Another year, another batch of brilliant new hotels. Here’s our pick of the most exciting boutique and luxury hotels opening this year in Asia, to give you something to look forward to…
NOTE: The extra hotel-savvy among you may sense a little déjà vu with a few of these properties. Your mind is not playing tricks on you: several were due to open in the past year, but for one reason or another their completion has been pushed back. Kind of like Brexit. Except we suspect that, once finalised, the hotels will be met with much more unanimous approval…
Wa Ale Island Resort, Myanmar
We’ve been excited about this property for quite some time. In October 2018 the Wa Ale Island Resort became the first luxury property to open in the 800 islands of the beautiful Mergui Archipelago. This sustainably built resort is comprised of 3 treetop villas and 11 luxury tent style beach villas. It’s situated in a private cove in a marine park, in rugged beach landscapes – think luxury meets Jurassic Park, as my colleague put it after he visited. Though technically part of Myanmar, it can be most easily reached from Southern Thailand, so could work well with a visit to either country.
Goatfell, Sri Lanka
A modern take on the colonial plantation experience, Goatfell is a century-old tea estate manager’s bungalow refurbished in contemporary style. Situated on the Concordia Estate in Nuwarya Eliya, in Sri Lanka’s beautiful tea country, the four-bedroom bungalow hotel is surrounded by lush tea bushes and mountain views opening onto a garden with infinity pool. The property is all-inclusive with focus on gourmet food and butler service and, crucially, good value.
Nine Skies, Sri Lanka
Near the popular town of Ella lies another beautifully renovated bungalow on a working tea estate. The hotel gets its name from the famous nine-arch viaduct that is just a short walk from the property. Like Goatfell, it has been designed in a more modern style rather than the colonial aesthetic which many tea country hotels in Sri Lanka opt for, but it still maintains character and a feel for the heritage. This property offers five bedrooms, spectacular views and an infinity pool.
Six Senses, Bhutan
In the evocative Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Six Senses will be opening five boutique lodges in key spots across the country: Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro. Two members of the ETG team recently visited Bhutan and can say that these intimate lodges are set to be absolutely beautiful: with luxury meeting traditional Bhutanese style, exceptional mountain views and excellent facilities.
Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, Vietnam
A new branch of the luxury Anantara hotel group is set to open in south central Vietnam this January. Anantara Quy Nhon is found in a secluded bay with wide beaches and emerald waters. Each villa will be fitted with a private pool, butler service and unique spa offerings including coconut milk baths. It’s made up of 26 one- and two-bedroom ocean-facing villas designed to blend with the natural environments.
Legacy Yen Tu, Vietnam
An exciting and characteristically ambitious new project from architect Bill Bensley that will put a 13th century pilgrimage site on the global tourism map. Yen Tu mountain is found in Northern Vietnam and is considered the cradle of Trúc Lâm Zen Buddhism – around one million pilgrims visit the sacred site every year. The new hotel will combine modern, world-class facilities with design redolent of the heritage and traditions of the historical site. The property is set to open this January, and bound to be an exciting development on the scene.
Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand
A new development of the luxury Rosewood hotel group will be opening in a Bangkok’s business district in 2019. The dynamic design has already got people talking: a 33-storey building slopes down from the top to a jutting point, something like a ‘play’ button on a remote control. It offers 159 spacious guestrooms, three restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness centre and swimming pool. Definitely one to capture the interest of those keen on architecture, modern design and incredibly high-end luxury. A stay here could be worked into any of our Thailand holidays.
Bawah Reserve, Riau Islands
We recently visited the extraordinary Bawah Island Resort in the Riau Islands, which opened at the beginning of 2018. Accessed only from Singapore, it is made up of a group of five tropical rainforest islands wrapped by coral reefs. Bawah has a strong environmental ethos: each of the 35 suites are created from eco-friendly materials that were harvested in the least intrusive way. The luxurious beach, gardens and overwater bungalows feel exclusive yet in harmony with the natural surroundings. Perfect for couples and families alike.
Though by no means a new opening, the iconic Raffles hotel Singapore is in the process of a major refurbishment with re-opening planned for mid 2019. Originally opened in 1887, the hotel plans to maintain certain traditional features and charm – including the famous Singapore Sling experience in the Long Bar and afternoon tea in the lobby – yet bring a modern edge. In particular, the restaurants are due for a big overhaul: three-Michelin starred chef Anne Sophie Pic will head up La Dame de Pic, which serves innovative French cuisine, and Alain Ducasse will lead a new Mediterranean restaurant.
Curious to know more about any of the above hotels? You can get in touch with us on via the online enquiry form here or give us a call on 0207 924 7133. For more on boutique, tailor-made holidays to Asia, head to our website here.