It’s boom time for Asian hotels, with a host of new properties opening seemingly every day. But though it’s great to have options, the variety can be overwhelming. So, we’ve come up with a handy guide to close to 20 of Asia’s top new getaways, to help you filter the ho-hum (we don’t need to tell you about another average Chinese city hotel) from the truly worthwhile. It’s quite a mix—including eco-escapes on remote islands and beautifully refurbished old colonials, rich with history—making it easy to plan your next vacation.
This luxury retreat—a four hour drive from the region’s capital Darwin—in Nitmiluk National Park, is an 18-roomer with an onsite restaurant and pool as well as two helicopters (to tour the nearby Katherine Gorge). The place is owned by the indigenous community and local artwork is displayed all over the property (on sale from around AU$600 ($775)). To get there, the getaway offers private car transfers for AU$100 ($129) one-way from Katherine Airport. Rates start at AU$323 ($417).
A project by Australian architecture firm Nic Graham + Associates, the refurbished 200 roomer is housed in the old State Theatre and Gowling Building built in 1929. Rooms have black, white and chrome accents and art pieces by emerging local artists. Rates start at US$420 ($519).
QT Sydney Australia
Tucked away in Southwestern China, along the Burmese border, and boasting 80 rooms as well as 23 villas. Facilities include dining options such as international eatery Manfeilong and poolside snack bar Luosuo as well as a spa and an outdoor swimming pool. Plus, the resort offers activities hosted by indigenous groups such as tea picking with the Jinuo tribe and folk singing with the Hani tribe. Rates start at CNY2,000 ($297).
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa Yunnan China
Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai
Set on the banks of the Huangpu River, this new arrival has 318 guest rooms and 44 suites with waterfront views. The place also boasts an extensive art collection curated by the noted Art Front Gallery and includes 4,000 original artworks displayed throughout the building. In addition, there are six different dining venues, an indoor pool and spa with 13 treatment rooms. Rates start at CNY3,600 ($722).
Located on Sumba Island, this gorgeous retreat has 27-villas and is powered by bio-fuel produced from coconuts at its on-premise bio-diesel factory. In addition, the establishment supports charitable trust, The Sumba Foundation, which provides a clean water supply to villages as well as dealing with malnutrition and educational needs on the island. Rates start at US$595 ($747).
Nihiwatu hotel Indonesia
El Nido Pangulasian Island
The island retreat has 42 villas as well as an on-site dive center, 750-meter stretch of white sand beach and nature trail. It offers guided tours of natural attractions like the famous lagoons surrounding the nearby Miniloc Island. It is also ideally located for stargazing and offers clear views of the North Star and Southern Cross. Rates start at PHP27,000 ($823).
El Nido Pangulasian Island Philippines
A ninth project by the Raffles Hotels and Resorts group, this 30-story building includes 32 suites and 237 residences (for private sale) as well as the Fairmont Makati, an establishment with 280 rooms. Each of the suites boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the city skyline. Nearby are attractions like Malacanang Palace and Ayala Museum. Rates start at PHP18,800 ($576).
Hua Chang Heritage Hotel
Bangkok’s latest boutique property is a project by the Baiyoke Group of Hotels. The design of the hotel incorporates motifs from the King Rama V-era in Thailand as well as early 20th century European patterns. A seven-floor building, it includes 80 rooms and offers a free-form swimming pool and pool bar, limousine service and personal butler service. In-room, expect a 40-inch television as well as bathroom amenities by luxury Thai brand Thann. Rates start at B3,200 ($132).
Hua Chang Heritage Hotel Bangkok Thailand
Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa
This property (which used to be known as Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and Spa) has been overhauled, with 44 new deluxe garden bungalows. Clustered in the style of traditional Thai villages, the deluxe garden bungalows are each equipped with a flat screen television and iPod/iPhone docking station. They also provide easy access to the hotel’s private 800-metre beach. Activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, private boat excursions, fishing and spa treatments are available. Rates start at B3,499 ($145).
Sala Lanna Chiang Mai
A boutique northern Thailand establishment only a 20-minute drive from Chiang Mai International Airport with just 16 guest rooms. The place boasts two riverfront dining outlets (Italian restaurant Italia and international establishment The River) plus a bar, The Roof, right by the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool. Rates start at B2,800 ($119).
U Sunsuri Phuket
This getaway set on a secluded stretch of Nai Harn Beach is part of U Hotels and Resorts. The place has pretty views of the ocean and is an hour from Phuket International Airport. There are 132 rooms on offer and facilities such as two swimming pools, two restaurants, a wine bar, spa, gym, library plus free bike hire. Rates start at B3,999 ($166).
This opulent 80-room resort nestled in a cove by Chaweng Beach is outfitted with plenty of red satin and gold brocade. It boasts three dining outlets: international restaurant Kiree, Italian eatery Panali and the Lobby Lounge, which features a comprehensive bar menu. Rates start at B18,000 ($718).
A pretty swanky hotel featuring a futuristic design with lots of mirrors, glittery details and purple accents. Alongside 400+ rooms, there’s chic eatery The Kitchen Table (headed by chef Sarah Briegel) and molecular cocktails by mixologist Bas Petchapradit at WOOBAR. Rates start at B5,200 ($209).
The getaway is on the banks of the Sugumo River, just a 45-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo. There are almost 50 rooms, outfitted with chic modern tatami mats. On-site, there’s also a dining room serving fresh sashimi from the nearby Pacific Ocean and a cozy library, with about 100 books. Hakone, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, is famous for its hot springs at traditional ryokans. Rooms start at JPY29,000 ($365).
Park Hyatt Busan
Designed by starchitect Daniel Libeskind, the building has a curved shape (symbolic of Busan’s waves), with 33 floors above ground and six floors below ground level. Food and beverage outlets include the Dining Room (on the 32nd floor), dishing out international fare from an open kitchen, and casual Korean and Western restaurant The Living Room. Rooms start at KRW450,000 ($509).
Park Hyatt Busan South Korea
This resort can accommodate up to 12 guests and comprises of one grand Master Residence—with a private jacuzzi boasting views of the Indian Ocean, a library, cocktail bar and gymnasium—as well as five villas (two of which have private pools). Other features include a large wine-cellar with a Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa range curated by an on-site sommelier. There’s also on on-site chef and kitchen crew, available 24 hours a day. Plus, guests have access to the five fine-dining restaurants located at the neighboring five-star resort Coco Bodu Hithi (Asian seafood restaurant Aqua, Japanese restaurant Tsuki, and continental eatery Stars). Rates start at US8,000 ($9,766).
Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa
This expansive property spans 320 acres at the private Shillim Estate—with pretty rice fields and bamboo plantations— and features 99 villas. Alongside butler service, the place has one of the largest wine cellars in India and comprehensive spa facilities including more than 150 treatments. The getaway also has six on-premise food and beverage outlets focusing on organic and locally-sourced produce. Rates start at INR7,500 ($172).
Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa Pune India
Located an hour away from KL’s city center, this luxury resort consists of just four individually designed villas sprawled over 4,000 acres of protected forest and takes the concept of boutique accommodations to a whole new level. The Malay-styled Berumbun and Tembusu House are built on stilts with verandahs on two sides and overlook the skyline, but if you’re looking for something more contemporary, opt for the Sora House, a spacious modern-day villa which comes with its own outdoor plunge pool with a direct view of the rainforest. All meals are home-cooked. Rates start at RM300 ($124) for Tembusu.
The Dusun Seremban Malaysia
The eight-room establishment housed in an old colonial pays tribute to Colonel Norman Macalister, the first British Governor of the state in the 1800s. Each of the eight rooms traces different periods of Colonel Macalister’s life through paintings by Southeast Asian artists. Behind the project are Dato Sean H’ng, Datin Karen H’ng and Colin Seah (of Singaporebased firm Ministry of Design). Rates start at RM800 ($322).