May 20, 2021
FROM A PINE FOREST-ENSCONCED LODGE that would make most Nordic nations jealous to a glam city escape that channels the 1920s, these hotels and resorts—all opened over the past two years—truly take design to the next level.
For its inaugural hotel in Indonesia, Andaz pulled out all of the stops. Bangkok-based firm Tierra Design joined forces with Tokyo-based firm Spin Design Studio to create a stunning resort decked out in locally sourced materials including teakwood, bamboo and andesite stone. In a truly inspired move, the whole layout of the resort is anchored around an open “village square” meant to evoke a traditional Balinese fishing village.
One of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings in the Thai capital for years, the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at the Chao Phraya River, which rests beside luxe boutique Capella Bangkok, bears the signature of the legendary architect Jean-Michel Gathy. Cathedral ceilings, immense windows, and a wing of the hotel that Gathy elevated so that it feels like it’s floating together showcase the natural beauty of Bangkok’s River of Kings—the hotel boasts an unbeatable location along 200 meters of riverfront—while a series of stunning internal pools and fountains mirror the flow of water outside, a high-design interpretation of Thailand’s famous rice paddies.
Taipei-born, New York-based design wizard Tony Chi sought to channel the spirit of a grand country estate—except within the vertical confines of a 65-story skyscraper. The resulting Rosewood Hong Kong is effortlessly elegant, a double tribute to both the history of the esteemed Cheng family and of Hong Kong itself. Dark woods, luxe leather furnishings, Art Deco tiling and geometric patterns make for one stately space.
The former Imperial capital may be renowned for its 400-plus ancient shrines, but these days, the hotels are so striking they practically qualify for landmark status on their own. Joining the ranks of the already impressive Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, the Aman Kyoto is a meditative study in modern minimalism, complete with peaceful groves and a restorative onsen. Picture the most opulent ryokan imaginable and you pretty much get the idea.
Located in one of Beijing’s buzziest neighborhoods, this sophisticated retreat offers a much-needed moment of reprieve from the bustle outside the Forbidden City. The smallest rooms start at a generous 55 square meters, with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in views of the surrounding metropolis. The whole place seamlessly blends traditional Chinese design and the principles of feng shui with contemporary aesthetic sensibilities.
Six Senses Bumthang
Joining Six Senses Thimphu, Six Senses Punakha, Six Senses Paro and Six Senses Gangtey on the brand’s new Bhutan circuit, this rustic-chic lodge blends harmoniously into the surrounding blue pine forest. The secluded escape features just eight suites and one two-bedroom villa, all kitted out in richly hued timber with enormous windows from which to soak in all that natural splendor.
Situated in the North Male Atoll of the Maldives, this slice of heaven is an entire island dedicated to wellness. In order to make the most of its breathtaking location, every single one of the 50 villas features unimpeded ocean views and private infinity plunge pools. If you spring for one of the Ocean Pool Villas, of course, your private veranda leads right to a pool suspended above the sea. The pièce de résistance is the spa itself (pictured in this story’s lede photo), which stands alone surrounded by the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Would this even be a design list if there weren’t one of Bill Bensley’s wildly inventive creations on it? Inspired by the proximity of the grand Hanoi Opera House, Asia’s luxury hotel king created a stunning oasis inspired by the glitz and glamour of the Roaring Twenties. There are plenty of gilded, Gatsby-worthy details here, but the true jewels of the place are the four individually designed Opera Suites, each of which pay subtle homage to legendary divas of a bygone era.