Seven days later, and we’re still in Siem Reap.
In ALL due part to our amazing accommodation at Golden Butterfly Villa.
As the sister company to the Golden Temple Villa down the road, Butterfly already had an established name, and colour scheme (a bright, but tonally pleasuring shade of orange covering the buildings and the rooms), but has gained a top ranking on Trip Advisor in its’ own right. The Villa has been running for 6 months, and everything is modern and new. The staff especially, are a credit to the villa, and are incredibily accommodating and friendly.
We chose this place after spending two blissful nights at Antanue Resort & Spa – they had a pool, but was $10 more a night. This goes a long way when you’re backpacking and living US dollar to dollar. I found Golden Butterfly via Trip Advisor, and when i read about the complimentary 30 minute massage for guests, I was convinced. We checked it out the day before leaving Antanue, and Butterfly organised a tuk-tuk for the transfer the following day. We had also negotiated a rate of $16 USD per night, instead of the standard price of $18, as we told them we would book three nights on the spot.
When we checked in, we were treated to a tea-tree soaked cold towel – handy after the dusty 10 minute ride in the 37 degree C heat, and a table laden with goodies; chilled ginger tea, watermelon, a bowl of nuts and really tasty sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. Chantou, a lovely receptionist, introduced us to the Villa, and talked us through the complimentary massage, how to book a tuk-tuk for the day trips to Angkor Wat temples, the complimentary food that would be given to us for our temple day trip and the free bikes that we were able to use.
A lovely chap named Panha, then took both of our heavy bags up the three flights of stairs (a luscious dark wooden staircase), and he told us about the daily complimentary bottles of water that would appear in our room fridge. This was turning into a very budget efficient place to stay! (We drink several bottles of water a day; you need to. The sweat just pours out of your body in the most unusual places – before Cambodia, I never knew the soles of my feet could sweat.)
Everyday we love waking up in The Golden Butterfly Villa. While the bathroom is fairly small (though we’ve had smaller), the shower is clearly separated from the toilet (a luxury in Asia where most shower water heaters are positioned right on top of the toilet bowl), and the shower itself is Western style. Great pressure with a modern tap, and an actual shower head, not the plastic box water showers where you press a huge button to turn it on.
The room is cleaned everyday, and stocked up (we have an abundance of toothbrushes and combs), and towels are changed daily – not necessary, but definitely a luxury.
After our initial three days here, we’ve been sideling up to reception with a sheepish look on our faces as we ask, ‘Can we stay for one more night?’ So much so, that we have an excellent rapport with the reception staff now, Panha, Samda, and Chanthou. They always ask how our day is, what our plans are, and if we need any assistance. They also now greet me by name whenever we see them, but unfortunately, cannot remember how to say Lionel’s name. I’ve taken to calling him ‘Emma’s Friend’ myself.
The restaurant in the lobby is also impressive in its service. Very quick to serve us free chilled tea, even when we don’t order anything, and at times, serving us free watermelon! We’ve had breakfast there a few times, always ordering the $1.50 omlette with bread. The lobby/reception area also offers free tea/coffee and bananas all day.
We also had our tuk-tuk organised by Butterfly for our day trip to the Angkor temples. We were driven around by a very polite, young driver (I think his name was Mr. Phors), he made a point of always explaining exactly which temple we were going to, and making sure we were ‘Ready?’ before taking off. He was so gracious and when we went to find his tuk-tuk after each temple visit, amongst the billions of other tuk-tuks, he would always find us first and wave us over. Always on the ball, unlike the other tuk-tuk drivers we saw, who would set up their hammocks in the tuk-tuk and just go to sleep!
I don’t want to leave the Golden Butterfly Villa, and Lionel doesn’t want to leave it either. The price is incredible (considering how much we’ve paid in Malaysia – up to $30 AUD), and for what you get, it’s unbeatable in value and service. Now that we’ve had a taste of luxury, it’ll be hard to go back to cold streams of showers, no bedsheets, no AC, no free water, no TV, no friendly smiles when staff pass you in the corridors….sigh.