 December, join us at Baby Elephant for a deliciously seasonal set menu. Our festive spread is available for lunch or dinner for groups of four or more, costs just $12 per person (plus VAT and drinks), and includes delicacies like pan-fried stuffed chicken breast, sautéed potatoes with garlic, bacon, and thyme, braised red cabbage with apple, and mince pie with vanilla ice cream – plus, of course, fabulous alternatives for vegetarians and vegans! Our usual array of innovative cocktails, wines, bubbles, beers, and soft drinks will all be available, and you can join us during our daily 5-7pm happy hour to get two cocktails for the price of one! To join us to mark this special time of year with friends or loved ones, click through to our web site for more details and to see the full menus.
Yoga returns with new teacher Loz!
It’s no exaggeration to say that we’re over the moon not only to have our regular yoga offering back on the cards at Baby Elephant, but even more so to welcome the fabulous Loz as our newest yoga teacher. Loz has been with us as a dedicated yoga student since the very beginning, and she recently took her practice to the next level by qualifying as an instructor in India. Now she’s ready to pass on her yogi wisdom to you in her twice-weekly gentle flow classes at Baby Elephant – join us every Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm on our breezy, inspirational rooftop space to get in on the action!
Happy birthday to Siem Reap’s leading independent boutique hotel!
Hip, hip, hooray! Last month, we raised a glass to celebrate our second birthday! It’s officially been two years since we threw open our doors and began welcoming our fabulous guests through the doors of Baby Elephant. To all those who have supported us in that time (and if you’re reading this newsletter it means you’re already the crème de la crème!) on our mission to deliver a truly remarkably boutique hotel experience while creating invaluable opportunities for Siem Reap locals – thank you! We’re now in the midst of high season, as well as gearing up for the Christmas and New Year holiday season, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more of you than ever to our independent temple town oasis.
New restaurant & bar menu
If we’re going to give our interiors a reboot, then it makes sense to go the whole hog and revamp our food and drink menus at the same time. That’s the thinking behind the new array of delicious local and international dishes you’ll find on the menu at our in-house restaurant and bar – everything from locally inspired fish amok to Indonesian soto ayam chicken soup and comforting hand-cut potato wedges with our house-made sour cream. Of course, being Baby Elephant, there are also countless vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, plus a delectable range of cocktails, beers, wines and spirits (including our always-$1 draught Angkor beer!) Devour the full food and drink menu on our web site.
Siem Reap souvenir shopping made easy
It can be difficult to find the right gifts to take home from a holiday, whether you’re buying for yourself or for friends, family, and loved ones. Striking the right balance between personal and practical, and original but not overly corny, can turn the whole gift- and souvenir-buying experience into a stressful chore. But it needn’t be that way: Siem Reap is blessed with countless independent boutiques packed with original, thoughtful and ethically traded souvenirs that you’ll be desperate to find space for in your suitcase. Read our latest blog post for a specially curated look at the gifts we would take home (including plenty for ourselves!) if we were on a short trip to Siem Reap.
Cocktails of the month: El Diego & The Mood Ring
It’s officially the season to be jolly, so we’ve thrown caution to the wind and brought out not one but two special cocktails for December! The first is El Diego, mixing Sauza Gold tequila with house-made orange-and-cinnamon-infused syrup, lime juice, and soda. And we’ve rolled out the Mood Ring, too, which made its first appearance at our Baby Elephant Gin Appreciation Society popups earlier this year – watch it magically change colour from blue to purple as you squeeze lime into a delectable combination of butterfly-pea-flower-infused Beefeater gin and rose syrup! Better yet, as always, you can get two for one on both of these cocktails during our daily happy hour between 5pm and 7pm. But hurry, because both El Diego and the Mood Ring will be gone again come the end of December!
When you book direct with us, we can give you the absolute best we have and ensure that you get the most out of your stay in Siem Reap. To help make that possible, we guarantee that booking directly with us through our web site will bag you the best rates you’ll find anywhere – every time. But that’s not the only reason to book directly with us rather than through an agent – take a look at our latest blog post for heaps more reasons it’s totally worth your while.
Our December ‘Go Green’ story
The Baby Elephant team has commited to making one change per month on our journey to sustainability. This month we’ve successfully made the change from non-reusable takeaway boxes for our complimentary takeaway breakfasts, to these gorgeous locally-made hand-woven boxes.
Baby Elephant is an award-winning independent boutique hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. When you visit Angkor Wat, stay in premium budget and affordable luxury accommodation and enjoy all the facilities and services of an international hotel.
An inclusive, family-friendly and LGBT-welcoming property, Baby Elephant offers a dynamic, creative and nourishing space for guests. The hotel’s sustainable and ethical model is focused on providing opportunities for our team of Cambodian staff, with rewarding and memorable experiences for you – our valued guests. Read more here.
We run regular promotions throughout the year, offering a range of discounts and special offers on our best accommodation options and stay packages at our boutique Siem Reap hotel. But you won’t find these Siem Reap hotel deals with the online booking sites – we reserve them for our most valued customers who book direct. For the latest updates on all our special offers, make sure you sign up for our regular e-mail newsletter, too.
Special perks for direct bookers
Some of our most special rooms come with extra perks. For example, stay in one of our rooftop Premier Double rooms – with unmatched seclusion and privacy, since there are just two of these rooms on our top floor, plus access to a balcony with incredible 180-degree views across Siem Reap – and you’ll have a free bottle of wine waiting for you on arrival, plus a fruit platter, a French press, and freshly ground artisan coffee to take your stay with us to a whole new level. What’s more, when availability permits, we like to handsomely reward customers who book directly with the likes of free upgrades, early check-ins and late check-outs, and extra surprises for special occasions to make your stay even more memorable.
Pay at the end of your stay
If you book your Siem Reap hotel room with an online travel agency or other booking site, depending on the rate you choose you may need to pay for your accommodation upfront. That’s not the case when you book direct with us – no matter how great a deal you’ve bagged in one of our frequent hotel room promotions, you can always pay right at the end of your stay when you check out.
We’ll collect your credit or debit card details at the time you make your booking online with us, just in case you don’t show up (it happens!), but we won’t otherwise charge your card prior to your stay. Nor do you need to pay a deposit when you check in – we’ll just introduce you to the hotel, show you to your room, and let you get on with enjoying your holiday in Siem Reap! When it’s time to leave (even though we wish you didn’t have to!), you can settle your bill in cash or by card – simple as that.
Your booking is secure
There’s no need to worry that your booking or payment details will be less secure with us than they would be with an online booking site. We use a third-party booking engine that employs security technology to ensure your personal information is protected throughout the whole process, so you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands.
Help us create ethical jobs
Baby Elephant is a social enterprise in Siem Reap, and a huge part of what we do is creating sustainable, ethical jobs for locals. Every booking made through an online travel agent costs us in commission – on the flip side, every direct booking saves us money and enables us to pay our staff more, employ more local Cambodians, and even offer our loyal direct-booking customers better Siem Reap hotel rates. Thank you for booking direct and helping us achieve more.
It can be difficult to find the right gifts to take home from a holiday, whether you’re buying for yourself or for friends, family, and loved ones. Striking the right balance between personal and practical, and original but not overly corny, can turn the whole gift- and souvenir-buying experience into a stressful chore.
But it needn’t be that way: Siem Reap is blessed with countless independent boutiques packed with original, thoughtful and ethically traded souvenirs that you’ll be desperate to find space for in your suitcase. These are the gifts we would take home (including plenty for ourselves!) if we were on a short trip to Siem Reap.
Custom-made silverware by In My Name
Right here at Baby Elephant, silversmith Claire McKenzie and her apprentice Srey Neap are our first artists in residence, working under the name (excuse the pun!) In My Name Silver to produce a beautiful range of lovingly handmade and custom-designed silver jewellery. A pendant, ring or other piece of silverware made to order featuring a memorable Khmer word makes the perfect souvenir to remind you of your time in Siem Reap, or to give someone back home a slice of your experiences in Cambodia. For something next-level, In My Name Silver also runs two-hour silver-making workshops that let you get to grips with the mastery yourself.
Saarti, in Siem Reap’s trendy Kandal Village enclave of coffee shops and boutiques, is a treasure trove of beautiful, ethically made homewares and more. Among our favourite items here are these ultra eco-friendly bamboo straws, to replace the waste-creating plastic you probably slurp your cocktails through at the moment. These elegant bamboo alternatives last a lifetime, only need a quick rinse or a more thorough wash with vinegar before you can use them again, and add a twist of intrigue to your drinks. That’s why we not only use them at the Baby Elephant bar but also have a huge stash of them at home – and we now even stock them at the Baby Elephant gift shop, too!
We couldn’t very well call ourselves Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel if we didn’t recommend stopping by Theam’s House – local artist Lim Muy Theam’s own home and living gallery, well worth taking a look around in itself for his extensive collection of artwork – to pick up one of the beautiful lacquer elephant statues, crafted and painted by his team of artisans and available in a range of colours. Needless to say, we have one at the hotel, too!
The pepper from Cambodia’s southern Kampot province is prizes by foodies the world over. If you’re not going to make it to Kampot during your trip to Cambodia, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out – even if you go no further than Siem Reap, make sure you end up with some Kampot pepper in your case on the way home. Here in Siem Reap, head to the Starling Farm shop on Street 7 for some of the best Kampot pepper you’ll find, right from their own pepper farm in Kampot.
The couple behind Sombai take Cambodia’s famously heady rice spirit and infuse it with locally sourced and inspired herbs and other flavours to produce 11 different flavours of uniquely Cambodian spirits that make the perfect gift or souvenir to take home at the end of your stay in Siem Reap – and which come with real herbs shoved inside the kitsch bottles for added flavour.. Pick from the likes of a concoction of Cambodian star anise and coffee beans from Ratanakiri province, or the sweet and spicy mango and green chilli. As part of a wider range, they now also produce the intriguing Abacaxi, a fruit-forward liqueur made with pineapple and famous red Kampot pepper.
If you’re anything like us, you love loading up on the kind of irresistible knick-knacks, especially local kitchenware, that you come across at markets on your travels – and in the process end up sending the weight of your luggage soaring dangerously close to your allowance. If that’s the case, you’ll be in your element picking out the likes of lacquer bowls, gorgeous wooden salad spoons and forks, and chopsticks, and plenty more, at the myriad of Siem Reap markets waiting for you to discover. Head to favourites like Old Market or Psar Leu and shop your heart out.
Ethical mementos from the Baby Elephant gift shop
As part of a recent refresh of our interiors, we have now added a miniature gift shop to the Baby Elephant lobby – and we’ve loaded it with adorable, unmissable, ethically produced gifts that we want you to be able to discover. From brass earrings, mandala charms and sterling silver by In My Name Silver, to custom Baby Elephant cooking aprons with tropical print pockets made by NGO Friends International, plus zip wallets, bamboo drinking straws, handbags, and swimwear by Australian brand Bombshell Bay – we’ve got just about anything and everything you could want to take home from your Siem Reap adventure, all of it screaming ‘ethical, beautiful, and boutique’ from the rooftops.
Which gifts and souvenirs have you taken home after a trip to Siem Reap? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Chris Wotton; Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel; In My Name Silver at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel; Bill Rand; ePi.Longo; Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel
Whether you’ve spent the day discovering ancient temple ruins or simply relaxing by the pool, the intense heat that Siem Reap enjoys just about year-round means that a sweet, preferable cooling treat is often more than welcome. Thankfully, temple town is blessed with an array of great spots at which to tuck into delicious local and international desserts. Here’s our pick of some of the best spots to indulge your sweet tooth in Siem Reap.
Excellent Deals Direct
Planning to stay with us at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel? The secret when booking is to book direct! Book your stay at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel direct on our website and enjoy:
The best deals on tours and transport
Savings on extra services
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We look forward to seeing you soon! Or kun cheran.
‘The nectar of the gods’ is just about the best description we have heard of the delicious goodness served up by Gelato Lab, located on the small lane of Alley West, along from Pub Street in Siem Reap’s Old Market area. This ice cream joint has a rightfully loyal following, and the extensive selection of ice creams and sorbets are freshly churned in-house each day, resulting in flavours and textures that we reckon are just about unbeatable.
Choose from the likes of salted butter ice cream, as well as outstanding, vegan-friendly sorbets such as the Cioccolato organic 80% Papua New Guinea dark chocolate, Siem Reap mango and dragon fruit, sweet mandarin from southeastern Cambodia’s Kandal province, passion fruit from the Mondulkiri mountains in the east of the country, and strawberries from Chiang Mai in neighbouring Thailand. It’s these dairy-free sorbets that also earned Gelato Lab a deserving place in our round-up of Siem Reap’s best places for vegan food.
This new arrival on the Siem Reap foodie scene is dead serious about desserts. Taking its name from the Khmer word for ‘bread’, Bang Bang is a new venture from the folks behind Siem Reap favourite The Hangout, and turns out expertly baked western-style breads (including some spectacular sourdough loaves) and a daily changing menu of delicious, homemade cakes, including – music to our ears – a great selection of vegan options.
Widely recognised as one of temple town’s finest restaurants – and so deservingly in our list of Siem Reap’s best Cambodian restaurants – Malis serves up not just top-notch Cambodian curries and other time-honoured dishes, but also a short but stunning selection of desserts. This is the place to get a taste for some of Cambodia’s famous local desserts – like jasmine-infused mousse with crunchy rice and coconut ice cream, and young palm fruit cooked in coconut milk and served with coconut jelly and vanilla ice cream – as well as modern Asian fusion sweets such as taro dumplings with durian ice cream, and a Kampot pepper and coconut milk crème brûlée with jasmine ice cream, all in the grand surrounding of this plush restaurant.
It is indeed possible to do good while stuffing your face with cupcakes, and Bloom is a case in point. This non-profit café (run by NGO Bloom Asia, which aims to empower poverty-stricken Cambodian women) turns out an amazing range of cupcakes that taste just as incredible as they look, all while providing worthwhile hospitality industry training for disadvantaged locals. Impressive larger cakes are also available to order for birthdays and other occasions. Bloom is the perfect way to while away an afternoon of coffee and cake in air-conditioned comfort – and it’s within walking distance of the Old Market area and countless other gorgeous boutiques, just in case you’re still in need of some additional retail therapy.
Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm; Mondul Road (off Central Market Street); 017-800-301; www.bloom-asia.org
Sister Srey Cafe
Sometimes we should eat non-processed sugars that won’t expand the waste line! That’s why we love heading to Sister Srey Cafe. With a reputation for being the heart of Siem Reap’s yoga community due to gorgeous healthy food, Sister Srey is also a social enterprise. The must-try dishes for clean eaters who have a sweet tooth is the raw passionfruit cheesecake. Gluten free, vegan and processed sugar free, this divine cake is also guilt free! Sister Srey also offer a few other raw sweets options, along with an ever-growing menu of healthy, clean-eating options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. They also do great coffee, but you probably already knew that!
Tuesday to Sunday, 7am-6pm; Near the Old Market; 097-723-8001; www.sistersreycafe.com
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel
Back at Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, our own food and menu – encompassing both local specialities, healthy dishes, and international comfort foods – includes a number of delicious Khmer desserts that serve as the perfect introduction to the sweet end of Cambodian cuisine, alongside some much-loved international favourites that we just couldn’t leave out. Look out for our fabulous temple pumpkin custard, a slice of steamed Cambodian sweet pumpkin stuffed with coconut egg custard, and our delicious sesame-battered local banana fritters served with ice cream and all the trimmings.
Looking for a Siem Reap hotel from which to explore the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants that Siem Reap has to offer, while also being within easy reach of the famous Angkor Wat temples? Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is waiting for you – click here to take a look at our relaxing rooms, all with free breakfast (including vegan options, of course!) and use of our gorgeous swimming pool.
Where is your favourite place to eat dessert in Siem Reap? Let us know in the comments!