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SOUTHEAST ASIA MARCH 2017

IT
List
2017

TREKKING JAPANS SINGAPORE S$7.90 / HONG KONG HK$43

KUMANO KODO
THAILAND THB175 / INDONESIA IDR50,000
MALAYSIA MYR18 / VIETNAM VND85,000
MACAU MOP44 / PHILIPPINES PHP240
BURMA MMK35 / CAMBODIA KHR22,000
BRUNEI BND7.90 / LAOS LAK52,000
STYLISHLY AFFORDABLE
ibis Styles offers guests comfort, an energetic
vibe and the simplicity of all-inclusive pricing, with
an all-you-can-eat breakfast, broadband internet,
and many more little extras all part of the standard
rate. Contemporary rooms feature all essential
amenities including working desks and safes, and
available family rooms make traveling with children
a breeze. With each establishment having a distinct
personality that reflects the creativity found in its
local community, ibis Styles delivers a refreshingly
fun experience at an affordable price.

The ibis Styles Chiang Khong Riverfront offers the


chance to unwind with tranquil views overlooking the
majestic Mekong River while enjoying an exceptional level
of service. Whether Chiang Khong is a stopover en route to
Laos or youre using it as a base for exploring the cultural
wonders and natural beauty of Thailands north, the hotel
provides spacious rooms with traditional Lanna design
lourishes, much-lauded international dining, and a pool bar
with views across the Mekong to the Laos town of Huay ibis Styles Chiang Khong Riverfront
Xai. As an added extra, complimentary bicycle use makes it
easy to discover more of this relaxing riverside village.
Experience Bangkoks vibrant sights without breaking the
bank at the newly built ibis Styles Bangkok Sukhumvit
50. The citys only international 3-star hotel chain offers
everything needed for an enjoyable stay. The rooms are
modern and the decor is decidedly cheerful, with each loor
having its own whimsical motif. The playfulness continues at
the airport-themed Terminal bistro, which serves excellent
local cuisine and drinks. When its time to hit the town, a
complimentary tuk-tuk service shuttles you to the SkyTrain
station and from there youre only minutes from Bangkoks
wide range of cultural landmarks and entertainment venues.

The ambience of Bangkoks old quarter meets international


comforts at the ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai.
Conveniently located near the most important historical
spots in Bangkok, guests can enjoy Rambuttri Roads
diverse selection of budget-friendly restaurants and shops
without sacriicing quality accommodation. Rare for the area,
ibis Styles Bangkok Sukhumvit 50
the hotel also features a swimming pool and large outdoor
ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

terrace, as well as a unique bar and restaurant offering Thai


Burgers, signature cocktails, live entertainment and pool
parties. With comfortable, well-equipped rooms and vintage
design cues throughout, ibis Styles is a welcome addition to
this colourful neighbourhood.

Bursting with character, ibis Styles Phuket City is the hip


place to discover historic Phuket Town. Immerse yourself in
the local lifestyle with an impressive number of heritage sites,
outdoor markets, parks and art galleries all within walking
distance. And that same local character is found inside the
hotel as well, with every loor featuring colourful, modern
designs inspired by the Sino-Portuguese architecture of Old
Town Phuket. With a focus on comfort, convenience and
outstanding value, ibis Styles Phuket City delivers a truly
ibis Styles Phuket City
unique experience, while still only being a few minutes from
the islands beautiful beaches.
ibis Styles Yangon Stadium features inspiring local
art infused with a sporting twist: design elements
referencing Yangons love of football and chinlone,
Myanmars spellbinding national sport. The countrys irst
international-standard economy hotel is welcoming and
contemporary a hip-yet-relaxing environment to unwind
after a day of exploring the delights of Yangon. Bright,
generously sized rooms boast the ibis signature Sweet
Bed to ensure a good nights sleep, while breathtaking
views of the skyline are the hallmark of Yangons newest
iconic landmark, the 369 Restaurant and Bar on the hotels
rooftop.

ibis Styles Yangon Stadium


For more information, visit ibis.com or accorhotels.com.
Boasting magnificent views of the
A taste shimmering sea, Sofitel Bali Nusa
Dua Beach Resorts spacious rooms
of tropical and suites offer sophisticated
style and exquisite comfort.
luxury on Revel in a world of rejuvenation
with a savant mix of world-class
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tranquil surrounds. Discover all our
island of Bali magnifique addresses in over 40
countries on www.sofitel.com

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ON THE COVER

March
Autumn colors
along the Kumano
Kodo in Japan.
Photographer: Scott
A. Woodward
features

62
Turquoise Dreams
Why go all the way to
the Maldives for a
beach? Because, as
Maria Shollenbarger
finds, nowhere else
does sea, sand and
splendor quite like
this. Photographed by
Sean Fennessy

70
Mystery Trail
Japans Kumano Kodo
pilgrimage is more
than a trek; its a
puzzle that leads you
back to yourself with
C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: S E A N F E N N E S S Y; S C O T T A . W O O D WA R D ; F E L I X O D E L L ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E WA R E H O U S E H O T E L

every carefully
chosen step. By
62 70 Christopher Kucway.
Photographed by Scott
82 92 A. Woodward

82
Boutique Love
We offer some of the
best and brightest
boutique hotels
across the region. You
want to feel of the
place? Check in to
these newcomers.

92
Frozen
In the Arctic of
Swedish Lapland, a
communion with
nature awaits anyone
willing to brave the
cold. By Peter Heller.
Photographed by Felix
Odell

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 7


In Every Issue
T+L Digital 10
Contributors 11
Editors Note 12
The Conversation 14
Deals 58
Wish You Were Here 106

departments

Here & Now Beyond


17 Trailer Park Avenue 33 Taking Shape We checked in with for cooking and a new outlook on
Melbournes funky new Notel is a the designers behind some of the life and work.
rooftop stay thats part mobile most distinctive hotel openings
home, part luxury inn. in the region to find out how they The Guide
22 Trenches & Hoodies The travel are molding the future of 49 Sort By Price A road map to
uniform of the moment is hospitality. affordable accommodation
carefree, but refined. 38 Sitting Pretty Pariss Htel Saint- across Asia.
24 Click Couture Lauren Yates, Marc is the perfect stage for
founder of the lifestyle blog showing off the seasons best The Place
Ponytail Journal and bags, and a few other fun
accessories.
102 Hoi An Convenient, compact and
Wmenswear fashion label, takes charismatic, Hoi An embodies
us shopping around the region. 42 Heart of the Jungle In the wilds Vietnamese charm. By Duncan
26 Waterfront Revival A formerly of Sabah, a village is opening an Forgan. Photographed by Aaron
unremarkable area of Cape Town untamed forest to help preserve Joel Santos
is becoming a playground for the the rainforest and their own
citys creative set. culture.
28 It List 2017 Our favorite new and 46 Seeking Soul Food On a
radically redone hotels of the spontaneous trip to Cambodia
year will have you booking flights last summer, fashion designer

F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F N O T E L ; A L E X J O H N B E C K ; K I T Y E N G C H A N ; A A R O N J O E L S A N T O S
for your next break. Phillip Lim developed a passion

17 22 42 102

8 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


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+ LOOKOUT
A bold new gallery
debuts in Bangkok; a
t+l digital grande dame in central
Vietnam gets a Four
Seasons makeover; a star
Vietnamese chef
branches out to Hong
Kong; studying the
THIS MONTH ON TR AVELANDLEISUREASIA.COM ancient Japanese art of
3 OF THE BEST COOKING 4 ASIAN CR AFT BEERS SUSTAINABLE TIGER flower arrangement in
CLASSES IN BANGKOK YOU NEED TO TRY NOW TOURISM IN INDIA Kyoto; how to spend a
Mastering Thai cuisines Local brewmasters are taking Deep in the heart of Madhya night on the town in
delicate synergy of sweet, advantage of all kinds of Pradesh, these eco-chic safari
sour, savory and spicy flavors Southeast Asian ingredients lodges are educating
Singapore; the latest
is a challenge, which is why to create innovative ales, travelers and helping the travel deals; and more.
we called on the experts. stouts and IPAs. local wildlife. travelandleisureasia.com

F R O M L E F T: A U T C H A R A PA N P H A I ; C O U R T E S Y O F Y O U N G M A S T E R A L E S ; S O M E N D R A S I N G H / C O U R T E S Y O F S A M O D E S A FA R I L O D G E

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10 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


contributors | MARCH 2017

1 2

Aaron Joel Scott A.


Santos Woodward
P H O TO G R A P HER P H O TO G R A P HER
The Place: Hoi An Mystery Trail
Page 102 Page 70

Many cities in Vietnam vie A 90-kilometer pilgrimage
for top culinary creds, but through remote Japanese
1
when it comes to banh mi, forests is a long way, a stretch
Santos says there is no where Woodward found
contestit is Hoi An for the himself thinking about loss
win. Its that sweet and spicy and grief. Its
chili jam they spread on the understandable given the
bread. If youre still Shinto belief that ones
famished, then theres Cao spiritual energy, or kami, is
Lau noodles or sweet-potato released and recycled upon
pancakes. But Santos is quick deathand that waterfalls
to veer away from any clichd and mountains are places
look at Vietnam. How many where the kami reside. A
conical hats against yellow welcome respite on this walk
walls can one tourist take? into the past were the onsen.
Look around for something As the trek wound on, I was
different, he says. Get out of able to relax and see more
town to the countryside. Peek intimate moments
into houses, walk through surrounding me as well as
F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F A A R O N J O E L S A N T O S ; C O U R T E S Y O F S C O T T A . W O O D WA R D ; C O U R T E S Y O F R A C H N A S A C H A S I N H ; K I T Y E N G C H A N

rice fields. Get lost. Leave the bigger picture beyond my


your lens cap at home. camera.
2
Instagram: @aaronjoelsantos Instagram: @scottawoodward

3 4

Rachna Marco
Sachasinh Ferrarese
W R I T ER W R I T ER
Boutique Love Heart of the Jungle
Page 82 Page 42

When she travels, Sachasinh Like many of us, Ferrarese
likes to be immersed in a feels a stir at the mere
destination, and boutique mention of Borneo. Aside
hotels are the perfect address from its natural wonders, hes
to do that. When theyre on, fascinated by the ethnic
these smaller inns offer diversity. There are still
luxury and local culture in surprises around every
3
more intimate settings. It corner and, in the case of an
can be quirky and not totally orangutan in the Danum
polished, but that adds to the Valley, up a tree. As soon as it
charm, she explains. understood we were men, and
Inevitably some addresses not primates, the orangutan
scored big points with threw branches at us to mark
Sachasinh. Among these is its territory, and we
Templation in Siem Reap, backtracked, observing it
where design elements rule swing between branches. He
the day, and Villa warns that access to natural
Mahabhirom: I ordered tea wonders can be pricey: thats
late one afternoon, and they the cost of preserving the
served it in antique colonial- environment and educating
era porcelain china and tea visitors and locals.
pot. I love little details. Twitter: @monkeyrockworld

4 11
editors note | MARCH 2017

AS AT MOST MAGAZINES,
PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE
OUR UNSUNG HEROES,
their credits often appearing in miniscule type, some of their better shots not
even making the final cut. Everyone assumes theyve got the best job in the
world, and while the gig has its perks, the craft has come far from the days of
f8 and be there. A case in point is a story I worked on this month with Scott
A. Woodward (Mystery Trail, page 70). To put it into perspective, Scott shot
almost 10,000 photos over the course of our nine-day hike in Japan. The first
set of selects totaled 450, which were whittled downpainfullyto 45, then
25, then the 18 that appear in this issue. As any photographer will tell you, the
final photographs cut are the ones that stick in the mind. How we managed to
exclude a timeless shot of one of our guides traversing a log bridge in deep
Japanese forest is something Ill never be able to answer correctly.
So, I have one request: With every issue of the magazine, take a moment to
look out for the bylines with Scotts name, or Cedric, Kit, Philipp, Francisco,
Lauryn, Morgan, Aaron or
Shin. I can guarantee
those pages will be filled
with great images of Asia
and beyond.
This month marks the
appearance of our annual
IT List (page 28), the best
new hotels and resorts
around the world. Visiting
any one of them will likely

F R O M L E F T: T H A N A K O R N C H O M N AWA N G ; C H R I S T O P H E R K U C WAY
have you reaching for your From My Travels
Proving that we never have
own camera, though be
to venture far to uncover
warned, the tough part somewhere new, I found
will be deciding which myself along Bangkoks
photos to post. river at one of the citys
small, new hotels, Riva
Arun. A clean, modern inn,
from its roof-top
restaurant it also offers a
different angle of the
history-laden sois around
Wat Pho and the Grand
Palace. Come nightfall,
the river is a hive of
activity, the scene unlike
@CKucway anywhere else in the
chrisk@mediatransasia.com world.

12 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 / T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M
the conversation

How do you encapsulate a whole countrys wonder and charm in just


a few words? Nearly every national tourism board around the globe
has taken on the task (the 38 exceptions include Libya, perhaps
unsurprisingly, but also Sweden). FamilyBreakFinder, a U.K. travel
website, has compiled a list of slogans from 150 nations and the
examples range from alliterations like Epic Estonia, to Djiboutis pun-
tastic catchphrase, Djibeauty. Here are a few more of our favorite ways
destinations are marketing themselves:

LATVIA
Best Enjoyed TAJIKISTAN MONGOLIA
Slowly Feel the Friendship Go Nomadic
NETHERLANDS
The Original Cool

IRAN
You Are Invited PHILIPPINES
Jordan Its More Fun in
Yes, Its Jordan the Philippines
HAITI
Experience It!
MOROCCO
Much Mor
VANUATU
Discover What
CAMEROON BHUTAN Matters
EL SALVADOR
The 45-Minute All of Africa in Happiness is
One Country INDIA a Place
Country Incredible
!ndia

PARAGUAY
You Have to Feel It!
CHILE UGANDA
All Are Youre Welcome
Welcome ARGENTINA
Beats to Your NEW ZEALAND
Rhythm 100% Pure

#TLASIA THIS MONTH, READERS ARE HITTING THE STREETS


TO DINE LIKE LOCALS.

I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y A U T C H A R A PA N P H A I

Shopping for ingredients in Siem Curry paste galore in Bangkok. Fruit on the go in Hanoi. Barbecue in Xians Old Market.
Reaps wet market. By @livethequestion. By @jula_guillianie. By @milica_grujic_.
By @travelholicjas.

SHARE AN INSTAGRAM PHOTO BY USING THE #TLASIA HASHTAG, AND IT MAY BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE. FOLLOW @TRAVELANDLEISUREASIA

14 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Christopher Kucway
ART DIRECTOR Wannapha Nawayon
DEPUT Y EDITOR Jeninne Lee-St. John
SENIOR EDITOR Merritt Gurley
SENIOR DESIGNER Chotika Sopitarchasak
DESIGNER Autchara Panphai
EDITORIAL AS SISTANT Veronica Inveen

REGUL AR CONTRIBUTORS / PHOTOGR APHERS


Cedric Arnold, Kit Yeng Chan, Helen Dalley, Philipp Engelhorn, Marco Ferrarese,
Duncan Forgan, Diana Hubbell, Lauryn Ishak, Mark Lean, Melanie Lee, Ian Lloyd Neubauer,
Morgan Ommer, Aaron Joel Santos, Stephanie Zubiri

CHAIRMAN J.S. Uberoi


PRESIDENT Egasith Chotpakditrakul
PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Rasina Uberoi-Bajaj

PUBLISHER Robert Fernhout


DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER Pichayanee Kitsanayothin
TR AFFIC MANAGER /DEPUT Y DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER Varin Kongmeng
SALES DIRECTOR Joey Kukielka
BUSINES S DE VELOPMENT MANAGERS David Bell
Leigha Proctor
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Gaurav Kumar
PRODUCTION MANAGER Kanda Thanakornwongskul
PRODUCTION Natchanan Kaewsasaen
GROUP CIRCUL ATION MANAGER Porames Sirivejabandhu
CIRCUL ATION AS SISTANT Yupadee Saebea

TR AVEL+LEISURE (USA)
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nathan Lump
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT / PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Steven DeLuca
PUBLISHER Joseph Messer

TIME INC. INTERNATIONAL LICENSING & DEVELOPMENT


(syndication@timeinc.com)
SENIOR DIRECTOR, BUSINES S DE VELOPMENT Jennifer Savage
E XECUTIVE EDITOR / INTERNATIONAL Jack Livings

TIME INC.
CHIEF E XECUTIVE OFFICER Joseph Ripp
CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER Norman Pearlstine

TR AVEL+LEISURE SOUTHEAST ASIA


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NEWS + TRENDS + DISCOVERIES

DEBUT

Trailer Park
Avenue Melbournes funky new Notel
is a rooftop stay thats part
mobile home, part luxury inn.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer checks in.
COURTESY OF NOTEL

The Airstream
with Benefits at
Notel comes
with a hot tub.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 17


/ here&now/

NOTEL, A MOLD-BREAKING HYBRID


hotel, was created by James Fry, a
guy who says he has zero experience
in the hospitality industry. Chalk it
up to fresh eyes or beginners luck,
but it has Melbourne abuzz. Set on
the rooftop of a high-rise in the Paris
end of the citys central business
district, the funky new property has
only six rooms. Well, not rooms
exactly but vintage Airstream
caravans polished to a sheen.
It was an underutilized space, a
beautiful blank canvas with a terric
view of the Melbourne skyline on the
rooftop of a building my father and I
own, Fry says. We discussed many
dierent ideas over the years but
nothing was exciting until I came up
with the idea of accommodation with
a twist, in caravans.
The twists begin as soon as guests
check-in via an app downloaded to
their smartphone that guides them
to a stairwell on Flinders Lane, one
of Melbournes most iconic laneways.
The app then functions as a digital
key to a door that opens onto a
rooftop covered in red Astroturf.
Front and center on a brick wall is a
massive mural by Ash Keating, a
local graiti artist of who uses a

high-pressure re-extinguisher to spray paint large


Inside, the caravans coarse surfaces.
are Sci-Fi chic.
TOP: Beds are made Keating, whose work adorns many Melbourne
up with soft laneways and overseas venues like the new Bikini club in
bamboo sheets. Bali, says his random-looking mural at Notel was a
deliberate study in branding.
The palette was a dusty pink and that was key to the
brandinga starting point, he says. I also used purple
and orange and silver paint to reect the sheen of the
Airstream and connect the wall to the rest of the space.
All six Airstreams at Notel have decks with outdoor
furniture and heaters, while one caravan, called the
Airstream with Benets, also comes with a hot tub.
Inside, glossy white and pink surfaces, a ceiling-mounted
iPad Pro with Netix, full-size en-suite bathrooms and
sunken oors coalesce in open-plan interiors that Fry
says have no resemblance to caravans at all. Of course,
COURTESY OF NOTEL (2)

thats the point. I wanted people to open the door and go


Stu me, this is not a caravan. This is something
completely dierent and very special, Fry says. The
whole idea was to wow people.

notelmelbourne.com.au; rooms A$395-$440.

18 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


/ here&now/

that conversation cant


carry, while the upper-
deck has modular seating
well-suited for groups.
We wanted to create an
experience that wasmore
elegant, cozier and
friendlier than other river
options, says Thanaruek
Laoraowirodge, owner of
Supanniga Eating Room.
From the tom yum
jumbo-prawn soup and
sharing plates of crab
curry and stewed pork, to
the mango and sticky rice
and Thai petits four, the
ships chef is sticking to the
same high standards of
Supanniga Eating Rooms
two on-land locations (one
in Thonglor and one in
Sathorn). The appetizers
minced pork served on a
fresh orange slice; spicy
chicken salad in a crispy
cup; pomelo salad with
grilled prawn; fried
mackerel wrapped in
Chaplu leavesseem to
balance every texture
known to man.
Each course follows in a
Dinner with a view on perfectly paced
the Supanniga Cruise. progression, lubricated by
the potent cocktails
courtesy of Vesper, like the
CRUISE Wanted on Voyage,
swimming in rye whiskey,
The River for the Rest of Us zesty with rambutan- and
basil-infused cider. Order
Bangkoks Supanniga Eating Room has launched a dinner cruise on the Chao Praya a few of those, and the two
River, bringing rare flavor and subtle charm to these well-plied waters. hours and 15 minutes will
pass by in easy
IN THEORY, A DINNER giant boat, packed with cocktail bar in Silom, on an choreography, as if
cruise on the Chao Praya 200 people, bathed in intimate 40-seater boat. following the rhythms of
carries plenty of appeal dizzying strobe lights, pop The newly built the river. All you have to do
sipping and supping on a music blaringcan be double-deck 18-meter-long is relax and go with the
grand ship as it plies daunting. In December, monohull is decorated in ow. merritt gurley
Bangkoks River of Kings, Supanniga Eating Room cheerful yellows and
passing the Grand Palace, launched its cure for the oranges, with plush supannigacruise.com;
Wat Arun, Wat common cruise, serving couches, padded benches, sunset dinner cruise
PAT I YA P U L L K E T

Kalayanamit, Wat Prayoon up their Isan-style Thai wooden tables and comfy Bt3,250 per person with a
and all the other bank- cuisine, Tattinger rattan chairs. The bottom six-course tasting menu
front splendors of Old champagne and signature deck has just four tables and a welcome glass of
Town. Yet the realitya cocktails by Vesper, a hip spaced far enough apart Taittinger champagne.

20 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


B E L M O N D R O A D T O M A N D A L AY, M YA N M A R

NOTICED

Tripping in Bali
Uber has launched a new feature in Bali called UberTrip,
perfect for tourists looking to see more of the island. The app
lets you request a car for a set five-hour block, with a fixed
DISCOVER
price regardless of the distance you travel or number of stops
you decide to make. It combines the flexibility of renting
MYANMAR
a car with the ease of having a personal driver, and it is all
arranged through the oh-so-familiar Uber app interface. The
service is making it easier to ditch the lounge chair and go see
a diferent side of Bali. uber.com; UberTrip costs Rp300,000 for
a five-hour ride, and Rp1,000 per minute thereafter.

Green grounds at The


Grand Luang Prabang.
BELOW: Bright rooms EXPERIENCE A LAND OF
showcase Lao textiles.
SPECTACULAR SCENERY AND
REBOOT GOLDEN PAGODAS ABOARD THE
LUXURIOUS BELMOND ROAD TO
The Mekong, MANDALAY RIVER CRUISER
with Majesty ON JOURNEYS OF TWO
C O U R T E S Y O F B A N YA N T R E E H O T E L S & R E S O R T S ( 2 )

TO FOUR-NIGHTS.
BANYAN TREE HAS opened its first
property in Laos, taking over The Grand
Luang Prabang Hotel & Resort on the CONTACT OUR LUXURY TRAVEL
Mekong River. The six-hectare property
CONSULTANTS ON +65 6395 0678
was once Xiengkeo Palace, the residence
of Prince Phetsarath Ratanavongsa who OR YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL AGENT.

served as prime minister from 1942 to


1945. After the communist revolution, the
colonial-style building was converted into Souvannaphoum in Luang Prabang. With
a hotel. Banyan Trees sister brand, Banyan Tree now following suit, were
Angsana has already transformed the curious to see what they will do with the
home of a former prime minister into a prime riverfront estate. grandluang
stately resort with Angsana Maison prabang.com; doubles from US$130.

HOTELS | TRAINS | RIVER CRUISES | JOURNEYS

BELMOND.COM
M O D E L : E L L A / F O R D M O D E L S . H A I R : S H I N YA N A K A G AWA U S I N G K R A S TA S E AT A R T L I S T. M A K E U P : S U Z Y G E R S T E I N U S I N G L A N C M E G R A N D I S E L I N E R AT H O N E Y A R T I S T S . N A I L S : N A I L S B Y N O R I AT A R T L I S T
1 2

THE LOOK

Trenches & Hoodies


The travel uniform of the moment is carefree, but refined, with a luxe, long-haul-ready sweatshirt and a
structured coat for additional polish. A top-handle leather holdall is a chic take on the basic carry-on.
STYLED BY MELISSA VENTOSA MARTIN. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEX JOHN BECK

3 4

1. Burberry deconstructed trench (burberry.com; US$2,595); T by Alexander Wang knit raglan hoodie (alexanderwang.com; US$350);
Bottega Veneta crocodile handbag (bottegaveneta.com; US$17,800). 2. Lacoste trench (lacoste.com; US$475); White + Warren cashmere zip
hoodie (whiteandwarren.com; US$298); SteamLine The Architect stowaway case (steamlineluggage.com; US$895); The Row Two for One 12 handbag
(net-a-porter.com; US$4,450). 3. Michael Kors Collection asymmetric trench (harrods.com; US$2,995); Victor Glemaud double-face zip logo hoodie
(glemaud.com; US$195); Longchamp Le Pliage Heritage handbag (longchamp.com; US$1,035); Gabriela Hearst Frances jumpsuit (gabrielahearst.
com; US$795). 4. Salvatore Ferragamo silk trench, price upon request (ferragamo.com; price upon request); Max Mara angora vest
(harrods.com; US$1,150); Salvatore Ferragamo Soft Sofia saddle handbag (ferragamo.com; US$3,100).

22 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


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INSIDER INTEL

Click Couture
Slow-fashion advocate Lauren
Yates, found of the lifestyle
blog Ponytail Journal and the
Wmenswear fashion
label, takes us shopping around
the region.

L AUREN YATES IS ONE of Southeast


Asias freshest bon vivants, curating
her loves of fashion, food and travel
in her playful blog Ponytail Journal.
The Hong Kongborn, Australia-
and Thailand-raised fashionista
brings her global tastes to the four-
year-old website, with posts that
range from a roundup of stores in

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F L A U R E N YAT E S ; M A R I S A V E G A / G E T T Y I M A G E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F S O D A S H O P ; C O U R T E S Y O F L A U R E N YAT E S ; C O U R T E S Y O F PAYA S H O P


Hong Kong to a video tutorial on
how to make Burmese chicken, all
with a feel-good edge that reflects
her slogan, funnest life possible.
Yatess editorial fashion focus,
which she calls Wmenswear
accidently sexy, smart-casual
started to accumulate a fan base,
now climbing past 36,000 followers
on Instagram. Buoyed by the
audience and connections in the
industry, last February she launched
her clothing brand of the same
name. Her travels, whether
collecting vintage Vietcong infantry
garments in Vietnam or shop-
hopping in Tokyo, all find their way
to her Wmenswear collections, in a
FROM TOP: Blogger and designer Lauren Yates; process she calls slow fashion.
antiques at Le Cong Kieu Street in Saigon; a
bold getup from Soda; button-ups by
Each piece of clothing is the product
Wmenswear; textiles and crafts from Paya. of meticulous research; even her
basic tees are made from Toki-sen
fabric, sourced from the best mill in
the world for knits, in Osaka.
By paying special attention to the
provenance of
ingredients, whether
pertaining to food or
clothing, Yates has
established her own
voice in a world of fast
food and fast fashion.
Here she talks go-to spots
to shop in the region.

24 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


FROM TOP: The
Armoury boutique in
Hong Kong;
handcrafted,
individually dyed
pillows from
Slowstitch Studio.

BANGKOK
+ Yates frequents Paya (payashop.
net) in Ekkamai for their range of
Thai textiles, antique homewares
and handcrafted goods. + For
bold-print dresses she heads to
Soda (sodabkk.com). I love the
creativity and spirit that drives the
Soda brand.They are always using and the richest deep indigo hue
fun fabrics and they do a very youve seen!
feminine avor of tailored suits and
exotic pieces in the perfect HONG KONG
proportion for me. + The Armoury (thearmoury.
com)takes such care in their
CHIANG MAI curatorial process and the stories
+ This season, Yates has been behind their wares. Its a space run
working with a natural indigo by true gentlemen who are really
studio up in Chiang Mai called excited about the experience that is
Slowstitch Studio (slowstitchstudio. their world.
com) that retails scarves, wall
pieces and pillow cases. The studio SAIGON
is run by two textile artists who + In Saigon, you can nd her
F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T H E A R M O U R Y; C O U R T E S Y O F S L O W S T I T C H S T U D I O ( 2 )

studied indigo methodology in rummaging through antiques on Le


Japan. They brought their in-depth Cong Kieu street in District 1. You
knowledge back to Thailand to work can nd some really beautiful
on establishing their own ceramic pieces. Ive picked up a
sustainable dyeing and weaving couple of mint cameras with
studio. Theyre developing purely veryreasonable price tags after a
fermented vats of indigono lime, good bargain. VERONICA INVEEN

WEARING WMENSWEAR
The Spring/Summer 2018 collection, debuting in July and retailing February of next
year, will introduce a new line of basics like jeans, tees and sweatshirts for year-
roundappeal.I think more and more of us are hunting down wardrobe staples that
are made well, Yates says, so we are using beautiful slow-made Japanese
chambrays, knits and denim.Wmenswear (ptjsupplies.tictail.com; pieces from
US$160) can be found in boutiques around Asia, including Onion (onionbkk.com) in
Bangkok, Syndro (fb.com/syndro.tv) in Taipei, and Nigel Cabourn Women the Army
Gym Tokyu Plaza Ginza Store (cabourn.com) in Tokyo.
/ here&now/

WHERE TO GO NE X T

Waterfront Revival
A formerly unremarkable area of Cape Town is
becoming a playground for the citys creative set.
BY MARY HOLL AND. PHOTOGR APHED BY TOM PARKER

Cape Towns
new Silo
Hotel.

26 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


baked breads and a selection
of small-batch cheeses.
The adjacent Foreshore
has become a dining
destination, capturing the
attention of residents with its
global fare. Capetonians are
adventurous, and they know
their food and drink, says
chef Giles Edward. After a
decade working at Michelin-
starred restaurants in
London, Edward moved home
last year and opened La Tte
(latete.co.za; mains R110
R185), a nose-to-tail
restaurant in a 1930s Art
Deco building on Bree Street.
Its one of the citys most
fearless kitchens, making
dishes like kidney pudding
and ox hearts with fries.
A few blocks away is the
General Store (the-general
store.co.za), a tiny timber-
fronted caf oering fare like
zaatar-spiced lamb and
French toast with roasted
Sunset at the plums. And over at Bardough
V&A Waterfront. (jasonbakery.com), baker
Jason Lilleys new bar-and-
bakery combo, the menu
IT WASNT LONG AGO that complement the citys natural lofty rooms have traditional includes the dawgzilla, a
many Capetonians steered beauty and stellar food and furnishingstufted chairs, sandwich with grilled
clear of the citys Victoria & wine scenes. Its an icon of crystal chandelierswith octopus and spicy chorizo.
Alfred Waterfront and the condence we feel about pillowed-glass windows that The Waterfront has always
surrounding Foreshore. The being African, about our lend a futuristic note. been tourist-drivenit was
area served as both an place in the world, says Mark Even in advance of the never a draw for locals,
industrial shipping hub and a Coetzee, executive director mocaas arrival, the area is Lilley says. Its exciting to be
tourist magnet, trading in and chief curator. becoming a haven for African one of the pioneers of a
souvenir bric-a-brac, Now, visitors have a hotel artists and makers. This May, developing area.
sightseeing harbor cruises option that bets the a Cape Town design group
and Cinnabon Stix. changing neighborhood: the will open Guild
That perception changed Royal Portfolio Collections (southernguild.co.za), a Colorful houses
in the nearby
with the news of the Zeitz sleek, 28-room Silo Hotel gallery and shop that features Bo-Kaap
Museum of Contemporary Art (theroyalportfolio.com; work by African artists like neighborhood.
Africa (zeitzmocaa.museum), doubles from R15,000) opens Burkina Fasos Hamed
which is scheduled to open this month on the top seven Ouattara, who transforms
this September in a former oors of the Zeitz mocaas salvaged metal into
grain silo thats been repurposed silo. Its bright, housewares. The neighboring
overhauled by London Watershed (water front.co.za)
architect-of-the-moment marketplace carries goods
A necklace from
Thomas Heatherwick. The Pichulik, in the from more than 150 artisans
museum will house one of the Watershed (such as Pichuliks rope-and-
worlds largest collections of marketplace. bead statement jewelry and
contemporary African art, Africa Novas patterned
much of it from the holdings textiles) in a warehouse-like
of Jochen Zeitz, the owner of space. On Saturday
Kenyas Segera Retreat and mornings, hungry shoppers
former Puma CEO. Its Cape can stop at the Oranjezicht
Towns missing element: a City Farm Market (ozcf.co.za)
cultural anchor to for local produce, freshly

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 27


A tranquil corner at Amanemu.
CLOCKWISE FROM BELOW: Rooftop views
at Katamama; the stylish Santani; tea
time in the Peninsula Beijing lobby.

C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F T H E P E N I N S U L A B E I J I N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F A M A N E M U ; C O U R T E S Y O F K ATA M A M A ; C O U R T E S Y O F S A N TA N I
It List 2017
Our favorite new and radically redone hotels of the year will have you
booking flights for your next break. Read more at tandl.me/itlist.

28 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


It List 2017

ASIA thats all juicing and boot camps. peacock set the tone; rooms are openings, the Pontchartrain best
AMANEMU Santanis approach is more industrial-lite. Expect the captures NOLAs spirit and
Mie Prefecture, Japan subtle, with ayurvedic spa unexpectedlike saucy history. The 1940s glamour of
This new hot-spring resort near treatments, meditation and comments from the elevator vintage keys and chandeliers
the Grand Shrines of Ise is health food that includes goat- voice and exuberant service. juxtaposed with seemingly
opening up an area thats cheese tortellini and chai crme For the inside scoop on the incongruent pieces, like a
previously been hard for brle. From US$710. playful interior design, check out portrait of Lil Wayne, make it
foreigners to penetrate. Its Taking Shape, page 33. From elegant and cool in equal
unique within the Aman family in SONEVA JANI A$350. measure. From US$179.
that it offers a classic onsen Maldives
experience, blending the If youve ever fantasized about THE ROBEY
traditional ryokan with Amans staying in an overwater U. S . & CANADA Chicago
sense of space. From 87,300. bungalow, add this to your THE ASBURY Youd be hard-pressed to find
bucket list. Twenty-four palatial Asbury Park, New Jersey another Windy City hotel to rival
CANYON RANCH villas jut into a gin-clear lagoon; This colorful property is the Robeys alchemy of great
Kaplankaya, Turkey all have private pools, and some Jerseys hot new gathering spot. aesthetics, prime location and
The brands first international even have waterslides. From Theres an inviting lobby caf thrumming atmosphereall for
outpost has panoramic views of US$3,085. and bright-yellow pool chairs to a such a wallet-friendly price
the Aegean, a sleek design, and lounge on during the day; at tag. From US$135.
local flavors on display in the ST. REGIS VOMMULI night, options include outdoor
cuisine. Hammam treatments Maldives movies and a packed rooftop bar. SINGLE THREAD INN
are authentic, with a cleansing You come here for two reasons. From US$175. Healdsburg, California
scrub on a heated marble table One, for the impeccable St. Regis Acclaimed chef Kyle
followed by an olive-soap service. And two, because the THE BEEKMAN Connaughton transfers the
massage. From US$472, look of this private-island resort New York City Japanese approach of his
including meals. will leave you speechless. Gently You could just have a drink in the kitchen to the hospitality at his
sloped villa roofs are meant to restored atrium, but you should luxury inn. The food is hyper-
KATAMAMA evoke manta rays, while the spend the night to appreciate seasonal, and the rooms are
Bali, Indonesia Whale Bar, which serves small this architectural wonder from outfitted with understated high-
The MO here skews more plates and cocktails, opens to all anglesand at all times of end amenities, like Ratio coffee-
modern than the typical panoramic sea views. Read day. From US$619. brewers and Zalto wineglasses.
thatched-roof bungalow, but about this resort, Soneva Jani From US$700.
locally made details and other Maldivian reveries in THE DEWBERRY
lemongrass-infused gin, hand- Turquoise Dreams, page 62. Charleston, South Carolina SURFJACK HOTEL & SWIM CLUB
dyed bathrobeskeep the look From US$1,770. Once a midcentury office Honolulu
warm, not sterile. Private building, the Dewberry is Combine one of Oahus best
rooftop Jacuzzis and an TAJ MEGHAULI SERAI handsome and sleek, with a retailers (Olive & Oliver), most
adjoining beach club balance Chitwan National Park, Nepal vintage edge. Theyve even exciting chefs (Ed Kenney), and a
serenity with fun. From US$275. Taj Safaris latest lodge has a improved upon Southern handful of top artists, and youve
prime location, so rhino-spotting hospitality: squint at a menu and got a Waikiki first: a hotel that
OBEROI SUKHVILAS excursions are nearly effortless. youre offered reading glasses; truly taps into the islands
Chandigarh, India After a few hours astride an ask for honey and theyll fetch creative spirit. From US$207.
Oberois newest addition is elephant, unwind with a private your preferred kind. From
Mughal-inspired from top to plunge pool, an alfresco US$300. 21C MUSEUM HOTEL
bottom, with intricate hand- massage and a Tharu meal. Oklahoma City
painted murals and gold leafing From US$300, including meals. FOUR SEASONS RESORT With more than 1,300 square
throughout. It sits on a former Lanai, Hawaii meters of exhibition space, this
orange grove, so guests can Head here for the away-from-it- boutique hotel in the century-old
pluck fruit from the trees as they AUSTR ALIA & all feel that Lanai does best, but Model T Ford plant has filled the
wander the grounds. From NEW ZEALAND with plenty of amenitiestwo citys void for an artsy place to
Rs21,700. pools, four restaurants and an stay. And since the galleries,
HELENA BAY lounge and restaurant have
North Island, New Zealand excellent spa. The interiors are
THE PENINSULA clean-lined, putting the focus on taken off with locals, it has an
The setting of this resort is energy that doesnt wane
Beijing immaculate, from the sheltered the ocean views. From US$1,150.
After a yearlong renovation, the midweek. From US$219.
bay to the perfectly pruned
Peninsula is a draw for more gardens. The conscientious care MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFF
than just its location. Rooms Bluffton, South Carolina VICEROY LERMITAGE
youll get is clear from the staff- Beverly Hills, California
now start at 60 square meters to-guest ratio: 53 employees for This spot still has a gorgeous
and have suitelike layouts, with Lowcountry look and activities This discreet gem has a fresh
a maximum of only 10 visitors. new palette, and the lounge has
dcor that nods to both Chinas Find this in our round-up of small like horseback riding and golf.
storied past and its tech-forward But it got an upgrade last year: a made way for a light-filled
hotels, Boutique Love, page 82. French bistro. But the real sell is
present. From 2,180. From NZ$2,900. new inn that serves as the hub,
with guest rooms, a restaurant the suites: with dressing rooms,
SANTANI and bar and a spa. From US$305. cushy couches and deep soaking
QT tubs, theyre like an A-list home
Sri Lanka Melbourne, Australia
The first destination spa in Sri THE PONTCHARTRAIN away from home. From US$413.
Refreshing irreverence makes
Lanka is all about wellnessand QT Melbourne a stand-out. The New Orleans
not the ascetic Western kind lobbys wingbacks and stuffed Amid a wave of fashionable

30 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


EU ROPE club lounge has Hungarian wines SANCTUARY CHIEFS CAMP ocean-inspired scheme is
COOMBESHEAD FARM and local pressed juices. From Okavango Delta, Botswana glamorous) or a group vacation
Cornwall, England 288. Ultra-personal service is the (the 580-square-meter
The five rooms are simply star at this overhauled safari penthouse has a huge terrace
decorated, becauselets be SOHO HOUSE camp. That, and the new and hot tub). From US$925.
honestyoure here for the food. Barcelona Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite,
The 18th-century farmstead has Catalan architecture cements which comes with a private fire
just a single communal table, the sense of place, but pit, lounge and bar, plus a butler MEXICO & CENTR AL
where chefs April Bloomfield dedication to comfort makes this and guide. From US$1,180 per & SOUTH AMER ICA
and Tom Adams serve incredible six-floor club a place you want to person, all-inclusive.
linger. Fluffy robes are a given; ATIX HOTEL
dishes like pork cracklings in La Paz, Bolivia
cider sauce. Guests can even here theyve upped the coziness SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON
ante with a heated towel rack, Contemporary and indigenous
take baking or butchery Seychelles
wool eye mask and hot-water influences abound, like a faade
workshops. From 172. On this eco-chic private isle, the
bottle under the covers. From of timber and Comanche stone
mood is light: soft marine dcor,
and works by artist Gastn
IL SERENO LAGO DI COMO 255. swings by the tubs, vast pool
Ugalde. The restaurant, Ona, is
Lake Como, Italy decks. The pice de rsistance is
among the citys best, thanks to
Il Sereno is a restrained antidote the spa, shoehorned between
a staff recruited from Latin
to Comos gilded grandes dames. AFR ICA & the archipelagos iconic black
Americas top kitchens. From
Designer Patricia Urquiola had THE MIDDLE EAST boulders, with a yoga pavilion so
US$143.
everything from bathtubs to close to the water the sea spray
ANANTARA AL JABAL AL AKHDAR cools you during poses. From
uniforms made with local Nizwa, Oman CHABL
materials like ceppo di gr stone US$1,340.
Skirting the rim of a canyon Yucatn, Mexico
and Como silk. The layout puts 2,000 meters above sea level, Just an hour from the coast,
all eyes on the water, with a this is a dramatic departure from Chabl marries Mridan
150-meter shoreline and CAR IBBEAN &
Omans beach-resort circuit. The hacienda hospitality with beach-
lakeview terraces in every room. locale makes simple pursuits BER MUDA resort-style amenities (like the
From 745. vertiginous swims in the infinity HAMILTON PRINCESS glamorous, palm tree-lined pool
pool or dinner on a glass Bermuda that couldve been plucked from
PARK HYATT platform cantilevered over the In addition to revamping the Tulum). From US$780.
Mallorca, Spain chasmthrilling. From US$560. rooms during its renovation, this
This may be the Balearics most Fairmont property upped its EXPLORA VALLE SAGRADO
stunning retreat yet. Its design ANDBEYOND MATETSI RIVER LODGE cultural cred with a restaurant Sacred Valley, Peru
was inspired by Mallorcan Matetsi Private Reserve, from Marcus Samuelsson and an Exploras philosophy
hamlets, and the pink stone Zimbabwe eclectic art collection with emphasizes nature, and their
buildings, serpentine pathways At this renovated lodge on a works by Warhol, Nelson latest addition is designed
and rows of colonnades have an 49,978-hectare reserve, youre Mandela and Banksy. From accordingly: Wi-Fi, TV and mini-
ancient feel. From 344. in reach of all the activities US$279. bars are replaced with soothing
offered on the Zambezi. But even spaces ideal for relaxing after a
THE PULITZER if you never leave your room, the KIMPTON SEAFIRE RESORT & SPA day spent exploring craggy
Amsterdam scenerya watery landscape Grand Cayman peaks and Incan ruins. From
The update of this hotels 25 teeming with wildlifewill keep Catering to both couples and US$1,950 per person, for three
landmarked town houses was you enthralled. From US$995 families, this property takes full nights, all-inclusive.
not just a polishing of floors and per person, all-inclusive. advantage of its Seven Mile
some new cushions. The Beach location. Guest roomsin MAR ADENTRO
designer, Jacu Strauss, spent ASILIA THE HIGHLANDS colors inspired by flora on site Los Cabos, Mexico
the night in every room to dream Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania are all angled to face the sea, A reflecting pool wraps around
up a special look for each. The Its the first camp near the and the lobby has spectacular this striking seaside property,
result is colorful and whimsical, northern gate of the Ngorongoro floor-to-ceiling windows. From anchored by Nido, a restaurant
but tasteful. From 275. Crater, so while most visitors US$500. ensconced within a woven-twig
queue at the southern end in the ovoid structure. The rooms are
THE RITZ early morning, Asilia guests can LE BARTHLEMY HOTEL & SPA divvied among stark white cubes
Paris sleep in, then take a leisurely St. Barts, French West Indies that appear to float along the
It was all worth the wait. Four descent to the crater floor. From This Grand Cul-de-Sac edges of the pool. From US$326.
years after closing its doors for US$430 per person, all-inclusive. newcomer is at once glamorous
renovation, the new-and- and unpretentious. An army of NEKUPE
improved Ritz has kept the Belle LEEU ESTATES genial French staffers will stock Nicaragua
poque glamour but added some Franschhoek, South Africa a gourmet picnic basket for you, The service alone is first-class,
modern necessities: speedy Wi- Analjit Singhs latest property in or tote ros to your lounge chair as youd expect at a luxury inn
Fi, new plumbing and a one-of-a- South Africas wine country is a overlooking the Caribbean. From with just four villas and four
kind Chanel spa. From 1,032. beautifully landscaped, 17-room US$636. suites. But consider the
gem with its own wine cellar activitiestrail rides, monkey-
RITZ-CARLTON (tastings are gratis for guests), a SHORE CLUB watching treks, skeet shooting
Budapest spa and a farm-to-table Turks and Caicos and moreand the unreal views,
Just two blocks from the restaurant. From US$659. This hotel is the first on Long and its a singular way to
Danube, this Ritz-Carlton Bay Beach, a more private experience the region. From
captures Budapests blend of alternative to popular Grace Bay. US$750.
elegance and modernity. The Come for a romantic escape (the

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 31


LETS CONNECT

WWW.TRAVELANDLEISUREASIA.COM @TRAVLEISUREASIA

TRAVELLEISUREASIA @TRAVELANDLEISUREASIA
borneo| cambodia + more

DESIGN

Taking
Shape
We talked to designers behind some of the most
distinctive new properties in the regionincluding
an Indonesian oasis that blends into the beach,
an urban hotel in Australia that isnt afraid to get flirty,
and a zero-carbon eco-pod in Malaysiato find
out how they are shaping the future of hotels.
COURTESY OF SCDA

SCDA designed the SkyTerrace


living concept in Singapore to
incorporating elements of the
surrounding park.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 33


/ beyond/D E S I G N

FROM TOP (AT SOORI BALI): Ombak


beachfront restaurant; spa-style
bathrooms with stone and warm
terracotta; villas are surrounded
by palm trees along the shoreline.

FOUNDER: SOO K. CHAN


SPECIALITY: HARMONY
Firm: SCDA Architects
(scdaarchitects.com)
Design Philosophy: Seamlessly
transition between indoor- and
outdoor-spaces.

Many places in Bali have been loved


almost to death, but Soori Bali is
dierent, says Soo K. Chan, owner
of the property and founder of SCDA
Architects. It is a neighbor with a
genuine connection to the villages
and local culture.
Conjuring connections is Chans But Chan expects more out of the dream to be a hotelier, he says.
modus operandi in his quest to link scenery than just a pretty Now Chan has even more autonomy
the surrounding world with the backdropeven the trees have a over fullling his vision, designing
C O U R T E S Y O F S O O R I B A L I ( 3 ) . I N S E T: C O U R T E S Y O F S C D A
spaces he creates. Of course starting to-do list. Harnessing natures own everything from the restaurant and
with the right location is a pivotal design prowess, he uses cross- garden landscape, down to the sta
part of any blueprint and Chan says ventilation to reduce energy uniforms and cutlery.
he was instantly smitten with the consumption, and tasks the leafy His knack for combining
plot where Soori Bali (sooribali.com; landscape to provide shade. Its the harmony of nature with the
doubles from US$775) now sits, a about making the best use of natural precision of an engineer traces back
groove of black volcanic beach under resources, Chan says, so that the to his childhood in unesco-listed
Mount Batukaru, surrounded by rice resort blends in seamlessly. George Town, Penang. I wanted to
terraces: When we rst discovered The resort opened six years ago, be an architect from the time I was
the land, there was no road access, managed by boutique luxury group old enough to play with Lego pieces,
so my wife and I took a helicopter Alila, but as Chan gained experience Chan says. His other lifelong
out to see it. It was magical in the hospitality industry he dream of becoming a hotelier will
breathtakingly beautiful and decided to take over. As an architect be realized this spring when Soori
so peaceful. and an avid traveler, it was my Bali relaunches. Coming out from

34 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


under the Alila umbrella, this series This playful blend of design and
of upgrades and additions will technology is Grahams calling card.
position the property as an anchor The founder of Nic Graham +
of the new Soori luxury lifestyle Associates, or G+A for shorta
brand. All 48 villas will be polished small Sydney-based firm with a
up and Chan is converting a wooden reputation for creating spaces ripe
Balinese house into an Indonesian with humor and narrationtries to
restaurant with views over the rice capture guests imagination with
fields, but he says the most exciting FOUNDER: NIC GRAHAM every centimeter of his interiors.
transformation is the revamp of SPECIALITY: HUMOR One of our jobs is to create
the Soori Spa, which will offer Firm: Nic Graham + Associates memorable experiences that guests
massage, reiki and acupuncture, Design Philosophy: Spin interior can take with them, Graham says,
along with therapy courtesy of design to create comedic moments. memories that touch them
U.S.-trained clinical psychologist somewhere and create a return visit
Dr. Harold Roberts to improve the Are you alone, handsome? Is that a as opposed to a space that you are
neurological shaping of the brain. gun your pocket? the elevator may just transient through.
We create truly transformative ask you at the QT Melbourne, This ethos made him a perfect
experiences for the mind, and body thanks to the cheeky sense of humor partner for David Seargeant,
and soul, Chan says. It is fitting of interior designer Nic Graham. founder of QT hotels, the enfant
that a spa is the keystone for a guy If you are at the new QT Sydney, terrible of Australias budding art-
whose ideology is all about finding a the elevator wont flirt with you, but meets-fashion-meets-anything goes
balance between what is outside and it will use sensors to choose the school of hotel design. At our very
what is in. perfect soundtrack for you. If first meeting it was apparent Nic had
theres one person in the lift, it may a full grasp of our vision to create a
Coming Soon play something like Are You Lonely multi-layered, design-driven spaces
Soo K. Chan is taking another bite Tonight, Graham explains, but if for our hotels, Seargeant says of
out of the Big Apple with the Soori there are six people it might ramp it commissioning Graham to design
High Line (522 West 29th St., New up to a house party anthem. the interiors of the first QT on the
York, NY; soorihighlineny.com),
which will open this summer.
Chan says the 31-room residential
property is the synthesis of 25
years of architectural practice. I
strived to create the most bespoke
residence in NYC by marrying
crafted luxury with resort-style
living. Soori Niseko is also on the
drawing board as the brands first
ski resort. MERRIT T GURLE Y
C O U R T E S Y O F Q T H O T E L S A N D R E S O R T S ( 2 ) . I N S E T: T E R E N C E C H I N

FROM TOP: Houndstooth and


Chesterfields at the QT Sydney
Members Lounge: Striking a
pose outside of QT Melbourne.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 35
/ beyond/D E S I G N
Gold Coast, which opened in 2012, QT hotelhigh-back retro chairs, Coming Soon
and who has repeat-hired the giant purple ottomans, solid wood G+A is currently shaping the inside
designer half-a-dozen times since. coffee tablesnot just as functional of the second Hotel Indigo project in
Graham started his career not as objects but as yet another layer of Taipei. Built near the citys river on
an interiors-man but as a furniture- humor, adding to the narrative. But the site of an old brickworks, the
maker. Back at university, I liked why must everything have a punch 180-room property is scheduled to
the idea of architecture but I was line? Because, finding humor in open in 2018 and will embrace the
scared off by the math, he says. So furniture, artifacts and artworks history of its location with
I studied furniture making instead. results in a much more personal inferences to brick patterns and
It allowed me to vent my creativity guest experience, Graham says. dragon-boat racing. Closer to home,
on a smaller scale. Thats something I taught myself the company is working on two new
Graham still crafts furniture. He after years of working in minimalist properties for W Hotels and Resorts
developed a custom range for each modern spaces. in Australia: the W Brisbane, which
will have a river theme coupled with
modern interpretations of
Aboriginal storytelling and art; and
the W Perth, where dirty reds,
ochres, sand, jarrah timbers and
king stucco will engender a tie-in to
the economics of mining-rich
Western Australia.IAN LLOYD
NEUBAUER

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F W H O T E L H O N G K O N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F Q T H O T E L S A N D R E S O R T S . I N S E T: R O B E R T S U C H / P O M E R O Y S T U D I O
FOUNDER: JASON
POMEROY
SPECIALITY: HERITAGE
Firm: Pomeroy Studios
(pomeroystudios.com)
Design Philosophy: Use ancient
technique as inspiration for modern
sustainable structures.

Architect Jason Pomeroy doesnt shy


away from a challenge. Eco-pods.
Carbon-negative homes. A 522-room
over-water, hibiscus flowershaped
hotel, which holds the Guinness
FROM TOP: G+A World Record for most swimming
crafted the
pools in a resort. His portfolio may
interiors and
poolside be diverse, but a simple philosophy
design at W shines through every project: if it
Hong Kong; the aint broke, why fix it? While many
staircase at QT modern designers are chasing the
Melbourne, but
take the newest trends, Pomeroys has his
elevator. sights trained on the past, using
ancient architectural techniques to
achieve surprising and cutting-edge
feats of sustainability.

36 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


FROM TOP (BY POMEROY
STUDIO): Flower-shaped Lexis
Hibiscus resort, in Malasyia;
B House, a carbon-negative
home in Singapore; Pomeroys
sketch of Shenzhen, drawn on
Montblanc Augmented paper.

What started as a childhood past


timemaking wigwams out of
twigs in the garden of his parents
London homehas blossomed into
Singapore-based Pomeroy Studios,
one of the most innovative and
sustainable design firms in
Southeast Asia. Pomeroys love of
throwback structures, like the
wigwam, is still a guiding force.
The half-Malay, half-British
architect is also a professor, author, features to meet the needs of todays
and host of Channel NewsAsias City society, following what he calls a
Time Traveller and Smart Cities 2.0. Darwinian theory of (building)
His work takes him across Asia evolution. Survival of the fittest is
studying both antique and modern just another challenge Pomeroy is
buildings. While aesthetics may ready to tackle.
C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: R O B E R T S U C H / P O M E R O Y S T U D I O ( 2 ) ; P O M E R O Y S T U D I O

change, the basic social and cultural


needs of man have remained the Coming Soon
same for hundredsif not cultural, spatial and social needs of Situated on some of the most prime
thousandsof years, Pomeroy its inhabitants in mind. It can beach frontage in the Philippines,
says. Buildings that can meet these expand and contract as families Casobe, a residence and hotel in
needs tend to stand the test of time. grow and change, Pomeroy says of Calatagan, Batangas will boast 342
Take the B House in Singapore, a the modular framework. nautically inspired rooms making
carbon-negative home that Pomeroy Channeling the architects of old, for the perfect escape from bustling
designed. At first look, its silver, Pomeroy thinks about buildings in Manila. Befitting of a site of natural
rounded roof, large windows and terms of how they are used and puts beauty, the structure will embrace
sleek wood details speak only to people first. It is vital to foster a Pomeroys green agenda with a low
modernity, however, it draws on sense of community so that the place carbon footprint. And to further his
many of the same principles that becomes more people-centric, foothold in the Philippines
inform the citys iconic black-and- Pomeroy says. From single homes sustainable architecture scene,
whites: overhanging roof, expansive like the B House, to the 522-room Optimma, a housing community in
verandas and variable shutters. Lexis Hibiscus (lexishibiscuspd.com; Pampanga that will be completed in
Pomeroys Idea House, on the doubles from RM870) Pomeroy uses 2018, will have 246 carbon-zero
outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is an ode age-old tricks like high-ceilings for homes at a price point accessible to
to the traditional Malaysian cooling and central courtyards to the average Filipino homeowner.
kampong home, built with the bring people together, but adapts the VERONICA INVEEN

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 37
/ beyond/F A S H I O N
Roger Vivier
ankle-strap
sandal (rogervivier.
com; $875); Eddie
Borgo Chet
Minaudire bag
(eddieborgo.com;
$1,490).

Sitting Pretty
Spring style this year is all about a playful approach to color and texture, with luxe materials done
in a bold, retro palette. Pariss Htel Saint-Marc, a jewel box in the Second Arrondissement, has
mastered that mixits the perfect stage for showing off the seasons best bags (and one seriously
great shoe). FASHION EDITOR MELISSA VENTOSA MARTIN. PHOTOGR APHED BY CRISTA LEONARD >>

38 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM *Prices are listed in U.S. dollars and may vary by country and retailer.
ADVERTORIAL

E XQUISITE, UNFORGET TABLE E XPERIENCES AT


Siam Kempinski Hotel
BANGKOK
IF YOURE SEEKING LUXURY, COMFORT equipped accommodation in a unique Kids Club, where guests aged 5 to 12
and convenience in Bangkok, theres setting. Most rooms feature a balcony will love the perks, from karaoke to
no better choice than the Siam overlooking the verdant gardens and arts and cras to cooking classes in
Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. This lush, free-form swimming pools. the Kids Club junior kitchen.
resort-style, ve-star luxuy hotel, The Cabana and Duplex Cabana Speaking of haute cuisine, Siam
with 401 rooms and suites, is situated rooms enjoy direct pool access from a Kempinskis award-winning Sra Bua by
right in the heart of Bangkoks private terrace. The Duplex rooms, with Kiin Kiin is a must for any foodie.
premier shopping and entertainment a living room and bedroom on separate Applying Western cooking techniques
district with easy access to the citys oors, boast additional privacy. to traditional recipes, the chefs
SkyTrain network at Siam station. Larger families should opt for the produce original Thai-inspired modern
Combining European heritage with kitchenette-equipped two-bedroom fare. Its a delightful blend of old world
traditional Thai hospitality, the hotel suites, and a family package that and new, European and Asian that also
oers elegant, spacious, well- comes with unlimited access to the denes this warm, beautiful hotel.

S I A M K E M P I N S K I H OT E L BA N G KO K
991/9 Rama, Road Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2 162 9000, Fax: +66 (0) 2 162 9009
kempinski.com/bangkok
/ beyond/F A S H I O N

In one of the Htel Saint-Marcs lounge


areas, velvet sofas and a pastel rug are
plush counterpoints to a brass-wrapped
chair and chrome-and-glass tables
(hotelsaintmarc.com; doubles from $305).

40 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


3 4

1. Cline Clasp bag in crocodile (celine.com; $23,400).


2. Loewe Barcelona Stitches bag (loewe.com; $2,850).
3. Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci bag (givenchy.com; price upon request);
LArtisan Parfumeur Tenebrae perfume (lartisanparfumeur.com; $210).
4. Stella McCartney shoulder bucket bag (stellamccartney.com; $1,585).
5. La Maison Moreau Vicomte and Chancelire bag (moreau-paris.com;
Vicomte bag, $4,795; Chancelire bag, $3,425).

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 41
/ beyond/C O N S E R V A T I O N
Life proliferates in
Malaysias Ulu Telupid
forest reserve.

Heart
of the
Jungle
In the wilds of Sabah, a village is
opening an untamed forest to help
preserve the rainforest and their
own culture. BY MARCO FERR ARESE.
PHOTOGR APHED BY KIT YENG CHAN. >>

42 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


FEEL BLESSED,
Dhauligiri- EXPLORING THE RICH
Amidst tranquil Buddhist
backdrop discover your very BUDDHIST HERITAGE
own Peace Pagoda
OF ODISHA

Ratnagiri
Unfold the rich legacy
as you walk across
this Buddhist seat
sanket odisha tourism 2016

Lalitgiri Be speechless as you explore


Buddhist relics and tantra

If you wish to explore places of historical significance, Odishas rich cultural heritage will serve as the perfect time machine.
Rock-cut shelters at Khandagiri and Udayagiri dating back to the 1st century BC, excavated Buddhist Stupas, monasteries and
Sculptures at Ratnagiri and Lalitgiri, and the Sun Temple at Konark will provide extraordinary glimpses into the ancient past.
:HEVLWHRGLVKDWRXULVPJRYLQZZZYLVLWRGLVKDRUJ(PDLORULWRXU#JPDLOFRP7ROO)UHH
27'&&HQWUDO5HVHUYDWLRQ&RXQWHU DPSP 7HO
/ beyond/C O N S E R V A T I O N

WE PUSH THROUGH A SNARL OF VINES, bend under low-hanging branches and hike a rugged
path until we stumble upon a stream. Machete in hand, our young guide Herman Solungin
jumps over the slippery stones that peek above the surface. He lands safe on the opposite
side, but we hesitate. The bottom of the riverbed looks like a nasty place for a fall.

Put your right leg on the second rock and between the lures of Mt. Kinabalu and the
use that hanging liana to balance. Be careful, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, this
its very unstable, Eddie Chia, the tall lush slice of the country has never seen
Sabahan-Chinese our tour leader says. This tourism until now. Before being gazetted as a
38-year-old is the reason we have entered the Class 1 Forest Reserve in 1984, Ulu Telupid was
depths of this forgotten jungle, a place that, used for palm-oil farming and timber logging,
until now, has been only visited by and it never occurred to the Dusun, Sabahs
researchers, rangers and, sadly, the occasional largest ethnic group, that their home might be
illegal poachers. an adventure-travel draw. Some residents of
About 100 more treacherous rocks and 30 neighboring Kampung Bestaria village
minutes later, we emerge sweaty, breathless migrated to Ulu Telupid in the 1970s to work in
and awe-struck at the bottom of a waterfall that the logging industry, while others have lived
crashes into a bowl of boulders. My legs are here for generations, surrounded by this
shaking but its a fine price to pay to stand bountiful resource, oblivious to its potential.
where I am, surrounded by century-old giant Everything changed last year, when Chia
trees, and dwarfed by the wicked power of the teamed up with the villagers of tiny Kampung
Kopuron waterfall roaring above me. Bestaria to form the grassroots cooperative
Im among a precious few to have stood in KOBEST (Koperasi Kampung Bestaria; 60-
this very spot in Ulu Telupid, a protected 13/858-0699; kobest16@gmail.com; two-day,
rainforest reserve located in the center of one-night packages for two from RM520), a
Sabah on the eastern fringe of the Heart of contraction of Koperasi and Bestaria, and start
Borneo conservation area (heartofborneo.org). guiding the first visitors into the reserve. This
Despite its perfect location as a pit stop community is the birthplace of Chias Dusun
wife Nelly, so he has all the more reason to be
invested in its well-being. His goal is to bring
new funds to the village by easing access to the
area. Today, travelers just have to send and palm oil. Sharing communal meals on the
KOBEST an e-mail and the organization takes oor of their host families homes, guests are
care of everything, from dealing with the surrounded by smiling elders and gurgling
permits required to visit the reserve, to pick- newborns. The dishes are simple, and
up in Telupid town, to organizing custom tours everything from the chicken cutlets to
that follow the rugged paths carved and shredded papaya to the brown rice comes
maintained by KOBEST themselves. straight from the surrounding hills.
I see the cooperative as a program, more We are still discovering new patches of
than a product, Chia says. Its one with forest, opening new trails and trying the best
parameters: the community weighs in on approaches to bring visitors in, Chia says,
every decision, and tourism revenue is bending over a map of the area, his tiny round
considered secondary to farming and spectacles falling towards the tip of his nose.
agriculture income. The area has plenty of assets to draw a
Chia has a long history with jungle tourism. crowdtwo gushing waterfalls, giant trees,
In the 1980s, his mother was branch manager and some of the worlds rarest species of
of Api Tours, the pioneering travel company owering plantbut part of the grand plan is
that started operations in Sepilok. During to keep visitation sustainable. We dont want
school holidays, my mom would take me with to bring more than 60 visitors per month into
her in the jungle to help as a dishwasher and a the jungle, he says. When nature is the
porter. He remembers shuttling around the commodity, conservation is paramount, and
battery of her rst Motorola cellular phoneit KOBESTs guides are tasked with keeping foot
weighed 25 kilos. Back then, traveling in traic low, minimizing impact on the jungle,
Sabah was more authentic: accessibility was helping block illegal poaching and logging
limited, you had to bring anything you needed activities and, of course, educating visitors.
in the jungle, and we had to rely on local We want people to come to Kampung
communities to provide accommodation and Bestaria and experience Dusun culture while
food, he says. Thats the concept I have for they learn about the issues the rainforest is
the co-op. facing, he says. If this project proves successful,
A stay here is a dive into pure Borneo. Chia plans to take it to other rural communities
Visitors enter a world governed by the rhythms across Borneo. The concept is a lot like the
of nature, participating to the Dusun tribes jungle that inspires it. With a little love and
daily rituals, such as farming mountain rice care, who knows how far it will grow?

FROM FAR LEFT: The


towering Ulu Telupid
canopy; an egret; a
young KOBEST helper
demonstrates how to
tap rubber; a deer
farm outside Telupid;
Kopuron Waterfall;
harvesting rice.
/ beyond/T R A V E L D I A R Y
2

Seeking
Soul Food
On a spontaneous trip to Cambodia last summer,
fashion designer Phillip Lim developed a passion
for cooking and a new outlook on life and work.

1. I fell in love with dishes we were


the cuisine in cooking. 2. This is
Cambodia. It was so the beginning of a
simple, but delicious curry paste. You use
and refined. I just ginger, turmeric,
started cooking a galangal, Kaffir lime,
few months ago. I Thai chilis and garlic,
used to joke that I and pound it with a
was a professional mortar and pestle.
takeout orderer, but I Its the foundation
got to a point where I for almost all Khmer
wanted to change food. 3. I hope to
my life. I stayed at return and stay in
Amansara (aman. one of these local
com; suites from housesmany of
US$1,290) and asked them have been in a
to shadow a cook single family for
who could teach me generations. This
to make my own one, where I had the
meals. I learned in cooking lessons,
this open-air kitchen. overlooks Angkor
We used charcoal Wat. Its a traditional
instead of electricity. house, built on stilts.
Wed leave these Theres no electricity,
three clay vessels but its designed so
heating all day and air circulates
rotate whatever constantly, and

FOR DESIGNER PHILLIP LIM, CAMBODIA always seemed shrouded


in secrecy. Though raised in California, he was born in Thailand
to Chinese parents who had spent a decade in Cambodia before
ALL PHOTOS: COURTESY OF PHILLIP LIM

they had to flee across the border when the Khmer Rouge took
power. Their memories were painful ones, of a country
embroiled in civil war. My parents never talked to me about it,
he says. I remember asking to go and theyd say, Oh, no, you
dont want to do that. Still, friends said hed love it, so when he
decided on a whim to take his first true vacation in years, Siem
Reap was an easy choice. With no firm plans beyond a hotel
reservation, Lim spent his stay meandering through temples,
cooking with locals, and soaking in the slower pace. Here, he
shares a few favorite moments from the trip. LIL A BAT TIS

46 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


4

when monsoon they cant speak


season comes the about it, and they
water runs were so protective of
underneath so me. But the day
theres no flooding. before I left, I got a
Its really beautiful. package from my
Cambodia has sister with photos of
luxury, but to me the my parents at
reason to go is to get Angkor Wat. Talk
in touch with what about synchronicity.
you want to be about. So I went there at the
4. Everything in beginning of the trip.
Cambodia is It was an amazing,
centered on food. spiritual experience.
Thats how the When I came home
community comes and told my parents
together. It was where Id been, they
beautiful to see, and were happy I had
I just wanted to be a made the decision on
part of it. We went to my own. They see 5
the market each day. both sideswhat
These vegetables Cambodia gave
are all grown by them and what it
local farmers
no pesticides, just
took awaybut I just
saw the beauty and
Everything in Cambodia is
straight from the
backyard. 5. I made
the potential, which
was nice for them to
centered around food. Thats how
this lunch in the
open-air kitchen. Its
hear. 7. Every
morning, a guide the community comes together. I
shrimp-and-pomelo
salad; coconut-curry
picked me up on a
tuk-tuk to go see the just wanted to be a part of it
fish with Kaffir lime; sunrise from
lemongrass pork dilapidated forest
skewers; and pickled temples. This
cucumber, carrots temple, Banteay 6 7
and radish with chili- Kdei, is one of the
and-lime dressing. few in the area that
Anything we didnt are still used in
need got turned into religious
something else. Its ceremonies. It was a
made me see special experience to
ingredients in a witness the monks
different way. Its at prayer. I said a
like what I do at work blessing in gratitude
with materials. that I am able to
Apply it to cooking travel, to get out of
and the skys the my comfort zone,
limit. 6. I didnt tell and to see a place
my family I was going that held so much
to Cambodia. My personal
parents left so significance to
traumatized that my family.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

THERE ARE PLACES YOU MOVE TO


AND THERE ARE PLACES THAT MOVE YOU

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

Let Four Seasons take you to the heart of a Bali that few discover - and even fewer truly experience. Gaze over the
sparkling ocean from a fully-renovated, Balinese-inspired pool villa, learn an ancient craft and renew your spirit with
sunset blessings by a Balinese priest at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. Submit to natures embrace at the riverside
Four Seasons Sayan, explore Ubud and unlock the cultural and spiritual heart of this mystical island.

Find out more at:


fourseasons.com/bali
Sort By
Price
A roadmap to affordable accommodation
across Asia. BY DIANA HUBBELL
ILLUSTR ATED BY AUTCHAR A PANPHAI
C O U R T E S Y O F T U N E H O T E L S E PA N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F R A M A D A B A L I S U N S E T R O A D K U TA
S O U R C E I L L U S T R AT E D F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F H O T E L I N D I G O S I N G A P O R E K AT O N G ;

Gone are the days when frugal travelers could expect nothing
more than schlepping their own luggage to bare-walled rooms in
properties so generic theyd wake up and forget where they were.
Luckily, hotels have learned that personality goes a long way and
that mantra has trickled down to even their lowest-cost options.
Nimbler labels are focusing on catering to specic clientele, be they
ashpackers, tness fanatics or digital nomads. While some
properties aunt splashes of local color, others may feature
meeting spaces reminiscent of a Google oice. Best of all, these
high-end extras are often available at bargain prices. Read on to
nd the hotel that best ts your wallet-conscious wanderlust.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 49


the
/ gude/ AFFORDABLE HOTELS

Tune Hotels
What they lack in frills, hotels from this
Malaysia-based chain more than make
up for by nailing the basics every
business or short-term leisure traveler
needs. Expect super-comfy beds with
250-thread-count duvets and powerful
showerheads. Base rates are a steal, but
you might want to fork over a little more
for extras like air-con and TV.
+ WHERE IN ASIA: India, Indonesia,
Malaysia
+ NEWCOMER: While the Malaysian
mogul behind Tune has been busy lately
opening properties in Nairobi and
Londons Shoreditch, the recently
rebranded Tune Hotel Sepang, Malaysia
(doubles from $58) offers a place to crash
15 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur
airport. The hotel will let you book a
shorter stay between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
and pay even less.
+ tunehotels.com.

Ibis Hotels
Sometimes all you really want is a clean,
comfortable place to sleep without
breaking the bank, which is where the
2,000-plus Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis
Budget hotels come into play. While the
latter keeps prices as low as $25 with
compact cocoon rooms and the like, there
are still some serious bargains to be
found in the former two lines.
+ WHERE IN ASIA: Burma, China, Hong
Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos,
Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea,
Thailand, Vietnam
+ NEWCOMER: As the name implies, the
main draw at the Ibis Saigon Airport
(doubles from $54) is its location,
especially useful if youve got a long
layover transferring between Tan Son
Tune Hotel,
Nhat International Airport and the
Yogyakarta.
domestic terminal.
+ ibis.com.

BASIC BUNKS FabHotels


For those traveling to the Subcontinent,
C O U R T E S Y O F T U N E H O T E L Y O G YA K A R TA

this budget brand boasts more than 150


Base price: properties. Most veer to the spartan side,
Working under the philosophy
$60 less is more, these
but with average rates starting at around
$30 per night and convenient locations in
or less accommodations bypass more than a dozen cities, no one seems to
unnecessary extras and pass be complaining.
+ WHERE IN ASIA: India
the savings onto you. + NEWCOMER: FabHotel Sai Village
Sushant Lok (doubles from $25) features
simple, functional rooms for a low price.
+ fabhotels.com.

*Prices throughout are listed in U.S. dollars for easy comparison.


Base price:
$100
A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA
Plenty of small perks are available for those willing to
or less shell out a few more bucks on their stay.
C L O C K W I S E F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F R A M A D A B A L I S U N S E T R O A D K U TA ; C O U R T E S Y O F C I N N A M O N R E D C O L O M B O ; C O U R T E S Y O F N O V O T E L P H U K E T P H O K E E T H R A

Cinnamon Red
Colombo.

Ramada Bali Novotel Phuket


Sunset Road Kuta. Phokeethra.

Cinnamon Red Hotels Ramada Hotels Sunset Road Kuta (doubles from $60)
While Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts across Run by the Wyndham Hotel Group, makes it easy for guests to take a break
Sri Lanka and the Maldives can be fairly which boasts the largest number of from all the action. Sip sundowners by
opulent, the brands recently launched hospitality properties in the world, the rooftop pool, book a treatment at the
sibling targets switched-on urbanites Ramada Hotels has been a low-cost spa, and unwind in true Balinese style.
looking for a stay with character at an favorite for more than 60 years. Although + ramada.co.uk.
affordable price. The budget brand, many of its 1,000-plus properties are
which bills itself as lean luxury, only concentrated in North America, the Holiday Inn Express
includes one property at this point, but brand has ambitious Asian expansion The sheer numbermore than 2,400
as flashpackers continue to flock to the plans. Options range from Ramada worldwideof outlets in this chain by
Pearl of the Indian Ocean, thats likely to Limited, with a modest number of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a
change quickly. amenities, to full-service Ramada Hotels. testament to their popularity among
+ WHERE IN ASIA: Sri Lanka + WHERE IN ASIA: Australia, China, thrifty travelers looking for reliable
+ NEWCOMER: From the swift paperless India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, standards like fully stocked business
check-in to the rooftop infinity pool with New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, centers and smaller fitness clubs.
Indian Ocean views, theres a lot to like Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Holiday Inns and Holiday Inn Resorts
about Cinnamon Red Colombo (doubles Thailand around Asia often sport full-service
from $85), the brands splashy debut. + NEWCOMER: Kuta may be the epicenter amenities and cushy on-site restaurants,
+ cinnamonhotels.com. of Balis party scene, but the Ramada Bali while Holiday Inn Express outposts

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 51


the
/ gude/ AFFORDABLE HOTELS

focus on savings. For the love of families, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam Centra by Centara
kids aged 12 and under can stay and eat + NEWCOMER: The Mercure Manila Unlike the huge five-star Centara Grand
for free across Asia. Ortigas (doubles from $65) gives guests hotels or the petite but pricey Centara
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Hong Kong, easy access to Pasig City, plus plenty of Boutique Collection, this economic
India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, meeting facilities for work travel, and 150 offshoot keeps it simple in urban and
Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, South comfortable rooms. seaside spots in the Kingdom of Smiles.
Korea, Taiwan, Thailand + mercure.com. + WHERE IN ASIA: Thailand
+ NEWCOMER: A super-central location + NEWCOMER: Centra by Centara Phu
near one of the Malaysian capitals main Jin Jiang Pano Resort Krabi (doubles from $80)
shopping districts makes the Holiday Inn International Hotels exudes chilled out ocean vibes.
Express Kuala Lumpur City Centre This Shanghai-based powerhouse + centarahotelsresorts.com.
(doubles from $50) a practical choice for operates a string of four- and five-star
shorter stays. hotels throughout the Peoples Republic. Doubletree by Hilton
+ ihg.com/holidayinn. Both categories are moderately priced Warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in
and often offer some of the cushiest beds and other thoughtful touches help the
Mercure Hotels in farther flung cities such as Urumqi. 450-plus outlets of this brand across 39
Slightly swisher than Ibis but a touch less + WHERE IN ASIA: China countries stand out from the crowd.
upscale than Novotel, this mid-range + NEWCOMER: In a green area outside of + WHERE IN ASIA: China, India,
entry from AccorHotels features free the city center, Jin Jiang International Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand
Wi-Fi connectivity, an efficient online Hotel Xian (doubles from $100) gives + NEWCOMER: Relax at the indoor sauna
check-in system, and stylishly functional visitors a break from all the bustle with and steam room when you stay at the
rooms from Tokyo to Chiang Mai. relatively easy access to the Terra Cotta DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chongqing
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Indonesia, Warriors and the Bell Tower. Nan An (doubles from $87).
Japan, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, + hotels.jinjiang.com. + doubletree3.hilton.com.

Centra by Centara
Phu Pano Resort
Krabi.

C O U R T E S Y O F C E N T R A B Y C E N TA R A P H U PA N O R E S O R T K R A B I

52 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


Exceptional
Extended
Stays
These serviced
apartments
combine the
comforts of
home with the
convenience of a
hotel.

BANGKOK
MODENA BY FRASER,
BANGKOK
Huge windows, custom
art pieces, and a
location near the MRT
make this new debut a
hit with business
travelers. bangkok.
modenabyfraser.com;
Holiday Inn Express doubles from $54.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
KUALA LUMPUR
ASCOTT KUALA
LUMPUR
Plush kitchenette-
equipped pads come
with access to a
Novotel Hotels Four Points by Sheraton top-notch gym, a sauna
With more than 430 locations worldwide, Travelers flock to the more than 200 of and pool, and plenty of
Novotel Hotels provide travelers with all these hotels across 30 countries thanks playspace for kids,
making this central
C O U R T E S Y O F H O L I D AY I N N E X P R E S S K U A L A L U M P U R C I T Y C E N T R E

the basics and then some. Wi-Fi, to tech-savvy perks that go way beyond
generously sized flatscreens, iPod free Wi-Fi. For instance, a downloadable residence feel like an
upgraded version of
docking stations, online check-in and training app will help you come up with a home. the-ascott.com;
fast check-out, plus around-the-clock customized workout in the gym, while doubles from $95.
dining options are just a few of the select rooms come equipped with smart
standard amenities. Families will love mirrors and dual HD televisions so that HONG KONG
both the play areas and the fact that two you and your boo can stop fighting over V WANCHAI HOTEL
children under the age of 16 can stay and the remote. With just 25 opulently
eat breakfast for free. + WHERE IN ASIA: Australia, Bangladesh, appointed rooms, this
hotel and serviced
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Hong Kong, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, apartment makes for
Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, an intimate abode
Thailand Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam exclusively for longer
+ NEWCOMER: Historic Phuket Town is at + NEWCOMER: Conveniently located near stays, with a price tag
thats a steal in Hong
your doorstep when you stay at the new the citys CBD, the Four Points by
Kong. thev.hk; doubles
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra (doubles from Sheraton Jakarta, Thamrin (doubles from from $3,158 per month
$100). The sky lounge offers especially $64) provides in-room massage ($102 per night).
pretty views of old Sino-Portuguese roofs. treatments in lieu of a spa.
+ novotel.com. + starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 53


the
/ gude/ AFFORDABLE HOTELS

Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong.


LEFT: Amari Koh Samui.

Taiwan, Thailand
+ NEWCOMER: Opened in January, Aloft
Taipei Beitou (doubles from $126) is
ideally positioned for travelers looking to
scope out the capital or kick back at the
nearby natural hot springs.
+ starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels.

Base price:
LIVING LARGER dusitD2 Hotels & Resorts

F R O M L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F H O T E L I N D I G O S I N G A P O R E K AT O N G ; C O U R T E S Y O F A M A R I K O H S A M U I
The savvy little sibling of Dusit Thani
$140 Creature comforts abound at
Hotels & Resorts, dusitD2 Hotels sport
contemporary interiors dappled with
or less these decidedly upscale, but still splashes of primary colors, full
connectivity, and often extras including
affordable options.
spas, fitness studios, and activities such
as cooking classes.
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Maldives,
Amari Aloft Hotels Philippines, Thailand
The Amari Hosts at these family- With modish furnishings and a palpably + NEWCOMER: Guests at the dusitD2
friendly hotels and resorts are always hip vibe similar to more upscale sister Khao Yai (doubles from $100),
available to babysit or keep the kids brand W Hotels & Resorts, these urban overlooking Khao Yai National Park, can
occupied with a slew of games and crafts, outposts tend to revolve around buzzy partake in fun outdoorsy activities, such
giving parents the chance to take a cocktail bars and dining options targeted as visiting a near by alpaca farm or
breather and sip a cocktail by the pool. at young professionals on the go. Guests dining in a private treetop pod.
Flexible all-day dining and modern dcor can take advantage of high-tech perks + dusit.com/dusitd2.
add to the overall experience. such as the SPG Keyless system, which
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Bangladesh, allows you to open your door with a wave Hotel Indigo
Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand. (Malaysia of your smartphone. At select properties, Local culture infuses every element of
opens June 2017) Botlr, a robotic butler, attends to the these boutiques, from the design schemes
+ NEWCOMER: On the powdery strip of needs of guests by delivering towels, of the suitesthink: murals and bespoke
Chaweng Beach, Amari Koh Samui toiletries and other necessities right to artwork inspired by the surrounding
(doubles from $120) features dual their doors. neighborhoodto the menus serving
swimming pools in a lush, green setting. + WHERE IN ASIA: China, India, traditional specialties made with
+ amari.com. Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, regional produce. Spa-style bathrooms

54 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


with rainshowers, plus business and Avani Hotels & Resorts + NEWCOMER: A Sri Lankan oasis ringed
fitness centers available around the They may not offer quite the same level with palms, Avani Kalutara Resort
clock, are added bonuses. of luxury as swankier sister brand (doubles from $125) offers yoga classes,
+ WHERE IN ASIA: China, Indonesia, Anantara, but Avani properties still spa treatments, watersports and games
Singapore, Thailand sport plenty of flair, not to mention kids for kids. But, given its stunning location
+ NEWCOMER: Taking over a former clubs, spas and fitness centers. Activities at the intersection of the Indian Ocean
police station, Hotel Indigo Singapore go local, including mangrove tours in and Kalu Ganga River, you may be
Katong (doubles from $140) features a Malaysia, basket boats in Vietnam, and tempted just to kick back and watch the
rooftop infinity pool with a killer view of watersports in Sri Lanka. waves roll by.
one of the Lion Citys historic hoods. + WHERE IN ASIA: Malaysia, Thailand, Sri + minorhotels.com/avani.
+ ihg.com/hotelindigo. Lanka and Vietnam

Fusion Suites,
Saigon.

FIVE FABULOUS
SA IGON
Fusion Suites Sai Gon
COURTESY OF FUSION SUITES SAI GON

With its frenetic pace and ferocious traffic snarls, Vietnams

AFFORDABLE BOUTIQUES busiest metropolis isnt often touted as a relaxation destination.


These Zen suites may be set to change that, thanks to a wellness
center and a 24-hour restaurant dishing up wholesome, produce-
centric fare. Holistic healing is so integral to the hotels concept
These newcomers and classics that a daily spa treatment comes gratis with the room rate. Youll
feature sharp designs, loads of local want to take advantage, as the spa features a chromatherapy
lighting scheme that adjusts to your mood, with expert therapists
color, thoughtful extrasall sans trained like those at Fusion Maia Da Nang, the boutiques swish
sticker shock. sister property. fusionsuitessaigon.com; doubles from $120.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 55


the
/ gude/ AFFORDABLE HOTELS

Whats Next
Low-Cost Hotels,
High-Value Innovations

T
ech is likely to continue to
play a vital role, both in
streamlining the
experience for leisure
travelers and helping business
travelers stay connected on the
road, says Nathalia Wilson, Senior
Director, Hotels Asia Pacific at
Savills. While high-speed Wi-Fi is
all but standard throughout Asia,
many boutiques are taking
matters a step further. For
instance, Butterfly on Morrison in
Hong Kong provides guests with a
pocket unlimited 4G Wi-Fi device
and a smartphone that can make
free local calls. Tablets may soon
become the norm at hotels front
desks, making it easy to check-in
Shanghai
while seated in the lobby.
Mansion,
Wellness is also likely to step
Bangkok.
into the spotlight. Think: yoga
mats and vitamins instead of
chocolates on the bedside table,
UBUD TA IPEI Wilson says. That also extends to
on-site eateries, where kale
Suarti Boutique Village Amba Taipei Songshan salads will be just as prevalent as
club sandwiches. At Naumi Hotel
Balinese jewelry designer and A funky communal space with
Singapore, guests start the day
dancer Desak Nyoman Suarti has ping-pong tables, and enviable with vegetable juice shots and
created an intimate oasis that views of Taipei 101 are just two fresh-pressed fruit juices spiked
channels Ubuds eco-friendly ethos perks at this dead-central spot. with vitamin supplements or skin-
and free-spirited charm. The 25 Amba is especially geared towards perking collagen.
It comes all down to creating a
traditional Javanese joglos in this a global clientele, with nice touches more personalized experience. To
village are made of sustainable like friendly staff speaking five keep refining their approach,
materials and spruced up with languages and universal power hotels are likely, Wilson says, to
furnishings by local artisans. Daily outlets everywhere. When you dine start collecting more information
cultural activities range from yoga in, woodfire-charred steaks in before check-in, to the point of
asking about food allergies and
to traditional dance to a course in bright eatery Que overlooking the favorite dishes. While already a
local herbs and spices. Keelung River hit the spot. standard practice among many of
suartiresorts.com; doubles amba-hotels.com; doubles the top luxury brands, Savills
from $104. from $110. anticipates that it may soon be
common among boutiques at the
affordable end of the spectrum.
KUA L A LUMPUR BA NGKOK This is good news for
The Kuala Lumpur Journal Shanghai Mansion Bangkok consumers. Finely customized
options make it easier than ever
Copious nods to KLs cultural Oozing Suzy Wong-worthy vintage for travelers to find a place thats
landscape make this spot pop. glam, this Art Deco gem is ideally just right.
TOP: COURTESY OF SHANGHAI MANSION, BANGKOK

Photographs of urban street life by located in the heart of Yaowarat


local Che Ahmad Azhar adorn Road. That puts guests a quick
rooms, while rotating installations tuk-tuk ride away from the banks
spotlight other Malaysian artists. of the Chao Phraya River, or a
Business travelers will appreciate leisurely stroll from Soi Nana and
The Hub, a plugged-in workspace Chinatowns other increasingly
complete with espresso bar, and the vibrant alleyways. Explore the
Workers Union and Gallery, which surrounding shophouse galleries
provide a casual setting for and bars, then return to the
meetings and presentations. Also, soaring lantern-lit lobby and rooms
theres a rooftop infinity pool. dripping with chinoiserie finery.
kljournalhotel.com; doubles shanghaimansion.com; doubles
from $65. from $125.

56 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


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SOCIAL NETWORK NEWSPAPER
|| T R AV E L S M A RT E R ||

T+L Reader
Specials
Between daily spa sessions at a beachside
resort in Vietnam and a tranquil visit to the shores
of Inle Lake, our deals this month will provide
you with a therapeutic escape from daily life.

C O U R T E S Y O F S T. R E G I S B A L I . O P P O S I T E : C O U R T E S Y O F B U R I R A S A V I L L A G E P H A N G A N

Arresting
ocean views
from St.
Regis Bali.

58 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


BEACH night in a Club Deluxe room, suite, from HK$1,750 for two, Pagoda. The Deal 3-Day
BALI from Bt3,430 for two, through through December 31. Getaway package: two nights
The St. Regis Bali Resort December 31. Save 30%. Save up to 50%. in a Cloister Deluxe room, from
Known as one of Balis finest centarahotelsresorts.com. newworldmillenniumhotel.com. US$372 for two, through
addresses, this suite- and villa- September 30. Save 34%.
only resort sits in opulence on MANILA SINGAPORE sanctum-inle-resort.com.
the powdery white beach of Shangri-La at the Fort JW Marriott Singapore
Nusa Dua. By booking your stay Business tripturned mini South Beach SPA
60 days in advance, youll save vacation? Work days are going Singapores design-led CHINA
on rates, enjoy a lavish to be much more bearable with landmark in the heart of the The Ritz-Carlton Haikou
breakfast spread at Boneka this package that provides city-states art and culture Perched on the northern tip of
restaurant and receive round- luxurious rooms; access to the district has discounts for Hainan, this hotel is a gateway
trip airport transfers. And with Horizon Club Lounge; free advanced planners. With digs to the worlds largest golf
the extra time to organize your evening cocktails and canapes; styled by French designer resort, Mission Hills Resort.
trip, you can get strategic use of on-site Kerry Sports Philippe Starck, and a But whether you are on the
about which activities to add to Manila, the citys most restaurant helmed by island to golf, beach-hop or for
your itinerary. A four-hand comprehensive indoor gym; a world-renowned chef, Akira business, a little spa time will
massage? Wind-surfing complimentary pressing Back, this 634-room hotel is help you unwind. With this
lessons? A bespoke Mazzei service; and either an airport sure to impress. Plan your trip package, enjoy complimentary
wine dinner? There are ample arrival or departure transfer, a early with this package and get tickets to the nearby volcanic
options to pick from in the dining credit of P2,500 or a discounted accommodations. mineral springs, a 90-minute
extensive list of offerings. one-hour-long massage The Deal Advance Purchase agarwood- and coconut-oil
The Deal Early Booking. Bigger treatment. The Deal Horizon promotion: a night in a Deluxe session for two at the hotels
Savings: a night in a St. Regis Business Choice: a night in a or Premier room, from S$320 world-class spa, and receive
suite, from Rp5,347,000 for Horizon Deluxe room, from for two, through April 30. Save 20 percent off on any
two, through December 31. P15,500 for two, through 20%. jwmarriottsingapore.com. additional treatments during
Save up to 20%. stregisbali. December 30. Save 20%. your stay. The Deal Spa
com. shangri-la.com. CULTURE Retreat package: a night in a
BURMA Deluxe Golf View room, from
CITY HONG KONG Sanctum Inle Resort RMB2,988 for two, through
BANGKOK New World Millennium Hong This aptly named haven draws December 29. Save 27%.
Centara Grand at Central Kong Hotel stylistic cues from the virtues ritzcarlton.com.
Plaza Ladprao Your next trip to Hong Kong is of a monastic life. With quiet
Upgrade your weekend about to get a whole lot cloistered corridors and an VIETNAM
shopping trip with this sweeter with this package. emphasis on simplicity, youll Fusion Resort Nha Trang
package, which includes Enjoy a lofty discount on stays understand why Buddhist If the pristine coastline along
accommodations in a suite, in two different luxury monks have been retreating to Cam Ran-Trang and
Club benefits, cocktails at the suites both with stunning the serene shores of Inle Lake uninterrupted views of South
hotels rooftop bar, a dining and views of Victoria Harbor. Youll for centuries to reconnect. To China Sea dont immediately
spa credit of Bt500 per person, get special prices on hotel get into the holiday groove, ease you into a relaxed state,
late check-out and additional services like dry cleaning and take advantage of the free the resorts all-inclusive spa
discounts on spa packages, on-site dining, free use of a cocktail at the bar, enjoy the treatment policy should do the
on-site dining and shopping at smartphone with unlimited convenience of a one-way trick. During your stay, this
Central Plaza department data and local calling, evening airport transfer and discover package guarantees at least
store, to which the hotel is cocktails at the Residence Club your surroundings with a tour two treatments per day. Cant
conveniently attached. and more. The Deal Suite to Inle Lakes most revered decide between the body scrub
The Deal Suite Experience: a Stay: a night in a Harbour View religous site, Phaung Daw Oo or facial? Then simply start
your day with one and end it
with the other. You can still
pamper yourself in the
moments between massages:
SUPERSAVER tuck into a spread of healthy
Vietnamese fare by the pool or
Buri Rasa Village Phangan, Koh Phangan, Thailand later in the day take a shuttle
Shaded under a canopy of palm trees, this quiet resort to the city center to visit the
lined by the white powdery sands of Thong Nai Pan Noi Nha Trang night market.
beach serves as the perfect island getaway. From The Deal Golden Rooms: a
night in a Chic suite, from
beachside massages to alfresco dining, youll enjoy every
US$235 for two, through
minute of your stay with this package. The Deal March & October 31. Save 35%.
May Super Saving: a night in a Deluxe room, from Bt5,250 fusionresortnhatrang.com.
for two, through May 31. Save up to 58%. burirasa.com VERONICA INVEEN

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 59
Near-Away! by American Express

THE SULTAN carved King size boat beds, Japanese-inspired platform


101 Jalan Sultan #01-01 Singapore 199002 beds, or skylights that allow you to wake up to the
Call 6723 7101 or email info@thesultan.com.sg Singapore sunrise, the rooms have a little something
to make your bookings now. special for each and every traveller.
No stay at The Sultan would be complete without
The Sultan is a historical shophouse hotel located in the experiencing the sumptuous and hearty halal European
hip and eclectic Kampong Glam district in Singapore. fare at Classified Cafe.
The hotel is just minutes away from the cool boutiques
and bars on Haji Lane, the traditional carpet sellers on
Arab Street and some of the hottest restaurant tables at
Kandahar Street. To enjoy a one-night stay at the Puteri
Room at American Express subsidised rate
Boasting 64 individually designed guest rooms, the hotel of S$150 nett, please present the voucher
is a gleaming testament to both the preservation of located in your annual Platinum Reserve
Singapores historical architecture and also the countrys Credit Card welcome or renewal pack.
warm hospitality. Whether you like generous hand-

THE SULTAN
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A pilgrim
catches her
breath, and the
view, on the
Kumano Kodo,
page 70.
S C O T T A . W O O D WA R D

/ MARCH 2017 / Four new Maldives hotels worth breaking the bank for |
A walk to remember on the Kumano Kodo in Japan | Our favorite new boutique
hotels in Asia Pacific | A date with the aurora borealis in Swedens far north
61
Turquoise
Dream
Why go all the way to
the Maldives for a beach?
Because, as
MARIA SHOLLENBARGER
finds at four new resorts,
nowhere else does sea, sand
and splendor quite like this.

Photographed by
SEAN FENNESSY

The master bath in


the Water villa at
Four Seasons
Private Island at
Voavah. OPPOSITE:
Reception and
guest villas at the
St. Regis Maldives
Vommuli Island
Resort.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 63


FROM THE HEADLINES, you wouldnt guess
that the Maldives is an excellent place to go in
2017. This island nation of just 375,000 citizens,
spread across 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, has
come in for a tough reckoning of late, and not level, its conceivable that, if polar ice melt
without good reason. Corruption charges have continues on its current trajectory, by the end of
plagued the government since former president the century a good amount of the Maldives
Mohamed Nasheed, elected in 2008 in the could be underwater.
countrys first multiparty democratic vote, was But its far from all bad news here.
ousted in 2012 and briefly jailed on terrorism Environmental protection is still high on the
charges, in what his supporters called a governments priority list (the Maldives was
military coup. (He eventually sought asylum in quick to ratify the Paris climate agreement),
the United Kingdom.) The Maldives is still a and tourism thrives (more than 1 million
democratic republic, but Islamic law plays a visitors came in 2016). The prodigious physical
major role in both government and society. And attributes that have long lured honeymooners
when the British Commonwealth threatened to and sybaritesthat amazing sea, displaying
suspend the Maldives last September because of the full color-wheel range of blues; those
the countrys increasingly poor human-rights powdery white beachesare still present and
record, current president Abdulla Yameen accounted for. If youre keen to see marine life,
responded by voluntarily withdrawing from thumb-size anemonefish to giant manta
making it only the fourth country in the 52- rays, its here in an abundance found in few
nation assemblys history to do so. And then other places in the world. And if you want to
there are the countrys environmental appreciate (or, better yet, have your kids
challenges. With a national average altitude of appreciate) with an equally rare immediacy
just 120 to 180 centimeters above mean sea how imperiled that bounty is by pollution and

64 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


the sea, and the long, overwater Whale Bar
takes the unmistakable shape of a whale shark,
its far end open like the massive fishs mouth to
allow for prime sunset vistas.
St. Regis hotels often celebrate the opulence
of the brands Gilded Age New York flagship. At
Alba, the excellent Mediterranean restaurant
overlooking the infinity pool and beach, the
materials on display (exotic stone, mullioned
glass, chandeliers) might seem at home in Italy
or the French Riviera and out of place in the
Indian Ocean, yet they somehow make sense.
Certainly at night, when Alba is softly lit and
irresistibly pretty. (Im not sure a marble-clad
bathroom in an overwater wood villa will ever
feel 100 percent right to me, but the aesthetic
effect is admittedly lovely.) Just down the beach
is Crust, a sand-floored, six-table, open-air joint
that turns out killer pizzas and grilled
bruschettas, nothing else, and that is
perfection. Likewise the one-bedroom, A-frame
beach villas, with their six-meter-tall picture
windows overlooking private plunge pools.
Theres an exceptionally cool fitness-
recreation complex at the islands center, where
a naturopathic doctor administers
acupuncture, and manicures and blow-drys
can be had in the jewel box of a beauty salon.
The main spa, which specializes in ayurveda-
inspired treatments (as well as serious
ayurvedic detox programs, overseen by a staff

climate change, the Maldives is one of the best FROM TOP: Deck
places for such a field lesson. seating at the St.
Regis Maldives
Vommulis Whale
T H E G I L D E D G R A N D E DAME Bar; the beach at
the St. Regis
St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Vommuli.
Island Resort
Just a 45-minute flight by seaplane from Mal
lies the newest member of the St. Regis
portfolio, which is set on the private Vommuli
Islanddiminutive at nine hectares, dense
with palms and pandani, and easy to
circumnavigate on foot along neatly kept sand
paths. Seventy-seven palatial villas are spread
across the island and along the small lagoon
that extends to its north. The Singapore-based
architects, WOW, wanted to reference the
famous marine environment through the
buildings design: hence the overwater villas,
their subtly sloping roofs clad in silvery
shingles, evoke manta rays powering through
watersports center and an ayurvedic spa. Its
outdoor cinema is already screening nightly
entertainment. (The other two islands are used
for intimate Crusoe experiences: lantern-lit
dinners, spa treatments and the like.)
Meanwhile, the resorts 24 overwater villas
are open for business, strung like charms on a
bracelet along an undulating boardwalk that
extends from the main island into the lagoon.
These are punctuated by a multistory complex
known as the Gathering, which holds two
restaurants, a bar/lounge, a boutique, a fitness
center and a mini spa.
Like its predecessor, Soneva Jani favors
soft luxuries (exquisite organic food, space,
privacy) and dispenses with overt ones
(anything remotely resembling gilt or marble).
The Soneva look is one that a friend once
dubbed, aptly, Flintstones chic, characterized
by organic shapes, natural materials and a real
inclination to delight. The villas timber walls
and plank floors (sourced from Sri Lanka) are
dotted with amoeba-shaped portholes peeking
onto the horizon or the aquamarine lagoon
below. There are daybeds on sturdy platforms,
and sprawling indoor-outdoor bathrooms
encircled by ingenious jalousie panels for
privacy, with steps leading directly into the
water. The one-bedroom villas have six-meter-
long infinity pools and second-story lounging
doctor), is a stunning construction, its weaving Water access areas and retractable roofs in the bedrooms.
jetties leading to ultra-private treatment suites, from the Gathering The two- and three-bedroom villas have these,
at Soneva Jani.
each with an alfresco bath. OPPOSITE: The
too, plus some have waterslidesyes, you read
What St. Regis seems to get right living room of the that rightspiraling from their upper floors
everywhere is service, and Vommuli is no Water Villa at the into the lagoon.
exception. Starting with my airport transfer, Four Seasons The Gathering is home to a Willy Wonka
where a video of my butler welcoming me Voavah. esque enfilade of cold rooms, for ice cream,
played on an iPad in the car ride, through to the cheese and desserts. A juice bar sits across a
iced watermelon juice I was brought as suspended glass bridge from a vast open
refreshment for my flight out, there was a kitchen, where the chef does omakase-style
warm, highly competent interaction at most meals based on guests proclivities. Next door is
every turn. stregis.com; doubles from US$1,770. a circular dining platform, with a central
oculus from which a massive telescope emerges
for evening stargazing sessions to enjoy
T H E G R O W N - U P S P L AYG R O U N D between courses.
Soneva Jani Soneva Jani has a way to go before its
When Soneva Fushi opened in the Maldives in completed, but what was up and running when
1995, sustainable luxury was a pioneering I visited more than delivered on the whimsical,
conceptone that its owner-founder, Sonu indulgent experience that has long been
Shivdasani, championed with groundbreaking Sonevas stock-in-trade. Proof positive it pays
recycling and building practices. Last not to mess with a successful formula. soneva.
November (21 years later), Soneva Jani opened com; doubles from US$3,085.
in the northern Noonu Atoll, on the largest site
ever developed in the Maldives: an oval lagoon
some five kilometers long, ringed on its eastern T H E PA RT Y I S L A N D
edge by a cluster of islands. The biggest island, Finolhu
clocking in at around 60 hectares, will Actually, its not a party island. Or so I was
eventually be home to 32 villas of various sizes, assured more than once during my stay at
along with two restaurants, a scuba and Finolhu, the words usually just audible over the

66 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


Rod Stewart/Michael Jackson/Sugarhill Gang of man caves, mermaids and lots of out-of-
blasting out of the sound systems in seemingly context antique signage.
every public spacefrom the spa, with its Fair enough, and to each his own. But the
treatment cabins named after the likes of Karen thing is, Finolhu is in the Maldives; specically,
Carpenter and Barbara [sic] Streisand, to the in the Baa Atoll, one of only three unesco-
second story of Baa Baa Beach Bar, a man cave designated World Biosphere Reserves in the
with arcade games, self-serve beer taps and a Indian Oceanwhich made the zeal with
beanbag-lined screening room (Cinema which its creators proselytized about the high-
Retro). There were ame throwers and aerial- ying hedonism of their vision, to the exclusion
silk acrobats performing by the main pool; a (at least on my visit) of any mention of the
woman dressed as a mermaid frolicked countrys environmental and wildlife issues,
periodically in the water. Highway signs feel slightly tone-deaf.
inexplicably marked the intersections of paths. That said, Finolhu has some notable things
A Nikki Beachstyle hangout, the Fish & Crab going for itstarting with its prices. With one-
Shack, was set halfway down the long sandbar bedroom beach villas coming in at around
adjacent to the island (a dhoni ferries people US$850 in the low season, it oers better value
from the resorts main jetty), where I watched a by local ve-star standards. The rooms
gaggle of Russians with epic tattoos slurp down themselves are sleekly designed, with wide
champagne next to a palapa-style DJ booth. In private patios laid with Balinese tiles,
my own beach villa, the resort literature enormous beds under pitched, palewood
trumpeted the arrival of aretro-inspired ceilings and gorgeous outdoor bathrooms, those
paradise for fun-loving beach-erati! in the beach villas bowered in palms and
In short, and with apologies to Finolhus bougainvillea. The food was creatively
branding team: its a party island. Finolhu is conceived and beautifully presented, from the
the second resort from the Small Maldives crunchy soft-shell-crab tacos at the Fish & Crab
Island Co. (the other is the more family-centric Shack to the poke and heavenly spiced crispy
Amilla Fushi, which opened in 2014), owned eggplant, vivid with roasted chiles, at Kanusan,
and operated by two Australians, one of whom the Pan-Asian restaurant. And theres the
earned his Maldives chops as general manager island itself, whose windswept sandbar should,
of the One&Only Reethi Rah. Their concept was on an early-morning ramble, fulll just about
to import the jet-set glamour of Mykonos and
St.-Tropez to the Indian Ocean, agrantly
eschewing the local thatched-roof building
vernacular, along with most every other
conventional reference to local culture, in favor
every permutation of castaway fantasy thats
out there.
Finolhus fun but very site-unspecific
offerings ultimately lead to one question: Why
come to such a remote location for something
you can arguably get in Bali, Boracay or even
Ibiza? On the other hand, what is working here
works well indeed. Those in the market for a
good timeas opposed to an edifying local
experiencenow know where to book. finolhu.
com; doubles from US$850.

THE BUCKET LISTER


Four Seasons Private Island
at Voavah
Private islands are somewhat of a thing for
2017, and the Maldives is full of them. But this
latest retreat in the northern Baa Atoll from
Four Seasonswhich already has two best-in-
class Maldives resorts, Kudaa Huraa and
Landaa Giraavaru (the latter located just three
kilometers from Voavah)is the real deal: an
exclusive private island that sleeps anywhere
from two to 22 people, has its own chefs, staff,
spa with therapists and 20-meter-long PADI-
equipped motor yacht complete with a
dedicated divemaster.
Voavah, which opened in December, offers
once-in-a lifetime luxury for people who are
celebrating something big or a holiday redoubt
for those wealthy enough to not even blink at
the US$36,000-a-night rate. The rooms have
been cleverly configured in three separate traditional dance performance? Donejust
villas to accommodate friends, give them a day to organize it.
multigenerational families, or entourage-heavy The living room of That guests can also partake of any of the
celebrities/oligarchs/tuhao (Chinese nouveaux the Water Villa at top-notch restaurants or services offered at
riches). The Beach House has the main living the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru only expands the territory.
and dining areas spread across its wall-less Voavah. OPPOSITE: But when youre standing ankle-deep in
The Gathering is
ground floor and richly appointed mezzanine the communal opalescent wavelets in the morning, looking
suites above. A three-bedroom villa at the centerpiece of northward to a constellation of uninhabited
islands northern end has a master suite with a Soneva Jani. islands, a soaring expanse of milky-blue sky,
truly dreamy 200-degree sea-and-sand view; and, beyond, the oceanluxury at its most
the two-bedroom overwater villa, at the islands elemental and rareits hard to imagine
other end (Voavah measures only about 305 needing anything else, ever again. fourseasons.
meters long by 106 meters wide) has one of the com; from US$36,000 per night, all-inclusive.
more spectacularly photogenic conflagrations
of infinity pool and horizon Ive ever seen.
But what Voavah is really about is total
personalization. Pancakes at midnight? Of THE DETAILS
course. Impromptu cruise on the Summer to
GETTING THERE WHEN TO GO
snorkel among manta rayswhich, in late
Velana International December through April,
summer, convene in Hanifaru Bay by the Airport, located on Hulhule when the weather is dry and
hundredswith one of the researchers from Island off of capital Mal is the humidity is low, is peak
the Manta Trust, a charity based at the nearby reachable from cities season for travelers. Low
Landaa Giraavaru? Ready when you are, including Bangkok, season is between May and
Singapore, Kuala Lumphur November, which typically
maam. Pizza-making class for the kids, while and Dubai. Seaplane or boat means more rain but
the grown-ups enjoy sundowners on the transfers are required to get cheaper rates.
sandbar across the channelperhaps with a to the resorts.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 69


Mystery
Trail
INFLUENCED BY RELIGION,
HISTORY AND NATURE,
JAPANS KUMANO KODO
PILGRIMAGE IS MORE THAN A TREK
THROUGH SACRED MOUNTAINS.
ITS A PUZZLE THAT LEADS YOU
BACK TO YOURSELF WITH EVERY
CAREFULLY CHOSEN STEP.
BY CHRISTOPHER KUCWAY

PHOTOGRAPHED BY
SCOTT A. WOODWARD
Dwarfed by nature
on the Kumano
Kodo Pilgrimage.
OPPOSITE: Autumn
colors along the
Hiraka-gawa.
Do you know what shape your mind is? The Kumano Kodo has many layers. As
a monk by the name of Nobuhiro Tamura asks. Were a pilgrimage, its a mental puzzle, a key
standing late one autumn night in Okunoin, a thousand- that partly unlocks the syncretism between
year-old cemetery in Koyasan, the center of Shingon Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan. Our trek
Buddhism. This major sect believes the secrets of life are is set up to follow a pattern of death, rebirth
found through meditation and, in a few, choice words, and life: you die once but are regenerated
Nobu has given us a lot to ponder below 600-year-old on the KumanoKodo, a Japanese expression
cedars that scrape together high above this otherworldly points out, one of the many mysteries hidden
setting. A jovial monk, he doesnt wait for an answer. Our within this peninsula. It would be tempting to
mind, Nobu says, is the shape of the moon. Like the lunar romanticize this as purely the stu of legends,
orb, its in constant ux. Full one day, ebbing a week later. but Japanese history is as dense here as the
Yet, wherever we nd ourselves in that cycle, eventually, stands of hulking cypress. The pilgrimage
just like the moon, our minds will be full again. These itself dates back to 907 when former emperor
are brain-bending thoughts, surrounded as we are Uda, preoccupied with the ideas of rebirth,
by centuries of Japanese history condensed into more transformation and enlightenment, made
than 200,000 moss-covered markers, tombstones and a similar journey over 30 days. Yet, like the
mausoleums, the immortal remains of once-powerful landscape itself, the Buddhist and Shinto
shoguns, a handful of emperors and, most importantly, beliefs underpinning the journey far predate
Kukai, Shingons founder, who is widely seen as the Udas undertaking. On this strenuous
father of Japanese culture. walk, crossing rivers is seen as a form of
Over the next nine days, were going to trek more purication; ascending mountains, a fusion
than 90 kilometers of the Kumano Kodo, a 900-year-old between man and the sacred environment.
pilgrimage on the Kii Peninsula, a mountainous thumb From the start, were immersed in the
of land south of Osaka that takes in Kumano Sanzan, deep end. Steps from the cemetery and after
the three grand Shinto shrines found at Hongu, Nachi a 10-kilometer trek to Koyasan, we stay in
and Shingu. Its one of only two pilgrimages listed as a a shukubo, or pilgrims inn, and dine on
unesco World Heritage Site, the other being Camino de shojin ryorivegetarian dishes that include
Santiago in Spain. mountain vegetables, several types of tofu,

72 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


A Japanese-style room with a view at
Yunomine Onsen. RIGHT: Vibrant
colors of the season. OPPOSITE, FROM
LEFT: A Buddhist monk at prayer; this
way to the next shrine.

tempura and riceall a reection of the spiritual life. Johnson, photographer Scott Woodward, and
Awake before dawn the next day, we attend a Buddhist me. French Canadian by birth, now living in
prayer service that remembers those who have passed Nagoya, Alain has adopted Japan as his own.
before us, stop in at the Kongobuji temple, the heart of Its easy to see why. The countrys southern
this isolated monastic complex, then transfer by van forests, resplendent in autumn colors, shed
down the Hiraka-gawa to the coast and the start of our leaves of crimson red and citrus yellow that
pilgrimage. In all, there are seven Kumano Kodo routes fall in slow motion along our walk. Another
that knit the Kii Peninsula together; wereheaded to year is dying o, headed into the seclusion of
Tanabe and the head of the Nakahechi trail. But at lunch, winter, and the eect is hypnotic.
before taking a single step on this trek, were rattled by a Once atop the ridge, the trail eases, rolling
small earthquake. If it didnt already, the Kumano Kodo with the terrain. The saving grace to this days
now has our full attention. harsh trek, aside from its brevity, is that it
ends in o-the-map Takahara. Seventeenth-
ree roots form uneven, muddy steps; century Japanese poet Basho wrote of walking

T
narrow earthen paths are held precariously the Kumano Kodo to free himself of all things
in place by stone retaining walls, some as familiar, and this village with its thousand-
old as the cedars themselves. Sheer doesnt year-old camphor trees makes it feel like
begin to describe the climb through dense weve already done that. On our late-afternoon
forest to Takahara, a peaceful hamlet approach, a ceiling of angry clouds cracks
perched on a remote hillside. Tsuru, tsuru, our guide open to the west and sunlight pours into the
Alain Sabourin warns usits slippery. Alain had valley, turning dried grass golden, bathing
mentioned more than once in the previous two days that the handful of homes in this one-road village
our initial stretch along the Kumano Kodo, while short, with a light found only in nature. Two women
would be precipitous. Halfway along that sodden trail, let us in on a local secret: That night it will
breathing heavily, I search overhead for the ridgeline rain and, come morning, the world will have
with no luck. I do spot Alain squatted down on one turned upside down; the roiling clouds above
oversized step, elbows on his knees, arms askew, lost in us will have sunk down into the valley and we
his own thoughts, waiting for usAmerican retiree Je will be buoyed above the mist. Our comfortable
The golden
valley of
Takahara.
Takahara feels
distant from the
modern world,
closer to nature
TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 75
inn, Takahara Kiri no Sato, is the perfect spot for years after that. Aside from our gear, the scene
contemplating the transforming valley. Immediately, is unchanged.
Je and I conclude that this front-row seat to the Valley This is how each day will play out. During
of the Mist is a two-onsen stop: one steaming bath before those moments when the wind is the only
dinner, another early the next morning. music to our ears, we drifto into our own
Up before the sun, the clouds below us as predicted, thoughts.Alain lls us in on the history and
we nd Takahara even more enchanting. It feels distant meaning of where we are but recognizes the
from the modern world, much closer to nature. After that importance of the lulls. I hear his kumayoke,
second spell in the onsen, over a Japanese breakfast of or bear bells, and our carefully chosen
river trout, rice and miso soup, I yearn to stay another footsteps, but little else. We dip into stretches
day. But the trail beckons, so we head away from this of silence as often as the trail falls into another
patch of paradise. Local guide Jennifer Fujino joins us valley. Repetitive stands of Japanese cedar
for the day. A Filipina living in Japan, Jennifers easy and pine, carpets of red maple leaves, vivid
laugh echoes throughout the forest as we walk and talk: mossy stepping stones just waiting to trip us
an American and three Canadians trek into a Japanese upquickly, these patterns become a visual
forest Above the clouds, literally and increasingly meditation. Kobo Daishi, as Kukai came to be
spiritually, were enjoying the day and are headed ever known after his death, asserted that we all
higher along an endless series of log steps. We trudge have the nature of Buddha within us but it is
into a green world of Japanese peaks, our muddy path up to us to put it into practice.
wending its way through the shaded side of a mountain Our stop for the next two nights is
dense with pine. Slide down one mossy path, clamber up Yunomine Onsen, a 1,800-year-old hot spring
the next, repeat. One slippery log bridge straddles a cold, that is said to be Japans oldest. It presents a
shallow creek at the base of a particularly high hill. The last chance to purify ourselves before entering
sheer beauty of the scene moves us to silence. Weve the rst of the grand shrines. Cold, wet and
walked into a woodblock print. Sunlight splits through caeine-deprived, the onsen is an easy sell.
the upper reaches of the trees, to the moist earth and If it hasnt sunk in yet that this is a trek like
wet hikers along a section of the trail that was navigated no other, the next mornings directionsturn
nearly a millennium ago, and rst written about only 100 left at the Japanese man boiling eggs in the

76 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


Arriving at Hosshinmon-oji. FROM FAR
LEFT: Entering the sacred ground of
Kobo Daishi's mausoleum in Okunoin;
lights at Kumano Nachi Taisha.

roadside springputs that to rest. Were headed for the Hosshinmon-oji, a peak towered over by a
rst of three Shinto shrines, Kumano Hongu Taisha. simple wooden torii, Hitomi bows deeply, and
Distinct, sulphurous air in town quickly gives way to we follow: this is the outer entrance to the
the clean scent of Japanese pine as the trail ascends into grand shrine and as we pass, raindrops arrive.
low clouds. Our guide for the day, Hitomi Tamaki, says Twenty minutes downhill, while we sit at
shes been told were an oddball quartetthat sneaky lunch in a small covered shopone that serves
Jennifer!whose conversation veers between veneration hot coeeAlain scans the sky. Zaa-zaa, he
and vending machines. Our laughter eases the sting of murmurs, a prediction of heavier rain. Once
the path, a rock-and-timber escalator taking us away we nish our bento boxes, the skies open, so
from town as quickly as our legs will churn upwards. We we zip up and speed walk through the last
pass the Kakihara-jaya teahouse, built during the Edo few kilometers to the shrine, the rain soaking
Period and in use as late as the 1970s. One of the most everything except our spirits.Even in an
intriguing aspects of the Kumano Kodo is how little the autumn downpour, Kumano HonguTaishais
modern world infringes on its setting. These ruins of tea a spectacular sight. All paths on the peninsula
houses, their foundations being sucked back into the wet lead here, a trio of wooden shrines left to
earth, are a perfect reminder. In turn, they cause Scott their natural colors and pieced together with
and me to pose our daily question about the proximity of intricate joints, some masterful woodwork, the
any Japanese vending machinesthe kind dispensing whole structure set against a towering green
hot coee. Alain, as always, laughs o the query, telling backdrop. Its a reminder that nature, not the
us to enjoy these remnants of the past and our immediate shrine itself, is what is sacred.
present. Hes right, of course. Humid air wraps around Our route to the hamlet of Koguchi begins
us but up we go, hundreds of meters before we switch to in a convenience store the next morning.
a roller coaster of a trail through soaring pine so dense Stocking up on water, sandwiches and onigiri,
that were cut o from daylight. we turn at the stores parking lot into deep
That said, all is not well. Alain is concerned about forest. The rst few hours of this 13-kilometer
the forecast for rain later in the day. This peninsula walk ascend. Always, the steps. Uneven.
is the wettest area of Japan, with upwards of ve Treacherous. Rock. Root. Mud. Morning shade
meters of rainfall annually in some areas. As we reach means a cool climb through sweeps of ferns
78 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM
One happy hiker.
CLOCKWISE FROM
BELOW: Atop the
entrance to Kumano
Hongu Taisha; one
of many Japanese
dinner courses;
scenic Kumano
Nachi Taisha.
An oji watches
over the trail and
its pilgrims.
OPPOSITE: At the
colorful Kumano
Hayatama Taisha.

that do little to absorb the previous days downpour. that closed because of a modern concern:
Intermittent oji, stone statues that stand between the Japans aging population. This village, with
border of life and death, oversee our progress. ve bridges across its river, has few young
Topping o at bend in the rock face, we take in a vista residents. The inn is more comfortable than Id
that, so local lore has it, includes 3,600 green peaks, expected but once Im settled in my futon, the
forest as far as the horizon. Theres a certain satisfaction ow of the river outside my window mimics
in knowing that were among the highest points within rainfall and disturbs my sleep. Or maybe its
sight, distant from all things modern and man-made. thoughts of tomorrows epic walk.
By the time we stop for lunch, were 10 kilometers into
the days walk; and have come across a retired Japanese warfed by nature as Koguchi

D
couple who, all smiles, tell us that a year earlier they is, its only a mild surprise
covered longer portions of the Kumano Kodo than were that weve turned onto a long,
trekking. Over the centuries, many have trod these paths, forested tunnel. Slippery-as-
but the pilgrimages popularity has dropped o from the ice rocks, fallen tree limbs,
days when Ari-no-Kumano modeliterally a procession streams of water, this moss-
of ants to Kumano signifying a long, continuous line of green trail nearly beyond reach of the suns
pilgrimswas common. The next person we see is on rays is treacherous and continues for as far
the outskirts of Koguchi, an elderly woman carving out as the eye can see. Alain had told us that this
her own piece of the trail by hand. last day of serious hiking would be, at more
The Japanese say you can sense the heart of nature than 14 kilometers, our most diicult, but
here in Koguchi, whichfeels like a forgotten village, this aged section of the pilgrimage is brutal. It
wedged as it is between 800-meter green ridges. We head looks and feels like were in a dierent century.
straight for the one store in town and wheedle our way Every step up to the highest point of our
into a multilingual conversation with three local women journey, the 870-meter Echizen-toge Pass, is
who are as shocked by our presence as they are by that deliberate and thought out. As we near the top,
days bread prices. We commiserate, then walk to our a moss-encrusted, all-knowing oji awaits amid
inn, steaming onsen and good conversation over dinner. thousands of soaring pines, with a hint of clear
Our nights stay is in a revamped junior high school sky peeking down. If the climb to this point

80 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


has been taxing, the descent is lethal. After the previous Dreams of walking the Kumano Kodo will
days rain, the path is a waterfall in parts, where its haunt me in the coming days and weeks. In
easiest to clamber on all fours through newly formed my sleep, Im ascending, descending, carefully
rivulets. Je leans on his walking sticks like never before; choosing my next move across slippery hewn-
it seems like well never get back to sea level. We arrive log bridges, plotting how to circumvent the
at a clearing with views of the Pacic but in the time it centuries-old moss-covered boulders down a
takes to unpack lunch, clouds roll in bringing a seasonal hillside. But those dreams will also be of the
chill. The valley below feels like a nish line, one our magical sweep of light permeating Japanese
aching calves, knees and feet want desperately to reach, pines and one ominous cemetery in Koyasan.
yet theres still a nal two-kilometer, joint-wrenching Of pure silence, but also the laughter of an
series of stone steps down through thick forest that turns elderly shopkeeper as I insisted that, yes, I did
day to night. want to buy a 500 bag of dried mushrooms
Then, the forest parts its cedar curtain to unveil from her. Of the deer we spotted on our last
Kumano Nachi Taisha, built in homage to the nearby hike a couple of hours after Scott mentioned,
waterfalls kami, or spirit god. A sacred camphor tree, wasnt it was odd that we hadnt seen a deer?
said to be 850 years old, holds sway over the courtyard But my mind, moon-shaped as it is, will
and is large enough to enter. At a small altar, the devout remain forever curious about what lies around
say they can hear the beating of the trees heart. the next corner of this pilgrimage, a walk that
Delaying the inevitable, we dont tour the third shrine leaves the familiar behind.
until the following day when we board a train to Shingu
to visit Kumano Hayatama Taishi. Its at the mouth of the
Kumano-gawa where waters from the sacred peninsula
disperse into the Pacic. On cue, it begins to drizzle as THE DETAILS
soon as we pass under its familiar red torii. Again, were Its best to take on the Kumano Kodo with local help. Our
enveloped by stillness. I dont want our walk to end. None journey was with Walk Japan (walkjapan.com); tour dates
start again this month and last until November. This nine-
of us does. Still, thats not the same as saying we want to day walk is 362,000 per person, and includes
tackle the next rise or slide down another green trail any accommodation, a guide, breakfasts and dinners and three
time soon. lunches, for a maximum group of 12.
C O U R T E S Y O F T H E WA R E H O U S E H O T E L

Sometimes size matters. When you're searching for soul, smaller can
be better. Smaller, authentic, comfortable and cool, that is. People like
to define themselves by their style and taste, says James Lohan, co-
founder of hotel curator Mr & Mrs Smith. Boutiques have the ability to be
more creative in how they look and what they offer. On the following pages,
we offer some of the best and brightest little guys across the region.
You want to feel of the place? Check in to these newcomers.

BOUTIQUE
The lobby and
bar at The
Warehouse
Hotel,
Singapore.

LOVE TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 83


A homey
balcony at OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
Owl and the WHERE: THALPE
Pussycat. ROOMS: 17
The name comes from a quirky Edward
Lear poem. The interior design comes
from a life of travels. This fanciful
hideaway just a short tuk-tuk ride from the
historic Galle Fort has 17 rooms and
suites, all with views of the Indian Ocean
and individually designed by New York
architect Uday Dhar. Co-owner Reita
Gadkari draws aesthetic inspiration from
India Italy Argentina, and has
commissioned artistsboth locals and
foreigners from places including Turkey
to fill the property with colorful original
works of the finest craftsmanship. There
is a restaurant offering traditional Sri
Lankan cuisine with Mediterranean
accents, a bar and caf, a relaxed beach
shack and a swimming pool. On weekends
the property sways to a jazz band show.
Take home a bit of the kaleidoscope:
shopping in the propertys boutique
supports a philanthropic fund for Sri
Lankan artisans and a local orphanage.
otphotel.com; doubles from US$240.

SRI LANKA
BY ALESSANDRA GESUELLI

FORT BAZAAR
WHERE: GALLE
ROOMS: 18
It took nine years to recreate this stunning
17th-century townhouse in the heart of
Galle Fort. Fort Bazaar was once occupied

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F O W L A N D T H E P U S S Y C AT; C O U R T E S Y O F F O R T B A Z A A R
by spice, tea and gem traders; unused
since mid-1950s and in a state of near ruin
until recently, it is now a charming 18-
bedroom hotel around a private courtyard.
The project, led by PWA Architects in
Colombo and supported by the 65 workers
and three dogs who lived on site during
the renovation, has restored the buildings
original Dutch glory, and Sri Lankan
welcoming heritage. Inside, Z Spa boasts
chemical-free products made in Sri Lanka
by Ophir; the blends are based on the
therapeutic benefits of black, green, pink
and red tea. The property overlooks busy
Church Street, which lends its name to the
hotels restaurant and bar, Church Street
Social. Here the menu reflects the history
of the locale and its Arabic influencers, Overlooking
the Fort
with elements of Moroccan, Turkish and
Bazaar
Middle Eastern cuisine. teardrop-hotels. courtyard.
com; doubles from US$130.

84 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


CAMBODIA BY RACHNA SACHASINH

A-list hospitality
at Phum Baitang.

TEMPLATION
WHERE: SIEM REAP
ROOMS: 33
While getting up close to the iconic ruins
of Angkor is exhilarating, leaving the
tourist mobs can be equally satisfying.
This new, super-green hotel with enough
solar panels to make the operation energy
efficient and one of Cambodias eco- PHUM BAITANG
friendliestoffers the easiest of outs. WHERE: SIEM REAP
Taking up residence a mere 800 meters
ROOMS: 45
from the heritage sites main gates, the
place makes getting in and out a breeze. Perhaps its too bold to say Phum Baitang
The architecture is mid-century Khmer, a rivals Angkors drawbut Angelina Jolie
vernacular style that leans heavily on did sleep here. Its easy to see why
breezeways and open ventilation to A-listers looking for secluded luxury
encourage airflow. Vertical water walls would choose the green village, a rough
line stone walkways; small ponds keep translation of the propertys Khmer name.
the ambient temperature cool and Forty-five stilted wooden villas, nearly
refreshing; and old-growth trees with half with private plunge pools, are
overarching canopies cast a welcome modeled after traditional Khmer
shade. The 33 suites and pool villas are dwellings, while the dcor and mood are
among Siem Reaps most spacious, strictly French country chateau.
loosely dressed in muted greys, ecru and Handsome divans, oversized beds draped
straw, and poured in cool, uncoated in natural linens, and a cigar and cocktail
cement and porous laterite stone, similar lounge tucked in a century-old plantation
to the ones used in Angkors vast complex. house make for a gentile take on rustic
C O U R T E S Y O F P H U M B A I TA N G

All temples have an inner sanctum, and chic. From the villas terraces, watch
here the spa and pools jockey for the top fragrant lemongrass fields and rice
position. After a dawn temple jaunt, slip paddies march up to the horizon. The aptly
into the scaled-up resort pool or one of named Spa Temple, with its indigenous
the private, slate-lined plunge pools, or tonics and therapies, is just that: a
duck into the sleek, minimalist spa for communion with earthly and celestial
purifying, organic treatments. templation. pleasures. phumbaitang.com; doubles
asia; pool suites from US$185 low season. from US$415 low season.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 85


MALAYSIA
BY MARCO FERRARESE

JAWI PERANAKAN MANSION


WHERE: PENANG
ROOMS: 14
A bit removed from the Muntri/Love Lane/
Chulia Street cluster of heritage boutique
digs, Jawi Peranakan Mansion still
perfectly conjures the opulent spirits of
Penangs 19th-century Indian-Muslim
millionaires. Tucked behind a heavy brass
gate, the fourth jewel in heritage hotelier
Chris Ongs crown celebrates Hutton
Lanes past, an era of luxurious bungalows
built by Muslim traders from Pakistan,
Central Asia and the Middle East. Inside,
intricately carved arches over room doors
perfectly marry with antique furniture
from India and bewitching Mughal motifs
throughout the spacious common areas.
The four Mansion Family rooms are
particularly delightful, their wooden
mezzanines concealing king-size beds and
attractive way-back-when wooden writing
desksa clever hideaway for parents with
children in tow. Regardless, with just 14
suites, an exclusive and intimate stay is
guaranteedamong the charms of one of
Penangs less-celebrated settlers.
georgetownheritage.com; doubles from
RM380.

KINABATANGAN WETLANDS
RESORT
WHERE: ABAI, BORNEO
ROOMS: 20
Secluded in the marshland of the
Kinabatangan River, this resort was
already a notch up from most stays in the
Sabah jungles. This year, theyre doubling
the number of wooden-luxe chalets and
adding a pool. Wildlife lovers, rejoice:
themain activity is river cruising after wild
proboscis monkeys, elusive orangutans,
and rare tropical birds. As for crocodiles?
Stick to the pool, for theres quite a bask
KIT YENG CHAN

wandering about in these murky waters.


Portal to the
kwrborneo.com; two-day/one-night
past at Jawi
packages from RM1,080 inclusive of two Peranakan
cruises, all meals and a jungle night walk. Mansion.

86 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL
Wake up on
the river ROOMS: 37
at The Hip history dominates at the intimate
Warehouse. Warehouse, a contemporary industrial-
chic rendition of a former godown that sat
in a gritty neighborhood of illegal
distilleries and secret societies. The off-
color shenanigans are gone of course, but
you can imagine them all through the
artsy paraphernalia reminiscent of that
period dotting the common spaces. The
place is the very definition of proudly
Singaporean: everything from the soft
furnishings and bar snacks to its stylish
heritage exterior and yesteryear recipe-
inspired Po restaurant is a local
collaboration. thewarehousehotel.com;
doubles from S$295.

SINGAPORE BY GRACE MA

VILLA SAMADHI
ROOMS: 20
The island citys western corridor usually
doesnt register so much as a blip on the
tourists radar, but minds may be changed
soon with the opening of Villa Samadhi,
ensconced as it is in such tropical
tranquility. Housed in a restored colonial
garrison for British army officials, this
20-room gem hibernates quietly at the
verdant fringes of Labrador Nature
Reserve, a treasure trove of mangrove
flora and fauna complete with friendly
walking trails. Pulling up the driveway and
walking though the doors to attentive
F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F T H E WA R E H O U S E H O T E L ; C O U R T E S Y O F V I L L A S A M A D H I

staff waiting with chilled towels, making


your way along wood-paneled walkways
to your room, passing the high ceiling and
shuttered windows of the guests-only
library it feels like a grand invitation to a
stately private home. A two-minute stroll
down a jungle boardwalk leads to
traditional Thai and Burmese cuisine
made from heirloom recipes at the
Tamarind Hill restaurant and house-
infused gin tipples at the Chandelier Bar.
The Malayan-styled rooms are spacious
from the 27-square-meter Cribs to the
56-square-meter Luxe Sarang (Malay for The urban
jungle, Villa
nest) suitewith private whirlpools
Samadhi-
included in the larger Sarang category. style.
Best Zen moments? Lounging on the
outdoor terrace of your room with views of
towering canopies and the echoes of
melodious twitters. The office can wait.
villasamadhi.com.sg; doubles from S$395.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 87


Eclectic art and style

BY RACHNA SACHASINH
at Villa Mahabhirom.

HAILAND
BAAN NAI THE REMINISCENCE VILLA MAHABHIROM
WHERE: BANGKOK WHERE: CHIANG MAI
ROOMS: 4 ROOMS: 14
History favors feminine charm, and the Mahabhirom means supreme pleasure in
women who ran the Baan Nai household Thaiand how do you attain this coveted
had plenty of it. Since the early 1800s, the state? It takes a village. Amid the winding
classic homestead produced a bevy of lanes of a historic Chiang Mai enclave, 14
beautiescollectively known as the Baan century-old stilted teak houses, or ruean
Nai ladieswho bewitched old Bangkok Thai, form an idyllic hamlet. Rescued from
with their impeccable grace and keen near ruin in central Thailand, each ruean-
fashion sense. The colonial-style cum-private suites earthy interiors and
bungalowonce anchored a vast estate tree-skimming verandas are drenched in
belonging to a regent who served under nostalgia. Here, simplicity is the hallmark
King Rama V.Today, Bangkoks urban of luxury, though a few bold, unexpected
jungle has swallowed much of the land, touches keep things lively. The owners are
but within Baan Nais intimate complex, Bangkok-based childhood friends who
not far from Chatuchak market, a pocket clearly possess an unrepentant love for
of regal comportment thrives, thanks to classic Thai living, and all forms of art.
the current lady of the house, Sprinkled throughout is an eclectic mix of
Doungsawart Soonthornsratoon,an Renaissance-inspired sculptures, French
interior designerwhose creative vintage settees, antique glass chandeliers and
ourishes lend grace and warmth at every gold enamel pieces from the Ayutthaya
turn. Old-fashioned Thai dishes are period. The country houses pared-down
cooked in-house and served in a gorgeous aesthetic absorbs the amboyance
garden full of grand old trees erupting gracefully, and the result is nuanced and
with ochre and magenta blooms. With delightful. Krua Mahabhirom dishes up
onlyfourrooms, the inn lls up quickly. rened mama recipes in handsome
fb.com/baannaithereminiscence; dining nooks and terraces brimming with
doublesfromBt4,500. starlight, while locally inspired healing
massages are delivered in charming,
rustic teak chambers. villamahabhirom.
com; doubles from Bt12,250.

88 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


PHI IPPINES BY STEPHANIE ZUBIRI

CLUB AGUTAYA Your own


WHERE: PALAWAN piece of
ROOMS: 38 Palawan, at
Club Agutaya.
Say Palawan, and most people think of
the prehistoric karst garden that is El Nido
SIAMA
up north. But halfway down the islands
WHERE: SORSOGON
west coast is an even less-traveled
ROOMS: 30
tropical Eden. Undeveloped San Vincente
boasts the countrys longest stretch of Tucked away in the middle of swaying
beach, and you can have it all to yourself. coconut groves in the underrated Bicol
Indulge in your castaway wanderlust province of Sorsogon is this brainchild of
without the hassle of building your own furniture designer Milo Naval and his wife,
hut and fishing for your dinner if you stay Kat. With clean Midcentury lines and a
at Club Agutaya. Just past the lush jungle plethora of natural local materials like
surrounding the main town, this brand- bamboo and rattan, Siama has a vintage
new eco-resort sits in the middle of Palm Springs-meets-tropical beach bum
14.5-kilometer pristine, powdery Long vibe. The 30-bedroom resort is designed
Beach. Designed to respect the nature to be an escape from urban chaos with
that envelops it (bamboo railings; seashell secluded pockets of greenery, a 25-meter
lamps), the resort generates its power by forest pool and personalized service. The
solar and wind and has a state-of-the-art latter is reflected in their dining offerings,
sewage-treatment system, the first of its which are basically, whatever you want
kind in the country, that recycles water. and whatever is freshest. From catching a
With just 38 rooms including prized wave at Rizal Beach to picnicking while
ocean-view villas, in San Vics only hotel, floating downriver in a coconut hut raft to
youll be plenty secluded, but if you want exploring colonial churches and homes, a
to venture farther, the staff can arrange a visit to Siama is a one-stop whirlwind of
visit to a private island. Back in your room Philippine highlights. Our favorite
youll find solar-heated showers, plush itinerary, however, is a relaxing massage
bedding and free WiFiso you can in one of their outdoor spa rooms followed
#humblebrag on Instagram about finally by a cocktail under a coconut tree. Also
finding paradise. clubagutaya.net; doubles known as: doing absolutely nothing.
from P6,000. siamahotel.com; doubles from P8,500.
C O U R T E S Y O F C L U B A G U TAYA . O P P O S I T E : C O U R T E S Y O F V I L L A M A H A B H I R O M
Hints of the
ROADERS Old West in a
Roaders
WHERE: TAIPEI guest room.
ROOMS: 68
Shades of arcane Americana color the
concept at Roaders. A collage of American
license plates enlivens the elevator area
while the basement lobbydubbed
Roaders Saloonfeatures ephemera such
as fake WANTED signs, giant wooden barrels
and wagon wheels. Although elements of
the design philosophy hark back to the
days before the West was won, the hotel is
largely a model of modernity. Situated
right next to Ximen MRT station, it is
ideally located for investigation of the
Ximendeng area as well as Taipeis other
highlights. But theres also reason to
linger: the lobby has a broad selection of
English-language magazines to browse as
well as air hockey, foosball, free snacks
and drinks, and a selection of beers and
spirits.Rooms, meanwhile, are cozy and
soundproofed from the hubbub outside,
and feature cushions monogrammed with
a moose-head designanother knowing
touch that hits its mark. roadershotel.com;
doubles from US$89 per night.

BY DUNCAN FORGAN
TAIWAN

F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F R O A D E R S ; C O U R T E S Y O F S W I I O H O T E L . O P P O S I T E : C O U R T E S Y O F H E L E N A B AY
SWIIO HOTEL
WHERE: TAIPEI
ROOMS: 50
Located in the heart of Ximendingthe
epicenter of Taipeis Japanese-inspired
youth culturethe Swiio exudes hip
energy. In fact, it has harnessed the talent
of local creatives to promote a concept
that is one part hotel, another part
contemporary gallery. Works by
Taiwanese artists, which range from
grafti and photography to graphic and
abstract pieces, adorn rooms, hallways
and other public areas. The funky, retro
furniture was also designed and made
locally. Ximending is often referred to as
the Harajuku or Shibuya of Taiwan, and the
Japanese inuence can be detected in the
hotels bijou rooms. Despite their small
size, all benet from attractive trimmings
including 32-inch at-screen TVs and
Bluetooth stereos. Service is exemplary
and, while there are no dining facilities
Beyond hip on-site, guests are minutes from some of
in the Swiio
lobby. the citys best street feasts. en.swiio.com;
doubles from US$113 per night.

90 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


HELENA BAY
WHERE: NORTHLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ROOMS: 5
With their estate-to-plate cuisine, wide
open spaces and unpretentious-upscale
hospitality, the Kiwis do lodges better
than anyone, and this new stunner at the
top of the country is already heading best-
hotel lists around the world. Taking its
name from its lovely shoreline, Helena
Bay courses with history, culture and
natural beauty. Its all served on a silver
platter, along with a daily menu of local
fare, by a staff that outnumbers the max
number of guests (10) five-to-oneand
dont get us started on the arithmetic of
the 1,000-label wine cellar. Each stand-
alone villa has a waterfront deck and two
have wood fireplaces. But since
temperatures in the winterless north
never dip below 14 degrees, youre always
free to swim in the pool, picnic on the
beach, or explore the groundsfive Pa
sites (ancient Maori fortifications) are on
the property. Book the whole place, gain
access to five more bedrooms in the main
house, and fly everyone in via the resorts
private helicopter; its just 45 minutes
from Auckland. helenabay.com; doubles
from NZ$1,550 low season, inclusive of
breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and dinner.

MACQ01
WHERE: HOBART, AUSTRALIA
ROOMS: 114
OK, so MACq01 is bit bigger than the rest,
and its not even open yet, but we are
really psyched about this consummate
boutique going up waterfront on the
working docks of Australia's southermost
city. The storytelling hotel takes as its
jumping-off point the unique spirit of
Subtropical tough, far-flung Tasmania, hodgepodge of
climes invite convicts, indigenous natives, explorers
swimming at and inventors. Each room will elucidate
Helena Bay.
the tale of a different Tasmanian who
exemplifies one of five archetypes
colorful and quirky; hearty and resilient;
curious and creative; grounded, yet
exceptional; and fighting believerwhich
influences each spaces aesthetic design.
Doors open June 1. macq01.com.au.

AUSTRALIA/
NEW ZEALAND BY JENINNE LEE-ST. JOHN
The sauna cabin
at the Aurora
Safari Camp,
located south of
the Arctic Circle
near Lulea.
In the Arctic
wilderness of
SW EDISH L APL AND,
an otherworldly
communion with
nature awaits
anyone willing to
brave the cold.

By PETER HELLER

Photographed by
FELIX ODELL
Lars Eriksson
feeds his reindeer.
OPPOSITE: On a
snowshoe trek
near the Aurora
Safari Camp.
ur plane nosed down through
a layer of ice fog and
shuddered hard, as if at the
sudden view: a mist-
shredded scrap of forest,
buried in snow. Welcome
to the Arctic, the pilot said,
as we bumped along an ice
and packed powder runway.
It was the end of January,
and we had arrived in Kiruna,
the northernmost town in
Sweden, 160 kilometers above the
Arctic Circle. Around us, snow-clad
forest spread for nearly 400,000 square kilometers. Squalls shook
the cabin. The storm was out of the north-northeast, and I tried to
picture where that wind had been: a strip of Finland, a ribbon of
Norway, the Barents Sea, and, before that, the polar ice cap. Brrr.
We had been traveling from Denver for 18 hours. Tell me again, I
said to my wife, Kim. Why are we coming to the Arctic in the winter?
I mean, when there are places in the world like, say, Barbados?
To see the aurora borealis, she answered cheerfully. Kim loves
the cold, she saysit wakes her up.
Minutes later we were escorted out of the squat airport building
toward a pack of dogs that stood, yelping, just yards from the Only the smooth slip and jostle of the wood
runway. An apple-cheeked guide named Espen Hamnvik, who wore runners underfoot, the biting frost on cheeks,
a fur-trimmed parka, handed us each a coat, heavy snow pants, a the panting of the dogs. As if we had taken flight
hat and boots. There is your sled, Kim. Peter, this is yours, he said. and were suspended in a storm.
There are your dogs. After showing us how to use the brakes on The Sami people are an indigenous,
our sleds, he gave a mittened thumbs-up and mushed off into the historically nomadic community who have been
snowy woods. The Alaskan huskies were ready to run, and they herding reindeer in the Arctic for several
barked and yowled and strained against their ropes. Another guide thousand years. To them, the aurora borealis
yanked the lines loose, the sleds jerked, and we were off, running has always been a solemn display. Traditionally,
free over the fresh snow. Into the heart of Swedish Lapland. they believe that the lights are the spirits of
What we had come for, aside from the northern lights, was a their ancestors, and that if anyone sinful shows
taste of authentic Sami culture, and an understanding of why the his face or acts disrespectfully when the lights
northern Swedes are so crazy about winter. Wed stay first at a appear, it could anger the spirits and bring bad
remote lodge accessible in winter only by dog team or snowmobile; luck on the people. Some parents still keep their
then wed take a train south to sleep in Sami-style canvas tents. bad children indoors during the light shows.
From there, wed move to the Treehotel. Wed be outside most of the But the aurora has gotten a lot of good press
time, and wed try our best not to lose any digits to the cold. latelythe displays get stronger in 11-year
My dogs were the size of border collies: two piebald sisters up cycles; the past two years have been prodigious.
front, two brown brothers behind. They were running so fast that I But I think its more to do with our visually
gripped the handlebar as hard as I could. The trail was narrow and obsessed culture. The aurora is the Gisele of
twisting, through trees with limbs shagged and bent with snow. natural wonders. The Grand Canyon, Iguaz
There were sudden swoops, dips, branches to duck under. The dogs Falls, Everest from Base Campnone can hold
careened around the corners and we almost capsized; they charged a candle to the aurora in her full glory.
down hills. Every time I stepped on the claw brake to slow down, We followed Espen as he turned his team
one of the lead dogs threw a look over her shoulder, and I could read into the woods. A few minutes later, he raised
her thought like a cartoon balloon: Dude! WTF? Let me run! his mitten and called a halt. In the trees there
I grew up on Jack Londons tales of the Arctic, on Farley Mowats was a small conical hut with a snowmobile
Never Cry Wolf. From those books I took an image of a sled driving parked in front. Pale smoke wreathed from the
behind a team of 12 or 14 dogs, lined up in polar twilight. Big, fluffy stovepipe. We tied up the sleds and went inside
dogs that looked like wolves. Our Alaskan huskies, which looked to find a popping open fire and a veteran
nothing like those Hollywood Siberians, were bred for racing over dogsled racer and master chef named Stefan
long distances at great speed. We swished out of the trees and onto a Lundgren, who served us reindeer stew and
wide frozen lake. It was 10:05 a.m. and the light was muted, like the lingonberry cider. I glanced at Kim. Her cheeks
onset of dusk. The wind was driving the snow sideways, and I lost were chafed red but her smile was bright.
the lead sled in the squall. Then there was only whiteabove, below. Magical, she said.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 95


The author and his
wife take their first
dog-sledding adventure
en route to the Fjellborg
Arctic Lodge.
OUR ALASKAN HUSKIES
WERE READY T O RUN,
and they barked and yowled
AND STRAINED AT
THE ROPES

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 97


t dusk, which fell at 2:50 p.m., we ran the sleds up to a cast long, blue shadows. We throttled out of the
cluster of low, pine-clad buildings at the edge of another woods to the white expanse of the lake, where
lake. This was Fjellborg Arctic Lodge, our two reindeer sunbathed. We zoomed onto the
accommodation for the night. The storm had spent river Torne. Our faces froze, our eyes squinted
itself, and candles flickered in carved ice-block against the blast. There was Kenths village,
sconces outside the half-dozen cabins arranged Poikkijrvi, a string of small houses on the
around the lodge. Under half a meter of fresh bank. And there, across the river, was
snow, the world looked like a scene from a Jukkasjrvi hamlet, home to the IceHotel.
Christmas card. A blazing campfire burned, Youve heard of it: the hotel that melts every
and there was Stefan, ladling more spring and is rebuilt every autumn, when
lingonberry cider into birchwood cups. What could be better than artists from all over the world carve one of the
sitting on a reindeer skin around an outdoor fire in winter with the dozens of rooms. There is an ice bed with a
last traces of light fading behind the treetops, and the temperature reindeer skin inside each of these sculptures
plummeting? The only sounds were the crack of flames, the creak of essentially an ice cave with a steady
snow-laden trees, the murmur of quiet conversation. temperature of around minus-5 degrees. Kim
Stefan showed us our digs. Our cabin had a sauna, and we baked and I walked into a room with a bunch of ice
in it. Then we sat outside in a hot tub and peered into the lidded sky, sheep jumping over an ice fence, their fluffy
hoping it would clear for the northern lights. It didnt. I admit I wool made of thousands of little ice balls stuck
wasnt too bothered: for dinner Stefan had made us cured-reindeer together. We laughed. Luca Roncoroni created
brioche, arctic char and a dessert with three kinds of chocolate, it so that guests who were worried about
served with rich black coffee. sleeping in subzero temperatures could fall
When we woke the next morning, the sky had cleared. Kenth asleep more easily, creative director Jens
Fjellborg, the proprietor of Fjellborg Arctic Lodge, showed up on a Thoms Ivarsson told us.
snowmobile. Kenth is a master dog-sledder and a consummate In the IceBar, we sipped elderberry juice
storyteller. At age 19, he apprenticed under the legendary dog- with lime from ice glasses while a song by
sledder Joe Runyan in Alaska. Kenth ran the Iditarod in 1994 Danny and the Champions of the World played
1,7700 kilometers through Arctic Alaskaand finished in the top from speakers that no one had yet figured out
20. In 2006, he guided Prince Albert II of Monaco to the North Pole. how to make from ice. It occurred to me, as I
Kenth grew up in a tiny village 16 kilometers from the lodge; his switched the glass to my other hand to prevent
family has lived in the area for nine generations, and its second frostbite, that the whole place was one of the
nature for him to make camp at 29 below. I asked him what he did in most spectacular art installations on earth
his free time. Moose hunting, he said. Its my Arctic-male version no less because it was created to vanish, like a
of yoga. sand mandala. Like the Arctic winter itself.
Swedes do not coddle neophytes or hand out liability-waiver We climbed onto our snowmobiles and
formsat least not up on the 68th parallel. Every day is an drove back as night overtook the forest. Above
adventure, and they invite you to come along and bring the best of us, stars began to glitter like ice chips. It got
yourself. As Espen had done with the sleds, Kenth kept it simple. seriously cold. As the machine surged, and my
This is your machine. Here is the ignition. The throttle, the brake. cheeks burned with frost, I felt a profound
Keep your feet tucked in here in case you tip over. Big smile. Lets sense of glee. The kind that comes, strangely,
go! Off we went. The forest shimmered with rime, and the trees when everything is frozen.

98 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


The Storforsen rapids,
part of the Storforsen
Nature Reserve.
OPPOSITE, FROM LEFT: A
lunch spread of reindeer
meat, arugula, sour cream
and onion by a campfire at
the Storforsen rapids; a
Sami-style tent; a dogsled
pit stop by the shores of
Lake Kaperas, on the way
to Fjellborg Arctic Lodge.
A chalet on the
property of Sami
reindeer herder
Lars Eriksson.

THE DETAILS
TOUR OPERATOR
Red Savannah This England-based bespoke
travel company can build an itinerary that
emphasizes getting outside in the Arctic
winter, viewing the aurora borealis, and staying
in wildly unique lodgings. redsavannah.com;
seven days from US$8,977 per person, including
dinners.

HOTELS
Aurora Safari Camp Guests sleep in Sami-
style canvas tents, complete with wood-fired
stoves, at this unique camp. Gunnarsbyn;
aurorasafaricamp.com; three nights from
US$1,763 per person, all-inclusive.
Fjellborg Arctic Lodge This remote lodge
160 kilometers above the Arctic Circle on Lake
Vkkr is a great place to try dog-sledding,
ice fishing and snowshoeing. fjellborg
arcticlodge.com; two days from US$1,918 per
person, all-inclusive.
IceHotel This art installationmeetsluxury
hotel melts in the spring and gets rebuilt every
year by artisans from around the world.
Jukkasjrvi; icehotel.com; doubles from
US$225.
Treehotel Magnificently strange
accommodations suspended high in a pine
forest by the Lule River. Guests can choose
one of seven tree houses, like a mirrored cube
or a flying saucer. Harads; treehotel.se; doubles
from US$550.
That night, no aurora. The next morning I woke early to see if I
could catch it. The Swedes have a name for the polar twilight,
WHAT COULD BE
usually at its most pronounced around dusk, when the long shadows BETTER THAN SITTING
merge. They call it bl timmen, the blue hour. At dawn, as I stepped on a reindeer skin
out of the cabin and walked to the edge of the lake, that name came
to me. The sky was the softest blue. And the snow. And the trees. around an outdoor
Every shade of blue, merging to slate beneath the trees, ultramarine
in the sky. In the southwest, a silver-blue half-moon was setting.
FIRE IN THE FADING
I felt giddy, like a kid. So often, when we travel, we come for one LIGHT OF WINTER?
thing and are blindsided by something else. I realized that I was
loving winter again, the way I had as a child, when there was Having friends, he said. The sun is out.
nothing better than sledding, or a snowball fight. Our last night was at Treehotel. Its on par
Next stop: the Aurora Safari Camp outside of Lule, just south of with the IceHotel in terms of its fame and
the Arctic Circle. The name of the place virtually guaranteed a weirdness. What is it about the Swedes? They
sighting. It was also a chance for even deeper immersion, because we have free higher education, and everyone
were staying in conical tepees with cloth skins that are inspired by seems to be entitled to a Volvomaybe that
traditional Sami lavvu shelters. The mercury pegged at 23 below for liberates the mind, the artistic spirit. Why not
two days. At night, Kim and I woke up every hour and a half to stoke build a hotel in the trees? Kent and Britta
the little woodstove. We traded off, and somehow just got happier. Lindvall, the couple who own Treehotel,
The camp is on a wide lake covered with snow. One morning we commissioned different architects to build
took out snowmobiles. The sun, just over the treetops, was brilliant, rooms up in the pines. The most famous may be
and it turned the distant rime-frosted ridges to gold. On the islands, Mirrorcube, skewered on a single tree, with
the trees were completely sheathed in ice. I hit the throttle and mirrored surfaces that reflect the sky and
accelerated over unbroken, glittering snow. Behind me, a plume of boughs such that it seems to disappear.
powder sprayed into the sunlight, where it blazed with gold. But we were staying in the UFO. Standing at
That night, Fredrik Broman, the camps exuberant proprietor, the base of a pine tree in the subzero darkness,
fired up his sauna: a big tent with a woodstove, on a float, frozen into we pushed a button on the trunk and zmmmmm,
the lake. Outside were blocks of clear virgin ice and a table spread a ladder descended. Inside, the pod had a
with razor-sharp chisels and saws. I sweated away happily, before projector that threw swimming galaxies onto
flipping back the cloth door and tumbling out into the subzero the curved walls. We lay in the dark and drank
darkness in a gush of steam. tea and watched them, knowing that this might
But still no lights. Four nights down, two to go. Wed been ice be as close as we would get to a light show.
fishing with Kenth, snowshoeing with Fredrik, and today we were At 10:30 p.m. we put on long underwear,
going to see a legendary Sami named Lars Eriksson. He came out of boots and parkas, and climbed down from the
his clapboard house in traditional dress of dark blue felt trimmed UFO. We tromped through the snow to a
with strips of yellow, green and red (sun, earth, fire) and reindeer- clearing. Nothing. Not nothinga billion
fur boots. He had a flowing white beard. I saw Kims eyes get huge; heedless stars. We climbed back into our
her eyebrows shot up. Its Santa Claus! she whispered. spaceship. Its okay, Kim said. This whole
We walked in sunlight into a field among Larss reindeer, where trip has been like a fairy talewho needs the
he fed them spongy moss and intoned his story: My family has been aurora borealis. Right? Right.
here for seven generations. In 1958, I started with the reindeer.... But she woke me at 1 a.m. anyway. Again we
When the animals migrated to the forests, his family would move tramped into thigh-deep snow. Stars, stillness.
behind the herd on skis, and camp for weeks at a time. When we go At 3:30, she started awake from a dream. We
with the reindeer, we see the reindeer are a little tired. We stop, were going home in a few hours. Cmon, she
make a fire, make coffee. The reindeer can sleep, have a little food. said. One more look. We trudged back up.
We follow nature and how we feelslow, slow, no stress. Now, he Oh, I gasped. There was Orion shooting his
said, the 3,000 Sami families that still herd reindeer move them arrow, Cassiopeia, the Pleiades. And there was
with ATVs and trucks; they have to take other jobs to pay for the something moving between us and them. A
machines and fuel, and there is too much stress. Not good for the scrim of pale light, like a cloud, except that it
deer. He told us he knows only 25 or so Sami families who still was crowning over the trees and shooting rays
make a living solely from the reindeer, and they need a herd of 2,000. across the sky. Slowly, without sound, it was
He took us to an old log cabin for lunch, and talked about the cascading in great waterfalls of light,
persecution the Sami used to experience from the government. But shimmering in curtains the color of clouds. It
now there is a resurgence of interest in Sami culture. felt, to me, like the spirit of winter. Understated
Kim asked him if anyone still joiks, or practices the Sami singing and cold and quiet. A spirit who has sung
she had heard about. Lars inhaled deeply, as if taking energy from silently to these forests since the beginning of
the woods. Then he looked at us and sang. A deep, strong descant time. Kim reached a mittened hand for mine,
with the broken melody of a forest wind. He stopped and smiled. and we stood in the clearing, transfixed, until
Wow, Kim murmured. What does it mean? we could no longer feel our fingers or toes.

TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM / MARCH 2017 101


place
Tourists in
HOI AN
HOI AN EMBODIES Vietnamese charm.
Convenient, compact and charismatic, it
supplies essential local experiences in
Old Town don
traditional easily digestible form. Just a 30-minute
ao dai. drive from Danangs international airport,
which now services non-stop flights
from Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Korea,
Macau, Hong Kong and Malaysia among
others, the town nestles on the Thu Bon
River a few kilometers from the coast. Its
UNESCO -listed old centera colorful jumble
of Japanese merchant houses, Chinese
temples and French colonial buildings
evokes its heritage as the trading center of
the Champa Kingdom. Hoi An is a mighty
tasty proposition as well, with a glut of
delicious indigenous dishes, and an
informed dining scene. Just
take a stroll.

BY DUNCAN FORGAN.
PHOTOGR APHED BY
A ARON JOEL SANTOS
Visiting a
countryside
temple with
Vietnam
Vespa Tours. Ask an Insider
Etienne Bossot
manager of Hoi An
Photo Tour and
Workshop

Making rice Catch the sunset


pancakes on the bridge
in a nearby
village. heading to An
Bang Beach on Hai
Ba Trung. The
juxtaposition of
palm trees and
fishing boats
makes a great
A riverboat subject. In my
cruise with
Anantara Resort. view, Hoi An looks
its very best early
in the morning so
if you want to
TOURING TOWN capture the town
in its prime I
Although Hoi An is an easy place to navigate independently, it just takes a bit of initiative or an
operator who offers bespoke tours to visit places that you might not reach otherwise.
advise hitting the
streets between 6
SELF-GUIDED STROLL PICTURE PERFECT ON TWO WHEELS and 8 a.m. That
The warren of streets and alleys With a riverine setting, amazing The pancake flat topography of way you will also
set back from the Thu Bon River architecture and a surrounding Hoi An and its surrounding avoid the tourist
reveal Japanese merchant tableaux of swaying palm trees, countryside make for easy
houses, Chinese pagodas, ancient emerald rice paddies and long independent biking expeditions. traic. Lastly,
tea warehouses. The most iconic beaches, Hoi An offers enough But for a slightly more nuanced remember to
symbol of the towns trading past eye candy to keep even the view of the area, try one of the smile. Hoi An has
is its beautiful covered speediest shutterbug constantly countryside tours organized by
Japanese bridge, a faithful clicking. French photographer Vietnam Vespa Adventures. some of the
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y A U T C H A R A PA N P H A I

recreation of a bridge originally Etienne Bossot of Hoi An Photo With the expert knowledge of friendliest people
built in the 1590s. Other Tour and Workshop helps both local guides informing the routes, in Vietnam and
highlights include the ornate budding snappers and experts tours give guests an authentic
Cantonese Assembly Hall, find the best photographic flavor of rural Hoi An, the interaction will
featuring kitsch and colorful opportunities in town on his highlights including visits to get you a long way
dragon statues, and Tran Duong specialized photo tours. 42 Phan hidden temples, artisan weavers if you want to take
House, built in French-colonial Boi Chau; hoianphototour.com; and precarious river crossings on
style in the 19th century. tours from VND1,000,000 per rickety wooden bridges. 134 Tran portraits.
Japanese Bridge: Nguyen Thi person. Cao Van; vespaadventures.com;
Minh Khai. Cantonese Assembly tours from VND1,550,000 per
Hall: 176 Tran Phu. Tran Duong person.
House: 25 Phan Boi Chau.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 103
the
/ place/ HOI AN

THE GREAT OUTDOORS


Hoi An is a great gateway to outdoor activities.

BEACH GOLF
China Beach is Vietnams Vietnam has some great picturesque links, and the strip
most legendary stretch between Hoi An and Danang is home to two championship
of sand. An R-and-R spot golf courses: Montgomerie Links (montgomerielinks.com;
for U.S. troops during the 18-hole visitor green fee from VND2,700,000) and the BRG
Vietnam War, it is wide Danang Golf Resort (dananggolfclub.com; 18-hole visitor
Poolside at and welcoming, with green fee from VND2,650,000).
Four Seasons Monkey Mountain and the
Nam Hai. Cham Islands in the
distance. September to MY SON
March brings consistent The one-time intellectual center of the Champa Kingdom

WHERE TO STAY quality breaks; Danang


Surf School (84-121/
666-6722; lessons US$70)
that ruled large swathes of Vietnam until the 19th century,
the ruins of My Son temple complexwhich were
aggressively bombed during the Vietnam Warmake for an
+ A recent rebranding has only interesting day trip. The Sinh Tourist; 587 Hai Ba Trung;
enhanced the status of the Four rents boards and gives
lessons. An Bang beach thesinhtourist.vn; half-day tours from VND209,000.
Seasons Nam Hai as perhaps
Vietnams preeminent top-end is an expat favorite with
property. The all-villa resort features relaxed bars and the new DIVING
design-led residences with sunken The Deckhouse (meal The Cu Lao Cham archipelago offers the most northerly
living rooms and tented beds on raised for two VND400,000) is diving on Vietnams eastern seaboard and dazzles divers
platforms as well as trimmings such convivial for craft beers with underwater eye candy. Cham Island Diving Center:
as outdoor rain showers and Bose and fresh seafood. vietnamscubadiving.com; dive trips from VND1,600,000.
stereos. A beach bar and an enhanced
state-of-the-art cooking academy are
new additions. Special mention goes
to the propertys award-winning spa,
where separate pavilions are built
over a lily pad-studded lagoon offering
the ultimate in privacy and luxury.
fourseasons.com/hoian; doubles from
VND17,000,000 per night.

T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F F O U R S E A S O N S N A M H A I
+ An easy walk from the old town, the
Anantara Hoi An benefits from an
outstanding riverside location. Rooms
are in a low-rise, two-level, colonial-
style building and have views of either
the river or the resorts garden
courtyard. An onsite Irish pub does
Hoi Ans best pint of Guinness while
relaxing river cruises, exemplary
service and a sizeable outdoor pool
are among the other major perks.
hoi-an.anantara.com; doubles from
VND5,200,000 per night.
China Beach
+ Another fine option close to the old at dusk.
town action is the Hotel Royal Hoi An,
which features the easy-going luxury
guests have come to expect from
Sofitels MGallery collection of hotels.
Highlights here include stylish
bathrooms with giant tubs, an Art
Deco-style pool with an ornately RETAIL THERAPY MADE TO MEASURE
Some attribute Hoi Ans plethora
patterned tiled floor and magical Hoi An has become a hotspot for having a of tailor shops to its history as a
views over the river from higher suit made or a dress copiedyou need a center for the silk trade. Others
rooms. accorhotels.com; doubles from believe the phenomenon comes
tailor? will become a familiar refrain during
VND4,000,000. from a Vietnamese propensity for
a visit. The ancient buildings are brimming copycatting. Either way, this is a
+ At the Almanity Hoi An, the hotels with cute boutiques and upscale souvenirs. suit center, with several reputable
superb spa is a starand guests get (and many not so reputable)
one free 90-minute treatment for tailors in town. Yaly Couture (47
every day they stay. A holistic Haute couture Tran Phu; yalycouture.com) is
philosophy permeates the property in a Hoi An expensive but highly regarded.
with free use of bicycles and a tailor shop. Other good names include: A
restaurant serving determinedly Dong Silk (62 Tran Hung Dao;
healthy fare accentuating the clean- dongsilk.com) and Thu Thuy (60
living ethos. almanityhoian.com; Le Loi; thuthuysilk.com).
doubles from VND2,500,000.
Ask an Insider
Duc Tran
chef/proprietor of
Mango Mango
restaurant group

FROM LEFT: Lighting up Home


Hoi An; Mango Mango's modern
twist on bun thit nuong (grilled
pork and rice noodles).

EAT AND DRINK


From street stalls to lavish fine dining, Hoi An has Vietnams best selection of Com Ga Long at
restaurants outside Hanoi and Saigon. And the bar scene isnt too shabby either. 53/16 Phan Chu
Trinh is my
BATTLE OF THE CONTEMPORARY and served with mango such as com ga (chicken
salsaas well as a rice) and banh dap
favorite place in
BANH MI CUISINE
Theres a tasty battle Chief among Hoi Ans rainbow of potent (smashed rice Hoi An. They start
being fought over the culinary innovators is cocktails. pancakes) are served in you off with some
identity of the towns Duc Tran, the an elegant old
FINE DINING, HOI AN townhouse.
crispy shredded
best banh mi Vietnamese-American
(Vietnamese sandwich), chef/proprietor of STYLE papaya and thin
of which Hoi Ans Mango Mango, Mango Well established as one COCKTAIL TIME slices of onion and
versions are Rooms and Mai Fish. of the towns It is easy to let your hair
preeminent dining down in surprisingly hip
lime juice on the
particularly legendary. Mango Mango (45
Some (including Nguyen Phuc Chu; venues is Morning Hoi An. White Marble side before giving
celebrity chef Anthony themangomango.com; Glory (106 Nguyen Thai (98 Le Loi), the towns you a juicy half
Bourdain) wax lyrical meal for two Hoc; msvy-taste only wine bar, has a
vietnam.com; meal for selection to impress
chicken with soft
about the version VND1,500,000), his
served up at Phuong flagship riverside venue, two VND1,700,000) even the fussiest and fluffy golden
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y A U T C H A R A PA N P H A I

Banh Mi (2B Phan Chau has recently undergone where menu highlights oenophile, and a prime turmeric rice. Just
Trinh) near the towns extensive renovation include roast duck leg corner spot that offers
served with a five-spice great people-watching.
add the cold beer
main market. Others with an extended bar
yield more to the area and upstairs area dressing, and crunchy Nearby, Q Bar (94 for perfection. For
alchemy of Madam offering diners more tofu coated in young Nguyen Thai Hoc) is a cao lau (Hoi Ans
Khanh (115 Tran Cao room to enjoy fusion sticky rice. Also notable mainstay of the Hoi An
is the new Home Hoi scene and has a
signature noodle
Van), the self- dishes such as pan
proclaimed Banh Mi seared red snapper with An (112 Ngyuen Thai cocktail list to rival the dish made with
Queen of Hoi An. ginger, onion and Hoc; homehoian classiest nightspots in pork and local
From VND25,000 per roasted black pepper, or resaurant.com; meal for Saigon or Hanoi.
two VND1,500,000),
greens) I like to
sandwich. beef chunks flame-
broiled with Cuban rum where local favorites visit Cao Lau Miss
Thao at 12 Tran
Quoc Toan. It is a
little bit away
from the center
SEDUCTIVE SOUVENIRS but it is worth the
The town is famous for Chinese-
style lanterns, which family-run early morning
Hoi An Handmade (hoianhand bike ride. The pork
made.com) has been crafting for loin is tender and
generations. At Meo Meo Atelier
(meomeoembroidery.com), owner she seasons it
Pham Thi Ngoc Tram merges beautifully with
colors, designs and textures into five-spice powder,
embroidery masterpieces. Browse
modern lighting and furniture at soy sauce,
Mosaique Decoration (mosaique Weaving lemongrass, black
decoration.com), and cross the bamboo rugs pepper and garlic.
bridge to Randys Book Xchange in a small
(bookshoian.com) on Cam Nam rural village.
Island to pore over used volumes.

T R AV E L A N D L E I S U R E A S I A . C O M / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 105
wish you were here

Aaron Joel Santos / Causeway Bay / HONG KONG


Covering an area of more than 1,100 square kilometers, almost three quarters of which is set
aside as mountainous park land, Hong Kong ranks fourth in the world when it comes to population
density, behind only Macau, Monaco and Singapore. That means a vertical city,
which isnt always obvious at street level. On average, Hong Kong is home to 6,644
people per square kilometer, though that figure, like the apartments themselves, soars astronomically
in neighborhoods like Causeway Bay and Mongkok. Thats reflected in the city skyline,
which boasts the highest number of skyscrapers in the world. Hong Kong has more than 8,000
buildings that rise above 14 floors, double the number of Manhattan. After the airport
moved away from the city center, that reach for the sky became more prevalent on Kowloon side,
with the 108-story International Commerce Centre dominating the view towards Hong Kong
Island and Two International Finance Centre with its 88 mirrored-glass floors.

106 MARCH 2017 / TR AV EL ANDLEISURE ASIA.COM


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