Raffles Hotel Le Royal opens onto an elegant, tree-lined street in central Phnom Penh. It’s a short walk to Wat Phnom, and 10 minutes to the riverfront, with the National Museum, Royal Palace and the Russian Market all a short tuk-tuk ride away. Phnom Penh International Airport is a 45-minute drive.
Built around a central courtyard with magical pool, Raffles Hotel Le Royal is a tranquil city base. Take a look around our hotel's facilities and services.
Our story begins in the early 20th century, when architect and urbanist Ernest Hébrard takes on the task of transforming Phnom Penh. His visionary plan includes constructing a grand hotel. When it opens in 1929 – the tallest building in Phnom Penh – the guest of honour is HM Sisowath Monivong, and the royal link remains today, reflected in our crest, gifted by the royal family, the ceiling art and secret recipes known only to our chefs. In 1996 the building is restored to its former glory and sensitively extended; 20 years later the façade is repainted in its original lotus white.
Legendary style meets contemporary luxury
Innovative designs drawn up
Architect and urbanist Ernest Hébrard takes on the task of transforming Phnom Penh. His visionary plan involves filling in a canal, planting gardens and parks, designing a new central market and constructing a grand hotel which will not only be the tallest building in Phnom Penh but also one of the largest. Favouring French Colonial style over traditional Khmer architecture, he creates a place of unprecedented elegance in Cambodia.
Le Royal opens its doors
Le Royal opens its doors for the first time. The guest of honour at the opening is HM Sisowath Monivong, King of Cambodia from 1927 until his death in 1941. The royal link remains today, reflected in the ceiling art and secret recipes known only to our chefs. Only four of Le Royal’s 54 beautiful guestrooms do not have private bathrooms – practically unheard of at the time.
The first heyday
Le Royal enjoys its first heyday, from its opening through the turbulent 1970s. High society from around the globe is eager to discover the hotel, which has quite a reputation for its luxurious accommodation and impeccable customer service. In 1967 Jacqueline Kennedy fulfils a lifelong dream to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat and stays at Le Royal. A cocktail, the Femme Fatale, is created in her honour and is still available in the hotel’s Elephant Bar.
Closing to guests
Phnom Penh falls to the Khmer Rouge and the hotel closes its doors to regular business though it is said to house Khmer Rouge offices and residential quarters.
Renamed Solidarity Hotel
Le Royal reopens as a hotel after the fall of the communist regime, though it has been renamed Samakki, or Solidarity Hotel, and houses international aid agencies.
Royal connections reestablished
HM Norodom Sihanouk is reinstalled as king and the hotel reverts to its original name, Le Royal.
Restoring former glory
Extensive renovations begin under the supervision of Raffles. The original building is carefully restored to its former splendour while bungalows are torn down and replaced with three courtyard wings for increased hotel capacity. Local artisans are called upon to recreate design features that have not withstood the test of troublesome times. Royal artists transform ceilings into works of art and our halls into galleries.
A new face for today
In another renovation, the building’s façade is restored to its original lotus white. The shady, dark rooms and suites – so necessary before air conditioning was in widespread use – receive an illuminating facelift. Lighter and brighter, they retain all the nostalgic feel of bygone days. They also now possess all the modern technological conveniences needed to keep residents connected to today’s world.