Avani Hotels and Resorts has announced the reopening of the historic Foreign Correspondents Club Mansion hotel in Siem Reap following extensive renovations.
Located across the Royal Independence Gardens and Royal Residence, FCC Angkor boasts a rich history as former home to the French colonial governor, and a meeting spot for journalists, celebrities and travellers from around the globe.
Original architect Gary Fell designed the pre-existing mansion to blend tropical modernity with elements of its legacy. Dutch-born, Bangkok-based designer Malee Whitcraft had led restoration efforts in collaboration with Phnom Penh-based Bloom Architecture, who presented the concept for the reception area, room façade and bar. Together, they sought to maintain the cultural foundations of the property and its surrounding community, conceptualising the main theme of a home where travellers may embrace FCC traditions.
The historic mansion remains the focal point of the property, anchoring the resort’s look and feel from the past into the present. French-tropical architectural references are used in the new structure, including vertical louvers, a whitewashed façade, Khmer art and open spaces that overlook the greenery.
The bridge – which connects the old building to the new – and lobby are surrounded by the gardens, further blending natural and historical features. The influence of the surrounding landscape is also seen in the hotel’s 80 guestrooms, with balconies that open onto a canopy of trees. Large windows frame the tropical views and allow natural sunlight to enter. Other details in the rooms include vintage typewriters, framed front pages of regional newspapers, antique clocks, rotary dial phones, Khmer carvings, traditional tiles and antique clay pots.
As part of the hotel’s commitment to respecting their community and empowering women, it has approached local weaving villages to produce materials such as bed runners and chair cushions. Natural materials, such as stone slabs and recycled wood have been used throughout the property to add character to the minimalist décor.
High ceilings in the restaurant allow for natural light and breezes to flow through, whilst guests enjoy local cuisine, and elsewhere, Scribe – the resort’s contemporary take on the colonial-era bar – incorporates materials such as copper, wood and sandstone. Crossing the bridge, local artworks are displayed in the gallery as well as hand-carved statues from Artisans d’Angkor in the gardens. The resort also includes the Visaya spa and two outdoor saltwater pools.