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  • Writer's pictureLarry Witt


IN ONE OF MY MOST RECENT INTERVIEWS, I WAS ASKED THE INTERESTING QUESTION: WHAT HOTEL DESIGN HAS INSPIRED ME MOST? As a huge fan of Philippe Starck and his gorgeous designs at the Delano in Miami Beach and the Paramount and Royalton in NYC, I was tempted to choose of those. However, I followed my passion for the exotic and, instead, went with the Hotel De La Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Hotel De La Paix, along with its unsurpassed beauty, is full of rich culture and history. Siem Reap is home to the 14th century Angkor Wat Temple complex, one of the world’s oldest and most gorgeous ancient Buddhist heritage sites. To celebrate this magnificent and historical site, Hotel De La Paix was designed to honor these ancient temples through incorporating the temple motif throughout the otherwise very space. Although this hotel has recently been changed to the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, the beauty remains the same.

I’ll first show some images of the Angkor Wat Temple complex and then share with you how the hotel was able to tastefully integrate a modern look while still preserving the traditional look of the temples:

Angkor Wat Temple Complex:

Hotel De La Paix (now, Park Hyatt Siem Reap)

The entrance to hotel, similar to the Angkor Temples, features tall columns and a layered look with the different levels of the hotel. The entrance also includes an abundance of nature; the front entrance, here, showcases palm trees surrounding the building.

A long stretch of comfortable seating arrangements and tables show a resemblance to the above hallway with rows of columns and their subtle engravings. One of the most amazing and interesting aspects of this hotel was the incredible amount of detail that each space was given, just as the Buddhists would have incorporated detail into their temples. Look at the exquisiteness of this space, with the crisp white foundation, neutral color palette furnishings, and dark, hanging ropes that carry the floating furniture.

The engraved walls and natural elements of stone and water instill a serene environment. The understated colors promote a modern look while also mirroring the types of materials used in the Angkor Temple complex.

This image displays the temple’s beautiful waters and tropical foliage. The pool, surrounded by beautiful varieties of trees and flowers, also has immense detail under the water. The steps to get out of the deep-end are embellished with a stunning handrail that twists around until the end resembles a lotus flower. Really, the fact that every little detail has been so well thought out truly inspires me.

My appreciation for this hotel clearly stems from the heightened attention to detail throughout the entire space. However, I also believe that the design’s successful fusion of past and present, so delicately intertwined, makes this a truly unique space.

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