The Luxe List 2009, Cambodia: The Sothea, Siem Reap

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A 20-minute drive from the ancient temple complex of Angkor, Siem Reap’s latest luxury billet is as cozy as it is romantic—the hotel debuted on Valentine’s Day as a loving tribute to its owner’s wife. The 39 suites feature homey flourishes like freshly cut flowers, large balconies, claw-foot bathtubs, Cambodian artifacts, and complimentary minibars; top-tier quarters come with such welcome extras as Jacuzzi-equipped spa rooms and massage beds. The best accommodations overlook the gold-flecked swimming pool inspired by Srah Srang, a 10th-century baray (reservoir) at Angkor where Khmer kings once bathed. Dapper, personable young butlers can assist with everything from unpacking your luggage to organizing temple tours; they’ll also take you to the best shops in town, where arrangements can be made to charge purchases to your hotel bill. Refuel on the homemade cakes served at afternoon tea, but save room for a Khmer feast in the elegant dining room, Chatra, named for the glittering chandeliers that hang from its soaring ceilings (Rd. 6, Svay Dangkom; 855-63/966-788; thesothea.com; doubles from US$300).

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