How Did We Get Here? Lemongrass Garden at the Baby Elephant Boutique
In 2017, my sister made a decision that would change the path of Lemongrass Garden ever so slightly. She decided that she wanted to live in a hot, tropical, friendly and affordable country. This life changing decision ultimately lead her to move to Cambodia and start life over. I, having been here for 6 years already, I was delighted to know that some of my own family was preparing to join me. She was coming fresh from an extremely socially active scene in London, a scene that I never felt comfortable with and would gladly avoid. This social sister of mine made friends in Siem Reap quickly, and soon got to know Ilana and Adam of the Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel. These guys are a couple of Australians who also made the life changing decision to move to Cambodia to pursue their passion in the hospitality industry, and created what has become one of Siem Reap’s staple venues to hang out and chill, The Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel.
When my sister first took me to the Baby Elephant, I was massively impressed by how beautiful the grounds were. 2 enormous houses transformed into lobby, bar and guestrooms beyond. Then I met Ilana, the bubbly, outgoing and super friendly workaholic owner, who greeted me with a huge smile and put my social anxieties at ease. Her partner Adam then popped up, a retro Hawaiian shirt wearing gentleman holding a gin and tonic, and with a quick nod of the head in my direction and a “Hi, I’m Adam” introduction, I felt right at home.
A couple of “healthy” (literally) cocktails later, we were ordering a fantastic range of local and international dishes from the menu. All was complimented by a dip in the swimming pool afterwards, and the afternoon just passed us by. What a great and unexpected day.
I soon became a regular, and was taking my kids there to swim and to play with the cute pet dogs. If you think you know cute, then you’re wrong. You want to know how I know? Because you haven’t met the Baby Elephant puppy…
Who, Lenny? Heh, no. But he is ridiculously adorable you have to agree…! Now, back to the story at hand. Ilana and Adam were always around for a chat, and I soon learned about the great initiative of their Go Green campaign. (We have since launched our own to be green and eco-friendly, check it out here) I became fascinated with their ideas (sustainability, reducing carbon footprint and just generally going Green!), and immediately knew that was a direction that we could pursue for Lemongrass Garden. Wow, I loved this place! The people, what they stand for, their community leadership… the cocktails and pool! Though it occurred to me that something was missing, and it didn’t take me long to know exactly what it was (can you guess?).
I set up a meeting with Ilana, her mother who was visiting at the time, and Adam, and pitched my idea of creating an on-site Lemongrass Garden spa there. I was skeptical about how they might respond, but my fears were immediately squashed. They loved it! We set to work. Location? The gym at the back, perfect! The old exercise bike was removed without hesitation and was replaced by massage tables. Walls went up. Doors, windows, furniture, everything custom made and fitted. The tranformation was incredible, and all of us felt a huge sense of pride (and exhaustion) wash over us. We’d earned our pool time this week.
The Lemongrass Garden at Baby Elephant has been a hit. The decor was created around the light and cheerful vibe of the hotel, but soft tones offer a true sense of calm and tranquility. Booking a treatment at the exclusive spa in the Baby Elephant has never been simpler, you can speak with their knowledgeable team at the reception and watch us and them do the rest. A little tip, after your treatment, either go back to your room for a well deserved rest, or (our favourite) head straight to the pool bar, order yourself a freshly squeezed juice and float away with it in the pool. Then tell yourself, “life has never been better than now”. Then look at Lenny, just because you can.