Three Asian luxury hotels that stand out + 3 more
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 stand out, 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.
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.
Amanemu – Japan
Setting: Natural hot springs feed Amanemu’s onsens perched above picturesque Ago Bay in Ise Shima National Park.
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.
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.
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.
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 Gandhi found India’s first wildlife parks. The floorboards used throughout the property are recovered old doors with a worn turquoise hue that hints 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.
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.
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