Jan 22, 2021
LET’S FACE IT: TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS are going to be with us for a little while longer. Most destinations in Asia require arrivals to respect some form of self-isolation, but not all quarantines are created equal. Facilities, length of stay and access to services vary greatly. Some countries don’t even let you pick your accommodations, while others offer a dizzying array of options.
So, we plucked the plushest from among them in six countries. Become a master of mindfulness, eat extremely well, virtually transport yourself virtually anywhere, or even take a too-often-elusive-these-days daily walk on the beach. Here’s to the quarantine of your dreams.
Conditions and regulations change constantly. Please check on current information in your destination and home country before traveling.
A virtual escape within your plush, sprawling urban estate
Anyone concerned about quarantine making them claustrophobic — especially in a country that mandates three full weeks of lock-in — will salivate for this luxury multimedia immersion. The ultimate tech-lovers experience may very well be the 167-square-meter entertainment suite at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, itself one of the swishest stays in Hong Kong.
Packed with gadgets from connected devices to a bathroom mirror with a built-in TV, the sprawling suite comes with a swish Gaggenau kitchen, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and a PlayStation with VR accessories — all the better to transport you somewhere, anywhere, with. If the optical illusion of your 85-inch LED TV isn’t grand enough, you can always roll down the four-meter-wide cinema screen to catch up on your movie-watching.
Fire up the in-room popcorn machine, raid the gourmet snack pile, and take your pick of the wine rack. Or class up your Netflix with meals from any food outlets in the hotel including two-Michelin-starred Amber.
Single occupancy for a requisite 21-day quarantine is HK$1,039,500 (US$134,000).
A Covid-safe bubble for the full five-star vacation experience both on and off property
Travelers to Sri Lanka have to stay in designated Safe and Secure Level 1 hotels for their first 14 days in the country and can move between certified properties in a regulated safe travel bubble. But once you reach Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle, there is little chance you’ll want to look any further. Enjoy your own 97-square-meter beach pool villa by taking to your own private plunge or stepping out for a stroll on the seafront with the Indian Ocean waves crashing under picturesque palm trees.
Guests, who must adhere to a list of Covid protocols, have access to all hotel facilities — including the main pool, spa and restaurants — at designated times to ensure everyone’s safety. You can even — gasp — leave property! Outside excursions must follow specific itineraries with trained staff within an ordained “safe travel bubble,” which is so worth it to spy on the famous elephants and leopards in Yala or Udawalawe National Parks.
A double occupancy beach pool villa is US$1,300 a night including breakfast. The property reopens for guests in February.
Hanns House, Taipei
Service with a smile and culinary collaborations in this temple of Zen
Spacious, light rooms in muted earthy tones, some with views of Taipei 101 tower, along with consistently praised service make for a soothing stay in the heart of bustling Xinyi District. Which is what you’re looking for somewhere most arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.
Hanns House calls on a wide variety of restaurants in the neighborhood to keep their in-house dining menu selection interesting and tasty. You can also order delivery of off-menu items like dishes from popular Michelin Guide chains like Din Tai Fung, Tim Ho Wan or Hawker Chan, or bottles of Taiwan’s own world-class single malt whiskies from award-winning distillery Kavalan.
You can also hire or purchase anything from exercise equipment to an iPhone. The hotel staff prides itself on its attentive service — something guests who can’t leave their room appreciate all the more.
A 46-square-meter Peaceful suite starts at NT8,500 (US$300) a night including full board.
Mindful, healthy living supplemented by Michelin-starred meals
Wellbeing is at the heart of a quarantine at the COMO’s Bangkok hotel. Delicious breakfast, lunches and dinners and energizing juices from on-site Glow are designed for optimal nutritional benefits, while in-house coaches and instructors provide video yoga and meditation classes. Once your minimum-stay requirements have been met, you can schedule some alone time by the pool.
It’s not all about working up a sweat, though; COMO also aims to be a salve for the stomach. The regimen includes daily afternoon tea, and you can opt to order in-room from Chef Pim Techamuanvivit’s Thai menu at Michelin-starred Nahm. If you can’t get enough of COMO’s unique brand of personal service, you can add on a stay at a plush pool villa at COMO Point Yamu in Phuket after completing quarantine in Bangkok.
The 150-square-meter duplex Penthouse suites are Bt154,999 (US$5,180) for a single occupancy 15-night/16-day stay that includes full board and the required Covid tests.
Raffles Makati, Manila
A shut-in strictly for the top of the food chain
Depending on their country of origin, people arriving in the Philippines have to submit to a mandatory quickie quarantine (one or two days in a hotel while waiting for Covid test results), or a stringent lock-in (14 days for travelers from the 35 countries currently on a restricted list). Raffles Makati, in the heart of the business district, is one of the city’s most coveted accommodation options in the best of times, and tops the approved quarantine-hotels list.
The whole oasis is serenity and calm. But why not splash out for the Presidential Suite? Stretch out across 150 square meters, get in your daily exercise — maybe even those 10,000 steps! — pacing the plush bedroom, living, dining and working spaces, and separate kitchen. By way of service, you get all the Raffles love you’d expect, within the safety regulations, of course.
The Presidential Suite starts at P32,820 (US$680) a night.
This is a lottery you definitely want to win
Most travelers to Singapore are given stay-home notices (SHN) that last seven or 14 days depending on countries visited prior to arrival. Foreign visitors, as well as Singaporean citizens and permanent residents whose homes do not meet safety requirements, must serve this time in a hotel. But here’s the catch: rooms in designated facilities are assigned at the airport, meaning you don’t have any say in where you stay.
It’s the luck of the draw! But among a range of modest accommodations the current list of certified hotels also includes top-of-the-line brands like St. Regis, Sofitel, JW Marriott and InterContinental. Some winners in the SHN lottery have found themselves being driven to properties like the oh-so-fancy Shangri-La.
If you draw a golden ticket, moderate your expectations. You’re going to have to make your own bed, you can’t pop down to Shang Palace or Origin Grill, and you’re not going to score the 250-square-meter Grand Suite with its 75-square-meter terrace (sorry!). But let’s face it: even a “standard” room at the Shangri-La set in the middle of six hectares of lush greenery would help take the edge off of quarantine.
A 14-day SHN hotel stay costs S$2,000 (US$1,500) regardless of the hotel you are assigned.