Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Battambang boutique hotel that has hosted A-list celebrities

The Battambang boutique hotel that has hosted A-list celebrities

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
When filming First They Killed My Father, Angelina Jolie spent 10 days staying in a traditional Khmer house on the outskirts of Battambang town. Yousos Apdoulrashim

The Battambang boutique hotel that has hosted A-list celebrities

Other than being known as an art-hub, Battambang province is also famous for its beautiful colonial buildings, as well as being the setting for the Angelina Jolie-directed blockbuster First They Killed My Father.

During shooting, the Hollywood actress spent several days staying in a peaceful traditional Khmer house located on the outskirts of Battambang town – Maisons Wat Kor.

Today guests can be seen snapping pictures in the same place where Jolie had just a few years earlier on the wooden terrace perched on a lotus pond at Maisons Wat Kor.

Two pictures of Jolie with her former husband Brad Pitt, posing with owner Kem Nou and hotel staff, are still displayed in reception and in front of the room in which the stars spent several nights.

“Angelina Jolie stayed here with her former husband Brad Pitt for 10 days when she was filming First They Killed My Father in 2016,” said Nou, owner of Maisons Wat Kor, which opened in 2013.

The peaceful traditional Khmer houses, the environment and the friendly neighbourhood attracted the Hollywood stars, according to Nou.

The traditional Khmer houses have been built and decorated using recycled wooden materials, and they are surrounded by nearly half an acre of lush greenery, a pond and a swimming pool.

Named after the Wat Kor pagoda, a Buddhist temple located nearby, the homestay offers visitors a taste of local customs and cuisine.

Nou, a veteran of the tourism industry, told The Post: “We have three houses; Peth, Kantaing and the Khmer house. We are building two more houses, Raung Dorl and Raung Doeung.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A large room at Maisons Wat Kor costs between $120 and $180 per room per night. Hong Menea

According the Maisons Wat Kor’s website, the name Peth comes from the Khmer word banhchheth which means oblique, referring to their hipped roofs. Kantaing, a name which is an adaptation of China’s Guangdong province, are commonly seen on the edge of the Mekong River where Chinese settlers established themselves. While Khmer houses were once reserved for high-ranking officers or monks living in Buddhist monasteries.

Former Institute of Technology of Cambodia student Nou launched the boutique hotel in 2013 based on the principle of providing authentic and pleasant hospitality based on local culture and an eco-friendly ethos.

“When I graduated from the institute, I opened a tour company with French partners. After leaving the group, I launched the boutique hotel in Battambang,” Nou recalled.

“When guests come to visit a place, they want to know that place. So if we build a hotel similar to what they have in their homeland, it won’t be appealing. So we stick to local customs but we create a more comfortable environment, such as providing a high-end bathroom and good quality authentic Khmer food,” he said.

One such Khmer food set menu costs $12, and includes a chicken salad, beef sour soup, fish amok and dessert Num EE.

Nou said that he hopes to keep traditional Khmer architecture alive through his hotel.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt pose with owner Kem Nou (far left). Photo supplied

“People who come here say ‘It’s beautiful’ and I reply ‘Yes! In fact the houses look more beautiful than mine’. I want to inspire them to preserve their houses. Modern homes are becoming hybrid designs with other countries’ style,” he said.

“We also want to show Khmer style hospitality. We make friends with our guests rather than provide a five star service. We do it the traditional Khmer way – the staff communicate with guests like they are friends so they feel that they are in their own homes.”

Though the hotel has plenty of land, it does not have a parking lot, preferring to dedicate the space to plants, a lotus pond, traditional wooden boats, bicycles, fishing instruments and a salt water swimming pool.

Nou said that Jolie has returned to visit once since the culmination of filming for First They Killed My Father.

“Last April, she came to produce a commercial photo shoot for a French perfume. She came with teams of photographers from France and Hollywood. But Jolie did not stay here that time, only her team members, while she stayed at her home in Samlout district.”

A large room at Maisons Wat Kor costs between $120 and $180 per room per night. They can be contacted via email ([email protected]) or you can visit their website (www.maisonswatkor.com).

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday expressed frustration over claims by Sam Rainsy that he had altered Rainsy’s ticket with Thai Airways to prevent him boarding his November 7 flight to Thailand, from where he had claimed he would enter Cambodia. Hun Sen made the

  • PM urges ‘democracies’ to learn from horrors Cambodia faced

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday chided countries that he said declared themselves a democracy while supporting a military coup that eventually gave birth to the Khmer Rouge regime. Speaking during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit at the Peace Palace, Hun Sen said without naming those

  • Princess Buppha Devi passes away aged 77

    Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, who was famous for her skills and key roles behind the Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, passed away on Monday from unspecified illness at a hospital in the Thai capital Bangkok, according to the official Facebook page of King Norodom Sihamoni. “May

  • PM: Request for release of plotters not due to pressure

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said his request to have the supporters of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his “coup plot” released on bail was not made under international pressure. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 34 roads in Preah Sihanouk

  • Ministry deplores RFA report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday deplored as fake news a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report that it had received a copy of the European Commission’s assessment on the human rights situation in Cambodia as part of the Everything But