We opened in Siem Reap in 2006. At the time, there were almost no hotels, but it was beautiful, undiscovered, – a blank slate.
Our tiny nine-room hotel was down a sandy road next to a pond where a thousand frogs sang every night. Buffalos roamed around, we routinely found snakes, and it felt remote.
We were the first gay-friendly boutique hotel in the city and we wanted it to be a safe place for staff to work, whether they were LGTBQ or anything else; we were open to all. Our only criteria when hiring was openness and friendliness.
Back then, Siem Reap was one of the poorest regions in the country and people were eager to work. Many had farming backgrounds, they had worked in their family’s rice fields, but never anywhere else.
This was the first generation after the war; they were all around 19 or 20, they hadn’t received any formal education or had access to real infrastructure. Hotel work was completely new and we trained everyone in-house extensively. Our staff was fantastic, they wanted to learn and make their lives better.
The hotel was packed from day one, we had no website, only a phone number and email address. Our guests found us mostly by word-of-mouth. There were big five-star hotels and very basic guesthouses, but nothing in between, and we filled that gap.
The hotel was designed to feel like a Khmer village, but with all modern amenities. There was nothing like us in the city.
Three years later, we added a resort with 16 rooms and then expanded into Phnom Penh in 2013 with a 19-room resort. Most recently, in 2016, we opened the Urban Residences our business model has remained the same, and several of our early staff is still with us.
Rambutan Hotel and Resort Siem Reap
Services Maintenance and Internet Service.