Asia’s Top New Holiday Destinations in 2012

Shoppers’ Stays
Nothing’s more mood-enhancing than snagging a couple of comfort buys. Head to these swank establishments—attached to luxe malls or in prime shopping districts—for some much needed retail therapy.
Opened September 2011
Minutes from malls like 1881 Heritage and attractions such as the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Science Museum, the place has 262 rooms boasting spectacular views of Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong island skyline. Fashionistas will appreciate how they’re stunningly outfitted—famed designer Vivienne Tam created the hotel’s signature VT Suite with a bold red color scheme. Room rates start at HK$2,200 ($348).
[INDONESIA] Keraton at The Plaza
Opened April 2012
With a rich gold color scheme and floral motifs, this hotel has furnished its 140 rooms in a uniquely haute-Indonesian style. Not only is it connected to high-end shopping mall The Plaza, it’s also near top local attractions such as the Selamat Datang statue, Dutch colonial center Pasar Baru and the 17th century port Sunda Kelapa. Rates start at US$299 ($367).

[MALAYSIA] Four Points Sheraton Sandakan
Opened May 2011
This 300-roomer is part of Sandakan Harbour Square (which boasts great international shopping facilities) and features lovely views of the Sulu Sea. It’s a great base to explore famous wildlife attractions including Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Turtle Island Park and the Gomantong Caves. Rates start at RM208 ($84).

[THAILAND] Grande Centre Point Hotel & Residence—Terminal 21

Opened October 2011
This centrally located building has direct access to Asoke BTS Skytrain Station and Sukhumvit MRT Subway Station, making travel within the city easy. It is also linked to the new airport-lookalike shopping mall, Terminal 21, which offers affordable fashion by budding young Thai designers. The hotel boasts all the usual facilities, including a tennis court, golf putting green, gym and swimming pool. Rates start at THB3,450 ($137).
Historical Gems
These hotels are more than just places to crash for the night—they have a story to tell. Get a dose of culture at these charming abodes with hundreds of years of history.
[HONG KONG] Tai O Heritage Hotel
Opened March 2012
Built by the British in 1902, this two-story colonial-style former police station offers an utterly different perspective of Hong Kong. With just nine rooms and one restaurant, it pays to book ahead. Free tours of the historic site are given daily (3pm and 4pm), and the entirety of the hotel (except for occupied rooms) remains open to the public. Rooms and packages start at HK$1,380 ($219).

[LAOS] Maison Souvannaphoum
Opened December 2011
After extensive remodeling, the mansion—which was once owned by a Lao prince—is now a stylish boutique option for travelers heading to Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the area’s French colonial and traditional Lao architecture, meandering rivers, Buddhist temples and scenic countryside. Then, return to the retreat for traditional spa treatments at the award-winning Angsana Spa. Stays cost US$110 ($135).

[MALAYSIA] 23 Love Lane
Opened December 2011
This estate comprises buildings that were erected at various times throughout the 19th and 20th centuries: the Anglo Indian Bungalow, the Straits Eclectic Building, the 1920s Jack Roof Annex and The Indian Shophouse. The historic compound was meticulously restored over the past three years. Heritage tours and airport shuttle services are available upon request. Rates start at RM400 ($160).

Sun, Sand and Sea
Private beaches (for an exclusive sunbathing experience) plus diving, boating and dining by the sea—these resorts have plenty to keep you occupied.
[CHINA] St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay
Opened November 2011
Everything about the place is inspired by the sea—from the lobby outfitted with yacht-like wood finishes to its restaurant, Driftwood, which dishes out fresh local seafood. It also has 800 meters of beach frontage and exclusive berths for luxury yachts at on-premise Sanya Yalong Yacht Club. Rates start at RMB1,575 ($307).
[INDONESIA] Montigo Resorts Nongsa
Opened July 2012
This Mediterranean-styled hotel is set on a private beach along Batam’s northeastern coast. Its 88 villas each have a private plunge pool, alfresco dining area and sky terrace. Rates start at $371.

[THAILAND] Akatsuki Resort
Opened September 2011
Set along Lipa Noi Beach, this private villa is suited for a cozy group of up to 15 people. It has four pools, a spa and a dedicated team of service staff from chefs to guides, drivers and butlers. The villa goes for US$3,100 ($3,808).
Amari Hua Hin
Reopened June 2012
From the 223-room beach resort, you can easily visit nearby attractions like Hua Hin Vineyard and the Cicada Market. Rates start at THB2,400 ($95).

Beyond Resort Khaolak
Opened November 2011
The 153 Palm villas and five pool villas here sport natural colors and materials throughout: ochre walls, wood floors and rattan furniture. Villas start from THB2,400 ($95).

Club Med Phuket
Reopened April 2012
This refurbished Phuket stalwart now has an adults-only Zen pool surrounded by long chairs and gazebos as well as a chic bar. Rates start at $300 per night (minimum stay of two days, depending on available packages).

Knockout Nightlife

There’s no need to head out to paint the town red—the party never stops at these hip hotels with on-site clubs and hotspots.
[INDONESIA] W Retreat & Spa Bali—Seminyak
Opened July 2011
W’s Bali outpost has a 24-hour spa with locally inspired treatments such as the Hot Mama, a traditional Balinese abdominal massage. At night, congregate at W Lounge, which has live DJs, Mediterranean nibbles and a menu of 50 martinis. Rates start at US$380 ($489).

Opened November 2011
This resort never sleeps. Not only does it offer 24-hour butler service and spa treatments, it also houses the world’s first underwater music club, Subsix. It’s 500 meters offshore and six meters below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Room rates start at US$650 ($837).

[THAILAND] Angsana Laguna Phuket
Reopened December 2011
After extensive refurbishment totaling US$30 million ($38 million), the property now features a new beach club, XANA, run by the Singapore-based Attica group. Accommodation starts at THB6,410 ($254).

Green Getaways
Eco-geeks will love these retreats that are constructed with sustainable materials
and powered by solar energy, as well as promote local crafts and produce.
[CHINA] Naked Stables Private Reserve
Opened October 2011
This sprawling 60-acre facility is nestled amid local tea and bamboo plantations. Expect 121 sustainably-designed rooms (think earth huts and tree-top villas), as well as an Asian-African restaurant, a spa and an equestrian center. Rooms are available from RMB2,600 ($490) a night.
[CAMBODIA] The Plantation
Opened March 2012
This urban oasis has 70 rooms, two swimming pools, a restaurant and two bars. It is also walking distance from top attractions such as the Royal Palace, the National Museum and Wat Botum (Royal Pagoda). A refurbished 1930s design, the building boasts an eco-friendly solar water heater system and lush surrounding grounds with 45 different species of plants. For souvenirs, check out the on-premise shop, selling locally made handicraft and food products. Rates start at US$70 ($86).