DestinAsian - - FLASH­BACK -

AUS­TRALIA Jack­a­lope, Mer­ricks North Young en­tre­pre­neur and film­maker Louis Li is putting the state of Vic­to­ria’s Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula on the map for some­thing other than its great wines. An hour’s drive south of Mel­bourne, Jack­a­lope marks Li’s first foray into the hotel busi­ness, and what a de­but it is: the prop­erty is, quite sim­ply, stun­ning. Many of the 46 rooms offer views over the vine­yard (Wil­low Creek) on which the low-slung build­ing sits, with mono­chrome in­te­ri­ors and be­spoke fur­nish­ings courtesy of Mel­bourne sis­ter act Zuster. The deep-soak Ja­panese tubs in each room are black, as is the 30-me­ter in­fin­ity pool and a glossy seven-me­ter-tall sculp­ture of the hotel’s name­sake jack­a­lope (a folk­loric jack­rab­bit with horns) by local artist Emily Floyd. The restaurants and bars bring equal whimsy both in name—Doot Doot Doot, Flag­ger­doot, and Rare Hare—and de­sign. But their style doesn’t come at the ex­pense of sub­stance, with the for­mer already gar­ner­ing rave re­views for its sea­sonal tast­ing menus that draw from the hotel’s kitchen gar­den and se­lect penin­sula pro­duc­ers. — 61-3/5931-2500; jack­alope­ho­; dou­bles from US$520 CHINA The Sanya Edi­tion, Hainan Is­land It can’t have es­caped any­one’s at­ten­tion that the re­sort city of Sanya on Hainan Is­land has been at­tract­ing more than its share of lux­ury hotel brands. Few, though, have man­aged to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion quite as vividly as the cres­cent-shaped Sanya Edi­tion. For the Asian de­but of his Edi­tion brand, Ian Schrager has pulled out all the stops. For starters, he tapped the Sin­ga­pore-based ar­chi­tects SCDA to cre­ate a sleek sil­hou­ette of grandly pro­por­tioned blocks of gray stone and dark tim­ber that fan out over the sprawl­ing 22-hectare site, which in­cludes an ar­ti­fi­cial la­goon filled with pu­ri­fied sea­wa­ter, two swim­ming pools, and a clutch of restaurants and bars. Schrager’s in­te­rior de­sign team, mean­while, has dressed the calm, ca­pa­cious rooms—there are 500 in to­tal, plus 17 pool vil­las—in white stone, pale oak, and wispy ceil­ing-height drapes that en­cir­cle the bed, a theme that’s car­ried over in the two-story all-white spa. The re­sort truly stands apart from the pack with an un­usu­ally well­stocked book­shop filled with tomes on art, de­sign, photography, and ar­chi­tec­ture, along­side eye-catch­ing in­stal­la­tions and art pieces by con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese artists that have been cu­rated by Bei­jing’s Ul­lens Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Art. — 86-898/8835- 9999; edi­tion­ho­; dou­bles from US$258 W Shang­hai - The Bund, Shang­hai You feel like you’re about to wan­der into a night­club— or a wall—as you nav­i­gate the lobby at W Shang­hai, where the scene is dark, thump­ing, and achingly hip, es­pe­cially by night. Let the bleached smiles and flashy footwear of the clien­tele light your way to the cen­tral WooBar with its DJ deck, or the ex­pan­sive WetBar, which hosts cham­pagne-fu­eled sum­mer pool par­ties back­dropped by Shang­hai’s zeit­geist sky­line. Back inside, the reimag­ined ’70s-style guest rooms pop with slinky yel­low-vel­vet win­dow lounges, aqua bath­rooms, and sil­ver-tiled walls (a gilded take on clas­sic Shang­hai brick al­leys). On the bed, a pair of gi­ant chop­sticks and a gold lamé cush­ion in the shape of a Shang­hai xi­ao­long­bao dumpling with the words “bite me” set an un­abashedly flirty tone. Mar­tini glasses and a cock­tail shaker stand at the ready, while the im­pres­sive neon city views through curv­ing win­dows seem cus­tom de­signed to the psy­che­delic W color pal­ette. The Kitchen Ta­ble, a stylish all-day bistro with black-and-white floors, cop­per lamps, and al­fresco pool­side ta­bles, serves a se­ri­ously tasty buf­fet break­fast, and you can work off the calo­ries at the well-equipped gym and cy­cle room or in the in­door and out­door swim­ming pools (though you could just float about on the in­flat­able gold flamin­gos in­stead). — 86-21/2286-9999; star­; dou­bles from US$314 The St. Regis Shang­hai Jin­gan, Shang­hai Shang­hai has of­ten been called the New York of China, so it comes as no sur­prise that this out­post of the ven­er­a­ble Man­hat­tan-born St. Regis brand feels right at home in China’s most cos­mopoli­tan city. Away from the hotel-crowded Bund river­front, the high-rise prop­erty re­sides in the down­town Jin­gan dis­trict, a short saunter from parks, mu­se­ums, tem­ples, and the fash­ion­able shop­ping and din­ing of Nan­jing West Road. Ex­u­ber­ance pre­vails in the triple­height lobby, adorned with chan­de­liers the size of small swim­ming pools, gi­ant urns of fresh flow­ers, and gold-trimmed car­pets. Jazz music sets a jaunty vibe as trav­el­ers and local trend­set­ters lounge on tufted leather arm­chairs in shades of sherry and olive and but­lers sashay through the scene. Pre­sent­ing sweeping city views from the 36th to 68th floors, 491 el­e­gant guest rooms and suites fea­ture sooth­ing blue silk walls and pale mar­ble bath­rooms, with pops of flam­boy­ance in the stingray-up­hol­stered work desk and tas­seled gold cur­tains. Guests can choose from six restaurants and bars, in­clud­ing tra­di­tion­ally styled Can­tonese and Ja­panese din­ing and the not-to-be­missed St. Regis Bar, where a Shang­hai-in­spired riff on the Bloody Mary—the Mary Jing—is made with fig-in­fused vodka, yel­low to­ma­toes, and os­man­thus honey. — 86-21/6257- 9999; star­wood­ho­; dou­bles from US$470 IN­DIA Ayana Fort Kochi, Kochi This 200-year-old court­house build­ing has been trans­formed into a bou­tique hotel with chess­board floors and 16 big high-ceilinged rooms fur­nished in a re­strained Art Deco style. Lo­cated in the his­toric cen­ter of Ker­ala’s Mal­abar Coast, The Ayana isn’t right on the wa­ter­front, but its sexy rooftop pool of­fers mag­nif­i­cent views of the harbor from which spices have been trans­ported for at least 2,000 years. Other local at­trac­tions—in­clud­ing the Por­tuguese-built St. Fran­cis Church (where Vasco da Gama was orig­i­nally buried) and Mat­tancherry Palace—are within easy reach. There are three in-house din­ing op­tions of­fer­ing every­thing from a full English break­fast to ke­babs, but guests will also want to work in a meal at the nearby Brun­ton Boat­yard’s His­tory Res­tau­rant, where the menu com­piles dishes from the var­i­ous his­tor­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties—Syrian, Dutch, Por­tuguese, Bri­tish, et al.—that have called Fort Kochi home. The hotel can also ar­range ex­cur­sions into Ker­ala’s scenic back­wa­ters aboard a tra­di­tional ket­tuval­lam house­boat. — 91-484/301-1711; ayana­hos­pi­tal­; dou­bles from US$160 Chit­toor Kot­taram, Kochi Taken over by Ker­ala-based bou­tique hote­liers CGH Earth a few years back, Chit­toor Kot­taram, the erst­while res­i­dence of the Raja of Cochin, has been re­vamped and re­launched un­der the guid­ance of Bri­tish phi­lan­thropist Lady He­len Ham­lyn, a keen

sup­porter of local restora­tion projects. The 18th-century back­wa­ter re­treat in the sleepy vil­lage of Cher­ranel­loor has only three bed­rooms—the mas­ter suite spans the en­tire up­per floor—and can only be booked in its en­tirety, mak­ing it ideal for small groups. Now a repos­i­tory for Lady Ham­lyn’s idio­syn­cratic col­lec­tion of art and an­tiques, the for­mer palace is filled with pe­riod details and up­dated fix­tures, though the grounds are just as ap­peal­ing. An oc­tag­o­nal tem­ple pond has been trans­formed into a swim­ming pool, lush palm-stud­ded lawns lead down to a pri­vate dock for boat ex­cur­sions, and a wa­ter­side gazebo sets the scene for lunches and din­ners pre­pared as you watch (young chef San­deep Satheesan’s gourmet din­ners play with local cui­sine—think Ker­alan “can­nel­loni” of gourd tubes stuffed with yam and spinach in a rich tomato gravy). Come evening, guests can look for­ward to ex­clu­sive per­for­mances by mu­si­cians from the 800-year-old Chit­toor Tem­ple next door. — 91-484/301-1711; cg­; ex­clu­sive rental from US$835 Naren­dra Bhawan, Bikaner The brain­child of aris­to­cratic model-turned-hote­lier Man­ven­dra Singh Shekhawat, this for­mer royal man­sion, re­plete with in­tri­cate jali lat­tice screens and red sand­stone ar­cades, has been re­born as a fan­ci­ful trib­ute to its one­time res­i­dent Naren­dra Singh, the last ma­haraja of Bikaner. His eclec­tic tastes are im­mor­tal­ized in the 82-room hotel, where Bom­bay Art Deco, Por­tuguese tiles, Ra­jasthani tribal art, and a bright red baby grand piano make for a chic yet whim­si­cal com­bi­na­tion. Re­gally dressed but­lers on each floor cater to your every need, while guest quar­ters cel­e­brate the life and times of the late ma­haraja, with room cat­e­gories re­call­ing his youth as a globe-trot­ting bon vi­vant, his mil­i­tary ca­reer, and the mod­ernist style fa­vored by post-in­de­pen­dence In­dian ar­chi­tects. Else­where, guests can un­wind in a gen­tle­men’s smok­ing room and a “with­draw­ing room” for ladies, where chan­de­liers droop with Basra pearls; take a dip in the rooftop pool; and, at the Pearls & Chif­fon res­tau­rant, sam­ple Bikaner’s royal cui­sine against a Vic­to­rian-style back­drop. For some­thing wilder but no less in­dul­gent, opt for a sun­downer with a spread of fresh fruit and pas­tries at a nearby desert oa­sis. — 91/7827-151-151; naren­drab­; dou­bles from $187 Roseate House, New Delhi This sis­ter prop­erty to the re­cently re­branded, Lek Bun­nag–de­signed Roseate in South West Delhi is sit­u­ated at Ae­roc­ity, a bur­geon­ing hos­pi­tal­ity dis­trict near Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port. With such jet-set cre­den­tials, guests can ex­pect rooms as sleek as an iPhone X, plenty of mar­ble, oak, vel­vet, and high-tech gad­getry, and a plush 71-seat movie the­ater aptly called Up­stage. Other high­lights in­clude a rooftop spa—the five-hour Aheli Jour­ney treat­ment is the ul­ti­mate in pam­per­ing— and a quar­tet of din­ing op­tions, in­clud­ing pan-In­dian res­tau­rant Kheer and rooftop Ja­panese lounge Tara. The Roseate brand was launched by In­dia’s Bird Hos­pi­tal­ity last Septem­ber, and now in­cludes a trio of smart ho­tels in Lon­don too, mak­ing it one of the few In­dian hotel groups to go global. — 91-11/7155-8800; roseate­ho­; dou­bles from US$132 IN­DONE­SIA Bawah, Anam­bas Archipelago Re­mote­ness is an in­creas­ingly elu­sive state these days, but it’s one that you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence at Bawah, a clus­ter of hilly is­lands with three la­goons, 13 beaches, and just 35 rooms. Lo­cated to the north­east of Sin­ga­pore in In­done­sia’s Anam­bas Is­lands, the re­sort some­how feels like it has been dropped at the ends of the earth—partly because get­ting here en­tails fer­ries, flights, shut­tles, and boat trans­fers (a sea­plane from Batam will start ser­vices in Novem­ber, short­en­ing the trip). But Bawah’s take on eco-con­scious lux­ury is well worth the schlep. Beach­front and gar­den vil­las with a bam­boo ex­oskele­ton have can­vas roofs, re­cy­cled teak floors, and roller shut­ter–style walls that can turn the room into an ope­nair space at the touch of a but­ton. Over­wa­ter vil­las boast large decks and steps lead­ing straight into clear turquoise seas. Be­yond the rooms, marine-themed art pieces grace two bars, and Tree­tops res­tau­rant dishes up fine fu­sion cui­sine by an Italian chef formerly at Sin­ga­pore’s Man­darin Ori­en­tal. Out­doors en­thu­si­asts have plenty to keep them oc­cu­pied, from a ros­ter of wa­ter sports to stargaz­ing ses­sions and jun­gle hikes. Even more mem­o­rable is the staff. Un­fail­ingly warm, good­hu­mored, and with­out any sense of hi­er­ar­chy, they’re col­lec­tively known as the Bawah Family. The name makes sense: You’ll miss them when you leave. — No tele­phone; bawahis­land. com; all-in­clu­sive from $1,960 Cempedak Pri­vate Is­land, Riau Archipelago Ten years af­ter launch­ing Nikoi Is­land in In­done­sia’s Riau Archipelago, Aus­tralian banker-turned-hote­lier An­drew Dixon and his part­ners have done it again, open­ing a se­cond eco-re­sort just a half-hour speed­boat ride away. Fresh off his work on Bali’s Man­dapa, a Ritz- Carl­ton Re­serve, New Zealand–born ar­chi­tect Miles Humphreys—along with Ba­li­nese bam­boo spe­cial­ists Chiko Wi­ra­hadi and Ke­tut In­dra Sa­pu­tra—were re­cruited to cre­ate a grownup fan­tasy of a Robin­son Cru­soe get­away. While Nikoi was con­structed with drift­wood, the build­ings of 17-hectare Cempedak are made en­tirely of sus­tain­able bam­boo, re­cy­cled teak, and rub­ber wood, and topped with grass-thatched roofs. Fringed by thick stands of jun­gle that also act as

pri­vacy screens, the 20 double-story pool vil­las are dressed in or­ganic linen, cot­ton mos­quito net­ting, and bam­boo ceil­ing fans. There are no walls, not even in the se­cond-floor bed­room and shower—the bet­ter to catch the sea breezes and to be lulled to sleep each night by the sound of the softly lap­ping ocean waves. By day, di­ver­sions in­clude ten­nis on a grass court, na­ture walks, scuba div­ing and snor­kel­ing in the sur­round­ing crys­talline wa­ters, while the cock­tail bar’s tim­ber deck is a dramatic front-row seat for watch­ing the sun­set, thanks to its po­si­tion high above the jun­gle tree­tops. — 62/811-700-8040;; dou­bles from $360 Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach, Bali The first-ever beach re­sort from the Hotel Indigo brand has made its de­but on the south­ern end of Seminyak’s Me­sari Beach, bring­ing a fresh in­jec­tion of style to one of the liveli­est neigh­bor­hoods on the is­land. Its 270 spa­cious rooms and suites—most with swing­ing daybeds on their ocean-fac­ing bal­conies—as well as 19 pool vil­las are spread across al­most five hectares of metic­u­lously land­scaped grounds. Ref­er­ences to the local mi­lieu are ev­ery­where, from the out­door art­works in the ex­pan­sive lobby space to the tenun songket (a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese tex­tile) mo­tifs seen about the re­sort. That kind of flair ex­tends to the smaller details—think cus­tom-made pot­tery from Bali-based Ke­vala Ceram­ics, room service in tif­fin car­ri­ers known as rantang, and a special “Seminyak blend” by home­grown com­pany Dharma Teas. A taste of the is­land can also be found at Hotel Indigo’s sig­na­ture Ba­li­nese res­tau­rant, Salon Bali, where del­i­ca­cies such as babi gul­ing (suck­ling pig) are served as part of an eight- or 12-course menu. Other fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a beach­front bar, a pot­tery-mak­ing work­shop, and a spa that of­fers every­thing from nail treat­ments and re­flex­ol­ogy ses­sions to mus­cle-melt­ing Ba­li­nese mas­sages. There’s still more to come, with the at­tached Su­garSand beach club slated to open by year’s end. — 62-361/209- 9999; seminyak.hotelindigo .com; dou­bles from US$290 MAL­DIVES Mi­laid­hoo Is­land, Baa Atoll Bare­foot lux­ury takes on a dis­tinctly Mal­di­vian fla­vor at this 50-villa is­land in the UN­ESCO-des­ig­nated bio­sphere re­serve of Baa Atoll. Dis­creet nods to local cul­ture in­clude lac­quer­ware on the walls, an undho

alhi (swing­ing daybed) by the pool in each villa, and candy-col­ored front doors mod­eled on those of na­tive homes. Less sub­tle but en­tirely wel­com­ing is Ba’theli, a mod­ern-Mal­di­vian res­tau­rant and lounge set above the la­goon in a trio of faux fish­ing boats. In the af­ter­noons, the teardrop­shaped isle seems cloaked in si­lence with its guests out on ex­cur­sions to nearby Hani- faru Bay, at yoga ses­sions on a nearby sand­bar, or be­ing pam­pered in the over­wa­ter spa. Later hours bring cham­pagne and sun­down­ers in the sand-floored Com­pass Pool Bar, or in-villa evenings of room-service meals de­signed to pro­mote good sleep with dips in those large pri­vate pools, whose floors light up with LED stars at dusk. — 960/660-0484; mi­laid­; dou­bles from US$1,900 SRI LANKA San­tani, Kandy A scenic jour­ney through high­land jun­gle, pint-sized vil­lages, and along the ser­pen­tine bends of the Hulu River brings you to San­tani, an eco-luxe well­ness re­treat perched on a se­cluded hill­side. Up­cy­cled decor ac­cents the oth­er­wise min­i­mal­is­tic com­mu­nal ar­eas, with high ceil­ings and large win­dows bring­ing in fresh moun­tain air. Each of the 16 stand­alone rooms are in­ge­niously de­signed to mimic the cool in­te­rior of a cave, with a sin­gle glass wall and slid­ing doors open­ing onto the bal­cony. The con­cept is driven by what San­tani terms “Well­ness 2.0,” which in­volves meet­ing an on-site Ayurvedic doc­tor who crafts a per­son­al­ized re­treat plan in­clud­ing treat­ments, mas­sage, yoga, med­i­ta­tion, and diet. But it isn’t just the de­sign or the level of at­ten­tion that gives San­tani its wow fac­tor. From a salad of In­dian pen­ny­wort and bul­gur with tamar­illo and grape­fruit salsa, to the home­made pep­per ice cream on a multi-tex­tured straw­berry platter, the dishes that emerge from San­tani’s kitchen are as tan­ta­liz­ing as they are whole­some. And with a 25-me­ter in­fin­ity pool, ther­mal salt soak pool, sauna, and steam room, self-care has never felt so good. — 94/76-399-1919; san­; dou­bles from US$450, full board THAI­LAND Bangkok Pub­lish­ing Res­i­dence, Bangkok This un­usu­ally themed prop­erty in the Thai cap­i­tal’s Old Town area lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively sits be­tween the grand river­side lux­ury ho­tels and the hip, smallscale bou­tique lodg­ings pop­ping up in Chi­na­town just a few blocks away. Housed inside an old print­ing fac­tory on his­tor­i­cal Lan Luang Road, the eight-room hotel blends 21stcen­tury lux­ury with a touch of nos­tal­gia. The lobby dou­bles as a museum pre­serv­ing the his­tory of the owner’s family pub­lish­ing busi­ness, with vin­tage type­writ­ers, an­tique print­ing blocks, and kooky keep­sakes all sourced from the family ar­chives. Rooms are charm­ing and well-ap­pointed with thought­ful touches like Mar­shall speak­ers and in­cred­i­bly comfy mi­cro-gel mat­tress top­pers. On the top floor, the lush rooftop gar­den is a wel­come re­treat af­ter a day spent ex­plor­ing the Old Town. Here, guests are in­vited to soak away their aches in the green­ery-clad Jacuzzi, or pour them­selves a cup of tea and re­lax with a maga-

zine in the an­nexed library: stay­ing true to its theme, the hotel stocks a wide range of travel and lifestyle pub­li­ca­tions. The only thing miss­ing is an on-site res­tau­rant, but local fa­vorites like the cozy lunch­room Eden’s and Mediter­ranean-in­spired venue Seven Spoons are just a short walk away. — 66-2/282-0288; bpres­i­; dou­bles from US$145

137 Pil­lars Suites & Res­i­dences, Bangkok

Taking up the top eight floors of a brand­new, 35-story sky­scraper in up­scale Thon­glor, 137 Pil­lars Suites is one of the lat­est ar­rivals on Bangkok’s hos­pi­tal­ity scene, but its his­tory runs deeper than most ho­tels in the cap­i­tal. Its sis­ter prop­erty, 137 Pil­lars House in Chi­ang Mai, is a suave rein­ven­tion of a teak­wood man­sion that was once part of the East Bor­neo Trad­ing Com­pany’s north­ern head­quar­ters, and care­ful details in the Bangkok out­post re­call this 19th-century her­itage. Each of the 34 high­ceilinged suites, which start from 64 square me­ters, comes with a bal­cony and rock­ing chair; Jack Bain’s Bar is gen­tle­manly with dark leathers, gilt, and old black-and-white pho­to­graphs of its name­sake Trad­ing Com­pany man­ager; and Louis Leonowens, who es­tab­lished the orig­i­nal Chi­ang Mai of­fice, has his lady-killing ways im­mor­tal­ized in an old Lon­don cab named Louie that woos guests with cham­pagne as they’re chauf­feured around town. De­spite its high-rise con­fines, 137 Pil­lars man­ages to pack in a golf­ing green and pro shop on the fourth­floor ter­race, a Ja­panese hair salon that’s sep­a­rate from the or­ganic spa, and two in­fin­ity pools: one un­der­neath Nim­itr res­tau­rant—which, be­ing at the fore­front of mod­ern Thai cui­sine, draws a crowd of its own—and the other on the roof with ca­banas that look out over the city. — 66-2/079-7173; 137pil­lars ho­; dou­bles from US$440 Villa Ma­hab­hi­rom, Chi­ang Mai Un­like most lux­ury ho­tels in Thai­land’s se­cond-largest city, you won’t find any Lanna ar­chi­tec­ture at Villa Ma­hab­hi­rom. In­stead, the hotel pays homage to the rich his­tory of Cen­tral Thai­land. Set inside a lush gar­den in Chi­ang Mai’s leafy Umong area, this small but op­u­lent prop­erty con- sists of 23 his­tor­i­cal Thai houses sourced from vil­lages in the cen­tral re­gion. Each one was dis­man­tled, then metic­u­lously re­con­structed and fit­ted with mod-cons such as Italian mar­ble bath­rooms with high-tech Toto toi­lets. All vil­las fea­ture their own open-air liv­ing ar­eas, and two or three can be booked to­gether to form a pri­vate gar­den court­yard and salt­wa­ter plunge pool. Sur­round­ing the vil­las, a care­fully se­lected mix of an­tiques, con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture, and art­works from the owner’s pri­vate col­lec­tion adorn the com­mon ar­eas. Look out for the com­mis­sioned sculp­tures by Mae Rim’s Thongma stu­dio, sev­eral of which take pride of place out­side the lobby. On-site din­ing op­tions in­clude the chic Ma­hab­hi­rom Tea Room and the Krua Ma­hab­hi­rom res­tau­rant, spe­cial­iz­ing in Thai home-style cui­sine with a focus on fresh, lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents. The hotel’s khao soi, a north­ern Thai co­conut curry soup, is de­lec­ta­ble— even by Chi­ang Mai stan­dards. — 66-53/271-200; vil­lama­hab­hi­; dou­bles from US$317

Hotel Bocage, Hua Hin

While most beach­front ho­tels in Hua Hin flaunt their wa­ter­side lo­ca­tion, the new Hotel Bocage sets its focus firmly in­ward. It sits atop the city’s liveli­est retail and en­ter­tain­ment des­ti­na­tion, Seenspace, sis­ter mall to the one in Bangkok and an in­doorout­door com­plex of restaurants, cafés, and de­sign-led stores. Both Seenspace and the Bocage were de­signed by Thai star­chi­tect Duangrit Bun­nag to be ir­re­press­ibly mod­ern, with pre­cise lines and a bru­tal­ist, semi-industrial aes­thetic. Flank­ing a lobby that re­sem­bles a chic liv­ing room, the six high-ceilinged rooms start at a gen­er­ous 40 square me­ters, with floor-to-ceil­ing slid­ing doors and bal­conies look­ing out onto Seenspace’s green roof and the Gulf of Thai­land be­yond. A pal­ette of white, gray, and black dom­i­nates, com­ple­ment­ing the pol­ished con­crete floors, with fur­nish­ings from Italian de­signer brands: low-slung plat­form beds by Porro, so­fas by Liv­ing Di­vani, and, in the glass-walled bath­rooms, white An­to­nio Lupi show­ers and free­stand­ing tubs. On the whole, the rooms are re­fresh­ing for their near-monas­tic re­straint. Guests also en­joy ac­cess to the im­pres­sively long pool at Oa­sis beach club in Seenspace; there is no res­tau­rant at the Bocage, but you will never lack for choices at the places to eat in the mall right be­low. — 66- 91/712-8822; hotel­; dou­bles from US$160 VIET­NAM JW Mar­riott Phu Quoc Emer­ald Bay Re­sort & Spa, Phu Quoc The first prop­erty of its class on Viet­nam’s emerg­ing par­adise is­land is ex­cep­tional for a few rea­sons, but most of all because it demon­strates that lux­ury can be about more than stan­dards or ex­cess—it can also tell a story. The JW Mar­riott has all the ameni­ties one would ex­pect from a re­sort of its cal­iber, as well as di­rect ac­cess to what is ar­guably Phu Quoc’s finest stretch of beach. But what re­ally im­presses is the way de­signer Bill Bens­ley’s dis­tinc­tive vi­sion, which imag­ines it as the for­mer cam­pus of a long-lost univer­sity with a focus on the evo­lu­tion­ary sciences, is brought to life. Every fa­cil­ity and de­sign el­e­ment, from the lav­ish, fun­gus-themed fan­tasy land of the Chantarelle Spa, to the bi­o­log­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions dec­o­rat­ing the beau­ti­fully ap­pointed rooms, right down to the beakers used as glasses in airy beach­side bar Mixol­ogy, is an­other facet of a metic­u­lously con­structed nar­ra­tive. The at­ten­tion to qual­ity and de­tail pre­vents the fa­ble from feeling too con­trived, and cre­ates an ac­com­mo­da­tion ex­pe­ri­ence like no other. — 84-297/377- 9999; mar­; dou­bles from US$400

A view from the lobby at Roseate House.

Pool­side at Hotel Indigo Bali.

A shop­house­lined street at Phu Quoc’s JW Mar­riott.

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