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TRIBE Phnom Penh, much more than a hotel

Gareth Johnson

Marketed under the collective noun of TRIBE, one of the latest international hotels to open in Phnom Penh prides itself on being a destination that “responds to the needs of the modern traveler”. CIR Life & Luxury was invited to see what it was like to eat, sleep, drink and even work here. 

Located in the trendy Post Office Square by the Phnom Penh riverside, the project officially opened this month after preparing for the launch over the year. 

The brand is majority owned by Accor, the French hotel giant, who has previously said it was in negotiations to develop more than 50 of the hotels around the world.

To read more about the expansion plans for TRIBE in Phnom Penh click here.

TRIBE Phnom Penh not only has all the amenities you’d expect but also offers a modern twist to the deluxe hotel concept.

This includes a huge co-working area, multiple restaurants, and a rooftop bar and restaurant experience to rival anything currently available in the city. Or as they put it themselves “Phnom Penh’s new social hub”. 

Staying at TRIBE Phnom Penh

CIR Life & Luxury was immediately introduced to the TRIBE vibe as soon as you arrive. Far from having stuffily dressed porters, there’s a huge sign saying the name of the hotel, colored lights more reminiscent of a nightclub with staff dressed casually in branded T-shirts. 

Something which was very much deliberate according to Marketing and Communications Manager Sabina de Groot Malikova.

“We want a relaxed less stuffy environment compared to a traditional high-end hotel, where people can relax and just be themselves,” she explained.

From the entrance, we were taken up to the lobby, or as Sabina and her team call it the “common area” and it really is different from what you’d get in a standard hotel. 

While you won’t find a concierge here, they do have the 24-hour TRIBE Express (in place of room service), a swimming pool, a gym, and most intriguingly the whole co-working area.

CIR Life & Luxury’s Gareth Johnson inspects the newly launched TRIBE Phnom Penh hotel rooms.

This consists of private booths, tables, rooms with screens that can be hired for presentations, and affordable coffee and snacks.

Sabina explained: “We have tried to create an atmosphere where people are happy to not just work, but be themselves. This combined with our great coffees and snacks makes us a great alternative to just sitting in a bland coffee shop”.

She was not wrong about everyone being welcome either, with the “common area” when we came at least being dominated by people taking photos, or aiming videos around the premises, again something not unusual. 

According to Sabina: “People regularly come in to just take photos and we are fine with that. We’ve already had a few influencers in, which has helped spread the word. If people want to come to check us out and take photos then we have no problem with that”. 

Regarding rooms, TRIBE Phnom Penh has again tried to innovate, while remaining competitive.

General Manager Nicolas Girard told us: “We have tried to hit the middle-ground of providing a high-end experience with affordability. We only have four standards of rooms, starting at around $90, and rising just $10 each per upgrade”. 

The rooftop bar and restaurant known as Hemisphere.

Thus the rooms are not only all roughly the same, size, but also offer everything you need, without the stuff you don’t. There are multiple plug sockets, a shower, and extremely comfortable beds, perhaps a balcony if you have spent a bit more, and next to no single-use plastics.

Nicolas explained: “Our glass bottled water can be refilled, our amenities dispensers are made from recycled plastic, with only our coffee cream and milk not yet being eco-friendly, although this is an issue we are actively trying to solve”. 

To read more about eco-friendly tourism in Cambodia click here.

So far bookings had been steady according to Nicolas, despite the hotel not yet being fully finished. 

“We currently have 92 rooms open, with eventual capacity being 260. Although they will be in the same style as the others. We will have no Presidential suites or the like. As we like to say we are inclusive, rather than exclusive,” he added.

A roof with a view – Hemisphere Bar and Restaurant 

Probably the pinnacle of a visit to TRIBE Phnom Penh and perhaps the arena which could make them a local favorite though is a trip to their rooftop bar and restaurant known as Hemisphere.

The hotel recently welcomed over 150 International Business Chamber (IBC) members and guests as the chamber looks to expands its face-to-face networking opportunities.

To read more about the IBC networking event at TRIBE Phnom Penh click here.

Over 150 guests attended the IBC networking event at TRIBE Phnom Penh.

It features not only a Mad Maxesque car, AKA the Mezcal Mad Memories 21 (MMM21) converted into a bar, but sublime views of the Mekong River, as well as great and affordable food and drinks in a deluxe setting. In particular, their excellently crafted cocktails could probably rival anything currently available in the capital. 

The list consists of 15 firm favorites, as well as 15 signature cocktails, all excellently crafted by F&B manager and 2014 Cambodian bartender of the year Chengly Vy, also known as Dr. Strange. 

These are both wide in scope and flavor and often with a “healthy” element, such as the Greenery Scenery, and the Hemiscure. 

There is also a penchant for incorporating the often misunderstood Mexican liquor Mezcal, all expertly crafted by the young team, with enough flair bartending to make a seat at the bar worth your while. 

From a food point of view, the menu represents the international flair of TRIBE Phnom Penh, featuring well-priced classics, such as tuna tataki and beef carpaccio, all the way up to a $120 Tomahawk steak. 

Open kitchen facilities at Hemisphere.

There was though also an effort for regionalisation, with Thai executive chef Jatupom Tanthaphat telling us: “We try and source as much of our ingredients locally, as well as adding Khmer spices where possible. We also have some fusion dishes which locals will recognise, such as lok lac”.

However, the food options do not stop there, there are also several other restaurants either located on the premises, covering French, Japanese, Italian, and Chinese cosines. 

To read more about fine-dining in Phnom Penh click here.

This one-stop shop thus creates a venue that will not only keep guests in-house but also hopefully at least offer enough diversity to draw in the local crowd. 

Just how much of an impact TRIBE Phnom Penh will have on the local hotel is yet to be seen, but Phnom Penh now has a new venue that if nothing else is genuinely unique. 

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