Arunreas’ general manager, Nicolas Juralina, was recently interviewed by the folks at Cambodge Mag to whom he explained a little more of the hotel’s concept. Below is a translation of the published article, which you'll find here.
Arunreas, at the heart of the Khmer dawn Arunreas, literally the dawn or the day when a concept precious to Khmer civilisation since ancient times arose, is an homage to Surya, the Hindu Sun God who organises the cycles of nature and man in harmony with the moon according to the Buddhist religion and Khmer calendars. In this building, which was once the American Embassy in Phnom Penh, Arunreas’ creator, Arnaud Darc, the man who has presided over the destiny of the hospitality group, Thalias, wanted to create a unique and ambitious concept that would unite luxury, tradition and contemporary arts.
“The Arunreas adventure is the vision of one man, Arnaud Darc,” explains Nicolas Juralina, his associate in charge of the hotel and restaurant Khéma. “The principle was to create a project that would harmoniously combine contemporary elements with symbols from the purest Khmer traditions, made by artisans and Khmer artists.
The entrance of the building is oriented towards the sunrise, symbol of the starting day. And importantly, as tradition requires, each part of the building, and therefore its guests, are also protected by a divinity, as here, above the entrance, by the God Ganesha remover of obstacles, and also the God of wisdom, intelligence, of education and prudence,” says Nicolas.
The hotel lobby perhaps best illustrates the passage between eras. While the walls harbour sculptures and bas reliefs sculpted in the style of Angkor and carefully highlighted with discreet lighting, the furnishings, tables and canapés are resolutely modern and kept in discreet tones to contrast with the ochre, earth and copper sculptures that overhang them.
On the way to the suites, Nicolas elaborates. “The hotel creates an aesthetic interplay between the contemporary and the ancient as much on the exterior as in the interior, but also in the more neutral locations, often neglected in hotel decor, such as the corridors. Here, for example, we have a God who protects the bedrooms of the hotel, together with the paintings of Cambodian contemporary artist, Chhim Sothy.”
The bedrooms also reflect this search for harmony and aesthetics in the crossing of styles. Here we find the bas reliefs, wall sculptures clothed in silk that matches the bed and armchairs, and the same delicate lighting. But the divine surprise is still a few steps away…
A quiet space with a wall sculpture representing bathing scenes from the Angkor era, the bathroom offers two spaces, one for the bath and the other for the shower, with the recurring presence of traditional murals integrated into a modern space with natural lighting.
Arunreas is not just an original and unique experience in Phnom Penh, it’s also a hotel directed largely towards business people from across Asia. Beyond the comfort of a luxury hotel, Arunreas also offers a range of services that allows business travellers to feel they are in a space that facilitates their work, and also their need to relax. Set in the very heart of town, a few hundred metres from the principal boulevards, Arunreas is the ideal stop-off for those for whom time is precious.
An iPhone with local SIM card as well as every amenity provided by properties accustomed to business clients are available in every room. Above all, the restaurant Khéma, part of the same group and reference point for high-quality French cuisine in the Kingdom, is on the same premises. Patronised by company directors, local business groups, politicians, Khmer expatriates and numerous members of the royal family, Arunreas couldn’t find a better partner than Khéma for organising business lunches and dinners for its clients, or simply for offering an excellent French meal.