13 Beautiful Asian Boutiques
July 9, 2014
Cookie-cutter hotel rooms in sky-rise towers lack that je ne sais quoi many of today’s intrepid explorers are seeking—the personal touches, the quirky décor, the local vibe. To sate that appetite, boutique options are popping up all across Asia. By Gabrielle Jaffe.
Published on Jul 9, 2014
Bangkok has seen an explosion in boutique residences in recent years, and one refurbished gem in the Thai capital is (1) Hotel Cabochon (14/29 Sukhumvit Soi 45, Bangkok; cabochonhotel.com), housed in a set of four-story Art Deco blocks, and crowned by a rooftop swimming pool. Its eight suites and studios charm guests with quirky styling and eccentric antiques.
Crisp Art Deco style at Hotel Cabochon
Formerly a royal residence, the (2) Chakrabongse Villas (396 Maharaj, Bangkok; chakrabongsevillas.com) has been incarnated as four individual suites set in a luxuriant riverside garden, a great place to hide from the city's din.
With its swooping Ratanakosin-era-style rooftops and dark-wood interiors, the (3) Sireeampan Boutique Resort & Spa (88/8 Moo 1, Tambon Changpuak, Chiang Mai; +66 53 327 777; sireeampan.com) up in shady Chiang Mai has charisma to spare. The 11-suite resort is designed to resemble a lavish Thai home, albeit one with modern perks such as Apple TVs and Nescafe espresso machines.
As Burma opens to the world, there has been a flowering of well-appointed accommodations such as (4) Bagan Lodge (Myat Lay Rd., New Bagan; bagan-lodge.com). On the doorstep of one of the world's most awe-inspiring archaeological sites, this hotel offers a blend of traditional Burmese, colonial-era and contemporary design as well as a swimming pool and spa to help escape Bagan's hot, dusty plains.
Bagan Lodge, an escape from the dusty plains
One of the first boutique offerings in the Burmese capital, (5) The Loft (33 Yaw Min Gyi St., Rangoon; theloftyangon.com) is located in a converted warehouse on a quintessential Rangoon street lined with Raj-era buildings. Its industrial-chic rooms provide an ideal base from which to explore nearby sites—stop by Scott Market and Sule pagoda.
Beijing boasts thousands of hotels, but for years Emperor Beijing Forbidden City has been one of only a handful of boutiques in the city. Now the team behind the original has opened (6) Emperor Beijing Qianmen (33 Qihelou St., Beijing; theemperor.com.cn) in historic Qianmen, with impressive views from its rooftop bar and swimming pool, and China's first L'Occitane spa.
L'Occitane spa at Beijing Qianman Emperor
Housed in a 600-year-old temple complex, the eight-room (7) Temple Hotel (23 Shatan North St., Beijing; en.thetemplehotel.com) is another exciting opening in the Chinese capital. This colorful property has a gallery exhibiting prominent artists such as James Turrell, who more typically shows in New York's Guggenheim.
(8) Hotel Kosenda (127 Jln. KH Wahid Hasyim, Jakarta; kosendahotel.com) stands out from the drab blocks that make up most of Jakarta thanks to the stylized design and handmade furnishings provided by local architects and artists. The rooms abound in thoughtful touches including batik sandals and artisanal coffee.
The work of local aritists at Hotel Kosenda
Housed in a restored Art Deco building, (9) House Sangkuriang (1 Jln. Sangkuriang, Bandung; house-indonesia.com) brings classy accommodation to Indonesia's third largest city, Bandung. Unwind with a swim in the hotel's infinity pool overlooking the lush green expanses of Babakan Siliwangi park.
Most of Bali's resorts are content to rest on their ocean views but (10) Jeeva Saba (8 Jln. Pura Anyar II, Bali; jeevasaba.com) offers much more. Set on a hectare of landscaped grounds with a banyan tree welcoming guests at the entrance, this eight-bedroom private estate offers an atmospheric Asian colonial-style setting and 24-hour butler service.
Colonial touches pepper the rooms at Jeeva Saba
From the reclaimed teak furnishings and fabrics sourced from vintage saris to floors inlaid with custom-designed tiles (courtesy of a local tile-maker whose methods have not changed in 100 years), the 20-room (11) Abode Hotel (1F, Landsowne House, M.B. Marg, Mumbai; adobeboutiquehotels.com) showcases the best of eclectic, slick modern Mumbai.
Nestled in Far East Square, a cultural heritage project to preserve the shoreline where Chinese immigrants first arrived in Singapore, the 37-room (12) AMOY (76 Telok Ayer St., Singapore; stayfareast.com.sg) features myriad reflections of its neighborhood's history, such as the blue-and-white ceramic sinks. To enter, visitors stroll through a museum that was once a Taoist temple.
Located in a preserved shop house in Kampong Glam quarter, the 27-room (13) Hotel Clover (769 North Bridge Rd., Singapore; hotelclover.com) mixes a minimalist aesthetic with original architectural features. The inner courtyard's walled garden, tastefully lined with creepers, offers sanctuary from the city.
The walled courtyard garden at Hotel Clover is a jungle of creepers