Bangkok-based resort architect Bill Bensley has fashioned the place as an imaginary encampment of 19th-century European settlers, with each tent named for a camp trade.
From an intimate tented camp in the green foothills of Bali to a converted 19th-century Jesuit retreat in Tamil Nadu, our editors and reviewers have roamed the Asia-Pacific region to bring together DestinAsianâ€™s annual collection of the yearâ€™s top hotel openings. Read on to discover which new properties stood out from the rest in terms of service, setting, amenities, and a singular sense of style.
Lush doesnâ€™t begin to describe the jungly surrounds of this tented camp in the cool central foothills of Bali. Spread across four hectares on the side of a steep ravine near the artistsâ€™ village of Keliki, Capella Ubud was built in such a way that not a single tree was cut down, so donâ€™t be surprised to see coconut palms and jackfruit trunks emerging from wooden decks or growing through the dark canvas-like roofs of the propertyâ€™s 23 tented suites. Bangkok-based resort architect Bill Bensley has fashioned the place as an imaginary encampment of 19th-century European settlers, with each tent named for a camp trade (e.g. Architect, Cartographer, Baker) and sumptuously fitted with carved Balinese doors, big four-poster beds, dimpled teak floors, vintage knickknacks, hand-hammered copper tubs, and private plunge pools clad in river stones.
The main restaurant, Mads Lange, is named for a Danish merchant-adventurer who lived in Bali in the mid-1800sâ€”look up to admire the Kamasan-style artwork on its high curving ceiling. The food here is still finding its footing, but downstairs at Api Jiwa, Sydney chef Matt McCool has devised an utterly remarkable 10-course robatayaki menu that spotlights local produce and garden-grown organic vegetables in such dishes as zucchini flower stuffed with seafood mousse, a kimchi-wrapped â€śtacoâ€ť of duck satay lilit, and frog legs with banana-heart salad. Spa rooms, a gym, and an exuberantly decorated lounge all occupy tents of their own. Thereâ€™s also a campfire around which you can roast marshmallows and sip hot chocolate before being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the rain forest. This is whimsical escapism at its best.
62-361/209-1888; capellahotels.com; doubles from US$838.
This article originally appeared in theÂ October/November 2018Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śThe Luxe List 2018: Capella Ubudâ€ť).