Driven by design
The hot hotel openings across Asia this year
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
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.
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