8 Best Hotels in Southeast Asia
If you're headed to Southeast Asia anytime soon, you're in luck. We've scouted the best hotels across the region, from a sleek boutique in Bangkok to a jungle lodge on a secluded island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Cempedak Island, Indonesia
With its private white sand beaches, bamboo villas shaped like boomerangs, and banana-beaked hornbills and sea otters lounging on the rocks, this private island retreat in Indonesia's Riau archipelago is pure paradise. The resort has taken sustainable development in the region to new levels, using native woods and energy efficient solutions, creating marine conservation programs and working with local community – all without sacrificing an ounce of style. Snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding are all on offer---but if you'd rather just sit back and relax, you've got your villa's private plunge pool.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok's Mandarin Oriental harks back to an era of refined elegance when the who's who of the literary world would check in for weeks at a time (Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad, and Graham Greene were all guests). The original Author's Wing is a vision of gleaming white marble, crystal chandeliers, potted palms and swirling wooden fans, and guestrooms overlook the Chao Phraya River. What we love most: the top-notch staff is at the ready to help with any request be it a last-minute dinner reservation or bespoke shopping tour.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand
Camping doesn't get any more glamorous than this. Set in the far north of Thailand, close to the borders of Laos and Myanmar, this beautiful hideaway has 15 luxury safari tents decked out with chic colonial-era interiors, claw-foot bathtubs and outdoor showers, and views of the Luak River. There's also a lagoon-shaped swimming pool, romantic outdoor restaurant and jungle-shrouded spa--the perfect place to unwind after a day in the sun. The star of the show, however, is the hotels's elephant camp, which allows guests to get up-close and personal with the animals.
At first sight Keemala, tucked away in the hills above Kamala beach on the west coast of Phuket, looks like something from a fairytale; lush jungle, tranquil pools and tumbling waterfalls orbited by what looks like a hobbit village. Its 60 villas are arranged into four categories; clay cottages, zip-up safari tents; bird's nest villas and tree houses which hang like pendants between palm trees. The interiors are done up with polished dark woods and splashes of color, fanciful big beds and cavernous bathrooms. Don't miss Mala spa, which offers a selection of restorative rituals using only natural products.
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Nihiwatu Sumba, Indonesia
It may only be a one-hour flight from Bali but the Indonesian island of Sumba feels like the land that time forgot. Yet among the steep volcanoes, limestone hills and ancestral villages you'll find one of the most sensational properties in all of Asia. Hugging a dazzling white beach lapped by the Indian Ocean, the hotel's villas--some two-floors, others on stilts--number just 32 and were built using local stone, woods and grasses. Spend your days surfing what is considered to be Indonesia's best break, horseback riding through the jungle, exploring indigenous communities or simply relaxing on the beach Pina Colada in hand.
Alila Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Set high on the cliffs in the south of Bali, the Alila Uluwatu embodies the very best of contemporary-cool Bali. The architecture is minimalist and razor-sharp, with oblong buildings cantilevered over the Indian Ocean, eye-catching infinity pools, lava stone pathways and sculptural gardens. The villas are tasteful white-on-white affairs with outdoor decks, private pools and sizable bathrooms stocked with everything from lip balm to face masks and sunscreen. Throw in a next-level restaurant and spa, and a staff that feel like your BFFs, and you might never want to leave.
RELATED: Bucket-list Bali: 6 Spots You Need to Know
Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam
Situated a one-hour flight south from Ho Chi Minh City, on a half-moon of golden sands and the jade-green South China Sea, Six Senses Con Dao should satisfy all your tropical island fantasies. The resort's 50 spacious teak villas pool villas line the waterfront and feature a calming palette of glossy teak, rattan screens and furnishings in shades of saffron and lime, as well as enormous decks and private pools big enough to do laps in. Elsewhere there are two excellent restaurants, an award-winning spa, a watersports centre and a golf driving range where you can bat biodegradable balls into the sea.
Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
This glamorous Cambodian castaway is a jet set favorite, thanks to its off the radar location in the pristine Koh Rong Archipelago. The villas feature exposed stone walls, polished teak floors, four-poster beds and rich fabrics in subtle sandy hues, as well as terraces with private pools that overlook the ocean. For those in need of some serious rejuvenation, the Buddhist-inspired hilltop spa offers five and seven-day cleansing programs.
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