2017 Honeymoon Awards: The Most Romantic Hotels in Asia
We partnered up with Martha Stewart Weddings and asked our readers and followers to reveal their ultimate honeymoon destinations in nine regions around the globe. Now, with nearly 9,000 of you accounted for, we've found our winners. And while Asia may be more far-flung than some of the other destinations on the list, its pulsating big city sleeps, serene riverside retreats, and palace-inspired stays make it an obvious choice for wanderlust-struck honeymooners. Here, a roundup of our favorite honeymoon hotels in Bangkok, Tokyo, Chiang Mai, Kyoto, Singapore, and beyond.
On three prime Royal Dusit district acres, The Siam turns heads with a slightly unconventional design that marries classic Siamese aesthetics and Art Deco-inspired interiors. Super spacious rooms fall into two refined camps: suites and pool villas, but both deliver oversized king beds, deep-soaking tubs, oriental antiques, and lofty ceilings. If you have a day to spare on hotel activities alone, it’s worth signing up for an intimate cooking class, during which you’ll accompany the chef to the market to pick up your ingredients, or an indulgent couple’s massage at the Opium Spa. The hotel also arranges full day excursions to the highly photographable Tha Kha Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market if you and your spouse want to do some exploring.
The Peninsula Bangkok
This Bangkok grand dame offers the height of Asian hospitality from a towering high-rise building on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Thanks to the W-shaped design, each floor contains only ten rooms and two suites, giving the hallways a feeling of intimacy and each of the rooms a full-on river view; some also have balconies or terraces with outdoor Jacuzzis.
The varied indoor and outdoor dining options range from authentic Cantonese cooking at Mei Jiang (a nod to Peninsula’s Hong Kong roots) to home-style Thai fare at Thiptara or an international buffet and a la carte meals at the River Café and Terrace. If all that eating has you feeling a bit sluggish, make your way to the massive spa for a heavenly Thai massage.
U Sathorn Bangkok
A quick look at the French Colonial design scheme U Sathorn’s got going on and you could easily forget you’re in Thailand, let alone Bangkok. Airy, light-filled rooms are a combination of white linens, country-chic accents, and space-enhancing mirrors. If you eat one meal that’s not Thai during your time in Bangkok (a lot to ask of you, we know) – let it be at onsite J’AIME. The restaurant comes straight from Michelin-starred chef Jean-Michel Lorain who brought along a menu full of Burgundy cuisine including sous-vide quail, pan-seared beef fillet, and wild mushroom ravioli.
AVANI Riverside Bangkok
We kind of have a thing for rooftop infinity pools – who doesn’t, right? – and the AVANI Riverside’s sleek little number is just the cherry on top of one of our favorite BKK contemporary stays. Every single modern room in the high-rise (think open floor plan, rainfall shower, stark white linens, and sleek fixtures) looks out on the Chao Phraya River from floor-to-ceiling windows, while a free hotel ferry means easy access to some of the city’s must-see sites. At night, the scene heats up again on the 26th floor. Guests and locals pour into Attitude, a lounge-style hangout that wows with live DJs, mixologist-created cocktails, and stylish, sculptural pendant lighting.
A true balance of luxury and authenticity can be hard to achieve, but the HOSHINOYA Tokyo, one of the the best places to stay in Tokyo, pulls it off masterfully. The city’s first luxury high-rise ryokan in central Tokyo is a modern take on the traditional concept, yet still maintains details like tatami mat flooring and futon mattresses. As minimal as that sounds, the details are remarkable: each floor has its own Ochanoma lounge, a gathering space for guests to sip tea by day and sake by night, while the intimate restaurant is located in the basement amid natural rock and clay formations. (Reservations are a must.) Our favorite feature is the onsen baths on the 17th floor, which are fed by mineral hot springs located beneath the hotel and afford skylight views.
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
It comes as no surprise that the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is such a fan favorite. Part of a brand beloved for its sophisticated luxury and impeccable service, the hotel is a mecca of Michelin-starred restaurants, muscle-melting spa treatments, and inimitable design that incorporates fine leaf-motif fabrics by renowned textile designer Reiko Sudo (whose work is displayed in the MoMA’s permanent collection). The hotel’s most prized feature, however, has to be its address. On the upper floors of the financial district’s soaring Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, every space, from the lobby to the guest rooms to the spa, features jaw-dropping views that stretch as far as Mount Fuji. Talk about setting the scene for romance.
If you’re in the market for “firsts” and “bests,” the Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo won’t let you down. Ever heard of an “aroma butler”? Neither had we, but you can find one here, generously reviving weary travelers with aromatherapy blends—along with not one but two Michelin-starred restaurants and, from every guest room, unmatched vantage points of Tokyo. (The hotel is located in the tallest skyscraper in the city; on clear days, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji.) A recent renovation revamped the interiors in a contemporary-meets-Japanese-traditionalism style (think kimono pattern-inspired wallpaper and carpets echoing bamboo), while everything from the common spaces to the Club Lounge are now studies in comfortable opulence.
Aman Tokyo is what urban sanctuary dreams are made of. Thirty-three stories above the city’s bustling financial district, the hotel is tranquil yet sophisticated, from its 84 Zen-like guest rooms—all bathed in light, and each with its own black volcanic rock soaking tub—to the dark stone and leather in its restaurant and lounge. Whether taking in panoramic views of the Imperial Palace Garden with a Black Rum Mojito in hand, or soaking the day away at the 26,900-square-foot bi-level spa (the largest and most comprehensive in the city), you and your spouse will be treated to the utmost luxury and service.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
With architecture inspired by traditional Thai palaces from the Lanna kingdom, plus a spa fit for a queen, it’s not hard to feel like royalty at the Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai. Arriving at the lush 60-acre site, you’re greeted by a grand marble entrance and seven tiers of roof flanked by spiky pagodas that reach up to the sky. Greenery is everywhere: Orchid-filled gardens surround the white and terra-cotta buildings, and trees have been planted around the outdoor pools. The interiors are decked out in rich, Oriental colors, and there are luxe seating areas scattered around the half-dozen restaurants and bars.
The hotel’s centerpiece is the 33,000-square-foot spa. Regarded as one of the world’s top ayurvedic centers, the impeccable building is modeled on an ancient Mandalay palace and offers such sybaritic treatments as a three-hour royal foot ritual and an 80-minute Kathi Basti warm oil massage. With more than a half-dozen restaurants on the property, you’ll have your pick of dining options. Craving Peking duck? Head to Fujian, which is styled after a 1930s Shanghai mansion. For some of the best French food you’ll find in Thailand, try Farang, where the signature dishes include duck liver prepared three ways and the wagyu steak
This serene stay draws its inspiration from 11th-century BC Chinese dwellings — the effect of which is residential and respectful of the city’s history and culture. Hidden gardens and courtyards are full of surprises like antique artworks, and the library has more than 2,000 books, many on Thai history, art, and architecture. An open-air massage pavilion overlooks a serene swimming pool, and dinners (traditional dishes from Lanna Thai, Burmese, and Shan cuisines) often take place al fresco, on an intimate patio. The hotel is centrally located in Chiang Mai next to Wat Phra Singh, the city’s most famous temple (c. 1345), as well as several other major temples, and near Wiang Kum Kam, the recently restored ancient capital city (abandoned more than 700 years ago.) Also within range are the Tha Phae Gate, a historic site that’s also home to a colorful night market and the Meng Memorial Bridge.
Anantara Chiang Mai Resort
It may be located on the grounds of the former British consulate, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, a striking property on the banks of the Mae Ping River. It’s a mix of unabashedly modern, angular spaces full of clean lines and done in shades of cream and white, with wooden accents. The Anantara does particularly well in the dining department. The main restaurant, in the colonial-style British consulate building, offers a menu of creative Asian-inflected fare (spiced salmon carpaccio comes with a black sesame vinaigrette and savory brioche). There’s also an extensive menu of traditional Thai and Indian dishes. After dining in the restaurant or on the tree-shaded wraparound veranda, wander upstairs to the rooftop lounge and relax on a daybed with a cocktail overlooking the river.
Veranda High Resort Chiang Mai – MGallery by Sofitel
Set on valley slope just outside of historic Chiang Mai, Veranda offers 80 rooms with tremendous views over a mountain landscape of meandering streams, rice, and tea terraces. The rooms vary greatly, covering seven categories, but all have sleek furnishings, cushy duvets, big bathrooms, and private balconies with inviting daybeds. The spa offers signature treatments using products that were developed in-house, and the two restaurants offer European and local Lanna Thai fare, both with a choice of air-conditioned indoor or breeze-cooled outdoor seating with views of the infinity pool and the valley beyond.
Although the Veranda is outside the city and relatively far from its temples, museums, restaurants and other attractions, it’s close to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, a temple on a hill about ten miles from the city, and Wat Umong, another beautiful 700-year-old temple. It’s also very convenient for the Chiang Mai Night Safari, which offers after-dark tram rides though animal parks, and the riotously colorful botanical gardens of Royal Park Rajapruek. A trip into the city itself should include a stop at the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre, the modern city’s premier museum.
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
It took almost five years to complete this understatedly elegant property, which takes design cues from Kyoto’s revered Zen temples. Eye-catching waterfalls, natural wood panels, tatami walls, and stone pathways contrast with in-room creature comforts such as walk-in closets, rain showers and televisions, conveniently built into the bathroom mirrors. The plush seven-room spa, perfect after an action-packed day of temple hikes and market jaunts (the hotel is an easy five-minute walk from a number of area attractions including the Kyoto National Museum), prides itself on using strictly all-natural pampering products and is decked with a VIP couples’ suite—ideal for side-by-side massages. Perhaps the biggest convenience: a multilingual concierge to ensure you’re completely equipped for an insider’s tour of Japan’s exquisite former capital.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
This 134-room urban hideaway capitalizes on the world’s newfound love affair with Kyoto. The interiors, by Remedios Studio, are studies in Japanese serenity and attention to detail, based on five principles: utage (festivity), seido (serenity and movement), miyabi (elegance), hana (splendor) and nagomi (harmony). Expect futon-style beds, sliding screen doors, a muted palette and windows that frame either a tranquil Japanese garden or vistas of the Kamo River and the Higashiyama Mountains. The building itself is based on the traditional Meiji house and courtyard, with Zen gardens and a dramatic three-story waterfall at the heart of the property. The art collection, meanwhile, is inspired by The Tale of Genji, a classic 11th-century Japanese novel, and includes 409 works by 80 artists, many from Kyoto. The sense of place is also strong in the six restaurants, each of which offers a particular Japanese culinary style, from sushi to teppanyaki.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
In west Kyoto-Gosho, close to the imperial palace, the Kyoto Brighton is a classy crash pad with a rooftop pool and terrace. Beyond the light-flooded atrium, glass elevators whisk guests up to the 182 spacious rooms, which all have clearly defined seating and sleeping areas. The decor is simple, with light woods and plum carpets and sofas, and all rooms feature nifty air purifiers and bathrooms with soaking tubs and rain showers. There are four restaurants to choose from, including Kakan, which specializes in Cantonese fare, and Hotaru, a top-notch eatery that serves Kyoto style kaiseki (a multicourse menu of small, artistically presented dishes). The lobby bar is also an all-day tea lounge that serves organic brews and bowls of traditional matcha green tea.
M Social Singapore
Philippe Starck is making his way around Singapore, and this new property in Robertson Quay is his latest work. M Social is as contemporary as it gets, from the LED-screen walls in the lobby to AURA, the Relay Robot delivering items like towels, toiletries, and bottled water to guests staying in its 293 ultra-modern rooms and lofts, many of which have access to a private terrace. A shuttle bus service is available for exploring other parts of the city, but make sure you have at least one meal at the psychedelic on-site restaurant Beast & Butterflies, whose boneless chicken wings marinated in five-spiced oyster sauce are a can’t-miss dish.
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
If the beach is more your speed, check into this Sofitel resort, on the sandy island of Sentosa, whose rooms and villas echo the surrounding gardens with their flower-shaped knobs and floral area rugs. You can while away the hours on crescent-shaped Tanjong Beach or cool off in the aquamarine tiled pool, then get an abhyanga or Thai massage at the massive SO Spa (the 14 treatment rooms, six outdoor pavilions, and garden are housed in a converted 19th-century military barracks). For dinner, check out Kwee Zeen, which specializes in pan-Asian cuisine, or Il Lido for modern Italian.
Nightlife lovers, take note: this shophouse hotel is the perfect base for exploring Chinatown, home to some of Singapore’s best cocktail bars. And your hangover will appreciate its 20 recently renovated rooms, which are all about comfort and tranquility: think gray wood panels, sleek Hypnos platform beds with Ploh bedding and upholstered headboards, and whitewashed bathrooms stocked with Bamford toiletries. Kick off a night of bar-hopping at one of the hotel’s four drinking and dining options—be it Tiger’s Milk on the rooftop for Peruvian ceviche and a Pisco sour or downstairs at basement bar B28 for a pour of single-malt Scotch.
Take a deep-dive into the Peranakan heritage (a local culture with both Chinese and Malay influences) of Singapore’s Katong neighborhood at the city’s first Hotel Indigo, one of the best new hotels in Singapore. All 131 rooms have brightly-colored fabrics, patterned bathroom tiles, a Singer sewing machine base supporting the bathroom sink, and murals by local artist Don Low depicting street scenes of food hawkers and café life. After kicking back at the rooftop pool, head to the nearby Baba Chews Bar and Eatery in the neighborhood’s former police station for regional dishes like chili crab cakes or chicken or mutton satay.
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