Peninsula, Hong Kong, China
Best for: Luxury lovers
In a city where high end cars, luxury malls, Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels dapple the map with wallet-busting frequency, it inevitably takes something extra special to stand out.
Enter: a 14-strong fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms. The Peninsula Hong Kong’s superlative pickup option is just an introduction to the all-frills, high-luxe experiences awaiting anyone frequenting this dame of Asian hospitality.
The reflex ‘oohs’ continue inside, from the handmade chocolates (possibly the best chocolates this writer has ever tasted), to the touchpad controller for everything from the lighting to the TV, to the sweeping views across Tsim Sha Tsui and the harbour.
A Roman-esque styled indoor pool and spa area bring home that relaxed vacation feel, while the 10 food and dining venues are a showcase in culinary excellence. Spring Moon is especially good for a lunchtime dim sum feast.
The Mandeville, London
Best for: Shoppers
There are few better known shopping streets in the world than London’s Oxford Street and fewer shops as acclaimed as Selfridges, a multi-time winner of The World’s Best Department Store award. That’s no small feat when you count Harrods as a neighbour. The Mandeville Hotel is about a three-minute walk from all of this, and offers deluxe boutique rooms at a very friendly price considering the quality and location.
If you find yourself wondering if you should pay the add-on for breakfast or not – pay it. It’ll keep you going until way past lunchtime, and the staff will happily knock up a pancake for the kids, if you’re travelling with family.
The location is the real perk here though. While it’s just a walk away from great attractions like The Wallace Collection museum, Madam Tusauds and Covent Garden and the theatres of the West End, the surrounding neighborhood of Marylebone is a delightful little space worth exploring in its own right.
Cathay Pacific flies to London from Hong Kong 39 times a week
Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
Best for: Fun-loving millionaires
This part-idyllic-luxury-retreat, part-wild-activity-lodge has been voted the world’s best hotel two years running by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. The experiences on offer here are the kind you’ll be boring your friends with for years to come.
It has exclusive access to one of Asia’s best surfing waves, offers a ‘spa safari’ in what is essentially a separate resort designed purely for spa-goers, and has its own chocolate factory run by, who else, a guy called Charly.
It’s not cheap, but it’s not pretentious either. ‘If you don’t like to dance on the bar or you prefer to eat quietly and alone at dinner, don’t come!’ says James McBride, CEO and partner at Nihi Hotels.
While Nihi Sumba (previously known as Nihiwatu) deliberately avoids the kind of guilty-conscience eco leanings of many luxury resorts, it does give back, via its Sumba Foundation, to some of the poorest Subanese locals. Initiatives include providing clean water, creating education programmes and reducing the effects of malaria.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon fly to Bali from Hong Kong nine times a week
Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives
Best for: Impatient water babies
Resorts comprising stilt-supported bungalows stretching out into a glistening sea are nothing new to the Maldives, but Grand Park Kodhipparu has one notable difference: it’s just a 20-minute speedboat ride away from Velana International Airport. While other resorts require an extra flight from Malé, you can be donning the snorkel and mask far sooner at Kodhipparu.
The resort sits on its own island and its décor and amenities thoughfully combine a five-star luxury feel with a tasteful nod to local traditions and crafts.
But being in the Maldives it’s the aquatic theme that runs heavy here, and the 120-villa property also has its own dive centre with a certified PADI team to help beginners and more experienced divers alike splash and glide their way through the waves.
Non divers can take to the sea with catamaran, parasailing, banana boat, kayak and wave surfing experiences too.
Cathay Pacific flies to Malé from Hong Kong four times a week
Hotel Bennet, South Carolina, USA
Best for: Southern hospitality
Not yet open, but highly anticipated, this stylish, elegant property provides a luxury gateway to what Travel + Leisure readers have decided is certainly the best city destination in the US and Canada, maybe even the world. Charleston in South Carolina has won the Best US/Canada City Destination prize five times in a row and won the Best City in the World award in 2016, coming second this year only to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.
The hotel will provide ‘a five-star, five-diamond stay for luxury class travelers visiting this rising city’, according to Bennett Hospitality, the company behind the property. The hotel will give easy access to the city’s top attractions, will have great panoramic views from the rooftop pool and bar and will provide the perfect reason to visit this city and see what Southern Hospitality really entails.
Opening summer 2018.
Cathay Pacific flies to New York from Hong Kong 35 times a week
Openings in Asia
It’s been a big year in Asian hotels. From urban resorts to eco-heritage boltholes, we look back at the finest newcomers of 2017. By CYNTHIA ROSENFELD
Swinging ’60s sugar mill reborn as stylish wellness sanctuary
Where: Yangshuo, Mainland China
What: Heritage resort
Few things in Yangshuo are as spectacular as the area’s karst limestone landscapes. But the Alila Yangshuo (above, right), a 117-room resort renovated from an abandoned sugar mill, runs a close second place. Architect Dong Gong transformed the original sugarcane dock into the hotel’s Zen-calm swimming pool, while the former refining room lives on as the 1969 Bar, with sugar featuring prominently on the creative cocktail menu.
Where: Shanghai, Mainland China
What: Urban resort
How’s this for commitment to cultural and environmental heritage: an entire 2,000-year-old camphor forest and 50 Ming- and Qing-dynasty villas, under threat by construction, were transported more than 700 kilometres from Jiangxi province and preserved. The result is Amanyangyun (bottom right), a resort of rare imperial vestige, given a modern touch by longtime Aman architect Kerry Hill with bamboo, wood and local stone.
Azerai Can Tho
Affordable luxury off the beaten path
Where: Can Tho, Vietnam
What: Luxury riverside retreat
When Adrian Zecha founded Aman Resorts, he transformed the world of boutique ultra-luxe resorts. With his new brand Azerai, he’s taking his know-how into the affordable-luxury segment. This Mekong Delta property, the second in the group after Azerai Luang Prabang, gives us a taste of what that means. Thoughtful, curated, and locally conscious, with the kind of clean minimalist design Aman is known for, the Azerai Can Tho (below) celebrates the waterways of the area, built around inlets and mangroves.
Bawah Private Island Resort
Barefoot luxury in the middle of nowhere
Where: Riau Islands, Indonesia
Pristine lagoons, a dozen-plus powder soft sand beaches, a canopy-covered jungle island – on its face, this isolated Indonesian resort (below, bottom) is already an escapist fantasy. Yet it’s Bawah’s environmental focus that gives it an extra dimension. Its 35 overwater bungalows, beachfront villas and garden suites feature local bamboo, driftwood and recycled teak; dishes in the Tree Top restaurant are made from locally sourced ingredients; and its strict zero-pesticide, zero-fishing and zero-waste programme ensures that this diver’s paradise remains blissfully unspoilt.
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li
Retro-chic row house retreat
Where: Shanghai, Mainland China
What: Urban resort
Most of Shanghai’s new hotels reside in its towering, futuristic skyscrapers. Not this one. Capella’s latest Asian foray lives in one of the city’s rare remaining shikumen districts – a neighbourhood of snaking stonehouse alleys – in the heart of the former French Concession (above). Across the complexes there are 55 villas, each encompassing several floors, as well as Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, the first opening in mainland China for the chef known for his eponymous triple-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris.
Intercontinental Robertson Quay Singapore
Modern architecture meets timeless nature
What: City hotel
Robertson Quay is on the up – and now it has a new landmark. This 10-storey, 225-room property along Singapore River’s lowest-profile quay captures the spirit of the city: modern, laid-back, spacious and green. It’s a getaway for tourists and staycationers alike, with each of the rooms (above left and right) optimised for views of the river and beyond.
Park Hyatt Bangkok
Chic sleeps inside Bangkok’s first starchitect address
Where: Bangkok, Thailand
What: City hotel
Sitting atop Bangkok’s most talked-about tower is Bangkok’s most talked-about new hotel. The 27-storey Park Hyatt (above and middle) brings together Thai craftsmanship, digital technology and sleek modern design to create the city’s latest lifestyle hub. Behind the dramatic, coiled exterior, 222 guest accommodations get bathed in calming neutral hues and natural light, while the ninth floor, 40-metre infinity pool confers expansive city views.
A living legend makes over an icon
Where: Hong Kong, China
What: Urban heritage hotel
When the Murray Building opened in 1969, it was a landmark of its time. Almost 50 years later, Norman Foster has turned the former government office block into the city’s hottest new hotel. The flagship of the nascent Niccolo brand, The Murray (left) features 336 guest rooms, most measuring over 500 square feet, with nods to the original ’60s design spirit in the herringbone wood floors and sleek leather furnishings.
Beachfront babe between sea and sky
Where: Phuket, Thailand
What: Beach resort
Rosewood’s first Southeast Asian resort is an impressive debut in the region. It features a 600-metre beach frontage surrounded by 150-year-old sacred banyan trees; retractable glass walls and landscaped rooftops for enhance energy conservation; and 71 villas (above) with sightlines to the Andaman Sea.
The Kerry, Hong Kong, China
Rare space and style in the city
Where: Hong Kong, China
What: Urban resort
The opening of The Kerry (right) has brought Hong Kong something it arguably didn’t have: an urban resort. The hotel has transformed the Hung Hom waterfront with a large green space, boasting a design inspired by the sea and a holiday atmosphere unrivalled in the city. But it’s as much a lifestyle hub as a hotel. There’s a hip food court and a co-working space, as well as a significant emphasis placed on health and wellbeing.