Following an extensive renovation of the iconic Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC), the Avani Hotels & Resorts managed property has reopened, combining Siem Reap’s, Cambodia, colonial heritage with midcentury modern charm.
Located across from the Royal Independence Gardens and Royal Residence, FCC Angkor was once home to the elegant mansion of the French colonial governor, as well as the renowned Foreign Correspondent’s Club – a place that holds an abundance of history and recognised as a popular meeting place for international journalists, celebrities and travellers from around the world.
Surrounded by towering, centuries-old trees and lush tropical flora, FCC Angkor is a beautiful recreation, from the restored Mansion restaurant, to the newly build bar – Scribe and 80 welcoming, classically renewed rooms and suites. Inspired by nature, the entire space oozes warmth and perfectly reinforces the vision from the original architect Gary Fell, who effortlessly blended tropical modernity with its French colonial history.
When FCC Angkor began its restoration, it was imperative that the cultural foundations of the property and its surrounding community were carefully maintained. Spearheading this unique project was Malee Whitcraft – the Dutch-born, Bangkok-based talent, in conjunction with Phnom Penh-based Bloom Architecture. Together they conceptualised the main themes of a home where travellers are able to fully embrace the FCC tradition of passing travellers trading stories. A dedicated team of talented designers from Bloom Architecture elegantly presented the vision of the reception area, room façade and Scribe bar.
The historic mansion remains the focal point, anchoring the resort’s look and feel from the past into the present. Discrete references of the signature French-tropical architectural style are used throughout the new structure. From the vertical louvers and whitewashed facade to the Khmer art and open spaces that over look the picturesque gardens, every structural element highlights true elegance, charm and historical beauty.
Seamlessly blending traditional with contemporary, the areas surrounding the mansion perfectly reflect the natural and historical beauty. Presented through understated yet respectful and effective touches, areas including the garden-surrounded lobby and the bridge connecting the historic mansion to the newly built event space are perfect examples. Throughout the property, modern touches upgrade the existing building, whilst the new structures have design features that echo The Mansion’s classic lines.
Conceptually, design was as much influenced by the landscape as by the history of the place. Terraces shielded by a canopy of trees and balconies respectfully constructed around pre-existing flora open into all the new 80 guest rooms and suites, each decorated with vintage typewriters and framed front pages of regional newspapers.
FCC Angkor’s intimate scale gives it a distinctly residential feel, with airy rooms and natural light streaming in through large windows framing the tropical paradise outside. Guests with an eye for inspiring detail will delight in discovering charming old clocks, rotary dial phones, Khmer carvings, traditional tiles, and antique clay pots among guestroom décor.
Travellers can also restore themselves with a signature treatment at Visaya Spa or relax at one of the two outdoor saltwater pools.
Restored to its former glory as the place to dine in town, the Mansion restaurant boasts from structurally delightful high ceilings that radiate natural light and take advantage of tropical breezes. The restaurant allows guests to enjoy local and international culinary favourites whilst soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. Guests also have the option to enjoy Scribe, a contemporary take on the colonial-era bar, adorned with copper, wood, and sandstone. Day or evening, visitors can wander across the bridge literally connecting old to new, admiring local artwork exhibited in the Gallery or also explore the gardens featuring intricate hand-carved statues from Artisans d’Angkor as well as trees and plants cultivated through the generations on the property and preserved through the construction.
As part of FCC Angkor’s community outreach and commitment to empowering women, local weaving villages have been engaged to produce bed runners and chair cushions exhibiting the kind of exquisite craftsmanship that makes the resort a treat for all the senses. The use of natural materials, such as stone slabs and recycled wood, throughout the property adds warmth and character to the otherwise deliberately minimalist décor.
FCC Angkor is managed by Avani Hotels & Resorts, and is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts. FCC Angkor has opened in all its splendour as the first renovated heritage hotel within the FCC Collection, with sister property FCC Phnom Penh currently undergoing renovation and anticipated to open in November 2020.