Just like Cambodian karaoke, the hotel industry in the nation’s capitol, too, is saturated. So what does it take to make a hotel shine like the brilliance of Pailin gem – standing out from its competitors? That is the question posed to Phnom Penh’s newest young entrepreneurs on the grand opening party of Hotel Cara & Domrey Fusion Restaurant on July 9th.
”Investing in the hotel industry is a big risk. But we strongly believe that success comes from smart management – top to bottom – and providing what we call the Cara experience,” said couples Kean Kim Leang, 31, and Patricia Tan, 28.
“The Cara experience refers to our style of hospitality—characterized by keen customer attention, maximizing comfortableness and providing Care Bear-like friendly service. Cara, in the Italian language means friendly,” said Tan, a US-educated Malaysian national who also serves as the vice president and artistic director for the hotel and restaurant.
Hotel Cara features 51 uniquely designed rooms nestled in a towering building – 30 of which include a balcony view overlooking the strategically central bustling neighborhood of Wat Phnom. All rooms support local Ratanakkiri wood with furniture like bed frames, arm chairs and others. Ratanakkiri refers to the northeastern province where majority of the indigenous population reside. The style is characterized by its dark brown hues and durability.
“Besides furniture, there are many common themes found in the design and aesthetic of each room,” said Tan. “The walls are emblazoned with contrasting pastel green and beige, no wall décor except a rectangular mahogany mirror or handcrafted lamps. Simplicity and elegance is the objective. It’s Khmer contemporary.”
Cara’s style and service expects a heavy price tag, however, the president told Khmer Connection quite oppositely. Hotel Cara is “luxury you can afford,” said Kim Leang. The total construction had skyrocketed to $1.5 million dollars in the two years of development.
The walk-in rate begins as low as $25 USD for the comfy standard single. For a limited time, all rooms including the luxury rooms come with an additional 25% off. The luxury room -- three in total – includes a stylish sofa, two mahogany arm chairs, and a monstrous bath tub. Majority of the furniture are produced locally by Khmer hands while few are imported from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and China.
Cara’s attraction does not stop there. Connecting the four story hotel is the introduction to the city’s newest world class diner, Domrey Fusion Restaurant. Domrey in the Khmer language means “elephant,” offers a wide selection of entrées, appetizers, desserts, and wholesome soups.
According to restaurant manager, Ngoun Vannak, Domrey has over 15 experienced chefs specializing in three types of cuisines: Khmer, Chinese and French.
“You will truly taste the difference in quality at Domrey,” said Vannak.
Domrey Fusion Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at 6 AM to 10 PM. The restaurant offers free high speed WiFi connection.