“Not only are we gay-friendly, but we are a men-only hotel,” says the hotel’s press release which appeared in arthurandpaul.com and which urged patrons to visit Cambodia’s first ever hotel for “a 100% male gay adventure.”
The hotel that uses a renovated 1930’s building in the chic Boeung Keng Kang district of Phnom Penh comes with a spa open daily from 5pm until midnight, a sauna and Jacuzzi, a swimming pool and a bar and restaurant
The hotel with a 70s design and ten bedrooms with free broadband high speed Internet access is located in the well known Pasteur Street known for its eateries and is just a five minutes tuk-tuk ride to the Central Market, the National Museum, the Royal Palace and the Sisowath Quay along the Mekong River.
Its rooms are named after some famous and glamorous gay couples and personalities: Jules and Jim, Yves and Pierre, Pierre and Gilles, Kola Botom, Mika, Stefano and Domenico, Ricky and Carlos, Jean and Jean, Tom and Richard, Elton and David.
“Our goal is for you to be lulled by the soul of the passionate relationship that the two famous French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine used to share,” it said. The hotel is named Arthur and Paul after the couple whose” love inspired the style” and set its tone.
The hotel is the latest fillip for the local LGBT community that is just beginning to get socially accepted judging by the several openly LGBT bars that operate freely in Phnom Penh. Only three years ago, same-sex marriage was prohibited under Cambodian law.
Same-sex relations are also legal and the country’s dominant religion, Buddhism, does not teach that same-sex relations is wrong but the Buddhist cultural tolerance of LGBT people has yet to advance among the population.
Harassment and discrimination still occurs and there is also intense social pressure to marry and raise a family.
Cambodia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists are urging their government for amendments codifying full equality under the law regardless of sexual orientation.