from San Diego, California
Submitted on 27-04-2016
Silver River Hotel is well located on a secondary street (172) that offers light traffic and a pleasant tourist neighborhood environment. An ATM sits outside the hotel's front door, and on the same steet block lies two mini-marts, several small restaurants (offering both asian and western food), a couple of low key hostess bars, massage shops, laundry, travel agencies, and other hotels. The river park's prominade is a 5 minute walk to the east, the royal palace park 5-7 minutes walk to the so...
Silver River Hotel is well located on a secondary street (172) that offers light traffic and a pleasant tourist neighborhood environment. An ATM sits outside the hotel's front door, and on the same steet block lies two mini-marts, several small restaurants (offering both asian and western food), a couple of low key hostess bars, massage shops, laundry, travel agencies, and other hotels. The river park's prominade is a 5 minute walk to the east, the royal palace park 5-7 minutes walk to the south, and vast number of river area's restaurants and bars within a 15 minute walk to the north. Essentially, the hotel's location is on the south end of the primary tourist lodging area, making it a convenient choice for a first time stay. Unfortunately, the nearest large grocery stores are 20-30 minutes walk away, being Lucky, west of the Independence Monument, another Lucky, further southeast in Aeon Mall, and Bayon, located northwest of the central market. I found each of these stores to be a long but manageable one-way walk, with a return trip via a $2 tuk tuk ride. Need an internet cafe for printing? The only one I found was on the same street as Lucky, west of Independence Monument. Want to rent a scooter? There's places all over, including the hotel's 172 St. Want to rent a bicycle? Single speed clunkers can also be found on the hotel's street, with decent mountain bikes available from Vicious Cycles located nearby on 144 St. (City riding is tough though. See my PS if you want to do some real riding here.)
After spending a month in this hotel, I offer the following assessment, including the good and bad, along with room selection considerations.
The hotel gets credit for doing several things right. First, is its excellent customer service. From reservation requests, to check-in, payments, and room preference changes, I found the front staff consistently helpful, friendly, and fair, with most of them speaking adequate english. The front door, restaurant, and house keeping staff were equally friendly and accomodating. Otherwise, the hotel lobby was clean and pleasant with its tiled floors, the restaurant area suitable, the elevator adequate, and the carpeted hallways not too noisy as in some central stairway type guesthouses. For those wanting to get out of the room but be close to home, there are sitting areas downstairs, both inside and out. And lastly, the hotel deserves credit for providing the first good, fairly priced, hotel laundry service I've ever encountered. It's same day service of wash, dry, iron, and fold for $2 per kilo is competitive with the street laundries nearby.
I stayed in two types of rooms and got a look at the others. Starting with the front side deluxe balcony room, I found it to be the most attractive one with its large sliding glass doors, small balcony, double bed, and extra large shower. The room was small though, with barely enough room to step around the bed to access the balcony. And the view? It was horrendous. The first 5 floors face a slum-like apartment building quite close, along with a mostly uninteresting view of the street below. Only the top floor deluxe balcony family room peaks above this large building, and it's view is only marginally better. It's the noise though that forced me to move out of this room. The loud bar music may have been a rare occurance, along with the motorcycle wreck, loud yelling, and hour-long commotion. But, the daily, morning vendors with their PA's was intolerable for me, and the cheap glass balcony doors that wouldn't close completely did little to insulate such noise. In short, the more expensive, front side, deluxe balcony rooms offer a lousy view and noise problems. After a few days, upon my request, mangement kindly moved me to a cheaper standard room on the top floor end, back side. Here, I found a room that was ironically larger and just as nice, though with a smaller shower and no balcony. My room offered a view, but unfortunately it was the ugliest city view imaginable, including a large trashed parking lot below. It wasn't entirely free from the city noises either with a car alarm going off daily from the lot below, construction noise from people working nearby, and echos from the same annoying street vendor PA's. Still, it was appreciably quieter than the front side room and especially so at night. For anyone noise sensitive, you might want to forgo the balcony and choose a standard room on the back side instead. They're all clean and nice enough, but the end rooms are a bit larger and many of the middle rooms have a close building wall obstructing all view.
As for the rooms themselves, I found each of them to be adequately furnished with a good, firm, comfortable bed, sitting chair, working desk, closet space, large safe, and blackout curtains . The bathroom was modern and clean with an excellent enclosed glass shower, hot water and good water pressure. Besides a hot water sink, hair dryer, and abundant toiletries, I was pleased to find the towels consisently soft, thick, and clean - a rarity for this price of hotel. The little fridge and AC worked fine. Maid service was fine, and I had no problem with the do not disturb sign being respected or receiving all of the replacement bath toiletries or 2 bottles of water per day.
The hotel had some flaws though besides terrible views and street noise (which do factor into a hotel's comfort and rating for me). Particularly for the front side rooms, the large glass balcony doors were cheap, contributing to the penetrating street noise. A better constructed building could have done better with all of the building's glass. The bathroom lighting in my first room was terrible, and in my second room it had to be fixed twice. With a third ceiling light not working, I tired out of maintenance requests. The room lighting itself was poor. Despite a complicated number of switches, none light up the room fully, and there was no light at all for working at the desk after dark. There's no iron or board provided, and hotel policy prohibits the use of such - an absurd policy for a business catering to travelers with wrinkled clothes. My second room had lounge pillows that were tearing apart at the seams - enough to keep me from using them for fear of getting charged. It also had a large cracked bathroom sink - hazardous enough to keep me from leaning on it. And, while I found only 3 geckos in my room and no roaches, I did hear loud chirping almost daily from a large roach living in the ceiling or laundry room above me - not a good sign. The downstairs lobby had two computers, but no printer. And breakfast? The fake powder juice and choice of foods had me eating out every day. Lastly, while the internet worked adequately fast most of the time, I had connection problems almost every day, with complete lack of connectivity for a 3 day stretch. The service was passable but problematic.
In summary, I consider this to be a clean, decent hotel, in a great place with excellent service. I'd return again and recommend it to others looking for a room in the $30-50 range. But, it's got several faults that keep it from deserving a TA 4 star rating. A good/average rating of 3 seems like a more accurate assessment to me. You can find a nicer place, as I found by looking at the Harmony Hotel nearby, but it's nicer rooms and better view will cost you at least $55-60. And, they offer no extended stay discount rate, as this hotel did. This hotel is a viable mid-range priced option, but keep your expectations in check.
PS - After renting a bike here for 3 weeks, here are my findings I'll share, if for even just one person who is pondering the idea of doing some bicycling while staying here. All city riding was chaos, dangerous madness. You can choose though, between main streets like Norodom and Sisowath Quay, which have more traffic and fumes to contend with, or the secondary streets, which have uncontrolled intersections. In any case, the wrong way drivers, stupid horn honkers, and overall complete lack of respect for order are inescapable. You must endure this to get out a bit for some better riding conditions. Here are my suggested discoveries:
1) 1 hr - a ride south down Sisowath Quay, to Sihanouk Blvd, east over to Koh Pich Island is an easy, pleasant ride that can be done by most anyone, even on a clunker . It's a small area under development with very little traffic. There's a small park at the city building, as well as river views.
2) 2 hr - a ride north up Sisowath Quay, cutting west over to France before the bridge, negotiating the stressful traffic circle, and heading east over the Cambodia / Japanese Friendship bridge to the peninsula offers some light traffic, pleasant riding - once you get there. Stay southeast of National Highway 6 and you can ride the perimeter fast for some good exercise, then explore the interior streets without risk of getting lost.
3) 3 hr - a ride to the north of the last area described is a worthy, separate trip. From the same bridge crossing, do a 360 at the first traffic circle, and, right next to the bridge, take the road down to the river. Ride north from here along the east side of the river on a no-name combination of half paved, half gravel roads. If you stay close to the river, the road will jig jag in a couple of places and eventually dwindle down to a path just as you're seeing the next far north bridge crossing ahead. Just retrace a bit and you'll find an alternative road continuing north to the divided east/west highway you're seeking - Ly Yongphat. Upon reaching this highway, go east. The littered scenery may be rather boring but the wide road and light traffic allows for some exercise and fresh air. Continue east til you hit National Highway 6. Head a few hundred yards south til you see the first road that'll take you further east, off the highway, to the river road. Follow this half shaded, residential, river road south 3/4 of the way back to the Cambodia / Friendship bridge peninsula area. You'll eventually be forced back out onto the main highway where you'll recross the bridge and return home via the turnaround, France St, and Sisowath Quay. This route's start and end includes the usual bad streets and highways, but the middle segments are quite pleasant rural riding on part dirt, gravel, and pavement.
4) 3-4 hr - a ride around Silk Island is the best ride and should be saved for last. If you were observant riding the river road next to National Highway 6, you would have seen the ferry crossing. If not, find it on the maps - the southern one - then seek it out from the river road. The ferry is a pleasant, interesting crossing that should cost you 700R ($.20 USD). Once across, make a circumference of the large, western island segment that you land on. This will include both dirt and paved road, with a lot of river views, interesting farm scenery, stilted homes, and super friendly children that love to say hello. On the northern tip, you'll also find an interesting resort which is heavily used as a picnic and swimming area for the locals. This is a fantastic area for a mountain bike and full of interesting sight seeing, especially if you look close at the houses and people. I'd suggest saving the eastern, smaller half for a separate second trip. It's equally interesting, with a bit more development.
All of these rides have frequent access to road side drinks and snacks. But, a flat tire could be a serious inconvenience for someone without a pump and kit. Another thing I learned is to time my riding according to the Accuweather's UV index rather than the temperature. The intense sun's extreme UV index of 11 bothered me far more than the 100 degree temps. Since I'm not a dawn riser, I found the 3 to 6 pm rides to be much better than the 9 to 12 rides, despite the higher temps. Learning late about UVA rays and cancer, I consider the same now for my daily walks. Use the weather forcast.