Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Billabong Hotel and Hostel: Unique Accommodation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Phnom Penh's sweltering heat has taken its toll on us. We're in the middle of Cambodia's capital city, looking for refuge at one in the afternoon. After covering almost every important landmark in the city, we hailed a tuk tuk and asked to be dropped on our home in the city, Billabong Hotel and Hostel. I rushed into our room, turned on the AC in full blast, and took shelter on my bed. My buddy, on the other hand, prepared himself a cup of coffee and went into our private veranda overlooking the outdoor pool. I went to dreamland in no time and literally escaped the city.

Phnom Penh was our second stop in Cambodia for our annual two-month summer backpacking trip, Same Same Summer Trip 2017. Me and my buddy had a relaxed four-day stay in Siem Reap as we shunned the usual temple tours which we already did on our previous visits. We've also been to our favorite spots in Malaysia with our respective moms on the first leg of the trip which made everything special. It was our first time in Phnom Penh, and after two weeks of traveling, it felt good to visit a new city (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Phnom Penh).

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
The facade looks more of a private home rather than a hotel
It took us five hours to reach Phnom Penh from Siem Reap via van (which they call express mini-bus) and we were approached by a number of tuk tuk drivers asking our destination as we arrived in the city. Graciously declining their offers, we booked a tuk tuk via an online taxi service app which is kind of new in the city (and the whole of Cambodia). After minutes of combing the streets of Phnom Penh, we arrived on our home for two nights. 

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Lounge area cum smoking area of Billabong Hotel and Hostel
Strategically located near the Central Market at the heart of Phnom Penh, Billabong Hotel and Hostel is a unique accommodation that combines the comfort and amenities of a hotel and the community vibe of a hostel. An oasis in the middle of a bustling city, its focal point is a saltwater outdoor pool in the open courtyard surrounded by lush greens. From single-bed dorm type rooms to private rooms, the hotel offers a wide range of accommodations that's perfect, especially for budget-conscious travelers.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Spacious reception area
A friendly guard who was manning his post approached us as we were dropped off by our tuk tuk driver. He then ushered us to the gate that led to the reception area. The modern space was filled with Asian knick-knacks and areas to lounge on. It was unique as it had a different ambience from all the hotels I've been to. There's a homey vibe to it that felt like we were on a real living area of some else's home, maybe the concept of putting together a hostel and hotel made it this way.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Business center
We had reservations beforehand which made the check-in process a breeze. We hurriedly went to our room located on the second floor, we wanted have our afternoon siesta straightaway.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Lanai
Our Deluxe Double Room (check for discounted room rates) was big enough for us. A queen size bed with high quality linens rested on a wooden bedstead. Two wooden side tables with night lamps were also on each side of the bed. The area was brightened up by colorful throw pillows and artwork right above the headboard.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Deluxe Double Room
A wooden ledge that serves as an entertainment rack and work table leaned on a wall across the bed. The room also have coffee and tea-making amenities, complimentary drinking water, and a wardrobe closet, mini fridge, and in-room safe.

The en suite toilet and bath was decorated with funky black, grey and white tiles. There’s a hot and cold shower plus hair dryer. Toiletries were also contained on eco-friendly dispensers that definitely help in minimizing plastic waste.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Private toilet and bath
Our favorite spot in our room was the private veranda facing the swimming pool. With a foldable garden chair, this is where my buddy usually lounges with coffee in hand. Our home for three days seemed to be an oasis of some sort in the middle of the busy city.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Private veranda
I snoozed all afternoon while my buddy tried to catch up on his writing gigs with the help of Billabong's complimentary WiFi. He woke me up just in time for dinner and we looked for a nice restaurant around town. After which, I continued with the slumber, I needed the energy to battle the next day’s activities.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Tropical feel
Breakfast is optional for in-house guests and gladly, it was included on our room rate. The restaurant is set right beside the pool. The sun was starting to peep as we headed to the al fresco dining area. The sound of chirping birds and the relaxing view of the garden felt like we were in some remote tropical island. We were asked for our room number and after the staff confirmed that we have breakfast inclusion, we were given the menu.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Saltwater pool
A combination of plated meal plus buffet spread was provided. For the former, we had to choose from Bacon and Eggs, Two Eggs, Fried Rice, Rice Porridge, Muesli and Fruit, Porridge and Fruit, Crepes, and Pancakes. The buffet spread included breads, toasts, jams, spreads, juice, coffee, and tea.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
In-house restaurant
I opted to have fried rice, which I actually enjoyed, while my buddy had omelette and added some toasts. It would have been more satisfying if they could at least added some fruits on the buffet. Nonetheless, it was a filling breakfast.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
My breakie plate
Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
My buddy's omelette
We had no plans of going on guided tours around the city, we will rely where our feet will lead us. So on our second day, we did a DIY walking tour which ended around one in the afternoon. The afternoon heat was an added pain to my sore feet. I asked my buddy if we could probably rest first which prompted us to travel back to the comforts of our room. We stayed there, again, for our afternoon siesta and didn’t leave until dinnertime.

Billabong Hotel and Hostel in Phnom Penh
Some of the rooms are located on the garden area
The next day, our last, we traveled to Sihanoukville and asked if they could provide us a breakfast pack since we were leaving before breakfast, they happily obliged.

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Our time in Phnom Penh was indeed brief; we shied away from the usual guided tours and instead went around the city on our own. The cool homey vibe and good location of Billabong Hotel and Hostel provided comfort and ease while we explored on foot. It definitely became our home in the capital city of Cambodia.


Billabong Hotel and Hostel (check for discounted rates here)
#5 Street 158, Sangkat Boeung Raing,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact Number: (+855) 0.23.223.703 | (+855) 0.92.229.306
Email Address: info@thebillabonghotel.com
Website






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