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4 Great Fashion Hotels in Asia

Big-name labels interpret luxury accommodation at these Asian hotels

You may have noticed: fashion houses aren’t just about ‘fashion’ anymore. In recent years, big-name brands have been diversifying into restaurants, galleries, homeware, flowers and, yes, hotels. The ‘fashion hotel’ trend started in 2000, when Italy’s Versace opened its Roman Empire-inspired Palazzo Versace on Australia’s Gold Coast, with several other brands quickly following suit. Other hotels have taken on the fashion trend as well, collaborating with celebrity designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Fürstenberg to create designer suites. It’s happening here in Asia, too – just check out these examples.

Bulgari Resort Bali: Bali, Indonesia

Bulgari Hotel Bali
Credit: Richard Bryant

Imagine a resort opened by Bulgari, and you might picture a glittering complex complete with diamond-encrusted rooms. But the Italian luxury jeweller’s hotel in Bali takes a far more rustic approach. Located on the jagged cliffs of the wild Bukit peninsula, known mostly for its legendary surf breaks and the black-coral Uluwatu Temple, the resort is made up of 59 capacious pool villas. It’s decadent but not blingy. The design marries contemporary Italian and traditional Balinese styles, with local volcanic stone and smoothed woods. The Bulgari touches appear in fabrics, furniture and fixtures, items designed by the house itself. There’s more to come from Bulgari, too. In addition to Milan, Bali and London, the brand plans to unveil three more properties in 2017, in Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai.

So Sofitel Bangkok: Bangkok, Thailand

So Sofitel Bangkok

Moonlighting as a hotel designer, the French couturier Christian Lacroix has put his eclectic style stamp on three boutique Paris boltholes: Le Petit Moulin, the Bellechasse and Le Notre Dame. More recently, he took up a similar task at So Sofitel Bangkok. Lacroix designed interior spaces like the club lounge, where he filled the walls with kaleidoscopic frescos inspired by Thai textiles. His role extended to small visual details like the hotel’s emblem, which was inspired by the five elements, and dizzying staff uniforms that he describes as ‘shapes rooted in Thai traditional costumes but with the elegance of the Paris catwalk’. Guests in the So Suite will notice Lacroix touches in the dramatic textiles, while the So Lofty suites take a more serene approach.

Cheval Blanc Randheli: Noonu Atoll, Maldives

Cheval Blanc
Credit: Stefano Candito

LVMH, the French fashion conglomerate behind brands such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Moët & Chandon and TAG Heuer, launched its resort brand in 2006 with the ski-in Cheval Blanc Courchevel in the French Alps. The Cheval Blanc Randheli, which sprawls across six islands, came next. A 45-minute ride on the resort’s own leather-clad seaplane will take you to the resort, where 45 vast infinity-pool villas await. Each feels more like a beach house than a hotel suite, thanks to natural finishes like rattan, cinnamon wood and coconut shell. And luxury befitting the brand’s reputation is everywhere: the resort has the Maldives’ best butlers, an island dedicated to a palm-fringed spa and a boutique stocked with beachwear bearing labels including Pucci. Up next for LVMH is Cheval Blanc Paris, to open along the Seine late this year.

Hotel Icon: Hong Kong, China

Hotel ICON

It’s part showcase, part education with the Vivienne Tam-designed room at this boutique hotel. The hotel, overseen by Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management, gives students first-hand experience in a full-service environment. A PolyU alumna herself, Tam, known for her high-end, Chinese-inspired fashion, gave the 800-square-foot suite a ‘China chic’ theme using vibrant hues of scarlet and violet. Wrapped in warm woods, the suite is filled with objects from Tam’s own home, including her favourite fashion tomes and magazines. Other Hong Kong success stories have contributed their talents to the hotel, too, including architect William Lim, who designed the interiors, and fashion designer Barney Cheng, who drew the uniforms.

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