Rising from the sea of cookie-cutter rooms sweeping through South-east Asia are these boutique retreats, packing local flavour and personalised experiences.
The Alcove Library Hotel, Vietnam
USP Its well-stocked reading room and American-themed bar and grill provide the Western business professional an affordable reprieve from the city’s chaotic streets. Located five minutes from Ho Chi Minh City’s airport, the hotel offers 38 affordable rooms.
Target Travelling professionals and mid-range leisure tourists, especially from Western markets.
Opened October 19, 2012
Maison D’Hanoi Boutique Hotel, Vietnam
USP Its location in the heart of Hanoi’s quaint Old Quarter – the shopping hub of the capital. The company also has four years of experience managing sister property, Maison D’Hanoi Hanova Hotel. Run by a Singaporean general manager, the hotel will offer 42 guest rooms and suites, complete with a piano bar and restaurant.
Target Leisure and business guests looking for something a bit more intimate and affordable.
Opening December 1, 2012
Seri Chenang Resort & Spa Langkawi, Malaysia
USP The six heritage villas showcase the unique styles of Malay architecture from the states of Kedah, Selangor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Terengganu. Butler services also incorporate Malay values, cultures and traditions.
A haven for birdwatchers, the resort is also an ideal spot to catch bird species escaping the winter from November to February.
Target Leisure travellers from all markets, especially from regional, the UK and European markets.
Price RM1,800-RM6,000 (US$588- US$1,959)
Opening January 1, 2013
The Courtyard Boutique Hotel, Malaysia
USP Centrally located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and within walking distances of two major shopping centres. There is a small grassy area on the ground floor known as the courtyard, which offers respite from the city bustle. With only 11 rooms, guests have more privacy compared to larger establishments.
Target Business and leisure travellers from regional countries.
Price RM200-RM350 (US$65-US$114)
Opened June 1, 2012
Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
USP An indulgent experience in the undiscovered Koh Rong archipelago with 27 villas offering luxury such as handcrafted furniture, king-size beds, oversized baths, fully stocked fridges and private decks and pools. As well, Song Saa’s commitment to protecting the local environment and supporting local communities, plus chefs serving customised menus and an over-water Vista Restaurant and Bar offering 360-degree views of the sea.
Target Discerning travellers who appreciate the natural environment.
Price US$1,336-US$5,153 (all-inclusive)
Opened March 2012
Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa, Cambodia
USP Building on the experience of its sister property in Fiji, Navutu Stars Resort, this Siem Reap property offers a Mediterranean-inspired resort setting in a tropical garden. The 18 rooms feature whitewashed interiors adorned with half-moon sofas and objets d’art sourced from around South-east Asia. Facilities include a saltwater pool, a yoga studio, a fitness centre, a spa offering Asian and South Pacific treatments, and a fine-dining restaurant spotlighting southern Cambodian and Italian cuisines.
Target Well-travelled professionals, honeymooners and families who want a relaxing and quiet destination.
Opened August 1, 2012
Sense Hotel Seminyak, Indonesia
USP Located in the upmarket area of Seminyak and within walking distance of Petitenget beach and Bali’s best restaurants and bars such as Ku De Ta, La Lucciola, Potato Head, Hu’u and The Living Room Bali. Its 68 rooms fuse together modern and traditional Balinese architectural elements, and there are also free shuttle services within the Seminyak area.
Target Guests from Indonesia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Opened June 2012
Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa, Philippines
USP An hour and a half from the ferry and airport in Bohol, diving and snorkelling can be done right off Amun Ini’s private beach. The 16-suite resort has also gotten nods for its Western execution of Asian-Filipino dishes using fresh local produce and seafood.
For sightseers, the town of Anda has a historical church, while ecotourism activities like boat rides to La Manok island and cave exploration are possible.
Target Asians and Filipino expats in the region initially. Amun Ini has already attracted some guests from Europe and the US, where it will focus its marketing efforts beginning 2013.
Price US$250-US$300, depending on whether a breakfast or a full-board package is selected
Opened January 2012
The House of Cebu, Philippines
USP 38 large rooms (four categories with sizes ranging 36m2-108m2) that combine unique themed murals and interior design with executive comfort. A great F&B experience is also offered, with German/European cuisine at Paseo Uno and flea market-inspired decor at the Scrapyard bar.
Target Business travellers visiting the nearby business and IT parks, as well as international leisure travellers interested in a boutique hotel experience.
Opened June 2012
Burasari Heritage Luang Prabang, Laos
USP Set in a restored teakwood residence, the 23-room boutique hotel is decorated in French colonial style and equipped with modern amenities. Nestled right by the Nam Khan river, it is only a few minutes’ walk to the night market and the main street where almsgiving to monks takes place every morning.
Target FIT and small groups, mostly from Asia, Europe, Australia, the US and the UK.
Opened November 14, 2012
Riverside Boutique Resort, Laos
USP The first luxury resort in Vang Vieng accessible as a weekend retreat from Vientiane via a three-hour drive. The decor is distinctly Lao, with each building featuring a different ethnic theme. Located in a quiet part along the Nam Song river, there are 32 rooms and two suites, a large swimming pool and a fully-equipped 120-pax conference room.
Target Western tourists en route to Luang Prabang or Vientiane, Vientiane residents seeking a weekend gateway or retreat/seminar location, and regional visitors from Thailand, China, Vietnam and South Korea.
Opened July 1, 2012
Naumi Liora, Singapore
USP Situated in the ethnic enclave of Chinatown, the hotel is surrounded by post-war colonial buildings, hip coffee joints and watering holes, as well as contemporary upscale and old-school Chinese restaurants. Housed in a heritage building designed in the 1920s, its 79 rooms are split into four categories. Its stylish sister, Naumi Hotel, is an award-winning property in Singapore.
Target Business and leisure travellers who like staying within a colourful and vibrant district.
Price S$380++-S$580++ (US$310-US$473)
Opened November 20, 2012
The Amoy, Singapore
USP Guests enter by the Fuk Tak Chi Museum, which was once a Chinese temple. Dating back to the 1800s, it was one of the first stops for immigrants coming from China who went to this shrine to offer thanksgiving for their safe arrival. Located within shophouses and with only 37 keys, service is highly customised according to individual needs and preferences.
Target Business travellers who work within or close to the central business district, as well as leisure FITs.
Price S$200-S$300 (US$163-US$245)
Opening First half of 2013
Cabochon Hotel, Thailand
USP Housed within a historic four-storey building, the hotel captures the charm of 1920s Shanghai chic with a lounge-cum-library – dubbed The Joy Luck Club – featuring vintage memorabilia from around the world, and the Thai Lao Yeh restaurant is decorated with century-old timber. There are only four suites and four studios, each personally appointed by Eugene Yeh who brought to Bangkok The Eugenia Hotel.
Target Couples, families and business travellers yearning for a peaceful and charming environment.
Price 4,000 baht-8,000 baht (US$130-US$260)
Opened April 2, 2012
Riva Surya, Thailand
USP In the historic heart of Bangkok, with easy access to treasured icons such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, as well as the lively Khao San road. Guests can expect panoramic views of the Chao Phraya river, while direct water transport offers a convenient way to reach most of the city’s attractions. All 68 rooms feature modern designs and amenities, with Thai influences. The market-inspired Babble & Rum cafe also boasts a strong commitment to organic, locally sourced produce.
Target Business travellers, experiential independent travellers and small higher-end MICE groups.
Price 3,900 baht-15,000 baht (US$127-US$488)
Opened September 15, 2012
Additional reporting from S Puvaneswary, Marianne Carandang, Linda Haden, Calvin Godfrey, Mimi Hudoyo