In some parts of Asia there seems to be a five-star hotel on every corner, but travellers these days are looking for more than just a big brand and a flashy room. What constitutes luxury is different for everyone, but these days more and more travellers are looking for accommodation that offers a truly unique experience.
Here are Insider Journeys' top picks
1. Song Saa, Cambodia
This eco-resort is set on a private island just 35 minutes by boat from Sihanoukville in Southern Cambodia. The overwater villas are perched above the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand while jungle villas nestle amongst the virgin rainforest. With their philosophy of “luxury that treads lightly”, most of the island remains untouched giving travellers the experience of this untouched part of the world without sacrificing on comfort. Wooden floors are made from disused fishing boats and furniture from local driftwood. Everything about this resort is in keeping with its environment, for truly guilt-free luxury. The surrounding waters have become a marine sanctuary or you can take part in their conservation and community work. Get one night free at Song Saa with our Temple and Sea Indulgence Package.
2. Fusion Resort Nha Trang, Vietnam
This glamorous resort is the perfect retreat for spa lovers. Chic and modern suites and villas invite the outside in with floor to ceiling windows on all sides, but daily signature spa treatments included for free make this a true haven of indulgence. The treatments are based on Chamveda, using local grown herbs and essences and a combination of Ayurveda Rasayana and the rich Cham culture of Vietnam, they’ll have you refreshed and revived in no time. Get two free nights on pampering with our special 6 night offer at Fusion Resort Nha Trang.
3. The Irrawaddy Explorer, Burma
When is a luxury hotel not a hotel? When it is a boutique river cruise. Like a luxury hotel afloat, the Irrawaddy Explorer gives travellers the chance to explore Burma from the comfort of their luxurious suites. Stopping at some of Burma’s most famous attractions along the Irrawaddy River, a river cruise also unveils local life along the riverbanks, in a way that other touring cannot. With just 28 suites this intimate cruise ship embraces the ambience of British-colonial Burma, with fine-dining, impeccable service and luxe suites with private balconies. Enjoy a $1000 AUD credit per couple if you book before 30 April on our November charter.
4. Taj Lake Palace, India
Staying in a royal palace has to be one of the most luxurious experiences around, and the Taj Lake Palace, which appears to float on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India is one of the most iconic. The white marble edifice, once home to the royal family, was lovingly restored by the Taj Hotel group and is now the embodiment of local style and regal luxury. Travellers can stroll through ornate courtyards or discover the incredible architecture of this piece of living history. Spend two nights at the Taj Lake Palace on our Rajasthan's Hidden Heritage with Taj Lake Palace special stay package
5. Amanemu, Japan
A contemporary version of traditional minka homes, the suites and villas at Amanemu are inspired by a traditional Japanese village. Nestled within the serene landscape above Ago Bay, each luxurious suite or villa boasts a large private deck and private onsen. The onsen is an ancient Japanese bathing ritual with water drawn from natural thermal springs which are rich in nutrients. This restorative treatment is at the centre of the resort’s wellness offering.
6. Luang Say Residence, Laos
Set amongst tropical gardens, this boutique retreat evokes the colonial era in Laos set amongst the lush tropical gardens. Discover a bygone era with each suite decorated in colonial style and the restaurant, La Belle Époque serving a fusion of Laotian and French Cuisine.
7. Elephant Hills, Thailand
Thailand’s best spot for glamping, Elephant Hills is an immersive experience just a couple of hours, yet a world away, from Phuket airport. Though not the most luxurious on our list, this is camping but not as you know it. Permanent tents with private bathrooms and comfortable beds are surrounded by lush jungle, and give you access to the nearby elephant sanctuary, a responsible way to interact with one of Thailand’s most famous inhabitants. The floating tents within Khao Sok National Park are surrounded by the tranquil lake and soaring jungle-covered mountains beyond. Swim or kayak on the glassy lake or explore the surrounding rainforest, home to wild Elephants, Hornbills, gaurs, monkeys and more.
8. Banyan Tree Lijiang and Ringha, China
Both located in rural China, these two Banyan Tree properties both reflect the local culture in the design and architecture, without compromising on luxury. Each suite at Banyan Tree Lijiang features stunning design elements from the local Naxi culture, as well as a heated outdoor jet pool. Banyan Tree Ringha comprises authentic Tibetan farmhouses that have been reconstructed ion the traditional style with intricate carvings, open fireplaces and free-standing wooden hot tubs.
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