The 252 – a boutique hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We had taken the relatively short trip from Bangok to Cambodia and tumbled into a taxi. It’s always fun to arrive in a place we haven’t been before. The assault on the senses, new sights, sounds, the smells. Diesel and gas and exhaust mixed with the smells of open air restaurants, garbage, and a whole lot of people all crammed into this city called Phnom Penh. As we zipped by in our taxi, I made mental notes, small streets with garbage piles, alleys with construction debris, larger streets that were quite clean, traffic and people everywhere. The whole thing was a smorgasbord of sights, sounds, lights and smells. As we turned into our small street, the cacophony begins to change, quiet, calm, and then an unpretentious doorway.

The 252.

Click the sign for more information on staying at The 252.

We entered the 252 and were immediately impressed. Like an oasis in the desert, this quiet little boutique hotel is an immaculate garden, a small inviting open air restaurant/cafe, a crystal clear pool all leading to one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in Cambodia. We entered and were greeted by a friendly staff member. The vibe from the front gate to the front desk was “This is nice…they’ve really got it together.” I’m happy to say they didn’t disappoint and I will elaborate as we continue.

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When we checked in, we were offered a room behind the main desk.  Usually I don’t like ground floor units. I’ve never stayed in, or have ever desired to stay in a room behind the front desk. It seemed awkward. It looked like it would be noisy. Except that it…well, wasn’t. On entering the room, we found that it was solid concrete construction, actually down to even the bed frame. Even the closet was cast concrete. The room exuded all sorts of urban cool that I hadn’t expected. The thick concrete and the ground floor location also granted the room a pleasantly cool temperature too! And last, but most importantly, the construction blocked out any noise from the front desk. For ventilation, there’s a window that opens, as well as air conditioning and a ceiling fan.

There was a nice work area, free wi-fi (great because we work when we travel), and a small refrigerator. Also provided is an iPod dock speaker system for entertainment.
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The bathroom, just through the glass door is simple, clean and carried over the stone look very well. Water pressure and temperature were very good.

Back to the outside, pool towels were neatly stacked for the guests, and cabanas were available for the taking.

This was the kind of boutique hotel I didn’t mind spending time at and we actually used the cabanas as well as the pool. While lounging we realized part of what makes The 252 special good management and lots and lots of hard work. The European lady who manages the hotel was constantly on top of things, and the staff was well trained and had some passion for their work. The front grounds keeper, even though his area small, would check the pool and sweep out leaves every 30 minutes (it seemed… I didn’t have stopwatch) The same treatment for the walkway around the pool and pretty much every other aspect. Attention to detail. Cleanliness and neatness. It really made the entire stay so enjoyable.

Their food was quite a treat, too. I’ll cover the food in our food blog at [Hotel 252, The Food]

Our stay at The 252 was very enjoyable and although it was not close to the waterfront, the unique nature of the hotel in my opinion more than offset the location. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.

Find the lowest rates for The 252 on Agoda