Siem Reap boutique hotel in Cambodia
Description from the accommodation owner
Siem Reap boutique hotel in Cambodia: the story of this holiday company
Soria Moria is a small cheerful hotel in the centre of Siem Reap, establish by a Norwegian couple with several years of experience with living and working in Cambodia. The initial idea behind was to combine a business opportunity with a strong focus on helping the local community. Through SMEDP the local employees have become partners and majority owners of the business – an initiative to empower locals through personal development, education and ownership. Being a small and intimate hotel, our team are able to provide guests with personalized service, reliable advice and inspiring tours.
Responsible tourism: Siem Reap boutique hotel in Cambodia
We have taken action to reduce our impact on the environment wherever possible without reducing the customer’s satisfaction.
Engagements have been made in the areas of electricity usage, water usage and paper usage. We have converted environmentally friendly light bulbs, do not use air-condition in common areas, and key-card switches have been installed in guest rooms. We we display information in guest bathrooms that water resources are scarce, and give our guests an option to reuse towels and bed-linen. We try our best to reduce p ourrints, and reuse printed paper as scratch paper. We do not give out plastic bags with purchases from our boutique Shop. We use locally produced vegetables and rice (Ibis wildlife friendly rice) in our restaurant.
Our cooking oil is recycled and given to Angkor Children’s Hospital to be used for Bio diesel for their generator, a part of the Green Initiative. Our food waste is given to local pig farmers. We use filtered water, and recycle bottles and cans and cardboard. Our juice cartons are recycled and made in to cute wallets sold as souvenirs.
Our staff has initiated street cleaning days and involved the neighborhood in a cooperation the keep the area clean and free of garbage. Our higher education programs sponsor students are holding courses on environmental issues for other staff, in order to involve all our staff in caring for the environment.
We actively support and encourage the interaction of guests and the neighbouring environment, and by implementing this approach, we would like to create a win-win-win situation for all parties involved, where both the tourists, the local environment and the business itself will benefit.
We believe that building capacity in people starts with the individual. Soria Moria only employs local staff and provides good working conditions and onsite training and development for them. All department heads are locals, and weekly sessions are held to develop and train them in problem solving, communication and management skills, and our long term aim is to let the local staff be able to manage the day to day operation on their own.
Through Soria Moria Educational Development Program the local employees have become majority owners of the business, accounting for 51% of the shares. This is a pioneering project, the first of its kind in Cambodia. The share ownership is determined based on seniority and responsibilities in the hotel. By being share owners, the employees are able to take part in the decision making process and share any profits made. It also enables the employees to take part in helping the surrounding community.
In collaboration with 3 local NGO’s we are proud to provide trainee positions for their respective Young Adult Preparation Programs. The young adults are from 16,5 -21 years of age and come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and are trained in different departments according to their interest, ability, and future plans. The young adults work 3-5 hours per day, 3-5 days per week, depending on their age and their school schedule. The trainees are paid a per-hour salary based on a normal fulltime salary for their respective positions. We currently have 7 trainees in Soria Moria.
We believe education is particularly important in development and empowerment of the locals, and we have therefore initiated a Higher Education Program. The sponsors are in direct email contact with their sponsor student. We arrange with money transfers, payments and sends reports from the school (absence rates and grades). A staff representative is in charge of the follow up of the students should they need any help with studies etc. We provide flexible part time or full time work during the education if the student would like this opportunity. The Higher Education Program currently has twelve students enrolled in university, 9 in Bachelors level and 3 in Master levels.
Below is an introduction to some of the projects we actively support and endorse.
The Norwegian Educational Development Organisation
NEDO is a non profit and low cost organisation aiming to direct educational aid and sustainable development to third world countries at a minimum cost. We actively promote NEDO’s projects:
The White Bicycle Project
By renting a white bicycle, your money will support selected schools in the rural areas of Siem Reap Province and provide water filters and providing clean drinking water to these villages.
The Love-Card Project
By buying love-cards and sending them home you are contributing further to the rural schools as this cost subsidizes teacher’s salaries and maintains school buildings. The children receive art classes by a professional Khmer artist, where they paint the postcards that are sold to tourists.
Siem Reap Traffic Safety Initiative (SRTSI) ”Be safe – be seen” The SRTSI was initiated by in cooperation with NEDO with the purpose to teach children about traffic safety and how to conduct them self in the traffic. In cooperation with NEDO we have distributed over 1000 reflector bands to local schools and orphanages. In addition reflector bands are also for sale in our lobby where the profits are given to NEDO to carry out the project.
The ChildSafe Network is building a protective environment for children, especially street children, to safeguard them from these dangers. Our staff are trained and certified by Childsafe, and we keep information in all rooms, on our website and our lobby.
Sangkheum Center for Children (SCC)
Meaning “hope” in Khmer, the Sangkheum Center is an education center providing scholastic support and care for hundreds of children in the Siem Reap area. We support the center in various ways:
The children/youths at SCC learn the traditional Apsara dance and music as part of their Khmer cultural studies. From January 2008 the children have been performing their dances in front of a live audience on a regular basis in our restaurant. The performance is free of charge for everyone who would like to watch, however we encourage donations towards the center. This is a great experience for our guests to enjoy traditional Khmer culture, and for SCC to gain income to sustain the project.
We currently provide trainee placement for 2 Young Adults from SCC.
Donation Boxes & Arranged visits to the center
We have a donation for SCC in Our lobby. We also have information available, and can be helpful to arrange visits to the center if you would like to give a donation directly to the center. Please keep in mind than when visiting the center, that you are entering into someone’s home, so you should respect their integrity of the children and always follow the person who is showing you around. You must respect and follow the child protection policy, and understand only designated areas and visitor centre are available for visits. If you would like to donate gifts, please look at their wishlist.
Angkor Hospital for Children
Angkor Hospital for Children is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the children of Cambodia. When you book your accommodation directly through our website, you will be given an option to make a donation to Angkor Hospital for Children. Our cooking oil is recycled and given to Angkor Hospital for Children to be reused as biodisel to run their generators. We display information, and encourage guests to visit their visitor’s center and donate blood. ACH also has a donation box available in our lobby, for those who would like to make a contribution.
Anjali House is a non-profit organisation providing free food, healthcare and education to under-privileged street kids and their families in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Soria Moria currently provides trainee placement for 3 Young Adults from Anjali House. We also sell their fabulous photo book in our shop, where the money goes to sustain the project.
The Iron Workshop
The Iron Workshop was set up in Pouk District in the Siem Reap Province. Its goal is to train young men in a trade, who may otherwise, may not have had the opportunity to secure employment. It aims to be self sustainable, offer professional training to the beneficiaries and support the Sangkheum Center. Soria Moria supports the Iron workshop by purchasing their products. All furniture at our rooftop bar (tables, chairs, barstools and lamps) have been specifically designed and handmade by the Iron workshop. The Iron Workshop has also made all furniture for our outdoor restaurant. This includes the fence, all tables, chairs, candle holders, menu stand and the torch burners for the entrance.
The Silk Lab
The Silk Lab was developed to assist the underprivileged women of Pouk District in the Siem Reap Province to help support their families. They produce a beautiful selection of silk products including funky handbags, make up bags or purses. By making a purchase you are not only adding to your wardrobe but making a difference to these people’s lives. All the colourful silk decorations in our bedrooms, and decoration in the corridors and the Fusion Kitchen has been exclusively designed and produced for Soria Moria by the Silk Lab.
Ibis Rice comes from communities that protect and monitor the Giant Ibis and other species. Through improved farming practices and access to higher value markets, Ibis Rice farmers are able to conserve natural habitats and earn a better living. By supplying Ibis Rice to restaurants and hotels near Cambodia’s famed Ankor Wat temple, villagers are able to benefit from tourism and conserve the environment of Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater floodplain lake in the world. Soria Moria only uses Ibis Rice in our restaurant. We also offer our guests the opportunity to donate Ibis rice to organisations through Soria Moria.
ConCERT: (Connecting Communities Environment and Responsible Tourism)
Concert is a non profit organisation based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Their aim is to reduce poverty, and do this by bringing together people who want to help, and local organisations that need the kind of support they can give. Soria Moria is a supporting member of ConCERT.