More than two million people descend on Siem Reap every year—the perpetual buzz around town and the region’s main attraction, Angkor, is fun, but unrelenting. Which is why retreats like Phum Baitang are so appealing. Located on the outskirts of the World Heritage-listed temples, the resort provides a fragrant respite from the heat—and the crowds. The 45 wooden villas, some with private terraces, others with pools, are stilted over fields of lemongrass ringed by more than three hectares of frangipani and sugar palms. French fashion entrepreneur and resort owner Arnaud Zannier is behind the interior design, which is simple but—unsurprisingly—extremely stylish: a mix of cool cottons and linen with elegant handmade furniture, stone sinks and bathtubs, and lantern style lighting. A century old farmhouse has been transformed into a cocktail lounge nodding to Cambodia’s golden days, replete with rattan wing chairs, pie crust tables, and Oriental carpets, while two excellent restaurants serve up Khmer influenced cuisine. Crafted to resemble the nearby temples, the spa’s well-curated menu includes a ritual that involves an ancient recipe of warmed herbs and spices to increase blood circulation and ease aches and pains, ideal after a day exploring the ruins. (855 63/961 111; phumbaitang.com; doubles from US$600).
This article originally appeared in the December 2016/January 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2016: Phum Baitang”).