T+L Top Hotel Picks in Asia
Looking for a stay in the world's tallest hotel? Or in a historical shop house in the heart of Penang's George Town? T+L reveals the most stylish hotels across the region.
Song Saa Resort (Koh Ouen, +855 23 686 0360, songsaa.com) opens on a private island in the Gulf of Thailand near Sihanoukville. With 27 all-pool-villas built from sustainable materials, rainforest-protected spa and an executive chef hailing from the Seychelles’ North Island resort, this five-star gem is establishing Cambodia as a stop on the luxury jetsetter map. Thai designer and hotelier Anusorn Ngernyuang brings his eye-popping, colorful aesthetic to Siem Reap with Reflections Rooms (Wat Bo Rd., reflections-thai.com), whose 16 units were each dreamed up by an artist.
Song Saa Resort
It’s the perfect match: Shanghai’s legendary Bund and one of New York’s most storied hotels. The Waldorf Astoria Shanghai (No. 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Rd., +86 21 6322 9988, waldorfastoriashanghai.com) has 20 lavish suites with period details—claw-foot bathtubs, four-poster-beds—in the 100-year-old building that once housed the Shanghai Club. Next door, the 252 rooms in the modern tower come with walk-in closets and river views. Three hours outside of Shanghai, naked Stables Private Reserve (No. 37, Shangxiazhuang village, Paitou, +86 21 6431 8901, nakedretreat.cn) is a 24-hectare wellness retreat and equestrian park in scenic Moganshan; the121 rooms and treetop villas have floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and cow-skin rugs. Tucked inside a Beijing hutong, restored courtyard house The Orchid (No. 65 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng district, +86 10 8404 4818, theorchidbeijing.com) offers 10 Zen-like rooms, some with private gardens or terraces overlooking the Drum and Bell Towers. Ready to take on China’s Wild West? These days, roughing it is no longer required: Songtsam (songtsam.com, +86 887 8288 889) has three rustic lodges—Songtsam Benzilan, Songtsam Tacheng, and our favorite, Songtsam Meili—in the northern reaches of Yunnan province. Timber floors, Tibetan rugs and hand-carved furniture define the rooms, which look out onto the idyllic surroundings. In Tibet, many of the 162 guest quarters at the St. Regis Lhasa (22 Jiangsu Rd., +86 891 680 8888, stregis.com/lhasa) face the Potala Palace. Inside, Tibetan art and vivid photographs of the region add a local flair.
The Waldorf Astoria Shanghai
naked Stables Private Reserve
St. Regis Lhasa
The Ritz-Carlton (International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Rd. W., Kowloon, +852 2263 2263, ritzcarlton.com) resumed its rightful place as one of the city’s top stays—literally. Sited on the top 16 floors of the 118-story International Commerce Centre, the dizzyingly high property—officially the world’s highest hotel—has 312 plush guest quarters geared toward business travelers. Hong Kong designers get a showing at the 262-room Hotel Icon (17 Science Museum Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui E., Kowloon, +852 3400 1000, hotel-icon.com). Book the sleek, harbor-fronting VT suite, designed by Vivienne Tam.
Two new small, style-driven stays are turning heads in Luang Prabang. Run by the renowned Cambodia-based hospitality school, Luang Prabang View Resort (Phou Meo, Thai Lao Friendship Rd.) is set on a hill outside of town, affording lovely vistas of the UNESCO site. The 54 rooms and pool villas come with generous day beds and deep bathtubs. In keeping with its dedication to community development, the hotel opens a training center for underprivileged youth. Near the Nam Khan River, the 24-room Kiridara (22/13 North Rd., Ban Naviengkham, +856 71 261 888, kiridara.com) has panoramic views of the jungle-covered mountains and a large infinity pool. Private yoga lessons are held in an open-air pavilion while the spa offers traditional massage treatments.
George Town flashpackers love Muntri Mews (77 Muntri St., +60 4 263 5125, muntrimews.com) for its stylish, spacious rooms, while those seeking more amenities opt for the pool- and spa-equipped Penaga Hotel (Jln. Hutton and Lebuh Clarke, +60 4 261 1891, hotelpenaga.com). Casa Rio Melaka (88 Jln. Kota Laksamana, +60 6 289 6888, casadelrio-melaka.com) boasts an infinity-edge pool with a view of the UNESCO World Heritage site’s river. On a quiet stretch of Terengganu coastline, at the luxe but low-key Terrapuri (Kampung Mangkuk, Terengganu, +60 9 624 5020, terrapuri.com), 20 restored antique Malay wooden houses serve as guest quarters.
At last, a real boutique hotel in Manila—in the old walled city, no less. The 57-room Bayleaf Intramuros (Muralla corner Victoria St., Intramuros, +63 2 318 5000, thebayleaf.com.ph) boasts a sleek design, modern, well-appointed rooms with apple-green accents, and a café specializing in churros and hot chocolate, a delicious nod to the citadel’s Spanish past. A two-hour flight south of the capital, the beachfront Dedon Island Resort (dedonisland.com) opens on Siargao, in Surigao del Norte. The German outdoor furniture brand’s debut island stay promises to deliver a stylish slice of paradise, with stunning outdoor furniture pieces setting off the teardrop-shaped island’s natural assets.
In a city swathed with skyscrapers, it’s a welcome relief to check into the Hotel Fort Canning (11 Canning Walk, +65 6559 6770, hfcsingapore.com). Nestled in the thick green foliage of Fort Canning Park, the 86-room boutique hotel boasts Singapore’s first mineral-water lap pool and offers a calm oasis from the bustle, despite being just five minutes from Orchard Road. If you’re on a budget, it’s all about the Wink Hostel (8A Mosque St., +65 6222 2940, winkhostel.com), which features 68 soundproofed Japanese-styled capsule pods in a three-story pre-war shop house in the heart of Chinatown.
Hotel Fort Canning
Playful touches abound at the buzzy 405-room W Taipei (10 Zhongxiao E. Rd. Sec. 5, +886 2 7703 8888, wtaipei.com), from an outsize stainless-steel chain fronting its neon-lit façade to the open-plan bathrooms framing panoramic vistas of Taipei 101. “Made in Taiwan” is the ethos behind Home Hotel (90 Songren Rd., +886 2 8789 5151, homehotel.com.tw), a 113-room stay that spotlights local design. The result? Comfy guest quarters by Ted Su paneled with Taiwanese teak, wooden furniture from Macro Maison, and designer touches—vintage-fabric cushions; stylish trays—by Brut Cake.
Two newcomers bring panache to Bangkok’s hotel scene, in very different ways. Designed by Singapore-based architects WOHA, the Hansar Bangkok (3 Rajadamri Rd., +66 2 209 1234, hansarbangkok.com) has 94 resort-like suites with teakwood floors, spacious bathrooms and Jim Thompson silks. Next door, the St. Regis Bangkok (159 Rajadamri Rd., +66 2 207 7777, stregis.com/bangkok) is devoted to old-fashioned opulence: the 227 rooms and suites are upholstered in rich purple and gray velvets and silks. Downstairs, JoJo dishes up house-made pasta, Italian cheeses and divine gianduiotto, hazelnut-laden chocolate. Koh Samui’s renaissance gathers steam with the ultra-exclusive Akatsuki (57/8 Moo 2 Lipanoi, akatsuki-resort.com, +66 77 485 704), which has five airy pavilions that combine Japanese screens with beachfront-chic wicker chairs. In Hua Hin, Cape Nidhra (97/2 Petchkasem Rd., +66 32 516 600, capenidhra.com) offers 59 spacious pool suites with day beds, balconies and private gardens.
St. Regis Bangkok
Cape Nidhra Hua Hin
Hyatt’s second property in Vietnam, the month-old, beachfront Hyatt Regency Danang Resort & Spa (Truong Sa St., +84 511 398 1234, danang.regency.hyatt.com) offers 200 rooms with terrazzo floors, pedestal baths, the brand’s lush signature bedding and doors that open out onto views of the Marble Mountains or the South China Sea. Further down the coast is the secluded, eco-friendly Mia Resort Nha Trang (Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, +84 583 989 666, mianhatrang.com), a seaside getaway about 20 kilometers from Nha Trang’s buzz, with tranquil, granite-and-wood rooms; villas offer four-poster beds with direct sea views.
Hyatt Regency Danang