Sitting on a bend of the Luosuo River in southern China’s Xishuangbanna region, this 80-suite, 23-villa resort marries the indigenous influences of the local Dai tribe with the luxury-resort flair of Thailand, a winning combination given the tropical climate and surrounds. The palatial peaked teak ceilings and towering columns of the open-air lobby hint at the Dai architectural accents found throughout the property, while elephant statues are a nod to one of China’s last pachyderm herds, which can be found nearby in Wild Elephant Valley. A dreamy blue pool lined with deckchairs and frangipani trees is blissfully beach-holiday style with pool boys to deliver cocktails on request. All suites and villas are endowed with creature comforts (deep bathtubs, iPod dock, walk-in wardrobe, feather duvets), Asian decor (crafted teak furnishings, ethnic fabrics), and outdoor spaces. These are mostly set amid a garden featuring dining pagodas, trickling waterfalls, and hundreds of native plant species. Guest keen to see more greenery can cross the river to Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Menglun Town, Mengla County, Yunnan; 86-691/893-6666; Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa website; doubles from US$425
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