DestinAsian - - FLASH­BACK -


Sub­ur­ban ho­tels are be­com­ing some­thing of a trend in Syd­ney. The lat­est bou­tique prop­erty to leave the CBD be­hind is lo­cated in the former Para­mount Pic­ture Stu­dios head­quar­ters in the buzzy in­nercity neigh­bor­hood of Surry Hills. Just about ev­ery­thing you touch or taste is cre­ated by Aus­tralian mak­ers, start­ing from the mo­ment you check in and are poured a glass of what­ever is on tap be­hind re­cep­tion (on this re­viewer’s visit, it was a lo­cally brewed Wild­flower sour ale). To honor the 1940s build­ing’s her­itage sta­tus, the ho­tel’s 29 rooms all come with high ceil­ings and ex­posed brick walls, the in­dus­trial look soft­ened by re­claimed tim­ber floors, pot­ted plants, a mix of Jar­dan fur­ni­ture and vin­tage pieces, and or­ganic cot­ton bed linens. Some rooms are du­plex and come with Ja­pane­ses­tyle tim­ber tubs and sunny pa­tios, which hap­pen to make the per­fect perch for snack­ing on the nat­u­ral wines, Syd­ney beers, and char­cu­terie stocked in your mini­bar. The red-brick build­ing is also home to the Para­mount Cof­fee Project (a café that dou­bles as a week­end farm­ers’ mar­ket), a neigh­bor­hood cin­ema, and Poly, a new restau­rant by Mat Lind­say, one of the city’s most tal­ented chefs. — 61-2/9211-1222; paramoun­t­house ho­; dou­bles from US$218


The first of two Ovolo ho­tels open­ing in the Queensland cap­i­tal within the space of a year—the other is tak­ing over the old Em­po­rium site in For­ti­tude Val­ley—Ovolo Inch­colm in­jects se­ri­ous style into a ho­tel scene that has (with the no­table ex­cep­tion of Bris­bane’s new W, see be­low) been typ­i­cally char­ac­ter­ized by cookie-cut­ter busi­ness prop­er­ties. The Hong Kong brand brings with it ev­ery­thing that guests love about its sis­ter prop­er­ties in China and else­where in Aus­tralia: com­pli­men­tary mini­bar drinks and snacks, free Wi-Fi and break­fast, and nightly happy hour in the in­ti­mate bar, which hap­pens to dou­ble as re­cep­tion. There’s plenty to look at while you check in, from be­spoke wall­pa­per and flouncy staff uni­forms cre­ated by lo­cal de­signer Ker­rie Brown, to a cab­i­net of cu­riosi­ties stocked with weird and won­der­ful ob­jets, many of which nod to the build­ing’s his­tory as a 1920s med­i­cal cen­ter. (Fun fact: when Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur was head­quar­tered in Bris­bane dur­ing World War II, he was treated here by his per­sonal physi­cian in a room now known as the So­cialite Suite.) You’ll pass the ex­cel­lent Sa­lon de Co restau­rant on your way to the charm­ing cage el­e­va­tor that car­ries guests to their rooms, all in­di­vid­ual in de­sign but united in fit- tings such as orig­i­nal pop art and Ap­ple TVs. There’s also an Alexa vir­tual as­sis­tant to help you to do ev­ery­thing from pick a Spo­tify playlist to get a weather re­port. Not that you’ll need one: Bris­bane is one of the sun­ni­est cities in Aus­tralia, af­ter all. — 61-7/9866-6467; ovolo­ho­; dou­bles from US$169


Don’t be sur­prised if you walk straight past United Places with­out re­al­iz­ing that it is, in fact, Mel­bourne’s new­est ho­tel. Wedged be­tween Vic­to­rian ter­races in the up­scale sub­urb of South Yarra, four kilo­me­ters from the city, the unas­sum­ing four-story build­ing is eas­ily mis­taken for a bou­tique apart­ment block. And that’s the whole point. Owner Daren Ruben­stein and de­signer Sue Carr set out to cre­ate a “home-ho­tel,” and the re­sult is a 12-room hide­away that es­chews froufrou but still has the best of ev­ery­thing. In­stead of a re­cep­tion desk, you’re wel­comed by your on-call but­ler, who guides you along a dimly lit cor­ri­dor with a blue­stone path that evokes a gen­tri­fied Mel­bourne laneway. Rooms are ei­ther “in­tro­vert” or “ex­tro­vert” in de­sign: the lat­ter over­look the Botanic Gar­dens and fea­ture earthy hues of olive, dusky blue, and char­coal; oth­ers, with views of the city’s rooftops, have notes of fleshy corals. All come with Pa­tri­cia Urquiola’s glam “Re­dondo” so­fas, 1960s arm­chairs by Grant Feather­ston, vel­vet cur­tains, and ce­ram­ics by lo­cal cre­ative Shari Lown­des. Mir­rored bath­room pods, which sit be­tween liv­ing and bed­room spa­ces, are stocked with or­ganic cot­ton tow­els and Le Labo ameni­ties from New York, while the mini­bar cel­e­brates Aus­tralian pro­duce, whether it’s Two Birds beers or a limited batch of Sul­li­vans Cove whiskey. You have a full kitchen at your dis­posal, but it’s just as easy to call for room ser­vice from on-site restau­rant Matilda, helmed by ap­plauded chef Scott Pick­ett. — 61-3/9866-6467; unit­ed­ .au; dou­bles from US$554


It’s been more than a decade since Star­wood’s W brand de­parted Aus­tralia with the clo­sure of the W Syd­ney back in 2005. Bris­bane, the steamy cap­i­tal of Queensland, seems a nat­u­ral fit for its re­turn. The city’s laid-back trop­i­cal vibe is re­flected in off­beat ways through­out the 321room ho­tel, from tongue-and-groove wall pan­els rem­i­nis­cent of old Queens­lan­der homes to over­size dia­manté-stud­ded flipflops, boomerang-shaped cof­fee ta­bles, and a sun­rise mu­ral by in­dige­nous artist Reko Ren­nie. Curved walls and sur­faces nod to the ebb and flow of the Bris­bane River, which all rooms and the open-air Wet Bar over­look, and a larger-than-life in­stal­la­tion of river reeds snakes be­side the lobby stair­case as if by the water’s edge. While mod-Aus­tralian restau­rant Three Blue Ducks comes cour­tesy of a Syd­ney/By­ron Bay team known for their farm-to-ta­ble ethos, the menu still of­fers a dis­tinct sense of place through

dishes such as grilled Moreton Bay bugs (a lo­cal species of slip­per lob­ster) and king­fish sashimi with pa­paya and mango. It doesn’t get much more Queensland than that. — 61-7/3556-8888; wbris­; dou­bles from US$243


To say the new Rose­wood has put Phnom Penh’s other ho­tels in the shade is not just hy­per­bole: the build­ing in which it oc­cu­pies the top 14 floors—the 188-meter-tall Vat­tanac Cap­i­tal Tower (Cam­bo­dia’s tallest)— casts a shadow over much of the cap­i­tal city. Of course, it helps that the ho­tel also brings the qual­ity and at­ten­tion to de­tail that Rose­wood is known for, with 175 busi­ness-like rooms and suites—by Mel­bourne-based in­te­rior de­sign­ers BAR Stu­dio—fea­tur­ing muted earthy tones off­set by con­tem­po­rary Kh­mer art­work and dec­o­ra­tive French shut­ters that nod to Cam­bo­dia’s colo­nial past. Be­yond the un­ob­structed floor-to-ceil­ing views from each room, it’s the food and bev­er­age out­lets that grab the at­ten­tion, from the sharp lines of

iza­kaya- style restau­rant Iza to skyhigh bar Sora, where an open-air deck can­tilevered 37 sto­ries above the streets of cen­tral Phnom Penh pro­vides the best van­tage point in town. —855-23/936-888; rose­wood­ho­tels .com; dou­bles from US$245


Shang­hai’s far-flung sub­urbs may not sug­gest re­sort idyll but Amanyangyun—lo­cated an hour’s drive from down­town—is not your av­er­age re­sort. Six­teen years in the mak­ing, the prop­erty be­gan life as a sal­vage op­er­a­tion to re­lo­cate 50 an­cient homes and 10,000 cam­phor trees slated for de­struc­tion in the owner’s home vil­lage in Jiangxi, 700 kilo­me­ters away. Across the vast grounds, trans­planted 500-year-old relics now min­gle com­fort­ably with sleek con­tem­po­rary ad­di­tions, like the lat­tice-cube lobby carved from golden

nanmu wood, giv­ing Amanyangyun (mean­ing “Nour­ish­ing Cloud”) an ethe­real feel, es­pe­cially in the morn­ing mist. Min­i­mal­ist con­tem­po­rary suites fea­ture two walled court­yards of­fer­ing a free-stand­ing al­fresco tub and fire­place, the per­fect spot to gaze at the stars (and rather a lot of air­planes) over­head. Thir­teen four-bed­room An­tique Vil­las have been up­dated with luxe fur­nish­ings and Jacuzzis be­neath orig­i­nal in­ter­lock­ing ceil­ing beams and or­nate stone carv­ings. An on-site or­ganic farm ser­vices Aman’s Ja­panese, Chi­nese, and Ital­ian restau­rants (don’t leave with­out try­ing young Ro­man chef An­drea Torre’s ca­cio e pepe ravi­oli with black truf­fle), while the Nan­sh­u­fang cul­tural cen­ter teaches guests about Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy and screen paint­ing in a 17th-cen­tury stone build­ing that was orig­i­nally a school. — 86-21/8011-9999;; dou­bles from US$730


Amid the lus­cious river­side gar­dens that wrap around the Ital­ian jew­elry brand’s splurge-wor­thy prop­erty in Bei­jing’s Em­bassy Dis­trict, the pol­lu­tion and con­ges­tion of the Chi­nese cap­i­tal seem a world away. Even more so if you hap­pen to have checked in to one of the ho­tel’s ex­pan­sive suites, which come with cus­tom Ital­ian fur­nish­ings, traver­tine-clad bath­rooms, but­ler ser­vice, and trans­fers by Maserati li­mou­sine. But even the reg­u­lar rooms ex­ude Bul­gari’s sig­na­ture Ital­ian op­u­lence, as do the pub­lic spa­ces, where paint­ings from cel­e­brated Chi­nese artist Yan Pei-Ming and an­tique maps drawn by Fran­cis­can friar and car­tog­ra­pher Vin­cenzo Coronelli adorn the walls. If that feels a lit­tle mu­seum-ish, it’s be­cause the ho­tel is part of the mixe­duse Ge­n­e­sis Bei­jing com­plex, where an art mu­seum de­signed by Tadao Ando will open later this year. Framed by Vi­cenza lime­stone and lounge ca­banas in the two-level base­ment spa, a shim­mer­ing mo­saic-tiled pool vaguely re­calls an an­cient Ro­man bath. Back up­stairs, the ho­tel’s sole restau­rant, Il Ris­torante Niko Romito, serves su­perb— what else?—Ital­ian cui­sine un­der Mu­ra­no­glass chan­de­liers. —86-10/8555-8555; bul­gar­i­ho­; dou­bles from US$418


The sec­ond Bul­gari ho­tel to open in China in the last 12 months sits be­side Shang­hai’s Suzhou Creek with high-rise views that take in the Bund and the mega-tow­ers of Pudong. The in­te­ri­ors of the 48story tower, de­signed (as are all Bul­gari prop­er­ties) by Mi­lanese firm An­to­nio Cit­te­rio Pa­tri­cia Viel, are em­bossed in dark mar­bles and bronze, with gen­er­ous brand­ing nods in the Ro­man-in­spired pat­terns and art­works de­pict­ing glam­orous Bul­gari ads from the 1960s and ’70s. Eighty-two monochrome guest rooms are un­der­stated and spa­cious, with Bul­gari cash­mere blan­kets and Ital­ian de­signer tea sets adding ex­tra-luxe touches. The heights of glam and the best views can be found at the up­per-level restau­rant and bars, where you can dine on eye-wa­ter­ingly ex­pen­sive Ital­ian clas­sics or sip so­phis­ti­cated ne­gro­nis at the oval cop­per bar. In the warmer months, the place to be is the rooftop La Ter­razza for a sun­set aperitivo ses­sion. For all its gen­teel Ro­man al­lure, the high­lights of this prop­erty are its relics of Shang­hai’s con­ces­sion-era past. The grounds in­cor­po­rate the city’s first Cham­ber of Com­merce build­ing, a neo­clas­si­cal pile dat­ing to 1916 that Bul­gari has re­stored to its orig­i­nal cof­fered-and-domed splen­dor; to­day, it hosts a ball­room, Chi­nese restau­rant, and snug whisky bar. Also, be sure to wan­der across the Ital­ian gar­dens to the 1920s gate­house for a rare glimpse of sur­viv­ing Revolution-era pro­pa­ganda slo­gans. —86-21/3606-7788; bul­gar­i­ho­; dou­bles from US$498


Hong Kong’s most buzzed-about new ho­tel oc­cu­pies a former gov­ern­ment of­fice tower dat­ing from 1969. Lovers of mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­ture will ad­mire Bri­tish ar­chi­tect Ron Phillips’ orig­i­nal de­sign, which in­cluded deeply re­cessed win­dows (to shield the in­te­ri­ors from the trop­i­cal sun) and high-arched colon­nades. Equally, lovers of con­tem­po­rary luxury will ap­pre­ci­ate the build­ing’s sym­pa­thetic over­haul by Fos­ter + Part­ners, the firm re­spon­si­ble for trans­form­ing it into the flag­ship prop­erty of Hong Kong–based Nic­colo Ho­tels. To­day, the land­mark struc­ture houses 336 rooms and suites done up in a low-key res­i­den­tial style with views of ei­ther the ri­otous green­ery of ad­ja­cent Hong Kong Park or the ur­ban jun­gle of the Cen­tral fi­nan­cial dis­trict. Mur­ray Lane, the lobby’s Wall Street–in­spired bar, is in­vari­ably hum­ming with young busi­ness types come night; across the court­yard and up one level, Guo Fu Lou draws crowds for its Miche­lin­starred Can­tonese cook­ing and sen­su­ous An­dré Fu–de­signed in­te­ri­ors. Crown­ing it all is Popin­jays, a glass-walled rooftop restau­rant and bar with a wrap­around ter­race and works by con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can artists Kaws. It’s one of the most stun­ning perches in town. — nic­colo­ho­; 852/3141-8888; dou­bles from US$460.


Sukhothai’s new prop­erty in China’s big­gest city is only the sec­ond ho­tel for the brand, de­but­ing a whop­ping 27 years af­ter the orig­i­nal opened in Bangkok. But don’t ex­pect Thai tem­ple stat­ues and frangi­pani—this Sukhothai has been im­mac­u­lately de­signed for new-age Shang­hai. In a bang-on cen­tral lo­cale, ar­chi­tects Neri & Hu have cre­ated a del­i­cately de­tailed sanc­tu­ary that is stripped of pre­tense and lin­ger­ingly charm­ing. Th­ese are rooms you’ll want to pack up and take home, from their muted green-and-blush pal­ette to the cus­tom wal­nut fur­nish­ings and cav­ernous rain­show­ers. Walls of di­atom sil­ica (a por­ous bio­ma­te­rial) even help pu­rify the air, reg­u­late hu­mid­ity, and ab­sorb sound, all much ap­pre­ci­ated in Shang­hai. On the food front, Ur­ban Café serves up crowd-pleas­ing South­east Asian fa­vorites, while its at­tached lounge of­fers 80 gins with pair­ing ton­ics and a fresh herb trol­ley. La Scala also de­serves a men­tion for its sim­ply taste­ful Ital­ian menu by Miche­lin-starred guest chef Theodor Falser; or­der the black tagli­olini with Cana­dian lob­ster. There’s also a serene base­ment spa called The Re­treat where Thai and Chi­nese mas­sages are de­liv­ered amid lush trop­i­cal scents. —86-21/5237-8888;; dou­bles from US$276


ITC Ho­tels’ sec­ond prop­erty in Hy­der­abad takes its name and in­spi­ra­tion from the Koh-i-Noor, the le­gendary di­a­mond that once rested in a vault in nearby Gol­conda Fort. The re­sults are un­de­ni­ably im­pres­sive, from the build­ing’s unique an­gu­lar shape to the cut-glass chan­de­liers and jewel-tone pal­ette of the 271 guest rooms (which in­clude nine sprawl­ing suites). Else­where, hun­dreds of golden ban­gles hang sus­pended from the ceil­ing be­hind the re­cep­tion in a trib­ute to the city’s Laad Bazaar, while in­laid bidri met­al­work cov­ers the pil­lars in the Gol­conda Pav­il­ion buf­fet restau­rant. All this sump­tu­ous­ness is com­ple­mented by nifty in-room touches such as iPads for con­trol­ling ev­ery­thing from lights to TV, dis­creet valet cup­boards, and Vi­ta­min C show­ers. The food, too, im­presses. Re­gional Telan­gana and Andhra cui­sine is the high­light at Gol­conda Pav­il­ion, but be sure not to miss the ke­bab-laden royal cui­sine of Hy­der­abad’s erst­while Nizams at the op­u­lent Dum Pukht Begum’s. Also on hand is a 900-square-meter spa—the per­fect place to re­cu­per­ate af­ter a day ex­plor­ing Gol­conda Fort, the Qutb Shahi Tombs, and the city’s other his­tor­i­cal sites. — 91-40/6766-0101; itcho­; dou­bles from US$160 MANTRA KOODAM, KUMBAKONAM Nested in the heart­land of Tamil Nadu amid lush paddy fields, con­ser­va­tion­minded In­dian hote­lier CGH Earth’s lat­est ven­ture brings quiet luxury to the an­cient tem­ple town of Kumbakonam. Be­yond a shrine set on a tree-em­bow­ered water tank, Chet­tiar-style cot­tages and bun­ga­lows are scat­tered across lav­ish gar­dens and boast vi­brant floor tiles and or­nate pil­lars along­side tra­di­tional Tamil fur­nish­ings. Bath­rooms with open-air show­ers are a wel­come touch, while the main pool brings a splash of ur­ban­ity to this em­phat­i­cally ru­ral ex­pe­ri­ence. The restau­rant’s sig­na­ture feast is the all-vege­tar­ian “ma­haraja” thali, a plat­ter of 17 dif­fer­ent dishes whose nu­anced fla­vors are as in­tri­cate as the fa­mous silk saris wo­ven in th­ese parts. Also worth seek­ing out is a cup of Kumbakonam’s beloved “de­gree cof­fee” at Mantra Tea Kadai, a shag­gily thatched shack stocked with tra­di­tional teatime snacks. Guests look­ing for di­ver­sions will find plenty to keep them busy, from vis­it­ing a le­gendary Vedic school to tem­ple-hop­ping among the re­gion’s stag­ger­ing ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­pieces. —91-484/426-1711; cg­; dou­bles from US$180


En­sconced in a se­cluded cove on In­dia’s re­mote Have­lock Is­land, the Taj group’s new­est out­post brings five-star luxury to one of the most beau­ti­ful stretches of sand in Asia. Rad­hana­gar Beach re­mains un­marred by seafood shacks, trin­ket sell­ers, or many tourists, and the Taj Exotica’s 50 luxury vil­las—built on stilts with curved

thatch roofs that nod to the huts of the An­daman Is­lands’ in­dige­nous Jarawa tribe— fit the vibe per­fectly. In­te­ri­ors fea­ture wood floors, tim­ber walls, and gor­geous canopied beds, with wrap­around ve­ran­das for snooz­ing away the af­ter­noons. To pro­tect this bio­di­ver­sity hot spot in the Bay of Ben­gal, the site ar­chi­tect fit the vil­las, Olympic-length swim­ming pool, and three restau­rants into the land­scape like puz­zle pieces so as to avoid chop­ping down a sin­gle tree. For divers and snorkel­ers, the lo­cal wa­ters boast sea tur­tles, dugongs, sunken wrecks, and a ter­rific ar­ray of fish; be sure to try a spot of night kayak­ing in the is­land’s man­groves, which har­bor a con­stel­la­tion of bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent al­gae. The pool­side Tur­tle House restau­rant serves a wide range of grilled seafood as well as great ren­di­tions of In­dian stan­dards and fa­vorites from Taj prop­er­ties around the world. But the real gem is The Set­tlers, a 10-seat chef’s ta­ble that spot­lights dishes from the dif­fer­ent main­land com­mu­ni­ties who mi­grated to the Andamans af­ter In­dia won its in­de­pen­dence. —91-3192/283-333; tajho­; dou­bles from US$530


Re­opened ear­lier this year fol­low­ing a 21-month, US$100 mil­lion renovation, this land­mark ho­tel in the In­dian cap­i­tal has been cat­a­pulted squarely into the 21st cen­tury cour­tesy of New York–based de­signer Adam D. Ti­hany. Though the foun­da­tions and fa­cade of the 1965 build­ing were re­tained, ev­ery­thing else has been re­built, rein­ter­pret­ing The Oberoi’s orig­i­nal glam­our for a new gen­er­a­tion of guests. Chic min­i­mal­ism now de­fines the pub­lic spa­ces and 220 teak-floored guest rooms, which have been sig­nif­i­cantly en­larged. The fur­nish­ings pay homage to New Delhi’s city plan­ner and ar­chi­tect, Sir Ed­win Lu­tyens, known for his spi­der-back chair, while fea­tures like iPad con­trols and in­set TV screens in the bath­room mir­rors keep things cut­ting-edge. There’s also a cen­tral pu­rifi­ca­tion sys­tem that en­sures the air is Nor­way-pris­tine. Three­sixty° has re­claimed its sta­tus as the chic crowd’s fa­vorite din­ing spot, while Miche­lin-starred Lon­don chefs Al­fred Prasad and An­drew Wong helm two re­mark­able new restau­rants, one serv­ing con­tem­po­rary In­dian cui­sine and the other mod­ern Chi­nese. Also new to the mix is a rooftop cock­tail lounge that of­fers one of the best views in town—it over­looks the leafy ex­panse of the old Delhi Golf Club and Hu­mayun’s Tomb. —91-11/2436-3030; oberoi­ho­; dou­bles from US$380


By virtue of prox­im­ity, Sin­ga­pore­ans are well ac­quainted with the In­done­sian is

City– land of Bin­tan, but the first South­east Asian prop­erty by the Lion based Cenizaro group has side-stepped the is­land’s north­ern re­sort en­clave in fa­vor of the seclu­sion of its less-tram­meled east coast. Here, 127 white­washed ter­race rooms and vil­las spread across 70 hectares of man­i­cured grass lawns, tall co­conut palms, and lux­u­ri­ant beach cab­bage. In­fin­ity plunge pools fea­ture in the beach­front lodg­ings and The Es­tate, a col­lec­tion of 15 vil­las perched above a rocky head­land. De­sign-wise, the look is clean and con­tem­po­rary with sub­tle ref­er­ences to lo­cal tra­di­tions: think wo­ven rat­tan arm­chairs and hand-carved wooden ceil­ing fans with leaf-shaped blades. At the spa pavil­ions, up­swept eaves and curv­ing rooflines re­call ver­nac­u­lar Riau Malay ar­chi­tec­ture, whereas The Es­tate’s el­e­vated vil­las hint at the stilt houses so preva­lent in fish­ing vil­lages all across Bin­tan. That nod to the lo­cale is also ap­par­ent at spe­cialty restau­rant Rica Rica, which gives re­gional In­done­sian clas­sics the mod­ern treat­ment—try the Ba­li­ne­sein­spired duck breast be­tutu. —62-778/600-0888;; dou­bles from US$192


Water, water ev­ery­where—In­done­sia’s first Six Senses re­sort sits high above the In­dian Ocean on the south­ern coast of Bali, its slop­ing cliff-top site cas­cad­ing down to a spec­tac­u­lar in­fin­ity pool. Shar­ing the views are 38 suites and 63 vil­las, many with pri­vate pools of their own. El­e­gant and airy, the vil­las—two of which are on the grand­est of scales—pair trop­i­cal de­tails such as muslin, rat­tan, and lat­tice­work with clean lines, ocean-fac­ing bath­tubs, and cool black slate. Lo­cal touches abound, from an out­stand­ing cock­tail in­flu­enced by jamu herbal medicine to the cu­rated in-villa In­done­sia read­ing list; sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts like­wise span ev­ery­thing from water pu­rifi­ca­tion to an or­ganic gar­den. A pair of restau­rants—In­done­sian­in­ter­na­tional Rocka and Nikkei­in­flected Crudo—show­case home­grown pro­duce in dishes like Rocka’s not-to-be-missed binte biluhuta, a tangy seafood soup from Su­lawesi (sam­bal pre­pared at the ta­ble adds a lovely touch of theater). But­lers— here dubbed “guest ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ers”—come as stan­dard, en­sur­ing Six Senses’ place on the top rung of Uluwatu’s re­sort scene. —62-361/209-0300;; dou­bles from US$489


Of the hand­ful of five-star ho­tels that have opened in Kuala Lumpur this year, the Banyan Tree is per­haps the most charm­ing. It oc­cu­pies the top floors of a tower flank­ing the south­ern edge of KLCC Park (the Banyan Tree Res­i­dences are on floors be­low), with just 55 spa­cious guest rooms that are among the city’s best, each el­e­gantly fur­nished with hard­wood floors, floor-to­ceil­ing win­dows, paint­ings from con­tem­po­rary art gallery Taksu, and cool touches like chro­mother­apy show­ers and high-tech Toto toi­lets. Just as well en­dowed are the pub­lic spa­ces: Al­ti­tude is a glam­orous lounge bar

that serves an af­ter­noon tea of sweet and sa­vory morsels (don’t miss the curry broth) to the lo­cal hi-so set; cock­tail bar Ver­tigo on level 59 has stun­ning views over the Petronas Twin Tow­ers; and Hori­zon Grill, one floor be­low, is swathed in or­ange and blue leather fur­ni­ture, with im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice and a ter­rific se­lec­tion of steaks. — 60-3/2113-1888;; dou­bles from US$203


A gleam­ing blue-glass skyscraper next door to the Petronas Twin Tow­ers, this Four Sea­sons is as glam­orous as it is grandiose. The 209 guest rooms on the ho­tel’s lower floors (res­i­dences are lo­cated above) are ac­cented in beige and steel blue, with over­size show­ers and Kohler in­tel­li­gent toi­lets that light up when ap­proached. In ad­di­tion to all-day diner Cu­rATE, which boasts mul­ti­ple open kitchens and su­perb Le­van­tine cui­sine (to be fea­tured at a pool­side grill when the ho­tel fully opens in Novem­ber), there’s also glitzy Bar Trig­ona for cock­tails made with craft spir­its and lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents like or­ganic fruits and honey har­vested from the bar’s name­sake bee. But the real star of the show is Yun House, a lus­trous Chi­nese fine-din­ing restau­rant with a stun­ning flower-stud­ded fea­ture wall and ce­ramic mu­ral de­pict­ing the af­ter­math of a storm in a rice paddy. Although touted as Can­tonese, most dishes on the menu cater squarely to the feistier lo­cal palate with lots of salted egg,

bela­can, and Sichuan spices. Purists might balk, but it’s all de­li­cious. — 60-3/2382-8888; foursea­; dou­bles from US$240


An­other new ho­tel and res­i­den­tial tower to put down stakes near the Petronas Twin Tow­ers, the 150-room W brings its brand’s cheeky yet so­phis­ti­cated stamp to the Malaysian cap­i­tal. De­sign mo­tifs ref­er­ence rain for­est (bamboo-in­spired chan­de­liers; stream­ing LED lights that mimic wa­ter­falls; tree-bark pat­terns) and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism (pix­e­lated batik art­work; lamps re­sem­bling the beaded bracelets made by orang asli, the Malay Penin­sula’s in­dige­nous in­hab­i­tants), with play­ful pops of pink and green en­sur­ing things are kept fun and funky. As with other W prop­er­ties, there’s a glam Woo­bar, a pool­side Wet Bar, and an Away Spa, which here oc­cu­pies an en­tire floor. At Flock restau­rant, live sta­tions cook with an all-star lineup of in­gre­di­ents from lo­cal farm­ers and ar­ti­sans, while Yen fea­tures con­tem­po­rary (al­beit pork-free) Can­tonese dishes— try the wagyu short ribs slow-cooked in hua

diao rice wine. Com­ing up: A mem­bers-only club called Wicked. —60-3/2786-8888; mar­; dou­bles from US$205


For Sin­ga­pore-based hote­liers Satin­der Gar­cha and Harpreet Bedi, choos­ing their friend Anouska Hem­pel to de­sign their lat­est project, the Six Senses Duxton, was some­thing of a no-brainer, the ac­claimed Bri­tish de­signer hav­ing al­ready worked on their manse off Or­chard Road. In­deed, the 49-room bou­tique ho­tel—set in a row of eight ad­join­ing mid-19th-cen­tury shop­houses in a charm­ing fin de siè­cle stretch in Chi­na­town—is the per­fect can­vas for Hem­pel’s fond­ness for dra­matic room-sets. Ku­dos, though, to ar­chi­tect Faye Moya for her sen­si­tive spruce-up of the old Ber­jaya Ho­tel, which pre­serves the build­ing’s pe­riod mix of Corinthian pi­lasters, Por­tuguese shut­ters, and tim­ber fret­work. In­side, Hem­pel wields her pal­ette brush with con­trol as she mixes black-lac­quered pan­els with bold yel­low fur­nish­ings and lip­stick-red ac­cents. No two rooms are alike, though tall guests will find the ceil­ing heights, even in the suites, some­thing of a chal­lenge. In­house restau­rant Yel­low Pot, mean­while, has a won­der­ful Chi­nese menu that in­cludes crispy Sichuan-style fried chicken and steamed red snap­per. The beds are supremely com­fort­able, but should trav­elin­duced in­som­nia be a con­cern, the ho­tel’s TCM con­sul­tant can whip you up a tinc­ture from his herbal dis­pen­sary. — 65/6914-1428,; dou­bles from US$285.


Rose­wood’s debut prop­erty in Thai­land has 71 vil­las that tum­ble down to a 600-meter swath of golden sand at Emer­ald Bay, a short drive from the he­do­nism of Pa­tong City. Rooms are el­e­gant in beige and pur­ple, with silk di­viders sep­a­rat­ing liv­ing and sleep­ing quar­ters and ex­pan­sive ter­races with big day beds and plunge pools. Equally im­pres­sive, the re­sort’s pas­sive so­lar de­sign, rooftop na­tive gar­dens, and rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing en­sure that this is min­i­mal-im­pact luxury. There are two fan­tas­tic restau­rants: Red Sauce, manned by a trio of Ital­ian chefs, of­fers nat­u­rally leav­ened breads and dishes like freshly caught clams in broth; while at the far end of the beach is Ta Khai, a rus­tic Thai spot serv­ing south­ern spe­cial­ties like fried river grass with ocean shrimp, and crab curry with be­tel leaves. The re­sort is also home to Asaya, Rose­wood’s newly un­veiled well­ness con­cept. Es­chew­ing the “spa” la­bel, Asaya uses un­ortho­dox ther­a­pies like “tap­ping” and sound to tackle mind over mat­ter in multi-day cour­ses. It is as per­plex­ing as it is pricey. If in doubt, just go for a mas­sage. — 66-76/356-888; rose­wood­ho­; dou­bles from US$665


Wal­dorf Astoria’s first foray into South­east Asia oc­cu­pies 10 floors of a gleam­ing new condo tower in Bangkok’s buzzy Ratchapra­song dis­trict. De­signed by Hong Kong–based An­dré Fu, the ho­tel de­liv­ers chic, muted in­te­ri­ors punc­tu­ated by touches of teal and rose gold. In­tri­cately crafted Art Nou­veau el­e­ments nod to the brand’s New York roots, while lo­cal mo­tifs and ma­te­ri­als like silk and teak­wood place the ho­tel firmly in the Thai cap­i­tal. The same de­sign ap­proach ex­tends to the 171 rooms, which fea­ture dark woods, mar­ble-clad bath­rooms, and floorto-ceil­ing win­dows of­fer­ing sweep­ing views over the Royal Bangkok Sports Club—a rare patch of green in Bangkok’s con­crete jun­gle. With six restau­rants and bars, the ho­tel is a din­ing des­ti­na­tion in its own right. On the ground floor, Noma alumna Fae Rungthiwa Chum­mongkhon cre­ates exquisitely plated Nordic-Thai tast­ing menus at Front Room. Ten floors up, the up­per lobby level hosts Pea­cock Al­ley (a Wal­dorf Astoria sig­na­ture) and The Brasserie, an all-day din­ing restau­rant. Crown­ing it all off are The Loft, Bull & Bear, and The Cham­pagne Bar—a trio of ritzy restau­rants on lev­els 55 to 57 that of­fer tasty tip­ples and solid Amer­i­can fare. —66-2/8468888; wal­dor­fas­to­; dou­bles from US$258

A room at Ovolo Inch­colm in Bris­bane.

A grand arch­way gate from the 1920s at The Bul­gari in Shang­hai.

The lobby at Mantra Koodam.

Pool­side at Bali’s Six Senses Uluwatu.

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