The notion of exploring a long-lost city is a thrilling prospect. Deep in the Cambodian jungle, the historical ruins of Angkor are unique and astonishing. Set foot here and you’ll feel part of an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. Once the thriving capital of the Khmer Empire, these relics of an ancient civilization were cloaked by dense forest, forgotten by the world until they were rediscovered in the late 19th century. Considering what Cambodia has endured since, you might wonder if this rediscovery unleashed a mighty curse on the country. Bombed by the US during the Vietnam War, then destabilized by a military coup and a communist insurgency, then ravaged by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime, then occupied by Vietnamese troops, then jolted by a coup d’état, Cambodia has been repeatedly brutalized throughout its recent history. It’s unsurprising that few tourists ventured here during all that turmoil. While other ancient wonders such as the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and the ruins of Machu Picchu attained must-see status, the Angkor temples remained a long way off the tourist trail for a century after their rediscovery. By the time Lara Croft herself came to raid the temples of Angkor in 2000 (in the shape of Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie), things were starting to change, and the fact that key scenes from the film Tomb Raider were shot here helped to reinforce confidence in Cambodia as a tourist destination. As visitor numbers increased, the nearby town of Siem Reap blossomed into a lively resort. In the past few years, it’s grown exponentially with stylish new hotels, gourmet dining, and fabulous shopping. Siem Reap’s leading hotels echo the past. Open since 1932, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is full of romance and drama. Built in an elegant French colonial style, this iconic landmark boasts the largest swimming pool in Cambodia. Surrounded by frangipani trees, its grand design was inspired by the ancient Royal bathing pools of Angkor.