A short 20-minute drive from the Angkor temple, in the flourishing region of Siem Reap (Cambodia) can be found a ‘green village’ that is as discrete as it is captivating. With its 45 villas built in truly authentic Cambodian style, Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang is the incarnation of luxury, purity and respect for the heritage. The architectural style derives from traditional Khmer design, while remaining deeply rooted with the natural green environment that surrounds the resort. It truly is a little paradise, that hosts a unique cocktail bar, The Sunset Lounge.
100 years of history
Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang’s most iconic spot is without a doubt its cocktail bar – known as THE place to top off a wonderful day. It is an authentic 100-year-old Cambodian farmhouse which has been recrafted, from a traditional house to become a trendy bar.
The bar boasts an extensive drinks menu, including a wide variety of cocktails - from worldwide classics to innovative creations of our bartenders, a selection of fine wines, vintage liqueurs, cold and hot premium beverages and a range of cigars that can be enjoyed on the terrace with stunning views over the resort. Facing the paddy fields, the bar offers in fact perfect sunset views – so its name The Sunset Lounge.
The building has been discovered by the Zannier Hotels Interiors team while touring the country at the early phase of the project in the Moha Leaph commune (Kaoh Soutin district, Kampong Cham province), and acquired by the group in 2012. At that time, the property belonged to Mr. Chhit Tha, who was born in it. The house has been bought by Mr. Chhit Tha’s parents in 1956 to the original owner Mr. Thou, who was running a little business (“Dɑngkhav”) and whose family built it years ago – probably around 1904 - 13 km away. The house, since then known as “Roka Kaong Tboung villa”, has then been disassembled and rebuilt identically with extreme caution twice, in 1956 and in 2012 by Zannier Hotels. It has been chosen for its very authentic architecture, and good preservation.
The dismantlement and rebuilding of the building to its current location hasn’t been an easy task. Zannier Hotels’ team methodically numbered each single piece, to be able to rebuilt exactly as it was. The only change to the original architecture is the addition of a terrace on the south.
A TYPICAL KHMER ARCHITECTURE
Built on stilts, the bar has a typical Cambodian architecture imbued with Khmer culture (it is estimated that 70% to 80% of houses are on stilt in Cambodia). These farm houses belong to an old heritage: a thousand year of habits in building lifted residences. One can always be amazed by this architecture that flourishes around the roads; behind the palm trees are hiding those stilt houses.
Traditionally, those farms on stilts can lie on pillars up to 3 meters high (one reason why cattle animals could often be seen to rest below). Wood is the main material used whether for walls, chambers, columns to wooden truss. Most roofs are of triangular shape and thatched, and showcase carved dragon or palm leaves – typical Khmer symbols. Inside the house too, carving is omnipresent, with very sophisticated carvings that reminds the culture of Angkor.
The reason why those houses became so common across Cambodia is because the country is located downstream of the Mekong River, and often knows flood peaks that can rise up to 15 m. Hence, people started to build on stilt to avoid flooding. Furthermore, this architecture protects from wild animals like poisonous snakes, crocodiles or tigers. In some regions, farmers used to raise a lot of cattle and found in this architecture a way to avoid building a barn, as they could utilize the spacious space on the ground floor to keep the cattle and benefit from the heat.
PERPETUATE THE HERITAGE
As any other Zannier Hotels property, Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang aims to offer a unique experience to travelers, while preserving the authenticity and heritage of the local culture. The Sunset Lounge perfectly embodies this goal, as not only it showcases a unique example of traditional Khmer architecture but also allows to live mesmerizing sunsets.
It is a crowded place every evening, ideal to sit under the shadow of a traditional Cambodian house, enjoy fusion drinks and observe the twilight on the sky and the sun falling down onto the paddy fields.