Driven by de­sign

The hot ho­tel open­ings across Asia this year

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia - CHRISTINE McCABE

Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Seoul:

Due to open in Septem­ber in the South Korean cap­i­tal’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict, this 317-room prop­erty will fill a gap in a city short on top-tier ac­com­mo­da­tion. The Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Seoul fea­tures two sig­na­ture restau­rants (Ja­panese and Chi­nese) de­signed by ac­claimed Hong Kong-based ar­chi­tect An­dre Fu. Given the pop­u­lar­ity of craft cock­tails and speakeasies across Asia, it will in­clude a hid­den “drink­ing den” with a se­cret en­trance. The 25-storey ho­tel, to be lo­cated on Se­jon­gro Square, will house a large col­lec­tion of spe­cially com­mis­sioned con­tem­po­rary Korean art. More: foursea­sons.com

Raf­fles Jakarta:

Ris­ing above the city’s com­mer­cial heart and linked to the Cipu­tra Art­preneur Cen­tre, this new­est Raf­fles prop­erty is sched­uled to open in March. Fea­tur­ing 173 large, hi-tech gue­strooms and the group’s sig­na­ture but­ler ser­vice, the ho­tel re­flects its art-cen­tric lo­cale with a large col­lec­tion of works by iconic In­done­sian artist Hen­dra Gu­nawan and a res­i­dent art concierge. The ho­tel will also in­clude Raf­fles’ trade­mark Writ­ers Bar, an Arts Cafe, large day spa, fit­ness cen­tre, yoga ter­race, ten­nis courts, swim­ming pools and a jog­ging track wind­ing through the Hen­dra Gu­nawan-in­spired gar­dens. Gue­strooms are el­e­gantly dec­o­rated with golden mar­ble and dark teak de­tail­ing and fea­ture floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows af­ford­ing deep city views. More: raf­fles.com/ jakarta.

The South Beach, Sin­ga­pore:

Open­ing later this year in down­town Sin­ga­pore as part of a $2.8 bil­lion mixed-use devel­op­ment on Beach Road, the Philippe Star­ck­de­signed 654-room South Beach is hotly an­tic­i­pated by hip ho­tel afi­ciona­dos. Fea­tur­ing ex­clu­sive women’s floors with ad­di­tional se­cu­rity and spe­cial ameni­ties, three bars and two lush sky gar­dens with pool decks, the ho­tel will be housed in one of two Foster + Part­ners an­gu­lar tow­ers ris­ing above the South Beach devel­op­ment. Oc­cu­py­ing an en­tire city block and in­cor­po­rat­ing sev­eral his­toric army build­ings, the new precinct in­cludes of­fices, re­tail space and res­i­den­tial apart­ments. The prop­erty is to be rep­re­sented by Pre­ferred Ho­tels & Re­sorts. More: pre­ferred­hotel­group.com.

Ho­tel Indigo Bangkok:

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal’s popular Indigo “neigh­bour­hood brand” has just landed in the Thai cap­i­tal. Tucked away on cos­mopoli­tan Wire­less Road and with 192 com­pact but smartly turned out gue­strooms and cute “spa-in­spired” bath­rooms, the new ho­tel fea­tures a se­ri­ously funky lobby, high-rise in­fin­ity pool com­mand­ing great city views and a stylish cafe with menus de­signed by lo­cal celebrity chef Ian Kit­tichai. A con­tem­po­rary bar and grill opens on the 25th and 26th floors in June. The Indigo brand is known for its eco-friendly op­er­at­ing ethos and free in­clu­sions, such as fast WiFi, morn­ing news­pa­per and wel­come drink. And there are a a few five-star flour­ishes as well, in­clud­ing turn­down ser­vice, bathrobes and cof­fee ma­chine. Open­ing rates from THB3700++ ($142). More: ihg.com.

Aman Tokyo:

Aman­re­sorts has en­tered the Ja­panese mar­ket for the first time with a Zen-like ho­tel perched atop the Otemachi Tower in Tokyo’s fi­nan­cial dis­trict. De­signed by Aus­tralian firm, and long-time Aman col­lab­o­ra­tor, Kerry Hill Ar­chi­tects, the ho­tel’s 84 gue­strooms and suites are among the largest in the city and the spare in­te­ri­ors are note­wor­thy for their in­clu­sion of shoji screens and over­sized bath­tubs and the use of tra­di­tional Ja­panese ma­te­ri­als such as cam­phor wood, washi pa­per and stone. The two-level day spa is the largest ho­tel fa­cil­ity of its kind in Tokyo with a 30m swim­ming pool and eight treat­ment rooms; the fine dining restau­rant of­fers views of the Im­pe­rial Palace Gar­dens and dis­tant Mount Fuji. More: aman­tokyo.com.

Sun­rise Kempin­ski Ho­tel, Bei­jing:

An­other weird and won­der­ful ho­tel opens in China this week. We’ve had the Sher­a­ton Huzhou Hot Spring Re­sort shaped like a gi­ant dough­nut, now we’ve got the Kempin­ski, which re­sem­bes a very large scal­lop, rep­re­sent­ing good for­tune. The ho­tel looms like a great disk above the shores of Yanqi Lake, a one-hour’s drive from down­town Bei­jing. The 306 gue­strooms com­mand lake and moun­tain views and there are also nine bars and restau­rants, a chil­dren’s club and day spa. More: kempin­ski.com.

The Rev­erie Saigon:

Open­ing this week­end in Ho Chi Minh City, this op­u­lent ho­tel pulls out all stops on the de­sign front with myr­iad ac­com­mo­da­tion styles cour­tesy of four of Italy’s lead­ing fur­ni­ture mae­stros, a bar the length of a city block and a fleet of luxury li­mos that in­cludes a cou­ple of Rolls-Royce Phantom Dragons. Lat­est re­cruit for The Lead­ing Ho­tels of the World, the 286room ho­tel perches atop a new 39-storey tower on Times Square, af­ford­ing out­stand­ing river and city views. More: lhw.com.

Surian, a Luxury Col­lec­tion Ho­tel, Ky­oto:

In March, Star­wood Ho­tels & Re­sorts opens its first luxury col­lec­tion ho­tel in Ja­pan, a small ryokan-style prop­erty in the grounds of Ky­oto’s World Her­itage-listed Ten­ryuji Tem­ple. The newly built inn will in­clude just 39 gue­strooms in­cor­po­rated within two cen­tury-old struc­tures from an ear­lier and very tra­di­tional ryokan that will even­tu­ally house the ho­tel’s sig­na­ture restau­rant and cafe. More: star­wood­ho­tels.com.

GLAD Ho­tel Yeouido, Seoul:

The brick fa­cade of the just-opened GLAD makes a warm coun­ter­point to the steel and glass-dom­i­nated streets of the Yeouido dis­trict, dubbed Seoul’s Man­hat­tan. A mem­ber of De­sign Ho­tels, the GLAD’s 319 gue­strooms are suit­ably stylish and come in eight cat­e­gories. The Mark T bar claims the city’s largest col­lec­tion of sin­gle malt whiskey brands while the ho­tel cafe serves Korean, Chi­nese and Ja­panese dishes, buf­fet-style. Other De­sign Ho­tels open­ings to watch for this year in­clude The Beach Sa­mui, a se­ries of beach­front suites lo­cated in a tiny fish­ing vil­lage on the south­ern tip of the Thai is­land of Koh Sa­mui and ex­pected to come on line in July. More: de­sign­ho­tels.com.

Alila Seminyak, Bali:

Sched­uled to open its doors by mid-year, this 240-room luxury re­sort claims one of the last slices of beach­front real es­tate in Bali’s bustling Seminyak, of­fer­ing the com­bined plea­sures of a laid­back re­sort hide­away with ready prox­im­ity to the is­land’s best restau­rants, bars and bou­tiques. Styled as a pri­vate gar­den, the ho­tel is be­ing built along rig­or­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal lines us­ing lo­cal and re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als and so­lar en­ergy to re­duce its eco foot­print in a re­gion un­der in­tense pres­sure from de­vel­op­ers. The in­ven­tory in­cludes 143 suites (avail­able for pri­vate sale) and one enor­mous pent­house. Ar­rayed over four floors, the gue­strooms will have a re­laxed, res­i­den­tial vibe and the re­sort fea­tures a day spa, fit­ness cen­tre and plenty of green space in­clud­ing roof gar­den pools and leafy cor­ri­dors con­nect­ing the var­i­ous el­e­ments. It should make the per­fect book­end to Alila’s strik­ing and award-win­ning clifftop prop­erty at Uluwatu. More: alila­ho­tels.com/seminyak.

Aman Tokyo, top; Four Sea­sons in Seoul, left; The Rev­erie, Ho Chi Minh City, above; Alila Seminyak in Bali, be­low

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