Feb 21, 2019
From a former royal guesthouse to a room with sweeping Mount Fuji views, these intimate, extravagant and picturesque resorts are just the spots to celebrate those once-in-a-lifetime moments.
The one-of-a-kind design at this Bill Bensley haven makes a creative backdrop for events you want etched in your memory. The university-themed five-star resort has plenty of venues for festive nights: feast at the Pink Pearl fine-dining restaurant; have a dance at the waterfront, jazz band–playing Chemistry Bar; or take in golden sunsets at the open-air Red Rum restaurant. The suites make intimate sea-view stays for honeymooners; blowout group parties should book Lamarck House, a 1,300-square-meter, seven-bedroom expanse with marble bathrooms, 24-hour room service and a 50-meter infinity pool. Doubles from US$400; Lamarck House from US$10,000. — ELOISE BASUKI
It may be the new kid on the block, but there’s nothing neophyte about this lavish Nusa Dua property. Beachfront and exquisitely appointed with contemporary Indonesian wood-carvings, ikat textiles and three pools, this 475-room luxury hotel makes for a memorable escape. Private villas come with their own plunge pool and some suites offer direct access to the resort’s jewel-toned lagoon. Share a romantic meal of local lobster at seafood-themed Koral Restaurant, soon to be the island’s first aquarium dining experience, or slip into the Japanese-style spa. For extra special days, the oceanfront wedding chapels make a scenic place to say “I do.” Doubles from US$185. — JENNY HEWETT
The 1960s are regarded as a gilded period of prosperity and peace for Cambodia. And the Amansara abounds with callbacks to this so-called Golden Era. Once a royal guesthouse, the elegant low-rise collection of rooms was used by late monarch King Sihanouk to host notables such as Jackie Kennedy and actor Peter O’Toole. Aman’s signature panache means today’s guests will feel every bit as pampered as their celebrity predecessors. The brand’s curated experiences—ranging from cooking classes to powwows with Siem Reap’s cultural movers and shakers— are all very now. But retro-style décor throughout and the property’s spectacular circular restaurant—formerly a dancehall—are grist to any James Bond fantasy. Further period allure is displayed in the airport pick-up service where guests are whisked to the property in one of Sihanouk’s 1960s Mercedes sedans. Very groovy indeed. Doubles from US$1,500. — DUNCAN FORGAN
Tucked into a gentle curve of the Nam Pak River in mountainous northern Laos is Muang La Lodge, a remote luxury bolt-hole known for its thermal baths, enchanting setting and off-piste trails. Just 10 wooden garden villas with verandas, all unplugged from modern life, feature 1930s-style furniture and local crafts. Spend days cycling or wandering green paddies in search of rural views meeting traditionally dressed Khamu, Akha and Ikhos locals with an expert guide. Stroll across a bamboo bridge to the secluded lodge pool on a private river island; sink into hot tubs pumped with the area’s natural thermal spring; try orchard-to-table dining in the candle-lit garden; or settle into a pampered slumber with massages at the spa. Minimum two-night stay $459 per person, all-inclusive.— CLAIRE BOOBBYER
Opened last autumn, this elegant 32-room newcomer overlooks Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture, just two hours from Tokyo. It may be close to wineries, ice-caves and lava tubes, but the awe-inspiring views of mist-shrouded Mount Fuji from your plant-filled room’s private volcanic-stone onsen will make leaving your comfortable cocoon difficult. The staff speak exceptional English, and are especially adept at demystifying omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) by explaining Chef Hoshino’s and theatrical kaiseki meals (like Fuji sakura pork seared tableside on lava stone with blueberry butter; kettle-cooked conger eel; and firewood ice cream to be finished at the outdoor fire-pit in your cozy gray yukata robe). Doubles from $835. — ADAM H. GRAHAM
If the sound of waves crashing doesn’t lull you to sleep at this waterfront hideaway on Byron Bay’s coveted Wategos Beach, the four-poster bed surely will. With just seven suites and two luxury penthouses, this newly revamped escape feels like it leapt off the pages of a romance novel. Raes Dining Room focuses on food that’s equally poetic, plating up everything from Fraser Island crab spaghetti to spicy tuna with Fuji apple, lap cheong and lemon. Designed for two, the one-bedroom penthouse is made up of marbled floors, a sunken bath and a light-filled atrium, plus Byron’s iconic ocean, headland and lighthouse views. Doubles from $463. — J.H.