Udaya is a Sanskrit word which, amongst other meanings, is related to rising up, the dawn, and ascent. By staying at Udaya Residence you’ll have the feeling of ascending to a new level of relaxation as you enjoy the boutique hotel’s excellent hospitality. You’ll also feel great knowing that you’re contributing to advancing a family-owned business in this developing country with a growing economy.
Unless you set an alarm, though, you won’t be up with the dawn at Udaya Residences. Unlike at many Cambodian hotels, you can’t hear roosters or traffic from your room and Udaya’s staff take care to be quiet. They’ve even applied a fabric cushioning under chairs and other furniture, so they there’s no noise when your upstairs neighbour slides them across the tile floor — a rare and thoughtful touch.
You’ll be in one of Udaya’s 22 rooms, in either one of the two buildings surrounding the saltwater pool or in a building behind the restaurant, all surrounded by gardens. Rooms are large and have subtle Khmer decorations. The rooms are spacious and have plenty of space for storage, plus a desk, large safe and TV. A double-sided mirror in the sink area, open to the bedroom, is ideal for two people wanting to get ready at the same time.
Our room has a king-size bed, decorated daily with flower petals, atop a wooden pedestal and a stunning carved wooden ceiling. We have a separate shower room and toilet room as well. First floor rooms like ours have glass doors out to the pool. Upstairs rooms have a balcony overlooking the pool, some rooms also have a separate private terrace, ideal for a romantic candlelit dinner. Book the presidential suite for an outdoor rain shower and pool-like bathtub.
The saltwater pool is in the centre of the hotel. It’s surrounded by curtained sunbeds and has two beautiful elephant sculptures at one end. Udaya’s restaurant is at the other end. Rates include a buffet breakfast with delicious pastries, fruits from the farm of the owners, and a variety of western and Asian hot dishes. The chef generously offered to cook eggs to order for Paul, wanting to be sure his breakfast was allergen-free. Not only that, but other restaurant staff were briefed on his allergies and were fully prepared at our next meal. This is a kindness and thoroughness that is rare even at the world’s top luxury chains and is a tremendous relief for an allergy-sufferer.
Your stay at Udaya will undoubtedly include visiting the Angkor temples and other local sites. Arrange bespoke day tours through Udaya; guides are specifically selected to go above and beyond and offer deeper insights into Khmer culture and Cambodian history than many other tours. Booking a photo tour to Phnom Kulen, for example, includes a tripod to borrow and photography advice so you can learn how to make your photos of waterfalls look as smooth as silk.
Be sure to save time to visit the spa. Book the traditional Khmer herbal compress massage — not only will it cure you of any aches and pains from the steep steps at the temples, you’ll be so relaxed you’ll float back to your room in a daze afterward.
Udaya is one of those rare hotels that makes you feel welcomed and special. Book early as this Cambodian gem is often sold out well in advance.