This year, my travels to Asia included Hong Kong, Japan and Myanmar, arguably the country of the year. Alas, political change has not been as rapid as once seemed likely, but opportunities there for American travelers are still expanding. Looking back, these are the most memorable hotels in Asia.
The Upper House
Central, Hong Kong
Open green space is in short supply in Hong Kong, which is one reason why I like The Upper House. In the relatively calm precincts of the Pacific Place complex, this impressive hotel occupies floors 38 to 49 of a tower. But at level six, The Lawn, a place for drinks and light snacks, provides a grassy respite from the city. From my room, I found sight of the ships and ferries traversing the harbor completely hypnotic. And the view looked even better while indulging in the terrific food at Café Gray Deluxe on the 49th floor. The on-the-spot service made this a standout among the hotel restaurants I visited this year.
Read more about The Upper House in the March Hideaway Report »
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
From the moment we arrived at Andaz Tokyo and received a warm greeting, this 164-room hotel tucked away on the top six floors of a 52-story skyscraper felt like a luxurious cocoon in the heart of the vast Japanese capital. The views of the city are stunning, especially the one over the Imperial Palace from the 65-foot indoor pool. New York-based designer Tony Chi and Japanese colleague Shinichiro Ogata created an exceptionally beautiful interior design. The hotel’s décor is modern but makes constant reference to the traditional Japanese love of natural materials including washi paper and wood. Baths come with fast-filling wooden tubs and separate showers. Public spaces include an excellent bistro and an eight-seat sushi bar.
Read more about Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills in the March Hideaway Report »
A short walk from the local cog railway station, this discreet 20-room ryokan is an unforgettable haven of peace, with spectacular views over the thickly forested mountains. Book one of the “Hoshi” rooms so you can while away the hours in your own hot-spring water open-air soaking tub, an experience that dissolves mental stress as thoroughly as it relaxes your muscles. Exquisitely presented kaiseki dinners are served in your own private dining room, and there is an outstanding list of sakes to choose from. The hotel bar also prides itself on its collection of fine whiskeys, as well as an excellent wine list. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most popular hotels in Japan, so book well in advance. Take my advice and stay for at least two nights.
Read more about Hakone-Ginyu in the March Hideaway Report »
Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa
Situated an hour’s flight west of Yangon, on a long unspoiled beach of pale golden sand, Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa is currently the best place to unwind after a cultural tour of Myanmar. The self-contained thatched villas — some with private pools — are spectacular, with 20-foot ceilings and magnificent teak furniture. The seafood at Tamarind is excellent, the Frangipani Spa is indulgent, and the staff are friendly and helpful. Frankly, given the general quality of hotels in Myanmar, I was surprised by the general excellence of this property. It operates at an international standard, being comparable to leading beach resorts in Thailand and other more developed parts of Southeast Asia.
Read more about Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa in the April Hideaway Report »