Southeast Asian Exotic Hotel Destinations
So, you’ve survived your wedding. After months of pulling your hair out over the myriad planning and pressures for your special day, it’s finally over: Congratulations. Now it’s time to escape all that chaos and unwind in a truly exotic place – preferably at a haven where no one knows where to find you and where mobile phone is practically nonexistent. We showcase some of Southeast Asia’s most exotic hotel destinations.
Cubadak Paradiso Village, Padang, Indonesia
Forget the Maldives or Bali. For a truly exotic honeymoon that you can brag about to everyone – not how ‘underthe-radar’ the location is, but also in terms of cost – look no further than one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands spread across this vast archipelago. Cubadak Paradiso Village certainly fits the bill as a ravishing Indonesian hidden paradise, yet is located just two hours away from Padang International Airport. The secluded island of Cubadak is a haven of tranquillity and peacefulness, thankfully removed from the daily grind of the hustle and bustle of city life. The island is uninhabited, except for a few isolated fishermen’s huts. Cubadak Paradiso Village is the only resort in the island consisting of 12 wooden bungalows, a suite bungalow over water, a restaurant, a communal area, a pier with terrace and bar and a staff house.
All of its cottages, with the exception of the suite, are built on stilts on two storeys and are made of local wood, reflecting the area’s Minangkabau heritage and giving guests an authentic feel. The bungalows and suite all face the sea, stretched along 1.5 kilometres of white sandy beach, giving you direct access to the riches of the seas off Cubadak, which is completely surrounded by superb coral reefs and numerous varieties of multicoloured reef fish. In addition, the island, located just a few miles off Sumatra, is wonderfully sheltered from strong waves, making water-based activities such as diving (PADI courses are available), snorkelling, water-skiing or wake-boarding truly to die for.
Or you can simply set off on a land adventure at the island’s native rainforest, where many kinds of birds and bigger animals live in this forest: hornbills, kingfishers, monkeys, monitor lizards, deer, wild boar and many others. Alternatively, arrange for a special excursion in Sumatra , such as to the Kerinci volcano. Electricity runs 24 hours a day and no bottled water is necessary – water flows directly from a source of pure mineral water located on the hill. Cubadak is truly one of the last paradises on earth. Cubadak Paradiso Village, Cubadak Island, Kecamatan XI Tarusan, Kabupaten (Regency) Pesisir Selatan. www.cubadak-paradisovillage.com
Kura Kura Resort, Karimunjawa Islands, Java, Indonesia
Set amid Karimunjawa Archipelago Marine National Park, Kura Kura Resort boasts an exclusive retreat surrounded by one of the largest lagoons in the area and 22 hectares of tropical paradise. The private island of Menyawakan is home to the resort, the only resort there. Guests can expect pristine white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and the amazing colours of the sea.
Diving is the most popular recreational activity here, although there are many others for the adventurer and families such as Robinson Crusoe trips, which drop guests to one of the deserted islands for a day to explore, and daily diving and snorkelling trips to the best coral reefs around Karimunjawa Islands. To get to Kura Kura Resort, the primary mode of access will be on a private air charter provided by the resort. From the city of Semarang, the 40-minute flight will land you in Karimunjawa; you will then be whisked on a speedboat to the resort. The resort can also arrange a private overland transfer. Kura Kura Resort, Karimunjawa Islands, Java. www.kurakuraresort.com
Pulau Pangkil Kecil, Riau Islands Archipelago, Indonesia
Pulau Pangkil Kecil (Little Pangkil Island) is a delightful little island located close to Singapore in Indonesia. To stay on this paradise on earth may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and unforgettable memory – as the whole island is available to rent! Pangkil the island and Pangkil the resort are one and the same. When you rent Pangkil – and you can only rent it as a whole – you get all the bells and whistles that come with the island: all the Driftwood Palaces (its accommodation), the bar, the sound systems, the pool, kayaks, snorkelling equipment, speedboats, kitchen and an ensemble of more than 20 staff. This could be your very own version of Survivor – but with maids and butlers, of course. The private island resort is popular with both honeymooners and families and their friends who travel long distances to celebrate special occasions, such as – what else? – weddings. If you can’t afford Prince William and Kate Middleton’s GBP 4000-a-night private honeymoon at the Seychelles, then this is just as good an alternative. Pangkil offers nine elegant, detached Driftwood Palaces, all of which have unobstructed sea views. None are more than five paces away from the beach. The Singapore ‘jump-off point’ is Tanah Merah Fast Ferry Terminal, which is about 10 minutes from Changi Airport. Pulau Pangkil Kecil, Riau Province. www. pangkil.com
Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Think you’ve seen paradise? Think again. Raja Ampat, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, which lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.
Misool Eco Resort, an environmentallyfriendly and exclusive dive resort and conservation centre, is located in the private resort island of Batbitim. The island and the resort’s scuba dive sites are surrounded by its very own 1,220 sq kilometre “No-Take Zone”, or a 400 sq kilometre area of its sea in which all fishing, shark finning, harvesting of turtle eggs and shellfish are strictly prohibited. Needless to say, scuba diving is the resort’s most popular attraction, with the Dive Centre designed to meet the needs not only of divers, but also professional videographers and photographers. To get to the resort, fly into Sorong Airport in West Papua and a private speed boat will transfer you to Misool Eco Resort. Due to its seclusion, it is recommended that you arrive in early in Sorong from Jakarta, departing at 5 am and arriving 11:50 am, as the boat transfer can only wait for one flight. Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, West Papua. misoolecoresort.com
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
For those of you savvy urbanites with a penchant for creature comforts, the
“it’s time to escape all that chaos and unwind in a truly exotic place “
first Sofitel Legend is perfect for you. This historic heavyweight has been around since 1901, and, like any true lady, has become even more graceful and alluring with her 110 years of Metropole history. In 2009, the hotel became the first in the Sofitel luxury hotel chain’s portfolio to acquire the distinction of the ‘Legend’ hotel branding. Since then, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has easily taken the crown as Vietnam’s Grand Dame and as one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic hotels.
The 364-room hotel was completely renovated in June 2009. Its historic Metropole Wing features suites named after Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, each of whom stayed at the Metropole during his time in colonial Indochina. The hotel’s restaurants include Spices Garden (Vietnamese), Le Beaulieu (French) and Angelina (Italian). Le Spa du Metropole opened in late 2009 and immediately set a new standard for nostalgic elegance in Vietnam. And some of Vietnam’s most fascinating tourism attractions, such as the Temple of Literature or the Tortoise Hill Tower on Hoan Kiem Lake, are within easy reach from the hotel. Not to be forgotten, of course, is the Opera House in Hanoï’s French Quarter, which is close to the steps of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
For the icing on the cake, history buffs will also certainly relish the fact that this amazing slice of history even features a real bomb shelter in its back garden. Recently discovered by chance and subsequently reopened not long after its discovery, the shelter has been left largely as it was found and regular hotel tours will usher hotel guests through the 40-square-meter space. Everything has been pretty much preserved in its original state as a tribute to the hotel’s wartime employees, who ushered guests to safety at the very same space, from the mid-1960s to the Christmas Bombings in 1972. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, 15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam. www.sofitel.com
Cubadak Paradiso Village
Kura-kura Resort Karimun Java
Misool Eco Resort
Misool Eco Resort
Pulau Pangkil Kecil