Siem Reap is one of those cities where it can sometimes make sense to use your miles for a free Economy Class flight (there are not many destinations where this is justified!). If you are planning to visit Siem Reap from Singapore, you only have two options - Jetstar and SilkAir - so no points for guessing which one I went with on my latest visit. Since I was traveling in Business Class on SilkAir, I had access to the Plaza Premium Lounge here at the Siem Reap International Airport (REP). The airport lounge is also a member of the Plaza Premium Group and you will be able to access it with your Priority Pass card or the right credit card.
I stayed at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap during this visit and it is located just a short 20-minute drive away from the Siem Reap International Airport. As such, the hotel actually advised me to leave two hours prior to the scheduled time of departure (which translates into more time in the hotel for me!). Flight MI615 from REP to SIN was scheduled to depart at 4:10PM so I actually only left the hotel at 2:00PM or so (which made me feel rather jittery since I am always one of the first to check-in for my flight). One thing to take note here at the airport if you are flying on Business Class - you will be queueing up together with passengers who have completed their online check-in as well as KrisFlyer (and Star Alliance) Gold members so you might actually be there for a while.
Once you clear immigration and customs, locating the Plaza Premium Lounge is especially easy. There are clear signages around and it is directly opposite the Bangkok Airways' Boutique Lounge. If you are still having trouble finding the lounge, look out for Gate 1 and you will most certainly see it. The Plaza Premium Lounge here at Siem Reap International Airport was unexpected to say the least - I did not expect it to look this good! I absolutely love the tall ceiling and the modern décor but most importantly, it measured up to a proper lounge in a world-class airport.
Similar to other Plaza Premium Lounges that I have visited (e.g. in Singapore Changi Airport and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport), there is a decent selection of hot and cold dishes. It did get rather busy during my visit here in the dining room (even though there is still plenty of seats available) so I had to wait for an opportunity to sneak in a photo without taking anyone.
There is even a noodle station where you will be able to enjoy freshly-cooked noodles upon request. Since I actually had a rather heavy lunch in Siem Reap before departing from the airport, I did not actually finish most of the food but I really appreciated the variety here. If you are sitting in the main seating area or the lounging area, a USB outlet is always within reach so all your devices can be fully-charged before boarding. If you are looking for alcoholic drinks, adults are able to enjoy two servings of beer or wine with each entry - you will be charged for subsequent drinks. It is also worth noting that children under 2 years old are admitted free with an adult.
If you are not planning to eat and you simply watch to catch up on work over a cup of coffee (or beer!), the lounging area closest to the window will make the most sense for you. There is a USB charging port beside every chair so this is definitely where you want to be if you are flying solo. Shower facilities are also available in the Plaza Premium Lounges here in REP but I did not use them during my visit - I also do not believe that there are any additional charges involved in using this if you already have entry to the lounge.
Even though the Siem Reap International Airport is a fairly small airport, it does have a number of shops and restaurants that people actually want to go to. If you are a fan of huge brands, there is a Starbucks as well as Costa Coffee located in the transit area of the airport (which is a whole lot better and nicer than the Ngurah Rai International Airport). The Plaza Premium Lounge may not look out to the runway or the tarmac but it does look out to some greenery and a relatively open space which is nice for passengers who feel claustrophoic.
Interestingly, the Plaza Premium Lounge here also comes with an outdoor seating area which doubles as a smoking area. In fact, I thought the the area outside was done up beautifully (with the exception of that striking mop that is placed right next to the sofa) and if it wasn't actually drizzling during my visit, I would have preferred to sit outside here.
Throughout my travels in the region, I have not actually been into an airport lounge where smoking is allowed (even though this benefit is only restricted to the outdoor areas).
The Plaza Premium Lounge may not be more superior to a proper airport lounge operated by an airline (e.g. the SilverKris Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport), but where independent airport lounges go, the Plaza Premium Lounge here at Siem Reap International Airport is easily one of the nicest Plaza Premium Lounges that I have ever been to. Spending an hour or so here was easy and fuss-free since the WiFi worked without a hitch and the interiors were truly quite impressive. The next time you are traveling through REP, make sure to stop by this beautiful airport lounge!