|Caroline Astor Suite at the brand new St. Regis Mumbai|
When we spoke with travel sellers recently, the consensus was that Asia tourism remains solid. This dovetails with the findings of MMGY Global’s 2015 Portrait of American Travelers, in which one in five respondents cited Asia among international areas/regions interested in visiting during the next two years.
Factors accounting for continued interest, operators told us, include improved infrastructure, airlift and hotel options meeting the needs of more travelers. New destinations offer bragging rights for the adventurous and new twists on traditional tours are catching the eye of potential visitors.
While MMGY reports that Japan, China and Thailand continue to dominate, with Singapore and India not far behind, tour companies are high on such up-and-comers as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan (home to the brand new Le Meridien Paro, Riverfront) and Vietnam (where the boutique five-star Apricot Hotel opened in Hanoi on December 14).
More New Hotels for 2016
Reservations are now being accepted for Aman’s second property in Japan, Amanemu, scheduled to open on March 1. Set in Ise Shima National Park in Honshu’s Mie Prefecture, in central Japan, it will offer 24 suites with spacious terraces and views of Ago Bay, as well as private onsen (hot springs). The hotel will also have four two-bedroom villas, signature Aman Spa, and traditional Japanese restaurant.
The hotel is about 180 miles southwest of Tokyo, with easy access to Japan’s high speed rail network. Nearby facilities include an 18-hole championship golf course and the UNESCO-protected pilgrimage routes of Kumano Kodo and Ise-Jingu, Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrine.
Also in Japan, the 124-room Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto will open in that city’s historic Higashiyama-ku district, close to the Kyoto National Museum and myriad heritage sites such as the Toyokuni Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple. Works by local artists will be displayed throughout the traditionally inspired modern decor. The hotel will have a spa and fitness center with a pool, and four food and beverage concepts. There will also be 57 Four Seasons Private Residences. Four Seasons also opened a new hotel in Seoul this fall.
Other new hotels going into 2016 include two November openings in South Asia. Starwood’s 38-story St. Regis Mumbai offers 386 guest rooms (including 60 suites), four specialty restaurants and one for all-day dining, a club lounge, and three bars, as well as signature 24/7 St. Regis Butler Service. Adjoining the hotel is the Palladium, a luxury retail shopping center.
In Sri Lanka, the long-awaited Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort opened on a secluded stretch of the island nation’s southernmost coastline. Its 152 rooms and villas have custom-made Sri Lankan furnishings and al fresco spaces for relaxing, including interconnecting accommodations for families and groups. Amenities include children’s and teens’ clubs, a spa, and six restaurants and bars/lounges.
Hotel openings continue apace in China, with the new Four Seasons Tianjin set for a 2016 debut. Part of a mixed complex with an office tower and retail stores, the hotel is in a pedestrian-friendly area near Nanjing Road, the city’s main east-west thoroughfare and Binjiang Avenue, a major shopping area. It will offer three food-and-beverage options and a spa and fitness facility with a pool.
Among new China hotels preparing for their first full year in 2016 are the Akyra Manor Hotel Chiang Mai and The Grand Mansion, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanjing.