An Influx of Tourism
Cambodia is a wonderful country to visit and offers a great glimpse into life in a Southeast Asian country. The country itself is quite poor, but you can find a handful of western style accommodations in most towns that you might consider visiting. The widest range of options are available in Phnom Penh, the countries capital, where you can find high end, luxury accommodations or budget hostels and guesthouses. Siem Reap is the town closest to Angkor Wat and also offers any type of accommodation you might desire for any range of budget. Here you can find anything from a room for a couple of dollars to rooms for hundreds of dollars. You do typically get what you pay for.
Accommodation for Cheap
Accommodation in Cambodia is quite affordable. In most areas you can find a room for only a few dollars. The quality can be variable, but generally you can stretch your dollar quite far in this country. You should generally negotiate the price. If you plan to stay more than a day or two, let them know and use this as a negotiating point. They will likely give you a better deal if you commit to stay in the hotel longer.
You will also find several western hotel chains in Cambodia. These hotels come with the reassurance that standards will be met, but they also come at western prices. You can find the same quality for a fraction of the cost if you go with a locally owned hotel. Your money will also stay within Cambodia and help the country's economy. If you're planning to book in advance, do some research to make sure you find a place that you are happy with and know that your dollar will do its best work.
Western Chains and Local Options
In major cities such as Phnom Penh you'll find a wide range of hotels. The most touristy and popular areas are Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. These two cities offer you the greatest selection in accommodation. It is possible to find some popular western chains such as Best Western or Crown Plaza. If you choose to go this route you will have the security of knowing your standards will be met, but you may have a very different experience than if you choose to stay at a locally owned hotel. Particularly at Angkor Wat, you'll find most of the budget accommodations centered within the town of Siem Reap near many restaurants and shops. Alternatively, the resorts and high end hotels are spread along the roads outside of town. They often feel more isolated and you can be very removed from the surrounding communities. This is something to consider when choosing your hotel.
Siem Reap is the town that is closest to Angkor Wat, Cambodia's top tourist attraction. It's easy to find any type of accommodation in and around this town. Perhaps the best value is to stay at a locally run guesthouse. Many of these are concentrated around the old market area. You'll also find plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, as this is the area with the highest number of backpackers. If you're interested in staying at a nicer, boutique style hotel, you'll find some of these along Wat Bo Road. This is a pleasant place to stay as well. Most of the high end, foreign run hotels and resorts are spread out along the National Highway in the direction of the airport. These facilities can be quite luxurious, but they are also very cut off from the surrounding community.
There is no shortage of accommodation options in Siem Reap. While guidebooks can offer a good starting point, generally you will get a better deal and a higher quality facility if you look beyond those options listed in the Lonely Planet. Once a hotel is listed in a guidebook the popularity can increase dramatically. This usually drives up the prices and brings the quality down. Do a little more in depth research and you'll likely find something more interesting and unique.
Phnom Penh has plenty of accommodation options that will meet any traveler's needs. The budget options used to be located around an area known as Lakeside. The Beoung Kak Lake has now been filled in and most of these guesthouses are gone. There are still a small handful that remain, and those that are still there are desperate for guests. You'll get very cheap rates if you do decide to stay in this area. Some guesthouses offer rooms for just a couple of dollars. Now you'll find most of the budget guesthouse located along Street 258 which is near the Cambodia/Vietnam Friendship Park, Street 51 which is near Wat Langka, and Streets 111 and 172.
You'll also find some great mid-range and high end hotels around town. Most offer guests a complimentary breakfast, wi-fi service, and some have pools or hot tubs available. These hotels are usually quite comfortable, safe, and affordable for the quality they provide.
Whatever level of hotel you stay at you can generally expect hot water, linens, and towels provided. Breakfasts are included with many hotels but they rarely consist of more than an egg, bread, and coffee. Some guesthouses do offer mosquito nets, while others don't. If this is important to you, inquire before you arrange a booking.