Raffles lights up Christmas Tree, lights up hope

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Children pick their Christmas ‘icons’ to be decorated on the Christmas Tree. KT/Fabien Mouret

‘Tis the season to be jolly, indeed! Khmer Times’ Anith Adilah Othman joins the Christmas Tree lighting of Phnom Penh’s Raffles Hotel Le Royal, and finds out how the luxury boutique hotel turns this festive season into a more meaningful and charitable celebration.

The time has come once again for us to bask in the festive spirit of Christmas. In conjunction with the magical season, Raffles Hotel Le Royal had officially lit up its very own Christmas Tree in front of The Writer’s Bar during a special ceremony on Wednesday.

A choir composed of 23 Khmer students from the Cambodia Adventist School brought additional merriment to the evening by performing classic Christmas numbers such as ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’, ‘Christmas Angels’, ‘Super Duper Christmas’, ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and the ‘Little Drummer Boy’.

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Clad in their maroon-and-white school uniform, the children between the age of 10 and 19 belted out their favourite tunes from the mezzanine, overlooking the grand lobby where guests gathered near the decked out tree.

Conducted by teacher Leng Vanny and accompanied by the in-house pianist, the choir will also make four other appearances throughout the month for the hotel’s Christmas Carols Afternoon Tea sessions on December 9, 16, 23 and 24 at 4pm and 5pm.

They will also be raising funds for the non-profit group, ‘Meet Me in Heaven’.

Those interested can join in the fun by purchasing a glass of champagne for USD14++ or treat yourself and loved ones with the special tea set at USD20++ per pax.

In his opening speech, cluster general manager Oliver Dudler thanked guests for their participation and reminded everyone the joy of giving, especially during this festivity.

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He announced that the hotel will donate 10 percent from every festive season booking – from the special afternoon tea to the Christmas feast – made during the event to a community development organisation called ‘Sunrise Cambodia’.

‘Sunrise Cambodia’ was founded by Geraldine Cox, who started out by helping a group of displaced war orphans living in appalling conditions close to the Cambodian-Thai border in early 1990s.

“It is a truly magical time of the year, when families and friends come together to feast and to have fun, but it is also a religious festival to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

“Christmas is about giving and sharing. And it is in this spirit that Sunrise Cambodia, which has been focusing on the country’s most vulnerable children and the communities they live in, was invited to set up a booth on this evening,” Mr Dudler said.

Guests can also contribute further by purchasing Christmas Tree ornaments from the hotel’s concierge for USD3.00. They can then write their names or any message on the ornament and hang it on the tree, along with other glorious tinsels and glittering lights.

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“All proceeds from the sale of these Christmas ornaments will go to the charity and we will present all the proceeds to the children of Sunrise Cambodia on January 1.

“Please support us, as we help to rebuild their lives and make their wishes come true,” he added, to the guests’ applause and cheers.

The five-star establishment also offers other festive promotions including buffet dinners at Cafe Monivong featuring traditional favourites like honey glazed ham and roasted turkey on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for $95++ per pax.

If you cannot decide between breakfast or lunch on Christmas Day, head on over to Restaurant Le Royal for a wonderful brunch offering menus such as smoked salmon, foie gras, oyster and imported farmhouse for $120++ with free-flow signature wine or $150++ with free-flow champagne.

Raffles Spa is also offering a slashdown on its THANN gift set this holiday season. Restore balance in your body, mind and soul with a 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage at a discounted price.


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