What’s special about Sala Lodges is that guests get to stay in a Cambodian stilt house but with all the comforts of a five-star hotel…
What’s special about Sala Lodges is that guests get to stay in a real Cambodian stilt house but with all the services and comforts of a five-star hotel and a green, sustainable ethos. Located just a short drive from Siem Reap and its famous temple complexes, you can also enjoy our spa and salt-water pool.
Simone, my wife, got the inspiration for Sala Lodges when we were travelling around the Cambodian countryside and saw some beautiful homes. We thought: “Maybe we could make a village using traditional wooden stilt houses and convert them into high-quality rooms.” The concept was also inspired by a place called Ballenberg, a village back in Switzerland where each house comes from a different valley in the Alps.
Eventually, we sourced homes from three different provinces: Siem Reap, Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom. Built between 1956 and 1985, each house has its own unique history, architecture and design. The families selling wanted to upgrade to modern, concrete buildings but were very happy that we were preserving their heritage homes, which had been passed down through the generations.
Next, we dismantled the stilt houses and transported them to a greenfield site near Siem Reap to rebuild. We were careful to preserve each building’s original architecture while adding modern luxuries. We even invited the original owners to come and stay when we opened in 2013. There’s also a booklet in each room so guests can learn about the history of the stilt house they’re staying in.
It was very important to us that we make Sala Lodges a sustainable property. So, we’ve used original materials and green construction methods. I can confidently say that nothing has come from outside of Cambodia, except for me and my wife! Every single plant in our garden is native and we’ve had a no-plastic policy in place for years. We’re also working on getting an eco-friendly certification from Travelife.
We like to give back to the community too, so we take part in local projects around Siem Reap and I teach leadership in hospitality at the Paul Dubrule School of Hospitality and Tourism. In Cambodia, aside from guiding or agriculture, most people work in the hospitality field. We recruit all of our staff locally, often from the vocational training schools that we support, in particular Salai Bai, which provides education to the poorest around Siem Reap and Tonlé Sap Lake.
Our guests say they really enjoy the privacy and peaceful feel of Sala Lodges, as well as the proximity to Siem Reap for sightseeing. People like to relax in our exotic gardens and try gourmet Cambodian cuisine in the restaurant, which serves traditional dishes like hot pot soup Chnanh Kdao and a five-course Khmer Discovery Menu.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like James, who's travelled extensively in Cambodia. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the celebrity chef who can help you to rustle up home cooked Khmer meals, the guide who can show you the less-touristed parts of Angkor Wat and the locals who can give you a real insight into traditional village life.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656