The Best Hotels in Asia: 5 Cities, 25 Fabulous Hotels
Planning a trip to Asia is overwhelming, to say the least. Where to go? Where to eat? What to see? And of course, where to stay. Well, we’ve got the last part figured out for you. From Tokyo to Bangkok, here are 25 of the best hotels in Asia.
1 – Hong Kong
It’s the glitziest, most glamorous city in Asia, with a seemingly endless array of fabulous hotel options. To rub shoulders with the Hong Kong’s most fashionable denizens, join the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tilda Swinton at The Upper House or bed down in one of the renovated rooms—sleek, sexy numbers with a subtle industrial twist—at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. For unforgettable harbor views, head to the Four Seasons Hong Kong (if the hotel was any closer to the water, you’d get your feet wet). Other favorites: the millennial-focused East, which looks out over Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport, and the luxe Ritz-Carlton, located between the 102nd and 118th floors of the International Commerce Centre.
2 – Tokyo
With its large population, futuristic cityscape and cultural kudos, few cities overwhelm new visitors quite like Tokyo. Throw yourself straight into the mix with a stay at the whimsical Keio Plaza Hotel. Not only is it perfectly located in the heart of energetic Shinjuku, it’s got four Hello Kitty-theme rooms complete with pink kettles and plushy high heel-shaped sofas. For a more, ahem, sophisticated stay, pop down the road to the Park Hyatt, whose zen-like interiors and glittering city views were made famous in the 2003 film Lost in Translation. Just as luxe is the Mandarin Oriental, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, award-winning restaurants, and silk-smooth service; as is Hoshinoya Tokyo, the city’s first luxury high-rise ryokan where each floor has its own Ochanoma lounge and the onsen baths are fed by mineral hot springs. Or scoot across town to the Conrad in Shiodome, close to the Tsukiji fish market and the 2020 Olympic village complex.
3 – Shanghai
Shanghai’s hotel scene is as dynamic as the city itself, with everything from historic abodes to ultra-modern designer digs. For a taste of the Golden Age of Travel, slip past the white-gloved doormen and into a luxurious river view suite at The Peninsula—and don’t miss afternoon tea accompanied by a string quartet in the lobby. If cool contemporary Shanghai is more your thing, try the Langham Xintiandi, where rooms come with playful Chinese artworks, egg chairs, and views over the red rooftops of an old shikumen neighborhood, or check into The Puli, a glossy urban getaway loved by Shanghai’s beautiful people. Aiming high? There’s the Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai between the 30th and 59th floors of the Jing An Kerry Centre, or book a room between the 79th and 93rd floors at the Park Hyatt, where you can gape at the 2,073-foot-high Shanghai Tower just beyond the hotel windows.
4 – Singapore
It would be impossible to talk about where to stay in Singapore without mentioning Raffles, a grand old colonial hotel whose history remains so entwined with that of modern-day Singapore. Opened by the Sarkies Brothers in 1887 and named after the city’s founding father Sir Stamford Raffles, the property has hosted everyone from Rudyard Kipling to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Aiming to give the grande dame some competition is the Patina Capitol, a luxury hotel housed in a bright-white heritage building and close to the Chinatown Heritage Center and National Orchid Garden. For something more contemporary (and affordable), try the Philippe Starke–designed M Social Singapore, the Jacques Garcias-designed Hotel Vagabond, or the insanely hip New Majestic Hotel in Chinatown, which was artfully put together by a group of local artists and designers.
5 – Bangkok
Old-school and modern, cool and kitschy—Bangkok’s hotels push all the right buttons. First-timers should consider staying near the banks of the Chao Phraya River, and there’s no more romantic stay there than the 140-year old Mandarin Oriental. For big-city kicks, aim for the Banyan Tree in Sathorn—the astonishing views from the rooftop Moon Bar are the stuff travel dreams are made of. On the other side of town, Shanghai Mansion channels the city’s long Chinese heritage with coquettish rooms—all black lacquer, balloon lamps, and neon silks—and easy access to delicious Sino-Thai street eats. Or, you can camp it up at the retro-fabulous Hotel Muse or Sofitel So, both of which have buzzy rooftop bars and knockout city views.
By Carl Unger