Australians love going to Asia. Adore it.

It’s so close, so varied, and, in whichever country we choose to lay our heads, we can find accommodation that is setting the pace for comfort and refinement. Across Asia, the stellar and discreet service, considered design, superior amenities and unrivalled privacy are hard to beat. Such attention to detail is as big a drawcard as jaw-dropping landscapes and secluded beaches. A+D’s Best Asian Resorts for 2008 captivate the senses and raise the bar even higher.

THE FORTRESS.

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION COURTESY OF HOTELS & RESORTS OF HALEKULANI

FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP GOLDEN TRIANGLE.

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

F The Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is just that. Fifteen luxurious tents secluded in the lush bamboo jungle of northern Thailand. These are tents with a difference, however. They are appointed with custom-made furnishings handcrafted in styles reminiscent of 19th-century adventure expeditions, and the large outdoor decks take in views stretching from Laos to Burma. There’s a minimum stay of three-nights for optimum relaxation, and the package includes mahout training, elephant trekking and spa treatments. WE LOVE: Accessible only by river boat, private round-trip airport transfer included www.fourseasons.com/goldentriangle

FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP GOLDEN TRIANGLE.

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

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DHONI MIGHILI.

F Should you sleep on land tonight, or on the water? This is probably the most pressing concern you’ll have when staying at Dhoni Mighili in the Maldives. Six beautiffuly appointed Maldivian sailboats, or dhonis, are matched with a beach bungalow for a very private land and sea adventure. A dedicated crew of four are on call for each dhoni, ready to take you to divine snorkelling spots, or perhaps just cruising around the island. As with all Per Aquum properties, only the best will do when it comes to in-room amenities and features, both on board the dhoni and back on dry land. WE LOVE: Personalised menu options, daybeds on the deck www.dhonimighili.com

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CHEDI CLUB AT TANAH GAJAH.

F With only 20 villas and suites dispersed throughout five hectares of rural landscaping, Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah in Ubud, Bali, offers the ultimate in space and privacy. The serenity of the Ubud region seeps into every aspect of the resort, from the furnishings and appointments through to the discreet service. Outdoor baths and showers keep guests in touch with the peaceful surrounds, while the spacious layout of the suites allow flexibility for gracious entertaining. WE LOVE: Open air amphitheatre, organic products at the spa http://www.ghmhotels.com

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F The spectacular natural setting of Commune by the Great Wall just can’t be beat – each villa frames dramatic views of the graceful landscape and the Great Wall. A fleet of 12 architects have created a jaw dropping showcase of contemporary Chinese and Asian architecture which houses furniture and other interior decoration pieces from Serge Mouille, Philippe Starck, Kaname Okajima, Karim Rashid and Marc Newson among others. Commune has all the mod-cons and facilities you’d expect from a five-star resort, and a few you wouldn’t. There’s a gallery, a cinema and a plush library decked out in peacock feathers. This isn’t just a resort, it’s a cultural experience. This swish collection of villas, managed by Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, is just over an hour from Beijing Airport. WE LOVE: Complimentary wireless internet access and mini bar, private path to the Great Wall www.commune.com.cn/en

COMMUNE BY THE GREAT WALL.

RAYMOND HALL

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

SONEVA FUSHI DELUXE CRUSOE POOL.

F A thirty minute seaplane ride from Male, Maldives, brings guests to the North Baa Atoll, and the island hideaway of Soneva Fushi. With quirky charms like a ‘no shoes’ policy, absolute relaxation is requisite – and even more achievable. In-room technology and appliances are secreted away to maintain a Robinson Crusoe ambiance, and villas are separated by dense vegetation for optimum privacy. Like castaways in the lap of luxury, guests can enjoy over eight restaurants and bars or discreet in-villa dining. WE LOVE: Organic Garden Restaurant, PADI certification available at the diving school www.sonevaresorts.com

MANDARIN ORIENTAL DHARA DHEVI.

F Set in over 60 acres of tranquil paddy fields and striking plantations, the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is a Chang Mai gem. From the architecture and textiles to the rare collection of Northern Thai antiquities, this resort offers a rich and picturesque journey through the history and cultural influences of Thailand’s Lanna region. Most of the villas have dining areas and outdoor plunge pools, while some might sport a steam room, a piano, or private study. The super-convenient onsite market, Kad Dhara, is a small village built in the traditional style of northern Thailand. Guests looking for a retail fix will find over twenty shops, including a tailor, jewellers and a book shop, without having to leave their luxe haven. WE LOVE: The Dheva Spa, remote control lighting, the décor in the Horn Bar www.mandarinoriental.com/chiangmai

KIATTIPONG PANCHEE

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

SONEVA FUSHI ORGANIC GARDEN INTERIOR.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL DHARA DHEVI.

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COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

OBEROI WILDFLOWER HALL.

F A 45-minute drive from Shimla in India is the magnificent Oberoi Wildflower Hall. Situated at 8,350 feet in the Himalayas, this lair among the peaks is set in 23 acres of pristine pine and cedar woods. The rebuilt residence of Lord Kitchener, Wildflower Hall is reminiscent of the grand style of India’s colonial past. Given the location, one expects the views to be awesome, and they are. Add to that plush rooms with hand-knotted rugs on teak floors and spacious marble bathrooms, and the Oberoi is a quite simply a mountain paradise. WE LOVE: Outdoor Jacuzzi, personalised butler service www.oberoiwildflowerhall.com

ZAFFERANO

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COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

ONE&ONLY MALDIVES AT REETHI RAH. TRISARA.

F Phuket’s north western coastline remains largely undeveloped, making the location of the Trisara resort a serene option in this otherwise bustling and popular destination. With its own private bay, this boutique collection of 39 villas and suites offers the ultimate in seclusion. All villas have their own substantial private swimming pools and stunning views of the Andaman Sea. The lounging is sublime, but for the more active there’s a range of luxury motor yachts for full or half day expeditions and professional PADI scuba instruction and certification. WE LOVE: Lychee and lemongrass martinis, private dining www.trisara.com
ONE&ONLY MALDIVES AT REETHI RAH.

F Privacy goes a step further at the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah. Occupying one of the largest islands on North Male atoll, this head turning resort is the very definition of refined tranquillity. The generously sized and elegantly appointed Grand Beach Villas have private 25m² pools and canopied day beds while the Water Villas summon with netted wraparound hammocks suspended over the water. Guests can opt to dine in the resort’s spectacular restaurants, order a personal beach barbeque from the villa dining menu, or relish in the seclusion of their villa with a personal chef. WE LOVE: Over-water double treatment suites at the spa, electric buggy service www.oneandonlyresorts.com

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

TRISARA.

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COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

BULGARI RESORT & HOTEL, BALI.

F Traditional Balinese design meshes flawlessly with Italian style at the Bulgari Resort & Hotel, Bali. Furniture, fabrics, and utensils like flatware stemware and ceramics have all been made by local artists and designers in conjunction with Bulgari. It’s an elegant blend. Villas feature open-air living pavilions, plunge pools, and informal dining lounges. The centrepiece Bulgari villa boasts three bedrooms, a home theatre and a built in bar for svelte entertaining. The Bulgari Signature Experiences at the spa are beyond indulgent with the Double Bulgari Royal Lulur seeing four sets of hands hard at work on you and a loved one. WE LOVE: Italian apertivo overlooking the Indian Ocean, local market tours with a personal shopper www.bulgarihotels.com

PICTURE BY BANYAN TREE HOTELS AND RESORTS

BANYAN TREE DOUBLE POOL VILLA.

F Dinner on board ‘The Sanya Rak – Promise of Love’, a traditional long boat at the Banyan Tree Phuket, is romantic and healthy. A taste of refinement became even more delicious last year when the resort was the first in Thailand to ban all trans fats from its menus. The resort’s Spa Pool Villas are near flawless, and include in-villa spa, private pool, jet-pool, outdoor shower and sunken bath to keep you clean, or not so. The Banyan Tree’s new DoublePool Villas are also turning heads and garnering awards. Each has two private pools and two bedrooms, making for an ideal destination for a group close friends traveling together. They’ll put your name up on a plaque outside your villa, if so desired. WE LOVE: Open-air sunken bathtubs, daily in-villa cooked breakfast www.banyantree.com
PICTURE BY BANYAN TREE HOTELS AND RESORTS

COURTESY OF KIWI COLLECTION

BANYAN TREE SPA POOL VILLA.

BULGARI RESORT & HOTEL, BALI.

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THE ISTANA.

F Nestled among some of the most highly rated surf breaks in the world, The Istana in Uluwatu, Bali, is an acutely intimate destination. Five cliff top suites cater for just ten guests at a time, making for a very exclusive vacation spot or wedding destination. Walled on two sides by folding glass doors, the bedrooms are divine. Canopied beds, indoor/outdoor bathrooms, and generous walk-in closets keep all guests truly cosseted. West Javanese green granite stone lines the main infinity pool, making for a serene ocean palette of turquoise and blue. It’s one of the most inviting pools in Bali, and you won’t have to share it with dozens of other guests. WE LOVE: Chauffeured personal car on standby, ‘Dotcom’ entertainment room www.theistana.com

DATAI POOL.

F If jungle treks with plenty of bird and wildlife watching from a base of luxury appeals, make the red balau timber, black granite and white marble haven that is The Datai your next vacation hotspot. Nestled amongst 40 million year old virgin rainforest in Malaysia, the resort blends modern cool with opulent indulgence. The superior villas boast a 37” flat screen TV, Bose sound system, Lavazza espresso machines and oversized daybeds. There’s an 18 hole golf course adjacent to the property, and a private beach for exclusivity. WE LOVE: Morning and evening nature walks, the Datai Massage at the spa www.ghmhotels.com

THE ISTANA.

DATAI POOL.

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5AMAN RESORTS.

THE SPA AT THE LEGIAN.

THE POOL AT AMANPURI.

F Situated on Bali’s serene southern coast, The Legian’s landscaped gardens and lotus ponds complement the surrounding landscape in discreet harmony. This bespoke property will spoil you for life. Ploh linens, Apple iPods and private stocked pantries await all guests. Those staying in The Legian or The Seminyak suites also enjoy a personal butler and private car with driver. The Beach House is the ultimate in honeymoon indulgence with a private 16m infinity pool overlooking the ocean. WE LOVE: Stunning bathrooms, complimentary ice cream by the pool for kids www.ghmhotels.com

F As the flagship property of the Aman Resorts group, Amanpuri Phuket doesn’t get much rest. Its magnificent midnight blue pools and evening torch-lit barbecues are as popular as ever at this genteel Thai haven. Oceans of teak and rattan have beckoned and soothed many a wearytraveller-in-the-know for some time. They’ve just celebrated their 20th anniversary with a significant gym upgrade, which may prove handy – a new restaurant, Naoki, is wowing guests with a French Kaiseki menu. French techniques with a Japanese sense of artistry grace plates under the watchful eye of Chef Naoki Okumura. Paradise just got better. WE LOVE: Salas – private dining decks, extensive and gorgeous library www.amanresorts.com

AMAN RESORTS.

POOL AND TERRACE AT AMANPURI.

THE LEGIAN’S STUNNING BATHROOMS.

THE CHEDI CHANG MAI.

F The stunning lines of The Chedi Chang Mai seem more akin to a cutting-edge modern art gallery than a luxury resort in northwest Thailand. A newbie to the GHM portfolio of uber-luxe retreats, The Chedi offers relaxation and seclusion in the heart of Chang Mai. The Chedi Club Suites offer complimentary mini bar, airport transfer, butler service and access to The Chedi Club Lounge. You’ll want to move in. The dining is top-notch, with private dining rooms and an extensive wine list just adding to the appeal. WE LOVE: Cigar menu at the Terrace Lounge, beauty treatments at the spa www.ghmhotels.com

F The Balé in Nusa Dua Bali is a stylish retreat with wellbeing in mind. Organic produce and holistic spa treatments conspire to revitalize guests as they relax and unwind. Each guest pavilion has its own private swimming pool, and deluxe pavilions spoil further with a LCD TV in the bathroom. While leaving such a well-appointed villa might be hard, the lure of the main swimming pool – one of the most spectacular in Asia – is difficult to resist. Also beckoning is the Masters in Residence program at the spa. Specialists in all manner of holistic practices spend a limited period at the resort, and are on-hand for guest workshops and consultation. WE LOVE: Hi-fi with MP3, spa cuisine at Bliss restaurant www.thebale.com

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THE BALÉ.

THE BALÉ.

2008 Portfolio of the Year: Kiwi Collection

stable. The website is an escape unto itself, with customised search options going beyond just a destination. Visitors can search for the perfect holiday accommodation based on their interest in anything from heli-skiing to wildlife, from jungle setting to modern architecture. Want to go diving off an island with boutique style accommodation? Not a problem. Kiwi Collection recommends The Racha in Phuket, Thailand. If the website wasn’t seductive enough, Kiwi Collection also produces glorious hardcover coffee table books that are, quite simply, the ultimate travel brochure. www.kiwicollection.com

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his bespoke collection of properties never misses a beat. The website features only the most dazzling and awe-inspiring of destinations. In fact, eight of our Best Asian Resorts this year are in the Kiwi Collection

THE FORTRESS.

F New on the scene, The Fortress in Galle, Sri Lanka is setting a cracking pace for others to follow. With Dutch and Portuguese colonial influences, this resort blends the grace of the past with a cutting edge future. Plasma screens and Bose DVD players and sound systems in the rooms combine with the sleek design of bars and restaurants to create an uber-modern oasis in the Indian Ocean. In keeping with Per Aquum’s ‘personalise you stay’ philosophy, guests can nominate pillow preferences, the colour of their Frette linen, and other desires before they even arrive. WE LOVE: Super king 7ft by 7ft beds, resort naturalist and turtle hatchery www.thefortress.lk

THE FORTRESS.

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