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Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang: inner workings of Cambodia through Arnaud Zannier’s lens

«I hope my guests will have the same impression of this place that I did when I first arrived», Arnaud says since becoming immersed in the Cambodian way of life

Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang in Siem Reap 

Within the terrains of field surrounding it from all corners, lays Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang in Siem Reap. Coming from the vision of French entrepreneur Arnaud Zannier, the hotel welcomed its first slew of guests in late 2015. Before diving into the service industry, he spent some years in the fashion industry, managing his own shoe company n.d.c made by hand. 

Attempting to shift from the standard formula of churning out hotels, Arnaud desires his undertakings to evoke a personable atmosphere. As a result, he acts as a mirror, reflecting the character of the locality in his endeavors. In a similar spirit, the company is titled after the family’s surnames, in an act designed to being a physical representation of the household’s principles and practices. 

When Arnaud bought the land, the distance from the city was significant but not inaccessible. The hotelier remained confident regarding his decision on account of the rapid expansion of Siem Reap. If nothing else, the property is close by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. Today, Phum Baitang stands with pride between the vicinity of the city center and a historical landmark. 

Phum Baitang’s guiding philosophy is to champion Cambodian culture 

The hotel is situated on twenty acres of land, and its name – which in Cambodian translates to ‘green paradise’ – was extracted by the plant life of the city. «The main idea of Phum Baitang is drawn from the foundation of long-standing Cambodian traditions». Arnaud sought the hotel to be seen as traditional and accommodating of the local population. Farmers from the hotel’s vicinity, for instance, are engaged to maintain the paddy fields, including harvesting rice, whose a portion is regularly distributed to the community. 

The hotel’s design was inspired by Khmer traditions

After travelling at length throughout Cambodia, Arnaud felt prepared to breathe life into his plans for Phum Baitang. «I hoped my guests could have the same impression of this place that I had when I first arrived», he says since becoming immersed in the Cambodian way of life by embracing the culture. 

He began by researching how Khmer people used to erect their homes and live. During his research, he discovered that the employment of bamboo was extensively used in the architecture of traditional Khmer dwellings. Most had a wooden structure and relied on the bordering plantation to shield the house from environmental cues such as harsh winds. Arnaud emphasized that it is not an appropriation, rather a source of inspiration: «It stems from my admiration for the large presence of history that linger in these houses». 

Giving life to Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang 

The site was developed and restructured over a four-year period. Because the grounds were covered in marshes, substantial landscaping was required. However, care was taken in the design to ensure that the biodiversity would not be disturbed and could instead coexist alongside the hotel. 

In terms of the architecture, unlike many other hotel chains, Zannier Hotels has an internal team executing all processes. Given his flair for designing, Arnaud oversees the team and involves himself in depth for the duration of the hotel’s production. Arnaud did, however, outsource key duties and collaborated with third parties to cement his plan. In the case of Phum Baitang, Studio KO, a French architecture company, was tasked with providing insights and substantiate the layout design to assure its durability. 

Wood as the rooms’ principal design element

«Phum Baitang is a simulation of nature, complete with all the colors, sounds, and smells envisioned when nature comes to mind». At Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang, two distinct kinds of rooms are made available to guests. Out of the forty-five villas in total, twenty-five have a private terrace while the remaining twenty are pool villas. All villas are isolated from one another and stand on stilts. There is a garden in every room, where a private supper can be arranged if desired. Because the wood used on the walls, floors, and exterior is of a darker tint, the color tone in the rooms is earthy to establish a common thread.

The bed is positioned in the middle of the bamboo roof to accentuate and draw attention to the space. In a similar fashion, the bedframe is achieved utilizing carved wood. Each piece of furniture in the rooms is an antique. Nonetheless, when creating new furniture, Arnaud references the original sketches used to build home furnishings in Cambodia’s early beginnings. 

The windows in the rooms are modeled after the numerous windows that were once used within traditional Khmer households. Whereas, in Phum Baitang, there’s one sizable opening, a glass window with wooden shutters to illustrate Khmer architecture. Arnaud adds, «you can make out the sounds of frogs croaking, insects buzzing and observe water buffaloes in their natural habitat».

Farm-to-table dining experience 

Guests can keep themselves occupied two bars or two restaurants located within the resort located in the vicinity of the hotel. Ingredients for dishes are procured from the hotel’s garden. The first is a restaurant with a variety of Cambodian specialties called Bay Phsar. Located by the pool, it’s the center of attraction for guests to congregate and idle the day away with cocktails on hand. 

On the other hand, Hang Bay caters towards a crowd who prefers dining Khmer cuisine. Meanwhile, a century-old farmhouse was restored to lay a foundation for a cigar and cocktail bar distinguished for its views of the sunset. 

The future of Zannier Hotels

After ten years of existence, Zannier Hotels is continuing its development. Several projects are currently considered. Arnaud evoked three concrete projects in the works, with one agrofarming project considered in Menorca (Spain) and two other hotel projects unrevealed yet to happen in 2026. A separate business unit is being developed by the team, called Zannier Private Estates, that will offer family homes for private use with the same level of service as their hotel brands.

Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang

Sangkat Svaydangkum, Neelka Way, Krong Siem Reap 17254, Cambodia

Forty-five stilted villas modelled on a traditional Khmer village, surrounded by twenty acres on the threshold of ancient Angkor Wat, in Cambodia.

Sahadev Chhetri

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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