If there’s one thing we’ve missed in the past few years, it’s the freedom to travel. As restrictions ease, enjoying a holiday from Singapore is becoming easier (that is, after the sleepless nights, constant checking of entry requirements and the anxiety of catching Covid before you hit the Pret at Changi). But most of us agree that much of the stress disperses once you get on that flight and your shoulders retract back down to their usual position.
While so many travel destinations and their local communities have suffered incomprehensibly since 2020, all are determined to welcome returning guests and are pulling out all of the stops to do so. Incredibly, despite the hard times a large number of new, notable and nearby hotels have opened around South-East Asia in locations which are (for now) quieter and calmer than they were pre-pandemic. This adds a whole new flavour to a visit, which brings with it a more authentic feel, personalised service and the opportunity to relax away from the throngs in luxurious surroundings.
Here’s our pick of some of the best new nearby hotel openings for a trip from Singapore. Get there before the crowds get more confident!
Banyan Tree, Buahan
Offering the opposite landscape to lockdown life, the new Buahan resort by Banyan Tree comes with a “No Walls, No Doors” concept, which kicks the past two years’ ‘Stay Inside’ orders right out of the rulebook. Situated in a quiet enclave not far from Ubud, surrounded by rice paddies and jungle, it whisks guests into the heart of nature. Featuring just 16 balés (villas), guests feel total freedom, and there’s a bunch of dedicated hideaway spots offering a sanctuary for meditation, reading, or just a bit of time away from your other half. Sustainability shines through with Open Kitchen, a zero-waste restaurant that offers 70% plant-based food, while the Botanist Bar features locally-grown produce from the resort’s garden. Similarly, the Toja Spa has built its treatment concept around the ancient traditions of the Buahan village and its surrounding area. For special opening offers happening from 1 June 2022, click here
Avani Khao Lak
Thailand’s Phang Nga coastline is arguably one of the best in the country, and it just got even better with the arrival of Avani+ Koh Lak Resort. This stunning oceanfront property boasts Andaman Sea views and panoramic sunset scenery. Ideal for active holiday-makers and families, the AvaniFit fitness and lifestyle concept comes complete with climbing walls, skateboarding ramps and surf equipment. Meanwhile, kids and teens are not forgotten about with a dedicated two-storey clubhouse. All sounds too energetic. Head to The AvaniSpa which specialises in modern treatments and healing therapies.
Regent Phu Quoc
This newborn hotel may just be a month old but it’s already garnering attention. As the first resort in South East Asia under IHG Hotels & Resorts’ upper luxury brand, Regent Phu Quoc has big shoes to fill. First up, the location is idyllic. Situated on its own private white sands on Long Beach on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, escapist destinations don’t come much better. The design of the all-suite-and-villa resort was inspired by expanse of blue ocean and glorious sunsets here, and facilities include a spa, pool, gym facilities, and a whopping six dining experiences including Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine; Oku, a Franco-Japanese Salon de Boeuf; and apothecary-inspired cocktails crafted with fresh botanicals at Bar Jade. If you have a thing for open spaces, lots of water, and utter peace, for a nearby holiday from Singapore, this is your baby.
The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon
Following The Standard’s first hotel in Thailand in Hua Hin, Miami-based hotel chain The Standard has opened its first out-post in the heart of the capital at Bangkok Mahanakhon. As the brand’s Asia flagship, The Standard Bangkok Mahanakhon certainly taking hospitality to new heights simply by being located in the tallest building of the city. As with all Standard hotels, there’s sleek interior stylings and in addition to 155 guest rooms there’s The Standard Grill from New York, Mott 32 (a Cantonese restaurant from Hong Kong), Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, and The Tea Room. An outdoor terrace pool with a vibrant pool scene epitomises what The Standard is known for, alongside a super snazz gym. The ideal city break bolthole.
The first voco hotel in Seoul, Korea opened earlier this month, landing in the centre of Seoul’s energetic Gangnam district. With 151 guestrooms, an all-day dining restaurant featuring fusion cuisine, bar, cafe, fitness centre, and a communal kitchen on every floor for guests’ usage, voco Seoul makes for a brilliant and safe base to explore the local surroundings. Located in Sinsa-dong– one of Gangnam’s main tourist areas – there’s plenty nearby to explore the hottest eateries in town, K-Star Road and Garosu-gil – a cool shopping district if you’re holidaying with teens.
Hyatt Regency Koh Samui
Hyatt Regency Koh Samui opened in vibrant North Chaweng, just eight minutes from the airport, last summer. Privacy awaits due to the 140-room resort being built around more than 600 protected Yang Na and coconut trees, with direct access to a semi-private beach. The design here is simple yet effective, letting the surrounding nature take centre stage. Away from the 140 rooms, guests can satisfy any culinary cravings at the resort’s four restaurants and bars, hang out in the lap pool, plunge pool, family pool with a whirlpool and kids’ pool with a slides, or try a n activity such as a local cooking class. When the kids head to Camp Hyatt for arts and crafts and movie nights, book up a couple’s suites at the spa, complete with a private deck and outdoor tub.