Top 10 Hotels with a Historic Twist in Asia

[THAILAND] 137 Pillars House

A dose of 19th-century British colonial charm nestled along the Ping River in Chiang Mai, this hotel is located only a few minutes away from popular tourist spots and a host of riverside boutiques and restaurants. The historic building has 30 suites decked out with vintage furnishings such as four-poster beds and free-standing Victorian baths. Plus, each room has its own collection of books on Thai history, culture and plant life. Rates start at B6,300 (S$250).

[MALAYSIA] 23 Love Lane

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 (S$160).

[THAILAND] Cabochon Bangkok

The eight-room establishment, housed in an art deco mansion, features colonial décor elements inspired by the 1920s (think antique trinkets like toy planes and vintage world maps). But there are also modern comforts like wifi and cable television, plus a rooftop garden, swimming pool and in-house Thai-Laotian restaurant, Thai Lao Yeh. Rates start at around B4,800 (S$191).

[MALAYSIA] Campbell House

A debut project for British hoteliers Roberto Dreon and Nardya Wray, this three-level shophouse (once a sailors’ hostel) has 11 individually decorated suites with colorful Peranakan tile decorations, walk-in rain showers and organic locally made toiletries. On-site, there’s also Il Bacaro, a traditional Venetian restaurant, with Italian small plates and fish specialties. Rates start at RM330 (S$133).

[LAOS] Maison Souvannaphoum

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 (S$135).

[JAPAN] Palace Hotel Tokyo

This luxury hotel is set in the green sprawling gardens of the Imperial Palace. Right by a moat, it replaces two shuttered hotels—Hotel Teito and the Palace Hotel—that occupied the same site from 1947 and 1961, respectively. The place features ten restaurants which run the gamut from Japanese to French, each with direct links to two-star Michelin chefs. Evian, famous for its mineral water and luxe resort in France, also has a spa on the hotel’s fifth floor. Rooms start at US$596 (S$727).

[MALAYSIA] The Sterling

Situated in the heart of the Malacca’s heritage zone, this hotel offers easy access to places of interest such as Jonker Street and the Stadthuys. The building itself is a charming example of colonial architecture, with 37 rooms and the city’s only rooftop restaurant. An eco-friendly establishment, the place also has a rainwater collection tank with a capacity of 320 liters and uses solar panels as a main energy source. Rooms are available from RM350 (S$143).

[SINGAPORE] The Sultan

Located in the historically Muslim neighborhood of Kampong Glam, this 64-room boutique hotel is housed in two rows of vintage shophouses featuring eight-meter-high ceilings and ornate hand-carved window screens; the rooms include handmade furniture and modern Arabic design elements. It’s also just minutes from iconic buildings and attractions including the Malay Heritage Centre, the Sultan Mosque, and popular shopping mall Bugis Junction. Rooms start at S$145.

[HONG KONG] Tai O Heritage Hotel

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 (S$217).

[SRI LANKA] The Wallawwa

Built in Dutch colonial style, this traditional clay-tiled resort boasts over 200 years of history. Set on three acres of garden space, the hotel’s rooms offer plenty of private facilities. The Mountbatten Suite, for instance, features a private garden and plunge pool. A high-minded getaway, the place also gives back to the Sri Lankan community through its gift shop, which sells a collection of unique items sourced mainly from small craft producers in Sri Lanka. The store donates all its profits to charity. Room rates begin at US$160 (S$195).