Marissa Carruthers checks-in at Siem Reap’s Bensley Collection Pool Villas for a couple of days of stylish downtime.
As soon as we step out of the car at the entrance to Bensley Collection Pool Villas, we receive a greeting fit for the Angkorian kings who once roamed Siem Reap. Staff hand us refreshing face towels and welcome drinks before gathering our luggage to take to our private villa – one of 10 two-storey villas that come complete with their own pool.
A fresh energy enters the cosy lobby area packed with a curious collection of antiquities, when our Bensley Butler – each villa comes with its own personal butler – walks through the door. Wearing a signature Bill Bensley-designed uniform that steers away from five-star stuffy in the form of Rupert Bear-style trousers, a short-sleeve white shirt and safari-style waistcoat, G1 introduces himself.
“If there’s anything you want at all, just let me know. If I don’t know, I can find out for you – whatever time of the day or night,” he says as he punches his mobile number into my phone and connects with me on WhatsApp.
G1 chats away as he leads us into the enchanting complex the villas are set within. Inside, award-winning designer Bill Bensley has worked his creative magic to create a space that preserves rich Angkorian culture while simultaneously giving it a modern spin. Bold designs dominate from the moment you step through the door.
Striking black and white tiles are livened with bursts of colour from bright orange cushions. Contemporary artworks that celebrate the mighty Khmer Empire adorn the walls. And the central piece is a stunning carved mural that depicts the flowing robes of Jayavarman VII, Angkorian king from 1181 to 1218.
The black and white theme continues inside, where the bedroom overlooks a nine-metre lap pool. Patio doors open up onto the pool, so you can wake up, stumble out of bed and dive straight in. To the rear of the bedroom sits a compact tropical garden bursting with palms and other native flora. This leads to a spacious bathroom area, with an outdoor shower and deep marble bathtub.
The rooftop “living room” proved to be the perfect place to enjoy breakfast among trails of pink Bougainvillea. One lazy afternoon, it magically transformed into an outdoor spa and we were able to indulge in a soothing massage from the top floor of our villa.
While Cambodia has been re-welcoming tourists for almost a year now, Siem Reap’s streets still remain relatively quiet. This makes now the perfect time to visit – before the crowds that once overran the town resurface. However, the main problem with Bensley Collection Pool Villas is that once you walk through those doors, it’s very hard to leave your very own private paradise.
Bensley Collection Pool Villas
For more information, visit: Bensley Collection Pool Villas