One of the greatest joys of travel, I think, is to settle into the comfort of a beautifully designed property, where you have the time and space to appreciate small details that you might otherwise miss back home. For that reason, I’ve always looked forward to DestinAsian’s annual Luxe List, our roundup of exceptional new hotels that have opened across the AsiaPacific region in the past year. From a Maldivian private-island resort with villas designed to evoke the creatures of the deep, to a “storytelling hotel” in Tasmania, to a collection of red-brick shikumen rowhouses in Shanghai’s former French Concession, upscale lodgings these days are getting ever more diverse and creative. It all makes for a fascinating snapshot of the varied travel experiences found right here in our own backyard.
Our feature stories this issue are also a testament to the kind of vacations we can have without taking a long-haul flight. In China, Shanghai-based correspondent Amy Fabris-Shi hops aboard a bullet train to Hangzhou, to see how its contemporary charms are inextricably linked to the city’s past. Adventure-seekers will delight in Debbie Pappyn’s account from the Nepalese Himalayas, where she ventures into the isolated realm of Upper Mustang.
Back down at sea level, Christopher Hill, our longstanding editor-in-chief, embarks on a culinary exploration of Mauritius with the help of the island’s Shangri-La resort. In the same vein, Simon Ostheimer takes us through a series of Phuket restaurants that are undoubtedly at the forefront of the local dining scene. I wouldn’t call myself much of a foodie, but looking at Jason Michael Lang’s mouth-watering photography and reading about Thai-European fusion fare has certainly whetted my appetite for my next break in Phuket. I hope all these stories—not to mention this year’s Luxe List— will bring out a similar response and inspire you to see even more of our region.