Instagrammers have a hard time competing with the romance and wild-tale slinging of foreign correspondents – a fact Cambodia's foreign correspondents clubs adroitly play upon.
There are two FCCs in Cambodia: the original in the capital, Phnom Penh, and a second in Siem Reap, best known as the gateway to the Angkor complex of temples.
Bangkok-based Avani Hotels & Resorts group has snapped the two properties, lavishing renovating dollars on both, with FCC Angkor the first to hit the finishing line.
There are 80 rooms and suites at the Siem Reap address, which has retained its youthful good looks since it first opened in 2003, when Bali-based tropical modernism architect Gary Fell structured a club around the 1917 French colonial governor's house.
Travellers will find guest rooms fitted with Khmer art and locally woven furnishings – evoking a sense of place – and old typewriters, framed front pages and rotary dial phones – evoking the romance of reporting from exotic climes.
Find modern Khmer cuisine in the historic Mansion restaurant, with amok and banana flower salads counterbalanced by pizzas and international dishes, while the new Scribe bar plays on the foreign journalist's club concept, with chilled cocktails. Pull up a stool and spin some tall travel stories, or pull up a lounger to one of the two saltwater pools, and admire the lush gardens against the whitewashed hotel walls.
Siem Reap's first grand hotel opened 90 years ago, and the scene recently hit stratospheric levels of development, but it's the FCC's nostalgic charisma (no matter how manufactured) that holds its position in the town.
The FCC Angkor is opposite the Royal Independence Gardens and Royal Residence, and 10 minutes from Angkor Wat and the other renowned Buddhist temples. It's also short walk to Siem Reap's main nightlife strip, Pub Street, and the rest of the town, which offers innovative, creative activities such as jewellery making at social enterprise studios. Otherwise, back at the hotel, join a photography tour through Angkor Wat with a photojournalist, or indulge in a Khmer-inspired spa treatment.
The renovation of the FCC Phnom Penh is due to be completed by November 2020. See avanihotels.com/angkor-siem-reap