And so to beds

The best new ho­tels in Asia

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION ASIA - CHRIS­TINE McCABE

ROSEWOOD LUANG PRA­BANG, LAOS: Nes­tled in for­est just 10 min­utes from the his­toric city of Luang Pra­bang but with not an­other build­ing in sight, this “camp” will fea­ture 17 pri­vate vil­las, six with pools, and five tents dot­ted along the river or be­side streams. The tents are a first for up-mar­ket Rosewood, but don’t think for a mo­ment guests will be rough­ing it. Each large, lux­u­ri­ous tented suite will fea­ture a pri­vate din­ing area and wrap­around deck. De­signed by cel­e­brated Bangkok-based re­sort ar­chi­tect Bill Bens­ley, the vil­las and tents com­bine Lao tra­di­tion and French colo­nial style. Like­wise Lao­tian and French cuisines will be served in the bistro in the cen­tral manor house, which will also con­tain a day spa. The re­sort will fol­low UNESCO guide­lines (Luang Pra­bang is a World Her­itage site) and in­clude the coun­try’s first phil­an­thropic hos­pi­tal­ity school; rose­wood­ho­tels.com.

JW MAR­RIOTT PHU QUOC EMERALD BAY RE­SORT AND SPA, VIET­NAM: Bens­ley also has had a hand in this new re­sort built be­tween the jun­gle and a pri­vate white sand beach on Viet­nam’s largest is­land. Mar­riott is the first in­ter­na­tional lux­ury ho­tel brand to land on Phu Quoc but Bens­ley’s play­ful de­sign is miles from the cookie-cut­ter ap­proach of some chains; it’s based on an imag­i­nary and very un-fusty acad­emy of learn­ing with each build­ing mod­elled af­ter a spe­cific de­part­ment (think a De­part­ment of Chem­istry bar). Bright pas­tel hues and el­e­gant de­tail­ing re­call­ing the coun­try’s French colo­nial his­tory in­form the 243 light-filled and spa­cious gue­strooms, suites and vil­las, and there are three restau­rants, a chil­dren’s club and day spa; mar­riott.com.au.

AMANYANGYUN, SHANG­HAI: Open­ing in the north­ern au­tumn, Aman’s fourth re­sort in China is its most am­bi­tious by far. Si­t­u­ated in a for­est of an­cient cam­phor trees just out­side Shang­hai, the re­sort vil­lage in­cludes his­toric Ming and Qing dy­nasty vil­las that might have stood here for cen­turies. In­stead they rep­re­sent an ex­tra­or­di­nary, decade-long project by Jiangxi-born en­tre­pre­neur and phi­lan­thropist Ma Dadong, who trans­ported 10,000 trees (some more than 1000 years old) and 50 his­toric build­ings 700km from his home province to save them from in­un­da­tion fol­low­ing the con­struc­tion of a reser­voir. These in­cred­i­ble struc­tures have been re­assem­bled to cre­ate 26 dwellings, in­clud­ing 13 four-bed­room vil­las with pri­vate pools, aug­mented by 24-con­tem­po­rary onebed­room suites de­signed by Aman’s go-to ar­chi­tec­tural firm headed by Aus­tralia’s Kerry Hill. Fea­tur­ing rest­ful in­te­ri­ors fin­ished in wood, stone and bam­boo, the vil­las are dot­ted about a mag­i­cal land­scape of or­na­men­tal lakes and those ven­er­a­ble trees, now thriv­ing in the their new home. The re­sort will fea­ture six din­ing venues and a large day spa; aman.com.

THE DUXTON CLUB, A LUX­URY COL­LEC­TION HO­TEL, SIN­GA­PORE: Open­ing on Septem­ber 10 near Chi­na­town, The Duxton in­cor­po­rates two colo­nial-era shop­house build­ings reimag­ined by de­sign­ers Anouska Hem­pel and Jac­ques Gar­cia. Hem­pel, who gave us the ground­break­ing Blakes in Lon­don in the late 70s, brings her style to the 19th-cen­tury Duxton House, with 50 gue­strooms across eight linked three-storey build­ings to­gether with a “des­ti­na­tion restau­rant” and cigar room. Less than 200m away, The Duxton Ter­race will of­fer 138 gue­strooms across 14 ad­join­ing shop­houses. Here there’ll be five restau­rants, a pool­side bar and fit­ness cen­tre. Guests will be able to ac­cess fa­cil­i­ties across both build­ings; star­wood­ho­tels.com.

THE CHEDI MUM­BAI: Best known for re­sorts in Oman and An­der­matt Switzer­land, the lux­ury Chedi brand ven­tures onto the sub­con­ti­nent this year with a high-rise de­vel­op­ment in Mum­bai’s rapidly emerg­ing Powai precinct, in the city’s north­east near the air­port. Powai is an up-mar­ket res­i­den­tial and busi­ness district and known as a start-up hub. With 316 large gue­strooms dec­o­rated in rich gold, bronze and choco­late hues, a day spa and five restau­rants in­tended to set the ho­tel “apart from the com­pe­ti­tion”, The Chedi is sched­uled for a soft open­ing midyear; ghmho­tels.com.

THE MUR­RAY, A NICCOLO HO­TEL, HONG KONG: Fledg­ling lux­ury ho­tel brand Niccolo has en­gaged Fos­ter + Part­ners to con­vert a land­mark build­ing in the Cen­tral district as its flag­ship. Sched­uled to open on Cot­ton Tree Drive in Oc­to­ber, The Mur­ray oc­cu­pies a build­ing that was cut­ting edge in terms of en­ergy-ef­fi­cient de­sign when it opened in 1969. In its new guise, the slen­der white ed­i­fice with sig­na­ture mul­ti­storey arch-topped ter­races of­fer­ing city and park views will fea­ture 336 gue­strooms across 27 floors and five restau­rants, in­clud­ing a rooftop bar; nic­colo­ho­tels.com.

KERRY HO­TEL, HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s first self­styled “five-star ur­ban re­sort” opens in April on Kowloon’s waterfront in Hung Hom Bay with about 60 per cent of the 546 An­dre Fu-de­signed gue­strooms of­fer­ing har­bour views through floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. Gue­strooms are a min­i­mum of 42sq m, equipped with all the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, and there’s a free mini­bar on ar­rival. Best pick would be an Ex­ec­u­tive Sea View Suite with in­door bal­cony over­look­ing Hong Kong Is­land and Vic­to­ria Har­bour. Din­ing out­lets in­clude a wine bar with great views and Food Vil­lage, fea­tur­ing nine in­di­vid­ual kitchens. The Tsim Sha Tsui East shop­ping precinct is nearby while a new MTR sta­tion pro­vides easy con­nec­tions to both sides of the har­bour; shangri-la.com.

TAJ EXOTICA RE­SORT & SPA AN­DAMAN IS­LANDS: The new­est re­sort from In­dia’s Taj group will open in late 2017 on the re­mote Have­lock Is­land in Ritchie’s Ar­chi­pel­ago on the Bay of Ben­gal, on a pris­tine beach claimed to be one of the best in Asia. The An­damans is home to hun­dreds of is­lands with white-sand beaches and great div­ing, tipped to top travel lists in com­ing years. Get­ting in be­fore the rush, Taj’s all-villa re­sort will draw on lo­cal tra­di­tions for in­spi­ra­tion, in­clud­ing 75 suites fea­tur­ing the pitched roofs of tra­di­tional Jarawa huts; tajho­tels.com.

CAPELLA UBUD, BALI: It’s go­ing to be a busy year for Bill Bens­ley (see Rosewood Luang Pra­bang and Mar­riott Emerald Bay) whose de­signs pop up again in Septem­ber at the highly an­tic­i­pated Capella Ubud, a for­est re­treat set on the sa­cred Wos river. With more and more lux­ury ho­tel chains choos­ing to hang their shin­gle on a can­vas tent flap, Capella plans 22 “ul­tra-lux­ury” tented suites with pri­vate plunge pools, to­gether with a day spa and tented gym­na­sium. The group’s sig­na­ture Capella “per­sonal as­sis­tants” will make their way into the for­est to take care of a guest’s ev­ery need, from rustling up sun­down­ers to be­spoke sight­see­ing. Capella prop­er­ties will also open in Shang­hai this year and Bangkok in 2018; capel­la­ho­tels.com.

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