In spite of the global pandemic, it’s refreshing to see that many new hotels across Asia have soldiered on and are opening their doors this year.
From Tokyo to Bangkok to Bali and beyond, an impressive slate of new properties is ready to welcome travellers once travel restrictions have been lifted. We’re not quite there yet unfortunately, but there’s no harm in daydreaming about future holidays in better times, right? Whether you’re fantasising about escaping to a picture-perfect beach resort, a posh lakefront pad with mountain views or a hip haven in a cultural capital, these are the 10 new hotels in Asia that should be on your radar when it’s safe to travel again.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
Spanning the top floors of a new 39-storey tower designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ second Tokyo property opened its doors last month in the heart of the city’s most prominent financial district. Housing 170 guestrooms and 20 suites, including the lavish Imperial Suite on the 38th floor, the hotel’s interiors were designed by Jean-Michel Gathy to create a thoroughly modern ambience with clean lines, soft textures and subdued colour palettes. Rising above the charming streets of the capital’s oldest neighbourhood, this slick newcomer offers panoramic views in all directions — you can even spot Mount Fuji on a clear day — and has a location that’s hard to beat: the Imperial Palace and surrounding gardens are just steps away, and it’s easy to connect with the rest of the city (and country) via nearby Otemachi and Tokyo Stations. You’ll want to carve out plenty of time for enjoying a treatment at the top-floor spa followed by a swim at the indoor pool featuring palace and skyline views.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, 1-2-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0004 Japan, +81 3 6810 0630
Bangkok’s high-end hotel scene has been heating up for years, a trend that even a global pandemic hasn’t been able to stop. For evidence of this continuing phenomenon, look no farther than the prime stretch of riverfront real estate where the hotly anticipated Capella Bangkok began welcoming guests earlier this month (its next-door neighbour is the forthcoming Four Seasons Hotel, expected to open in November). Designed to be a tranquil riverfront sanctuary, the property features 101 rooms, suites and villas, all outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony or verandah. Capella properties are known for planning authentic cultural experiences and Bangkok will be no different: there’s an in-house Capella Culturist team to ensure that guests get the most out of their stay. Be sure to book a meal at Côte by Mauro Colagreco, helmed by the chef whose three-Michelin-star restaurant, Mirazur, claimed first place in the 2019 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Capella Bangkok, 300/2 Charoenkrung Road, Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand, +66 2 098 3888
Privacy and exclusivity are the key words at this lavish resort with just 32 spacious villas ranging from 470 to 900 sq.m. (5,059 to 9,688 sq.ft.) — the largest in Jimbaran — and each one comes with its own pool. Opened in July, Raffles Bali is located less than 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport, yet it feels like an oasis of calm with its private beach, lush gardens and prime views of the Indian Ocean and those famous Jimbaran Bay sunsets. For guests’ relaxation needs, the on-site spa features two treatment suites equipped with soaking tubs and an outdoor terrace, not to mention a more remote hillside treatment suite called The Sanctuary. Romance seekers will want to book a special meal at either The Secret Cave, which glows with flickering torches and candlelight, or the Purnama Honeymoon Bale, perched on oceanfront rocks. To enjoy all that this enchanting island has to offer, rely on the Raffles Wellbeing Butlers to arrange temple dance ceremonies, traditional cooking classes or anything your heart desires.
Raffles Bali, 1A Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, 80361, Indonesia, +62 361 201 5800
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko
There are several high-profile hotels opening in Japan this year, but we’re particularly excited about this luxury haven situated on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, about two and a half hours north of Tokyo. Surrounded by the pristine natural beauty of the Kanto region, the property opened in July and houses 94 guestrooms and suites overlooking the lake or Mount Nantai; all accommodations feature a traditional engawa (or porch), Zen rock garden and oversized stone bathroom with a Japanese-style soaking tub. Exclusive to this property is The Ritz-Carlton’s first onsen, which features indoor and outdoor baths and draws water from Nikko Yumoto Onsen, a renowned hot spring destination for the past 1,200 years. It’ll be well worth it to pull yourself away from the hotel, if only for a while, to visit Nikko National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Evenings, meanwhile, call for a drink or two at the stylish bar serving a range of Japanese whiskies and cocktails crafted from local ingredients.
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, 2482, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi, 321-1661 Japan, +81 288 25 6666
One&Only Desaru Coast
Sprawling across 128 acres of prime beachfront property on the southeastern coast of Malaysia, this newly opened tropical retreat beckons to travellers with its exotic rainforest foliage, unspoilt stretches of white powder sand and crystal clear ocean water. Channelling the traditions of Southeast Asia in a contemporary way, natural materials and calming colour palettes feature throughout the resort’s 42 suites, two grand suites and the four-bedroom Villa One — all outfitted with private plunge pools, terraces and bathrooms that up the ‘wow’ factor. When not bouncing between the 50-metre infinity pool and the spectacular beach, guests have a plethora of activities to keep themselves busy: yoga, Pilates, tennis, water sports, spa treatments, cooking sessions and much more, all of which can be arranged by the 24-hour butler service. Meanwhile, the property’s five restaurants and bars offer a variety of global flavours and influences made with the finest seasonal produce from Malaysia.
One&Only Desaru Coast, 7 Persiaran Damai, Desaru Coast, Kota Tinggi, Desaru, Darul Ta’zim, 81930, Johor, Malaysia, +60 7 878 3400
Ace Hotel Kyoto
Since opening its first location in Seattle in 1999, Ace Hotel has been synonymous with a certain brand of hipster cool in the United States. For its Asian debut, the hotel group chose Kyoto because of its standing as Japan’s cultural epicentre, and it opened this past June in the Kyoto Central Telephone Company’s former home, a beloved 1926 building envisioned by Tetsuro Yoshida, a celebrated Japanese modern architect. The 213-room property was designed in partnership with legendary architect Kengo Kuma and Los Angeles studio Commune Design, and the result is a stylish blend of Japanese and American aesthetics, with art and custom furnishings made by artists and craftsmen from both countries featuring alongside signature Ace touches including Gibson guitars, TEAC turntables and Tivoli radios. Japan’s first Stumptown Coffee Roasters is located on the hotel’s ground floor; combined with the inviting lobby, three dining venues and rooftop patio, there’s plenty of space for visiting and local creatives to connect.
Ace Hotel Kyoto, 245-2 Kurumayacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8185, Japan, +81 75 229 9001
Banyan Tree Krabi
Nestled into the lush mountainside of a national park, overlooking a dozen karst limestone towers rising above the Andaman Sea, this new beachfront resort is slated for a grand opening on 24 October. Located on a serene stretch of Tubkaek Beach, a 35-minute drive from Krabi Airport, the property houses 72 sea-facing suites and villas, each with its own private pool, in a tropical rainforest setting where dense foliage meets powdery white sand and sapphire waters. In keeping with Banyan Tree’s wellness-centric approach to hospitality, the Krabi location is intended to be a sanctuary for the body and mind, which is evident in everything from the rainforest-themed spa to the soothing colour scheme to the constant sounds of nature and water features. On-site facilities include a beach bar, wedding chapel, kids’ club, two restaurants and more. Perhaps the most unique offering is the Bird’s Nest culinary experience, which puts diners at private tables perched among the treetops.
Banyan Tree Krabi, 279 Moo 3, Tambon Nongtalay, Amphoe Muang, Krabi, 81180, Thailand, +66 75 811 888
Potato Head Studios
Seminyak hotspot Potato Head has entered a new era and transformed into much more than just a beach club. Completed this past May, Desa Potato Head represents the culmination of a decade of development and, at last, the full realisation of hotelier Ronald Akili’s vision for a “creative village” in Bali (desa means ‘village’ in Indonesian). The final phase of the project included the launch of Potato Head Studios, a 168-room hotel in a new building designed by OMA, the Dutch firm founded by Rem Koolhaas. Presenting a sustainable approach to hospitality, each studio features furniture and amenities made from recycled plastics and eco-friendly materials; the building itself is made from recycled brick and poured concrete cast in reclaimed driftwood. In addition to the guestrooms, the new building houses several bars, a gallery space, an amphitheatre, an environmentally minded kids’ club, a farm-to-table restaurant, a music recording studio and more — all delivering on Desa Potato Head’s promise to combine music, art, food, design, wellness and sustainability with hospitality.
Potato Head Studios, 51B Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, 80361, Indonesia, +62 361 3029999
Located on Okinawa Island in the coastal village of Yomitan, home to fields of sugarcane and chrysanthemums, Hoshinoya’s newest property is a seaside resort fronting a pristine white-sand beach and mesmerisingly blue shades of water. Fortunately, all 100 suites feature dreamy ocean views, outdoor sitting areas facing the sea and long dining tables for enjoying meals in privacy. The resort’s most Instagrammable feature is a 4.5-metre-high modernist wall inspired by the traditional gusuku stone walls that once protected Okinawan homes and castles; here, it serves as a dramatic entry point to a blissful retreat. Intriguingly, the main restaurant serves cuisine that blends the culinary traditions of Okinawa and Sicily, but guests can also enjoy steaks and hamburgers at the OLU Grill or order prepped meal kits to cook in the comfort of their own suite. Horse riding on the beach and lessons in Ryukyu karate and Sanshin music held in the traditional-style activity studio are available to round out the Okinawan experience.
Hoshinoya Okinawa, 474 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa, 904-0327, Japan, +81 50 3786 1144
Azerai Ke Ga Bay
Surrounded by dragon fruit farms, seaside salt fields, tropical gardens and five kilometres of beach on the East Sea, the third property in Azerai’s portfolio (the brainchild of legendary hotelier and Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha), Ke Ga Bay is scheduled to open this month in a secluded part of southeastern Vietnam that most travellers likely haven’t visited before. Following extensive renovations of a previous resort on the same site, Azerai Ke Ga Bay has 46 elegant, minimalist suites and villas, 21 of which boast either plunge pools or larger private pools. When they’re not lounging poolside, guests should take the time to get out and explore the area’s stunning scenery. To the south of the property lie soaring sand dunes, while to the north is Hon Ba Island, home to Southeast Asia’s oldest lighthouse, which was built by French colonists in 1899. For an adventure, trek to the island by foot during low tide, or hop a ride on one of the colourful boats that traverse the bay.
Azerai Ke Ga Bay, Hon Lan, Tan Thanh Commune, Ham Thuan Nam District Binh Thuanh Province, 800000, Vietnam, +84 252 3682222
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.