Famed Siem Reap Foreign Correspondents' Club Re-Opens as a Hotel

A former governor's mansion and home base for countless news correspondents, the FCC Siem Reap is now a hotel for all.

Back in the day - after the Khmer Rouge was kicked out of power, weary foreign correspondents based in Cambodia would come to swap stories, smoke cigarettes, drink cocktails and lay their heads at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Siem Reap.

It was the beginning of Cambodia's resurrection - Angkor Wat and the other famous temples nearby were beginning to be reclaimed from the jungle and the country was slowly recovering from the horrific genocide that occurred in the years between 1975 and 1979.

Today, following an extensive renovation of one of Siem Reap's most treasured colonial sites, the historic FCC Mansion has reopened its doors as FCC Angkor, managed by Avani Hotels & Resorts.

Built in 1917, the Foreign Correspondents Club or FCC was formerly the French Governor's residence, during the waning days of colonial rule. Located across from the Royal Independence Gardens and Royal Residence, FCC Angkor was once home to the elegant mansion of the French colonial governor, as well as the renowned Foreign Correspondents' Club - a place that holds an abundance of history and is recognized as a popular meeting place for international journalists, celebrities and travelers from around the world.

FCC Siem Reap Cambodia
The historic FCC Mansion has reopened its doors as FCC Angkor, managed by Avani Hotels & Resorts, a glamorous resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Avani Hotels & Resorts

Surrounded by towering, centuries-old trees and lush tropical flora, FCC Angkor is a beautiful recreation, from the restored Mansion restaurant to its newly built Scribe Bar and 80 welcoming, classically-renewed rooms and suites. Inspired by nature, the entire space oozes warmth and perfectly reinforces the vision of the original architect Gary Fell, who effortlessly blended tropical modernity with French colonial history.

When FCC Angkor began its restoration, it was imperative that the cultural foundations of the property and its surrounding community were carefully maintained. Spearheading this unique project was Malee Whitcraft – the Dutch-born, Bangkok-based talent, in conjunction with Phnom Penh-based Bloom Architecture. Together they conceptualized the main themes of a home away from home where travelers are able to fully embrace the FCC tradition of passing travelers trading stories.

Seamlessly blending traditional with contemporary, the areas surrounding the mansion boast understated yet respectful and effective touches, including a garden-surrounded lobby and a bridge connecting the historic mansion to a newly-built event space. Throughout the property, modern touches upgrade the existing building, whilst the new structures have design features that echo The Mansion's classic lines.

FCC Siem Reap Cambodia exterior
Restored to its former glory as the place to dine in town, the Mansion also features beautiful outdoor dining areas. Avani Hotels & Resorts

FCC Angkor's intimate scale gives it a distinctly residential feel, with airy rooms and natural light streaming in through large windows framing the tropical paradise outside. Guests with an eye for inspiring detail will delight in discovering charming old clocks, rotary dial phones, Khmer carvings, traditional tiles, and antique clay pots among guestroom décor.

Travelers can also restore themselves with a signature treatment at Visaya Spa or relax at one of the two outdoor saltwater pools.

Restored to its former glory as the place to dine in town, the Mansion restaurant features delightful high ceilings that radiate natural light and take advantage of tropical breezes. The restaurant allows guests to enjoy local and international culinary favorites whilst soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. Guests also have the option to enjoy Scribe, a contemporary take on the colonial-era bar, adorned with copper, wood, and sandstone. Day or evening, visitors can wander across the bridge literally connecting old to new, admiring local artwork exhibited in the Gallery or exploring gardens featuring intricate hand-carved statues from Artisans d'Angkor as well as trees and plants cultivated through the generations and preserved through the construction.

As part of FCC Angkor's community outreach and commitment to empowering women, local weaving villages have been engaged to produce bed runners and chair cushions exhibiting the kind of exquisite craftsmanship that makes the resort a treat for all the senses. The use of natural materials such as stone slabs and recycled wood throughout the property adds warmth and character to the otherwise deliberately minimalist décor.