Three Asian luxury hotels that stand out + 3 more

by Asia

When our luxury travel experts recommend Asian luxury hotels, it’s not just because the hotel boasts 5-star status and finds its way onto lists of the world’s best hotels each year. The team prefers to be a bit more selective, sending its luxury travel experts to seek out hidden boutique gems you have perhaps never heard of, but should know about. When choosing a hotel that’s considered a luxury hotel standout, the team looks for superb location, thoughtful design with a sense of place, a commitment to a light footprint, cuisine that is so good you will not want to go outside the hotel to eat, and a staff that makes its guests feel so at home they never want to leave.

Here are three Asian luxury hotels that stood above the rest among all the hotels where the team stayed in 2016:

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap — Cambodia

Setting: A Khmer “green” village set on eight acres of paddy fields and jungle gardens in the serene rural countryside outside Siem Reap.
Design: Phum Baitang has reimagined a traditional Cambodian village as an enclave of luxury villas on stilts complete with thatched roofs, plunge pools, and charming tuk-tuks to get around. The original onsite farmhouse has been converted into the sumptuous main lodge with high-backed rattan loungers, oriental carpets, and lofted post-and-beam ceilings. There are glassy swimming pools, romantic boardwalks over the paddy fields, and secret corners with fluffy linen chairs for contemplative moments all your own.

Phum Baitang inside the main lodge.
Food: Sip fresh-squeezed juices by the pool and dine on traditional Cambodian recipes made with herbs and produce from the garden and rice harvested from the property’s paddies.
Adventure: See the spectacular temple complex of Angkor from the sky by helicopter or zip through the UNESCO World Heritage Site on a Vespa to see newly opened sections of the complex.

HITT Tip: Our travel experts say: “We recommend hiking the newly restored routes through the surrounding jungles in Phom Kalen to see endangered silvery langur monkeys before heading farther afield to the Cardamom Mountains to help our reformed poachers protect the Southwest Elephant Corridor — one of Asia’s last elephant corridors.”

Amanemu – Japan

Setting: Natural hot springs feed Amanemu’s onsens perched above picturesque Ago Bay in Ise Shima National Park.

Amanemu is one of the Asian luxury hotels not to be missed.
Design: Contemplative, minimalist design puts the emphasis on relaxation, mindfulness, and melding man-made space with the natural surroundings. The focal points of each suite are a private onsen, glass walls, and a private outdoor tea terrace.

Private onsen at Amanemu
Food: Taste renowned seafood caught fresh in the bay or Matsusaka Wagyu beef.
Adventure: Witness the pearl rafts and oyster divers in the bay and visit the holy Shinto site of Ise Grand Shrine and hike the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails in the hills above Amanemu.


HITT Tip: “Our Japan expert, Brian Lonergan, is the guy to go to when it comes to travel in Japan. And when he says the onsen experience (pictured above) at Amanemu is not to be missed, we don’t question it.”

Jamtara Wilderness Camp — India

Setting: Surrounding a massive banyan tree on the outskirts of a pastoral village, just beyond the Pench National Park where wild tigers roam the forest.

Jamtara wilderness camp lounge area.
Design: Jamtara effortlessly marries an elegant take on the safari look, traditional art, and repurposed materials for a fresh view on camp life. Striking tribal art is mounted on the walls alongside slide images taken by the owner’s grandfather who helped Indira Ghandi found India’s first wildlife parks. The floorboards used throughout the property are recovered old doors with a worn turquoise hue that hint at their past life. Each of the canvas tents has a private wooden deck with teak chairs and overstuffed floor cushions, perfect for restful afternoons drawing your surroundings with the brightly colored pencils provided in each room.

Luxury camping at Jamtara.
Food: Of course, the fare is fantastic, but it’s the dining atmosphere that stands out. Meals are served family-style by candlelight at the long wooden table or under the shelter of the central banyan tree.
Adventure: Spend a night in the star bed modeled after a Machan, or elevated platform, used by farmers for nights spent watching over their crops. During the day, enter Pench National Park through an overlooked gate. With fewer crowds, your chances of spotting a tiger increase – we were most certainly so lucky.

HITT Tip: Expect to be surprised and amazed. Sasha Lehman wrote that on her first morning at Jamtara she “awoke to the sound of a leopard who can sometimes be seen right from the camp.”

Three Other Asian Luxury Hotels You’ll Also Love

If you like Phum Baitang, Amanemu or Jamtara, the luxury travel team is very sure you will also like: Villa Mahabhirom, Thailand; The Upper House, Hong Kong; or Jawai Leopard Camp, India.

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Heads up! This information on the Asian Luxury Hotels was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). It is your sole responsibility to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, and any other important details before your adventure.
Michael Hodgson & Therese Iknoian
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Michael Hodgson & Therese Iknoian

Co-Conspirators at HI Travel Tales
Award-winning travel writers, Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian, use words, art, video and photography to guide you on their journeys around the world, and inspire you to embark on your own travel adventure soon. They are members of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
Michael Hodgson & Therese Iknoian
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