The 1961 Art Hotel combined inspiration with relaxation. It was a cool and interesting place worth checking out in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I started my journey to Siem Reap with long bus rides from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. By “long,” I mean, the bus rides and waiting time between connections consumed 18 hours of my day. I was already traveling near the end of my 10-week trip around mainland South East Asia. An 18-hour bus ride was a bearable challenge, especially after conquering more tiring bus rides in Laos.

Each hour that passed was met with jolts of excitement. It meant one hour less that I had to wait before finally steeping foot in Siem Reap again.

Two years had passed since my first trip to Siem Reap and I always craved to come back. Even now I still do!

After my arrival in Siem Reap city center, I met my friend, Loven and then later, his wife, Faith. Loven is a talented Filipino-Ilonggo artist based in Siem Reap. He co-owns a creative space and boutique hotel called “The 1961,” which was where I stayed for a few days that I was in town.

Kennedy’s Gallery at The 1961

Each room at The 1961 was artfully designed with themes influenced by the 60s. On my first night, I stayed at the “Kennedy’s Gallery” designed by Rachel Faller.

On display were art pieces that oozed American pop culture in the 1960s. Even the bed was decked with quilted blankets and pillows that screamed Americana.

Kennedy’s Gallery at The 1961

60’s iconography

The room was so tailored that I felt like I was staying in someone else’s room or in another person’s personal sanctuary. I, actually, thought the feeling of escaping into another person’s space was refreshing.

It was so relaxing to have a clean, spacious, comfy, air-conditioned room, all to myself, especially after a tiring day on the road or a whole day playing “Indiana Jones” or “Lara Croft” at the temples of Angkor, under the hot Cambodian sun.

Self-portrait with the huge mirror on the wall

Kep and Kampot Gallery

The next day, I transferred to the Kep and Kampot Gallery, a room inspired by the laid-back ease of the seaside town of Kep and the riverside setting of Kampot in the southern coast of  Cambodia.

This one was more spacious and had a minimalist touch. I loved the light and open feel of the room.

Kep and Kampot Gallery at The 1961

Very comfy and spacious bed

Sleeping under a big star


I wasn’t meaning to post this photo but it was the only one I had with the interesting bedside lamp turned on. This kind of wicker basket is traditionally used to trap or catch seafood. The light bulb placed inside the basket created cool shadow-play on the stark white wall.

Bathroom at the Kep and Kampot Gallery with the huge art installation

Pebble layered shower floor. Almost felt like taking a shower outdoors, on the beach or along a river.


Now time see The 1961 under daylight. The property was located on a quiet spot along the Siem Reap River.

The facade of the main structure had a 60s style and sported modernist architectural elements. Loven told me it served as a house before they turned it into an art gallery and then added the boutique hotel and restaurant cafe.

I liked the homey and comfy feel, which The 1961 still maintained.

View of The 1961 after walking past its unique and interesting gate, which I regrettably forgot to take a photo of.

The front courtyard and restaurant cafe was embellished with a mashup of eclectic decors and cool art.

It seemed like a very interesting place to hangout. So, I was very excited to spend the next few days, soaking in the cool and chic ambiance.

The 1961’s quirky restaurant cafe

The counter and shelves with affordable art on display

My first breakfast at The 1961: Tuna, scrambled eggs, rice, and Cambodian coffee.

Angkor Adventures

The main course of my trip to Siem Reap was exploring the temples of Angkor, where I spent most of the daytime. No surprise there :D

I hired a tuktuk to take me around the big circuit and then the Rolous Group. I also went around the little circuit like I did on my first visit but, this time, on a bicycle.

My experience in Angkor needs it own post, or posts rather. I will blog about that later.

Wandering around Ta Prohm Temple, where some scenes in the Tomb Raider movie were shot, in Angkor.

After a day out in the temples, I would unwind at the restaurant cafe of The 1961, where it was peaceful and relaxing.

Cool Hang-out

The staff kept me company when Loven was not around. They definitely made a good lasting impression because they were extremely friendly and easy to talk to.

I spent a lot of time with Sivorn, who cooked delicious food at the restaurant. He even joined me and Mr. Lay, my tuk tuk driver, on my tour around the temples of Angkor.

Enjoying the soothing sound and cool breeze of rain on my second night.

Cozying up at the restaurant cafe

After the rain

Cooling down with a dragon fruit shake after a day at the temple

Stir fried tofu and veggies for dinner

Very fulfilling breakfast: Fried rice, scrambled eggs, spiced ham, two cups of rice, and Cambodian coffee

On my last night in Siem Reap (and the Cambodia-leg of my trip), I made a special request to Sivorn. I asked if he could cook “Tofu Amok” for me. Amok is my favorite Khmer dish and it is usually served with fish or meat as the main ingredient. I wanted to try eating it with tofu. Luckily, Sivorn agreed and it tasted delicious :D

Delicious tofu amok, cooked by Sivorn

Bottoms up! Leffe (Belgian), Beer Lao (Laos), and Angkor (Cambodian)

Crispy dried fish and eggs for breakfast on my last day

Galerie V

Seeing art works displayed at The 1961 was a real treat. I would definitely recommend it to all art-inclined travelers who are visiting Siem Reap.

The moment I saw the gallery, my eye gravitated towards the unconventional diagonal support columns, seemingly forming a big “V,” at the entrance. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out the gallery space was actually called “Galerie V” and that the support columns were original structures of the house. I thought the name was brilliant.

Gallerie V at The 1961

“Phantoms and Creatures” exhibit by Keiko Nishimura.  Exhibits change every month.

Art Gallery

“Embody” exhibit by Cambodian artist, Chhai Kakada

If you’ve ever in Siem Reap and looking for comfort and something artful and interesting, consider staying at The 1961.

If you’re staying somewhere else, the galleries on display were worth checking out and the restaurant cafe was a really cool place to hang out.

The 1961 was located along the Siem Reap River, near Sofitel and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor or a short tuk tuk ride away from Pub Street.


  • Website:
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 85515378088, 85563966961
  • Location: Osaphear Street, Upper West Side, River Road, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia

You can view more details of this particular trip on my Siem Reap Itinerary Notes or discover more Cambodia Travel Notes @DiyDetour.