Tucked amid the greenery are 175 soothingly luxurious suites and pool villas, the best of which are tiered down a steep hillside with commanding views of the Gulf of Thailand.
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.
It may be just a 15-drive from the airport or the action of Chaweng Beach, but this Ritz-Carlton feels a world away from the rest of Thailandâ€™s third-largest island. The sense of seclusion come courtesy of 23 hectares of lush, hilly grounds (a former coconut plantation) that tumble down to a private cove on the islandâ€™s northeast peninsula.
Tucked amid the greenery are 175 soothingly luxurious suites and pool villas, the best of which are tiered down a steep hillside with commanding views of the Gulf of Thailand. (Tip: Villas on the lower levels donâ€™t require as much stair climbing as those above). Six restaurants and bars ensure that guests will never run out of culinary options, with standouts including the lavish buffet breakfasts at Shook! and beachside ceviche and crudo at Tides Bar.
Itâ€™s worth booking a Saturday-night stay alone for the weekly Baan Talat, an alfresco night-market experience held in the courtyard below Shook! that sees an array of food stalls dish up Thai street-eat favorites like fragrant Massaman curry and sai oua pork sausages. Tennis courts, a glass-walled gym, a muay Thai kickboxing ring, and the usual gamut of water sports will help you work off the calories, while the Spa Village, with its own cabana-lined swimming pool, health bar, and overwater massage pavilions, is bound to impress even the most seasoned spa-goer.
66-77/915-777; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$568.
This article originally appeared in theÂ October/November 2018Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śThe Luxe List 2018: The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samuiâ€ť).