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Bokor’s historic landmark gets a new lease of life

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
The new-look Le Bokor Palace Hotel in Preah Monivong National Park in southern Cambodia. Supplied

The Le Bokor Palace Hotel, commonly known as the Old Casino on Bokor Mountain, has been renovated by Sokha Hotels and Resorts and will likely reopen to welcome tourists early this year.

Frugere F Philippe, the General Manager of Sokha Hotels and Resorts, was quoted in local media on Monday as saying that the Le Bokor Palace Hotel is an historic and heritage building in Cambodia and the company had renovated it, retaining its features and recreating a colonial-style interior with imported Italian toiletries and special bricks imported from Spain.

“After the renovation, this huge colonial building will be opened in early 2018, with 36 luxurious rooms and two restaurants that showcase the luxury of the past, gourmet and Khmer cuisine with Khmer Royal family meals,” Mr Philippe said.

He added that the Le Bokor Palace Hotel was well preserved and had a lot of history going back to colonial times and also to Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s early days.

Beautiful Bokor: An old temple near the top of Bokor Mountain in Preah Monivong National Park. The old colonial-era hotel nearby has been renovated and will open to guests in the next couple of months. KT/ALAN PARKHOUSE

The Bokor Hill Station is a collection of French colonial buildings including a hotel and casino, a church, a royal residence and more, constructed as a temperate mountain luxury resort and retreat for colonial residents in the early 1920s atop Bokor Mountain in Preah Monivong National Park, about 37 kilometres west of Kampot in southern Cambodia.

Abandoned for long periods of time, a modern road and infrastructure has made the location easily accessible and some redevelopment has taken place.

Kim Bunthan, the Chief Planning Officer at Kampot’s Tourism Department, told Khmer Times that Bokor Mountain has a lot of potential for the tourism sector in nearby Kampot, especially the old buildings on the mountain and the colonial-era casino.

Many of the old buildings have undergone repairs and maintenance since 2013, while repairs on the hotel started in 2015 to make sure all the buildings were safe for visitors, according to Mr Bunthan.

“Tourists can still visit and look at the old buildings, especially the casino, which is not 100 percent renovated so far,” he said. “Doing such renovations is to protect the building from breaking down and to conserve them to attract more tourists to visit the mountain.”

In 2017, Kampot welcomed 1.6 million tourists, both local and international, according to the provincial tourism department.

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