Hospitality Complex for Angkor

Naomi Collett Ritz / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Construction on the main building of the visitor center began late last year and is on schedule to finish before the end of 2016. Provided

An Angkor hospitality complex is being built on the site of the 20th century Air France Hotel along the western moat of Angkor Wat. 
The project includes a rest area, shops and restaurants – but no hotel, as early reports previously indicated.
“During the 20th century there was a hotel there under French rule,” Apsara Authority spokesperson Long Kosal said, “but this hotel is now gone. Our current project has nothing to do with accommodation.”
“It is not a commercial complex, and it will never be,” Mr. Long explained. “It is a welcome center. In French they call it ‘parvis.’ It will be a welcome space in which there will be an information center, a rest area, parking, bathrooms, some souvenir shops and local restaurants; a sort of integrated area where all hospitality would be provided.”
A similar parvis project was built in 2009 at Banteay Srey, 40 kilometers north of Siem Reap. 
Apsara Authority granted the authorization of the project last year only after consulting with the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor). “Every procedure will be applied with international standards,” Mr. Long confirmed.
“It is also important to note that the designs and materials used for the buildings are all in the Cambodian architectural context,” Mr. Long explained. “Even the colors of the structures, the roofs and decorations, exterior and interior – are all Cambodian. There is no foreign or external influence on the design.”
Last year’s Angkor Sangkranta archway was burned in the middle of night by arsonists who were upset by the seemingly Vietnamese designs incorporated in the structure. A renovated second archway was redesigned before celebrations at Angkor began the following week.
Under the supervision of the deputy director general of Apsara Authority Uk Someth, a company called Parvis Angkor Inc. is developing the complex. 
The parvis center hopes to provide people with a place to fully inform themselves before exploring the temples, as well as a safe and comfortable place to rest. 
Some Siem Reap residents hope that the complex’s information center will be more comprehensive than the tour guides that showed them around the temples. Recently, visitors have complained that their tour guides knew little more than what could be found in a guidebook, and were unable to provide context to the cultural, historical or architectural aspects of the Angkor park. The center aims to help explain Siem Reap’s deep cultural history – and will also include practical amenities, like being wheelchair accessible. 
“It is one of our priorities,” Mr. Long insisted. 

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