By Veronica Inveen
Mar 12, 2019
Low-budget, high-design, next-gen hotels have begun to sweep Asia, an on-trend fit for digital nomads, flashpackers and aesthetes alike.
Creatives work hard and play slow at this stylish boutique stay in Bali’s happening Canggu. A cultured oasis on buzzy Jalan Batu Bolong, The Slow has just 12 spacious, design-led rooms that are oozing with inspiration, plus a rooftop bar and relaxed all-day diner with power points, fast Wi-Fi and good coffee. There are no obvious distractions, such as TVs or even a communal pool, instead the regular art exhibitions and curated tunes from L.A.-based Reverberation Radio point to a deeper level of sophistication. When you’re not tapping away on your laptop, some of the island’s best yoga studios and beachfront sunsets are only a five-minute walk away. Doubles from $191. — Jenny Hewett
A funky little find in the Lao capital with a glamorous rooftop infinity pool, Lao Poet comes with all the style cred its Luang Prabang sister retreat, Satri House, is renowned for. Wallpaper of glossy palms backdrop the 55 bedrooms bedecked in paper lanterns, velvet spreads, cushions in jewel tones, plus desks for digital nomads. Antiques are paired with 1930s repro leather chairs and Arco-style floor lamps in the lobby, while botanical prints and chandeliers adorn the dining room. Lao Poet sits on a quiet street in downtown Vientiane, its location perfect for the sights, and the growing coffee and restaurant scene. Grab a free bike offered by the hotel, or drink in the sunset from the infinity pool terrace. Doubles from $100. — Claire Boobbyer
Nothing is more evident of Brisbane’s breezy renaissance than this new-look boutique stay in Incholm in the heart of the city. The hotel, rebranded last year to Ovolo Incholm after a complete makeover, marries eclectic Art-Deco interiors reflective of the building’s 1930s heritage with next-gen perks to entice modern travelers. Guests can enjoy a range of complimentary services, including free happy hour and breakfast (when you reserve your room on their website), access to a 24-hour gym, free laundry service, superfast Wi-Fi and all-day snacks. The in-room mini-bar is also yours for the taking—as good a reason as any to take advantage of that late checkout. Doubles from $130. — J.H.
A co-living concept by Shangri-La, Hotel Jen is a modern haven in the Chinese capital that focuses squarely on the needs of the freelance generation. The hotel prides itself on its super-fast Wi-Fi throughout the property; its central location connected to the China World Trade Center Complex and the China World Mall; and its two-level, 24-hour, 3,500-square-meter fitness center that offers pilates, spin classes and even an MMA boxing ring. Rooms are filtered with an air- purification system and are fitted with roomy workstations, coffee makers and international power sockets; guests in hotel suites get free breakfast, buffet dinner and drinks, and access to Prototype, the hotel’s 320-square-meter co-working lounge. Doubles from $200. — Eloise Basuki
Marriott hits a millennial home run with this new 155-room Moxy property, which opened last year. The hotel occupies a former 11-story undergarment warehouse in Osaka’s shabby-chic Honmachi district, minutes away from the station and chock-a-block with izakaya and kushikatsu joints. An industrial chic décor is found throughout, with exposed brick walls, white subway tiles, tin bath stools, timber veneer, old-fashioned phones and wall-mounted luggage racks, tables and chairs (tweaked from the original Yabu Pushelberg designs, but executed by local firm Wise Labo). Free Wi-Fi and a 24/7 gym sweeten the deal. A DJ and a rowdy gathering of laptop workers in the lobby will not affect the peace and quiet of your room. Doubles from $150. — Adam H. Graham
It’s no small feat that the Upper House has managed to stay cutting-edge despite turning 10 this year. Little wonder, really, considering how the Andre-Fu–designed hotel continues to tick all the boxes for design acolytes. Its 117 tastefully styled rooms (which start from 67 square meters for a standard room) are especially spacious for Hong Kong, and several are corner suites offering jaw-dropping panoramic island and harbor views. Instagram opportunities abound here, ranging from the famously huge bathrooms (and incredible bathtub views) to the private dining alcoves at Café Grey Deluxe that extend over the city 49 floors up. The elegant yet intimate book- filled Sky Lounge on the same floor, meanwhile, also regularly hosts casual discussions by renowned tastemakers such as Yabu Pushelberg and Christian Louboutin. Doubles from $662. — Shamilee Vellu
Designed to warm the cockles of any card-carrying millennial’s heart, The Great Madras is a colorful 35-room conservation project that fully embraces its history and location in vibrant Little India. Its staggering array of photo ops will make an Instagrammer’s head spin: will it be shoefies on the geometric-tiled floors? Selfies in the barbershop or against the numerous neon signs or outdoor pool? Or #foodporn shots of halal Catalonian-style tapas? While rooms are small, they make up for it with style and charm. Design-philes will also note the cleverly laid out hostel rooms (in which doors slide closed to form private rooms) and the open-layout lobby that has been thoughtfully constructed to function as the neighborhood’s “living room,” where locals and visitors alike can mingle and trade a story or two. Doubles from $89. —S.V