Interest in visiting Asia is on the upswing, according to MMGY Global’s 2019-2020 Portrait of American Travelers. Topping the list is Japan, which was also recently named by Ovation Travel Group as one of the top emerging destinations for 2020 — so that island nation will be our first start as we check out the latest developments on Asia’s hotel scene.
YTL Hotels is set to unveil its latest luxury addition in Niseko Village on December 1. Hinode Hills Niseko Village is an all-suite property with 79 rooms decorated with a traditional wabi-sabi design aesthetic, integrating natural forms and nods to nature.
With ski-in, ski-out access at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Hinode Hills sits at the heart of Niseko Village next to the Upper Village Gondola, which provides easy lift access to the mountain. An in-house team of ski specialists can help with gear. After a day on the slopes, guests can relax in the hotel’s onsen (hot springs).
For families or groups traveling together, there are multiple room configurations of up to three bedrooms. Good to know: Hokkaido Island was recently named to Signature Travel Network’s list of “Where to Go in 2020.”
Back in August, the ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa made its debut as the first international luxury resort in the coastal Oita Prefecture on Kyushu Island. Each of the 89 guestrooms includes bamboo work created by local artists and craftsmen. Suites and Club Rooms have private open-air baths on their terraces.
Because of the region’s natural baths and traditional hot spring heritage, the resort has an indoor public bath, along with open-air bathing in its own space. There’s also a luxury spa.
Set in a garden at the heart of a 79-acre forest, Aman Kyoto opened on November 1. Six Guest Pavilions — a contemporary homage to traditional Japanese ryokan inns — house 26 guestrooms and suites. All afford garden views and optimum privacy.
Living Pavilion by Aman, with its central fireplace and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto an ornate terrace overlooking the Kerry Hill garden, is the signature restaurant, specializing in Kyoto-style cuisine, and innovative Western dishes. Taka-an is the resort’s Japanese restaurant.
The Aman Spa’s offerings include Japanese holistic rituals, guided yoga and meditation, as well as Shinrin-yoku, the healing art of forest bathing.
Something different for your Tokyo-bound experiential clients is Trunk House, one of Design Hotels’ newest member properties. Residing on a backstreet in the central Kagurazaka neighborhood, Trunk House is a hyperlocal immersion set within a one-suite micro-hotel. Housed in a wooden building, the hotel was previously home to a traditional Ryotei restaurant and geisha practice room. Now, the residence hosts a miniature karaoke disco bar and open kitchen complete with a private chef.
In Cambodia, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor reopened its doors to guests on October 1 after a six-month closure for renovations and refurbishments. Nearly all of the hotel’s 119 rooms and suites have been fully refurbished while also receiving new modern amenities. Among the contemporary touches: Spotlights have been added to brighten up the rooms and power ports and USB charging stations have been fitted. The French windows, which swing open to views of either street scenes or the plantation-style grounds of the hotel, have been upgraded and each room now has a writing desk and vintage rotary telephone. Additional floor space was created by removing cabinets and replacing them with built-in wardrobes.
Another difference that returning guests will notice upon arrival is that the façade and the entire exterior of the hotel is now painted alabaster white (rather than its former cream-beige hue), which is the color of Royal Khmer architecture across the country. The conservatory, known for its afternoon teas and baby grand piano, was also refurbished and brightened up. A new signature restaurant, “1932,” is slated to launch in November.
The biggest structural addition to the property is the complete renovation of the outdoor Apsara Terrace, where Khmer performances are enacted, into a new MICE and banquets venue to be called the Raffles Marquee.
The Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort has 72 suites, pool villas and penthouses.
On the southern coast of the “Island of the Gods,” Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort sprawls across limestone cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean. The multi-layered swimming pool and clifftop wedding chapel take advantage of the panoramic views, as do most of the accommodations. In fact, the 72 suites, pool villas and penthouses are showing off a new look after a recent refurbishment project. New features in the 40 ocean view suites, ocean view pool suites and garden view pool suites include décor, lighting, and technology, such as new built-in USB ports. The signature outdoor Jacuzzi remains a key suite amenity.
Extended families and friends traveling together may want to consider booking the two- and three-bedroom villas. The one-bedroom Dedari Penthouse has also been renovated, and there’s also a new two-bedroom Dewata Penthouse with 180-degree view.
The makeover didn’t just touch on the rooms. The Anantara Spa has unveiled an extension with a new garden pavilion equipped with seven treatment rooms, manicure and pedicure room, hair salon, swimming pools, plus steam and sauna rooms. Spa treatments incorporate spices from Indonesia that are regarded for their medicinal and healing properties. Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort offers a variety of insider experiences, like surfing excursions and guided cultural outings (including sacred rituals and healing sessions near Ubud).
Next, it’s on to China where The Luxury Collection opened Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning in September. Na Lotus resides in a high-rise landmark building located in the heart of the business district. Each of the 290 guestrooms, including 26 suites, has floor-to-ceiling windows affording views of the city, as well as the Yong River and Qingxiu mountain. Na Lotus Hotel also has an 11,800-square-foot ballroom, fitness center and an indoor pool overlooking the skyline.
Both indigenous and international cuisines will be available at Na Lotus Hotel’s four dining venues, including Na Lian, a Chinese restaurant with an emphasis on fresh Guangxi and Cantonese cuisines. Sky Lounge, a popular social hub serves cocktails, wines and spirits accompanied by sweet treats. The Clouds is an all-day dining venue with international dishes, while Yun Yue, a Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant, focuses on seafood and meat dishes prepared with locally sourced, (and seasonal) produce.
The hotel’s concierge team can create bespoke experiences with visits to the Yong opera in the ancient Xinhui Academy, as well as immersive journeys to the scenic Qingxiu Mountain and Detian Waterfall, the largest transnational waterfall in Asia. Guests can also immerse themselves in the destination through “The Five senses of Nanning,” an experiential package developed by the hotel, exploring the traditional customs of Zhuang culture through Yilingyan, a cave with rare stone landscapes, as well as the ancient towns of Na Lian and Yangmei.
In Thailand, Four Seasons is returning to Bangkok in a big way. Come February 2020, a new, nine-acre riverside resort will open on Charoenkrung Road. There will be a spa, two infinity pools with river views, a complimentary kids club, a private boat dock and extensive event space, including a waterfront ballroom. The crème de la crème of the 299 guestrooms is the Presidential Suite which sprawls across two floors. Note that there are also suites with garden terraces.
Dining will be a focus here, with concepts running the gamut from French to Cantonese cuisine (with a show kitchen overseen by Michelin-starred chef Qui Xiaogui). Another highlight of the hotel will be the Art Space showcasing works by contemporary Thai artists.
The urban resort is now accepting reservations for arrivals starting February 1, 2020. To celebrate the grand opening, Four Seasons has rolled out an introductory offer that includes a $100 credit toward dining or spa with a minimum two-night stay.
Looking further ahead, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced that it will manage a new luxury hotel in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province in China. Scheduled to open in 2022 along the Qinhuai River, it will have 106 rooms and suites with views of the river and the ancient city wall. There will be three restaurants and bars, including an all-day dining option, a Chinese restaurant and a Lobby Lounge, as well as a spa.