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Nathalie Saphon Ridel
Maison Polanka

TOMO Hotelier

What do you consider your team’s greatest achievement?
The service and family spirit is incredible. I dreamt of providing discreet and classy service, a mixture of what I experienced in the Aman hotels, combined with Sandoway resort in Ngapali where the empowered team makes you feel home. Maison Polanka team created a very special experience in its service, at the same time generous, inventive, genuine and authentic.

What do you most value in a hotel for your own holidays?
The service, the comfort in the room and the food!

What is one place nearby that every one of your guests should discover?
Besides from the temples, the Angkor conservation, just 5 mn away from Maison Polanka, Sewhere the statues of Angkor are being stored. Better than any Museum, as good as the Musée Guimet in Paris or the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

What is your dream journey?
Re-visiting Sri Lanka at a slow pace with a driver and a Tata car, staying in the old hotels in Columbo and Nuwara Eliya and spending at least a week at the Sanctuary located within the holy temples compound of Anuradhapura. An unforgettable journey I did in 1992 and would like to do again.

What local dish do you never tire of eating?
The breakfast noodle soup, Kuy Tiew.

What motivated you to become a hotelier?
My first hotel experience was during a visit to Singapore in the 70's when I was 6 years old and I loved it! I still remember the room service menu and the welcoming treats, the lemon sorbet which did not exist in Cambodia in those days... Ever since, I have been travelling for visiting hotels more than countries and especially heritage hotels in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia. When a student in Paris, I would go to the Crillon for a glass of champagne and when I received my first payroll invited my father at the restaurant "Les Ambassadeurs". When I had to leave our home in Siem Reap for the children education, the idea of turning it into a hotel came overnight. The concept was obvious, all the ideas for the name, logo, decoration, rooms, uniforms, service style or food came in the following week. Maison Polanka has been a deep introspection and the reflection of a life story, and is giving me the joy of sharing my passions with guests who become part of our family.

What was your greatest extravagance in creating your hotel?
Creating a luxury hotel in ancient wooden houses was the extravagance! We were the first to do it and followed with the next 2 years by 2 luxury hotels of bigger size.

Where do you feel happiest on your property?
When I swim alone in the pool under the full moon, surrounded by palm trees, looking at the sky, feeling the gentle night breeze. Then I always say to myself that I am in paradise.

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