Secrets is a very large bar and hotel complex nestled right in the heart of Phnom Penh’s hostess bars. There may be no clearer sign of how much the city and even its hostess bar scene has developed than the opening of this rather large business right off of the famed Sisowath Quay riverside.
Of course Secrets is not to be confused with Le Cyrcee in Phnom Penh which is sometimes referred to as the secret bar. There is nothing very secret about Secrets. It’s a big place in the main tourist part of the city. It has several bright signs outside and the place is advertised on signs, shirts and tuk tuks across the city.
From Pattaya to Phnom Penh?
While this Secrets has nothing to do with the bar mentioned above the newer Phnom Penh place may very well be related to the Secrets bar in Pattaya. The two businesses share a more or less identical logo. Both also have a hotel as a part of the business. Without knowing anything more than what is visible to the casual onlooker it seems rather obvious that the one Secrets is at least based on the other.
The Secrets in Pattaya still seems to be going strong so it makes sense that they might have expanded. Especially as the market is obviously growing in Phnom Penh. Meanwhile many in the adult entertainment industry over in Pattaya tell me things have been better.
I do know that Secrets in Pattaya was once one of the liveliest bars in the city. Back then the place was full of guys and gals. Many punters seemed to have found their way to place thanks to promotion of one sort or another. Of course word of mouth is the best promotion of all. Secrets had no shortage of that back when the guy managing the place was also active on a popular internet message board.
Secrets in Phnom Penh
The Secrets under review here is located on Street 136 in Phnom Penh. It is just a block from the riverside. The place is nestled in between several hostess bars. It took over the building of a bleach white hotel that was used as much by short time customers taking ladies out of nearby bars as it was by overnight and long stayers. Back then the rooms were priced accordingly. Under the new Secrets name the rooms cost upwards of fifty dollars and require a full check in procedure even for those who only want to use the rooms for an hour or so. Unfortunately a rise in the prices has not come with any other major upgrade. The basic rooms look pretty much like they did under the old name and management.
The bar or nightclub on the ground floor however is something else entirely. The place was totally redone to make it one of nicer looking places in town. It is a large place with a big bar in the middle. Several large televisions, specialized lighting and a professional sound system set the mood. There is also plenty of seating around and I imagine more than enough floor space to cut a rug.
There are a large number of people on staff too. That includes uniformed and warm greeters who stand out on the street welcoming people inside. Then there are the people working the door inside. Beyond them there is a full bar and wait staff along with all sorts of hostesses. Most seem to be uniformed or wearing themed bits of kit when holidays roll around. Many of the women on staff are quite pretty too.
The gals on staff are all attentive and friendly enough. But many seem shy and few are forthcoming. So entering the bar is nothing like going to many of the other hostess bars nearby where many of the women rush over to any new guy who walks in off the street. Instead it just sort of looks like a lot of people are waiting around for something to do.
Service and summary
Despite all of the obvious outlay on the nightclub which is rather nice I have not seen many men inside of the bar or hotel. Granted I don’t go to the place on a daily basis and stay planted in my seat to observe all that goes on. Nor do I have access to the place’s receipts. But I have been inside enough to note an obvious lack of clientele.
Yet there are smaller and much simpler bars nearby that never seem to be short on clients. Real estate agents always bang on about location. And it definitely does matter. But when we are talking about the hospitality industry especially where it intersects with adult entertainment there is much more at play. That helps explains why plain looking strip clubs and sex saunas seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the US and Europe can do brisk business while elaborate go go bars on Walking Street in Pattaya can fail.
There is no doubt that the club at Secrets is well done. But that doesn’t seem to be enough to draw in significant numbers of punters. And I think I understand why. I personally think the money spent doing up the bar area could have been better spent redoing the room. At the rate being charged they don’t seem worth it. Especially considering that the noise from the sound system and street below echoes into the rooms until very early in the morning hours. I give a star for effort.
|Address:||42-44 Street 136, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Map)|
|Hours:||8:00 PM - 5:00 AM|