By Christine Magara
Feb 14, 2022
AS YOU PONDER WHERE to take your darling for Valentine’s Day, their birthday, your anniversary or any other couples’ trip, we thought we’d inject some practicality into the equation. In Southeast Asia, uber romantic hotels are in abundance, and most places have lots of quality spots straddling the US$100 mid-range budget, but how do you know where the Venn diagram overlaps? T+L is here to help. Here’s a list of resorts where you can woo your lover with beach or paddy-field strolls, seascapes, spa sessions and sunsets without having to save up.
Mai Chau Ecolodge
The idea of holidaying in Vietnam just conjures romance for us. And when you shed all the city sounds and stress and head up to the fresh air of rolling hills and endless green, bonding with your partner is carefree and easy.
Here at Mai Chau Ecolodge, a four-hour drive from Hanoi, only mother nature’s noises break the silence as you watch the magical world go by. Perched on one of their private, grass-roofed balconies, the views of paddy fields, palm trees, and the pool are fantastic.
Rooms offer hand-hewn bamboo and timber furnishings, décor from local ethnic groups, gorgeous tiles, and romantic wooden tubs. You must go hiking or cycling to Mo Luong Lake and enjoy the refreshing breeze. As the evening rides in, don’t miss out on the magnificent view as the sun kisses the hills good night.
Doubles from US$155. maichau.ecolodge.asia
Bohol is famous for its undulating Chocolate Hills, and its adorable little tarsiers, the world’s smallest primate. But the island is also surrounded by thriving coral reefs rich with colorful marine life. A romantic place to dive into all this natural beauty is Panglao Island, off the southwest corner of Bohol, where you’ll find a wealth of hotels reminding you how easily the lush life can be had on a budget in less-traversed nooks of most of Southeast Asia.
Amarela Resort has a story to tell through its charming, leafy grounds, organic Filipino dishes, and remarkable sundeck views of the Bohol Sea, which are to die for. Dip your toes in at the private beach two minutes away.
This beautiful hacienda-style hotel creates intrigue at first glance. Their signature and specialty rooms with rustic-luxe furnishings make you feel like you’re visiting your friend’s picture-perfect country home. Amarela’s warm and inviting aura sets the stage for enchantment and lasting love stories.
Doubles from US$175. amarelaresort.com
Canvas and Orchids Retreat
What could be more romantic than going completely off the grid? This unique vacation destination in Cambodia offers the perfect blend of luxury and nature for relaxing, unwinding, wondrous exploring, making sparks fly, and creating lasting memories.
Canvas and Orchids Retreat is made up of just 13 tented villas, the best of which are floating glassy waters of the Tatai River, against the peaceful backdrop of the wildlife-filled Cardamom Mountains. Furniture is made sustainably of water hyacinth plants. Go kayaking during the day, watch the magnificent sunset from your private terrace, then cozy up in bed and count fireflies that light up the night.
Luxury glamping hotels continue to increase in popularity in Southeast Asia, but most can’t match the romantic vibes and mid-budget prices of this eco-sanctuary, halfway between Bangkok and Koh Kong. Don’t forget the Do not disturb sign.
Doubles from US$175. canvasandorchids.com/stay-glamping-in-cambodia
Most skyscraping hotels in the cities of Southeast Asia have pretty romantic views, but Hotel Icon takes things up a notch by maximizing your visual intake of Victoria Harbour at a budget that’s unusually low for high-priced Hong Kong.
Bonus points: Lovers who care about sustainability will find this an excellent place to unwind with their sweethearts, as Hotel Icon boasts an 18-meter indoor vertical garden, one of Asia’s most expansive. Paperless guest check-in coupled with water recycling will set your eco-mind at ease to focus on the fun things.
Relax on the rooftop pool, enjoy a massage at the spa, or simply lie in the bed of your harbor-view room, savoring delicious room service as you gaze at boats and city lights dancing on the water.
Doubles from US$150. hotel-icon.com
Twin Lotus Resort & Spa
Koh Lanta, Thailand
The allure of the Twin Lotus makes it the perfect place for two. Set in the northern part of breathtaking Khlong Dao Beach, this is one of those hotels that helps you see why people consider Koh Lanta so romantic—it’s bliss on a Southeast Asia budget.
For starters, Twin Lotus is adults-only. That makes the resort an excellent spot for a double-date vacation. Grab your favorite other couple and go for beach strolls, diving excursions, boat trips to the nearby national park, or head to adorable Koh Lanta old town.
Book one of their villas with gauzy drapes over the bed just oozing romance; private pools and sea views await. If you go with friends, the two-bedroom pool villa will provide a great small-group cocoon.
Doubles from US$150. twinlotusresort.com
Courtesy of Legian Beach Hotel (2)
Bali is overflowing with hotels and villas to suit most everyone’s budget, but we’ve picked this one in the mid-range to show that Legian can be just as romantic as Ubud, provided you know where to look.
There’s an adults-only pool for your relaxation pleasure. The resort is not short of fantastic places to stroll with its expanse of four hectares strewn with gardens—and the beach right across the lane. Offerings are as diverse as floating breakfasts, tai chi and even fish and squirrel feeding.
Book a spa day with your boo at Usadha Wellness Centre, where you can get the range of relaxing treatments including Balinese healing. Then grab a cocktail and don’t miss the sunset over the ocean at this westward-facing sanctum.
Doubles from US$125. legianbeachbali.com