The Luxe List 2022: Best New Hotels in Asia-Pacific

As the world began reopening to travel over the last year, so too did the Asia-Pacific region welcome the debut of a number of stellar new hotels. Seventeen of them have made it onto the latest edition of our annual Luxe List, each tried and tested on the basis of their style, service, and surrounds. From a rain forest lodge in Queensland to a converted Rajasthani fortress, read on to discover where you’ll want to be staying in the year ahead.

 

AUSTRALIA

The balcony of a Billabong Suite at Silky Oaks Lodge. (Photo: George Apostolidis)

Silky Oaks Lodge

Australia has long done beach and outback luxury well. Yet despite being home to the world’s oldest rain forest — Daintree National Park in Queensland — stylish jungle lodgings have been wanting. Until now. Fresh from a US$14 million renovation, the decades-old Silky Oaks Lodge has been reinvented as an ode to the World Heritage–listed Wet Tropics, its 40 treehouse-like suites strung along a curve of the Mossman River 80 kilometers north of Cairns. First glimpse is the polished-wood main lodge, its seven-meter-high cathedral ceilings framing a canopy of figs and gnarly vines. This is also where meals are served: tempura reef fish, perhaps, or barbecued tiger prawns with mango-avocado salsa. Whether it’s the tropical temperatures or meditative insect chorus, days here feel luxuriously languid; it helps that there’s a hammock on every balcony — the two-bedroom Daintree Pavilion has its own infinity pool. There’s also a spa that pays homage to the region’s rich indigenous culture, which you can also explore on guided Dreamtime walks with Kuku Yalanji traditional landowners. Silky Oaks’ reboot comes courtesy of Baillie Lodges, whose remarkable portfolio (Longitude 131° at Uluru; Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island) is a perfect fit for this immersive property.
—Natasha Dragun

silkyoakslodge.com.au; doubles from about US$925, minimum two-night stay

A Heritage Suite at The Tasman in Hobart. (Courtesy of The Tasman)

The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Australia’s second-oldest capital city, Hobart is no stranger to story-driven hotels that retell Tasmania’s past with sensitivity and style. But The Tasman does it best. Set across three distinct structures, the property incorporates a Georgian-style former hospital from the 1840s, a 1930s art deco building, and a gleaming new addition called the Pavilion. The carefully considered restoration of the former two equates to rooms with personality to spare: convict-hewn sandstone and blackwood bathtubs in the heritage wing; geometric patterns and gorgeous wood-paneled ceiling vaults in art deco rooms. History is on display throughout in artifacts unearthed during the renovation, while Tasmanian makers are celebrated in amenities like whiskey and beer crafted exclusively for the hotel. Your location, just steps from the waterfront, provides easy access to the city’s best restaurants. But you’ll want to linger in chef Massimo Mele’s Italian restaurant Peppina and speakeasy bar Mary Mary — beeswax-infused rum, anyone? —Natasha Dragun

marriott.com; doubles from US$285

 

CHINA

The view from the balcony of a Junior Suite at LUX* Chongzuo. (Photo courtesy of the resort)

LUX* Chongzuo

Deep in the countryside of southern China’s mountainous Guangxi region, this tropical modernist retreat marks the Middle Kingdom debut of the Singapore-based Lux Collective. With karst-studded scenery reminiscent of Guilin (a seven-hour drive to the northeast) and a distinct Southeast Asian vibe (the border with Vietnam is just 10 minutes up the road), it’s a terrific location for those looking to get away from it all. The 56 suites and villas occupy a series of discreet buildings that wrap around a bend of the languid Minshi River, with sleek interiors whose stone and timber accents nod to the forested outcrops that dominate the views outside. Those not content to merely soak up the scenery from their balcony or the resort’s riverside swimming pool can head off on bamboo rafts or join guided treks to glimpse the endemic white-headed langur. —Jenny David

luxresorts.com; doubles from US$622

 

HONG KONG

The Penthouse Pool Suite at The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong. (Courtesy of the property)

The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong

Hong Kong Island’s Southside area looks like it’s been pulled from a Chinese watercolor painting, all rambling mountains, squiggly islands, golden beaches, and blue-green seas, which makes it all the more surprising that no one has thought to build a hotel here before now. Filling the gap for a luxury leisure resort within easy distance of the city center is The Fullerton Ocean Park, which opened in July with a prime waterfront position overlooking Aberdeen Harbour and the South China Sea. There’s a glorious outdoor infinity pool, a lush Bamford spa, rooftop pool suites, rooms with balconies, and a clutch of tip-top restaurants (don’t miss the char siu at Jade). It manages to be family-friendly, too, without sacrificing any of the style associated with its Fullerton sibling properties in Singapore and Sydney. —Lee Cobaj

fullertonhotels.com; doubles from US$340

 

INDIA

The sitting area of a bungalow at Aramness Gir. (Courtesy of Aramness)

Aramness Gir

The last home of the Asiatic lion, Sasan Gir National Park in the western Indian state of Gujarat now has a safari lodge to suit the most discerning of wildlife enthusiasts. Spanning almost five hectares of a protected teak forest at the periphery of the park, Aramness is inspired by village life and Gujarati culture. The design, conceptualized by South Africa’s Fox Browne Creative, combines safari chic with local handicrafts and materials, such as hand-carved wooden doors and interior walls finished in traditional stucco plaster. Despite the rural theme, the lodge itself is anything but rustic. Eighteen two-story kothis (bungalows) feature private pools, shaded courtyards, and breezy verandas. Besides game drives, activities include jungle walks, temple visits, and interactions with the Maldharis, a semi-nomadic herder tribe that lives inside the park. The highlight of the experience, however, remains spotting a lion as you traverse Gir’s jungles in a luxury safari jeep, resident naturalist in tow. —Jasreen Mayal Khanna

aramness.com; doubles from US$900

A villa bedroom at Qayaam Gah. (Courtesy of ABChapri Retreats)

Qayaam Gah

Perched on a secluded ridge outside the northern Indian city of Srinagar, this Sufi-themed gem has an appropriately mystical setting, with the green Zabarwan Hills behind it and the Kashmir Valley unfurling to the west. The four villas and three suites — each named for a Sufi poet and elegantly appointed with Kashmiri carpets and carved woodwork — are surrounded by apple, cherry, and apricot orchards with a background score of birdsong and chickens clucking. Mornings are for yoga and mountain treks; in the evenings, guests can cozy up around a bukhari wood-burning stove in the library and savor a Kashmiri trami (platter) of local delicacies like rogan josh, tabakmaaz (fried lamb ribs), and goshtaba meatballs in the adjacent restaurant. More mesmerizing still are the nightly recitals of Sufi music on the hotel’s terrace, with Srinagar’s Dal Lake shimmering in the distance. —Jasreen Mayal Khanna

abchapriretreats.in; doubles from US$635, all-inclusive

Restored palace architecture at Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan. (Courtesy of Six Senses)

Six Senses Fort Barwara

Six Senses made a splashy debut in India last October with this stunning conversion of a 14th-century Rajasthani citadel, which hosted the wedding of Bollywood superstars Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif shortly after opening. Almost 10 years in the making, the wellness-oriented hotel incorporates sensitively restored temples and palaces alongside traditional gardens and water features; if there’s a pièce de résistance, it’s the spa, where Ayurvedic treatments and biohacking therapies are administered inside the fort’s restored zanana mahal (female palace). Elsewhere, the 48 opulent suites — one with a semicircular pool built into the top of a turret — have a restrained Rajasthani aesthetic, with wooden latticework arches and murals in muted colors. Showcasing produce from the in-house garden and farms around the neighboring village, the three restaurants are also excellent, particularly Roohani for its Rajasthani tasting menus. And while there are plenty of reasons not to venture beyond Fort Barwara’s old stone walls, you won’t want to miss a safari trip to nearby Ranthambore National Park, which teems with tigers, sloth bears, jackals, and leopards. —Jasreen Mayal Khanna

sixsenses.com; doubles from US$850

 

INDONESIA

A bird’s-eye view of the main pavilion at Buahan, A Banyan Tree Resort. (Courtesy of Banyan Tree)

Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape

You don’t even need to get out of bed to practice forest bathing at this jungle-ensconced Balinese hideaway, where a “no walls, no doors” concept immerses guests in nature. Located in the hills north of Ubud, the 16 timber villas here come with private swimming pools, copper bathtubs, decks of reclaimed ironwood, and floor-to-ceiling views over the surrounding greenery. But like the traditional bale pavilions on which they’re modeled, they are open to the elements, trading walls for gauzy curtains that are drawn at night to keep out the local critters (though not always successfully, as evidenced by the frog that found its way onto my bed one evening). An adults-only policy ensures a tranquil stay set to a soundtrack of birdsong, rustling leaves, and the gurgling river at the foot of the property. Another plus is the food. Overseen by Buahan-born chef Eka Sunarya, the mostly plant-based menu stars Balinese classics made from locally grown and foraged ingredients. —Cristian Rahadiansyah

escape.banyantree.com; doubles from US$635, half-board

Each room at Bali’s Lost Lindenberg has contemporary art on the walls. (Photo: Robert Rieger)

Lost Lindenberg

I MEAN, IT’S NOT UBUD, reads one of the beach towels for sale at the breezy lobby boutique of Lost Lindenberg, an eight-room bolt-hole in Pekutatan on Bali’s west coast. The phrase succinctly sums up the hotel’s mission: a fresh approach to Balinese hospitality that moves away from Instagrammable infinity pools and yoga dogma in a freewheeling direction that this quirky Frankfurt-based hotel group has pioneered on its home turf. Through a tiny door in a wall-size neon artwork by German artist Tobias Rehberger, the hotel unfurls into a lush jungle dotted with four treehouse-like towers by Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier and Studio Jencquel. Each tower houses two rooms, all warm woods and fabrics in earthy tones, with semi-alfresco bathrooms enclosed by louvered shutters. There’s a small pool and a pillow-strewn roof terrace, but the surf-friendly waves crashing onto the black sands of nearby Medewi Beach are the hotel’s main drawing card. Come with an open mind: with only one long ironwood table in the restaurant, where communal dinners offer vegan riffs on pan-Indonesian cooking, this isn’t a place for introverts. —Chris Schalkx

thelindenberg.com; doubles from US$350

The dining room at Tom’s by Tom Aikens in The Langham, Jakarta. (Courtesy of the hotel)

The Langham, Jakarta

This opulent addition to the Indonesian capital’s five-star hotel scene is the first Southeast Asian property from the Hong Kong–based Langham group, whose namesake in London opened way back in 1865 as one of Europe’s first grand hotels. In Jakarta, some of that English heritage shows up in the guest rooms’ oak herringbone floors, faux fireplaces, and marble bathrooms; there’s also a pink vintage Austin parked out front. The main restaurant — a gorgeous space off the 62nd-floor Sky Lobby — delivers a modern British menu by English chef Tom Aikens; back on the ground, grand café–inspired Alice serves an elegant afternoon tea. The hotel also boasts the city’s highest indoor infinity pool, as well as a spa that focuses on traditional Chinese medicine. —Christopher P. Hill

langhamhotels.com; doubles from US$230

Javanese motifs infuse the decor of The Orient Jakarta’s Library Lounge. (Courtesy of the property)

The Orient Jakarta

Forget Italian marble and crystal chandeliers: The Orient breaks the mold of Jakarta’s typical five-star digs. Responsible for its whimsical interiors is the prolific Bangkok-based hotel designer Bill Bensley, who celebrates local craftsmanship at every turn — the 70 maximalist rooms (20 more will be added by the end of the year) feature bespoke teak cabinets and batik cotton wallpapers with a pop art twist. That nostalgic-cool vibe extends to Caspar, a two-level Spanish restaurant and bar where Valencian chef Rafael Martínez and his crew turn out modern tapas and moreish paellas. Adjoining venue Furusato Izakaya serves crowd-pleasing Japanese comfort food like chicken nanban. But the hotel’s crown jewel is its Library Lounge, a cozy den adorned with antique bronze cannons and rattan-backed armchairs, replicas of Hindu-Buddhist temple reliefs, and exuberant batiks from Java’s northern coast. Down the hall, the resort-style infinity pool beckons with hydrotherapy jets and fantastical jellyfish sculptures suspended from a wavy rattan ceiling. —James Louie

theorienthoteljakarta.com; doubles from US$170

 

JAPAN

Roku Kyoto’s elegant lobby and tea lounge. (Photo: Ben Richards)

Roku Kyoto

Standing on this site at the foot of Kyoto’s Takagamine mountains more than half a century ago, kimono master Masao Matsuyama opined that “beautiful things are born from beautiful environments.” Certainly, they are at Roku Kyoto. Part of Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts collection, the 114-room property is seamlessly incorporated into the tranquil wooded landscape, with nods to classic Japanese elegance in its clean-lined architecture (by Blink Design Group, based in Singapore and Bangkok). Though all guest quarters celebrate the beauty of local materials and craftsmanship — think lustrous lacquerware and ancient karakami woodblock patterns on paper — the Garden Deluxe rooms are popular for their private hot spring–fed onsen baths. Tenjin, the restaurant, is named for the river that flows through the grounds and stands out for its Chef’s Table section, where tasting menus fuse French technique with seasonal ingredients. Drawing inspiration from Kyoto’s bamboo forests, the Roku Spa is another highlight, its signature massage using heated stones drawn from the Tenjin River. Stylishly modern or classically ancient? Roku Kyoto is both. —John Ashburne

lxrhotels3.hilton.com; doubles from US$610

The traditional machiya-style facade of Kyoto’s The Shinmonzen. (Courtesy of the property)

The Shinmonzen

There’s a Dr. Who’s TARDIS quality to this Tadao Ando–designed, art-filled 21st-century ryokan at the heart of Kyoto’s historical geisha district, Gion: the interior and exterior seem to inhabit different universes. The outside is pure Kyoto machiya townhouse, with kawara roof tiles and wooden slatted windows. Inside, the nine suites, created by French cabinet maker turned maritime and aviation designer Rémi Tessier, bring a European sense of light and space, inspired no doubt by The Shinmonzen’s sister property Villa La Coste in Provence. Artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst and Makoto Ofune stimulate the mind, while the subterranean spa soothes body and soul with Reiki treatments. A restaurant by global superchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is set to open in November. —John Ashburne

theshinmonzen.com; doubles from US$1,035

 

MALAYSIA

Inside the sunken living room at Else in Kuala Lumpur. (Courtesy of Else Retreats)

Else

New hospitality brand Else Retreats is off to a fine start with its inaugural property, which occupies the revamped Lee Rubber Building in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Local design firm Studio Bikin is behind the understated look of hotel, whose 49 rooms and suites — all muted tones and wood and wicker elements — are spread between the original art deco structure and a new three-story rooftop extension. Contemporary style and 1930s architecture meld at street-level restaurant Raw Kitchen Hall, where the eclectic menu of global comfort food recalls that of its sister venue in Singapore; the bar here is backdropped by vintage ornamental pillars sourced from Penang. Upstairs, on the same floor as an inviting pool terrace, Yellow Fin Horse dishes out wood-fired specialties. While there’s no spa, Else has meditation pods, a “gratitude space” for self-reflection, and a gym. It’s proof that good things do come in small packages. —Nicholas Ng

elseretreats.com; doubles from US$125

 

MALDIVES

The pool deck of an overwater villa at Joali Being. (Courtesy of Joali)

Joali Being

Doubling down on the success of her first Maldivian resort — the art-centric Joali, which arrived on the scene in 2018 — Turkish entrepreneur Esin Güral Argat has created yet another standout concept: the archipelago’s first dedicated wellness retreat. Underpinned by the four “pillars” of mind, microbiome, skin, and energy, Joali Being’s tailored health programs draw on considerable in-house expertise and a gamut of therapeutic facilities, everything from a cryotherapy chamber and Himalayan salt room to a steamy Russian banya. Yet the place also manages to be as indulgent as at any other high-end Maldivian hideaway, with 68 gorgeous pink-and-teal-accented pool villas, delectable (and healthful) cuisine, and an idyllic private-island setting. —David Tse

joali.com; doubles from US$2,035, minimum five-night stay

 

THAILAND

Bar seating inside The Standard Grill at The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon. (Courtesy of the hotel)

The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon

The twisting, 79-floor King Power Mahanakhon tower has been a hard-to-miss anomaly on Bangkok’s skyline since it finished construction in 2016. It wasn’t until this July, however, that it finally found a fitting tenant in the equally eccentric The Standard. Taking over the lower floors and rooftop, the fun-loving hotel group brought in Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon to work alongside the brand’s in-house design team on bold interiors bedecked in a kaleidoscopic mix of retro-toned furnishings and playful patterns, speckled with artworks by Joan Miró and video artist Marco Brambilla. The 155 guest rooms vary in size and amenities — some have small balcony lounges, others come with large terrazzo-tiled bathrooms — but all sport wavy sofas from channel-tufted velour and rugs with abstract tribal prints. The dining lineup is impressive, too: at 78th-floor Ojo, chef Francisco “Paco” Ruano gives his native Mexican cuisine a fine-dining twist, while on the lower floors, hot-ticket Mott 32 and the penny-floored Standard Grill dish out elevated Chinese classics and top-tier steaks, respectively. —Chris Schalkx

standardhotels.com; doubles from US$146

Outside a Bayside Villa at The Standard, Hua Hin. (Courtesy of The Standard, Hua Hin)

The Standard, Hua Hin

Though it now has a buzzy sister hotel in Bangkok, this was Thailand’s first outpost of The Standard brand when it opened along Hua Hin’s palm-tufted main beach at the tail end of last year, bringing a freewheeling vibe to the rather staid resort town. That’s clear from the get-go: the breezy lobby eschews typical Thai latticework and teakwood floors for a brutalist-looking pavilion overflowing with plants and polychromatic art. Just beyond, the resort’s two multi-balconied wings nod to the mid-century facade of the brand’s original (and now-defunct) Hollywood location and house 171 rooms and suites clad in rattan and candy-striped textiles. But the 28 whitewashed villas, situated closer to the beach, are where the party’s at: grouped around small courtyards frothing with bougainvillea, most open to private pools and have disco balls in their terrazzo-clad bathrooms. The restaurants are equally playful, with “Thai izakaya” Praça taking over a beachfront heritage home, all-day Italian diner Lido perched along the lounger-lined pool, and a sleek juice bar near the lobby for collagen smoothies and quinoa bowls on the go. —Chris Schalkx

standardhotels.com; doubles from US$105

 

This article originally appeared in the September/November 2022 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2022”).

Share this Article