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Rosewood Bangkok

Rosewood Bangkok

The 159-room Rosewood Bangkok (31 March 2019, www.rosewoodhotels.com/bangkok) on Ploenchit and linked to the SkyTrain station features a unique blue reflective glass building in the shape of two folded hands and an intimate scale. The hotel is somewhat reticent in the approach, hidden like a secret home on the fiddly side of Ploenchit where taxis seldom venture. Lifts whisk you up to the wonderfully textured lobby featuring 'fan' chandeliers, artefacts, and delicate verre eglomise gilded glass tile work. Think dark bronze tones matched with rust marble floors, cream marble highlights and dark wood floors. A 42sq m Executive standard serves up stained black wooden doors with a sofa/divan, a compact dresser with open hanger rod, plump white bed (with one three-pin multiplug electric socket and two USB ports on either side), radio, classic clock, large flatscreen TV, cream walls and, in the bathing area, a rainshower and a windowside soaking tub (that is quite private in the daytime without a blind). Lennon's, the speakeasy bar on the top floor with wraparound city views, offers deep comfortable brown leather sofas and the added lure of 6,000 records in pure vinyl. The LPs are stacked ceiling high in a separate room. This is old time magic at its best with a cigar lounge up a spiral iron stairwell. The pale blue and green Nan Bei meanwhile is an uber cool Chinese restaurant with everything on the menu from Peking Duck to Cantonese dumplings. More in our Bangkok hotels review

Hyatt Regency Bali

Hyatt Regency Bali

The informal 'botanical garden' Bali Hyatt returned 20 December 2018 as the spry and zen contemporary Hyatt Regency Bali (www.hyatt.com/hyatt-regency-bali/). The layout is open and breezy with thatched-roof corridors cutting in clean straight lines past angular pools set in beige stone facing the sea. Think greenery, plenty of water features, and statuary. The new rooms, housed in the original refortified structure, remain compact - starting at 27sq m in a Garden View room. Designed by the Japanese SPIN they are light and airy with a smooth ripple-wood wall behind the bed for touchie-feelie travellers who will not be able to resist running their fingers across it. Also expect the de rigueur flatscreen televisions, rooms with showers and bathtubs (some with just showers), twin vanities, dark brass faucets, a separate toilet cubicle by the entrance so that two people can get on with their morning ablutions without bumping into each other with wearying honeymoon intensity, irons, cool stone floors and ingenious use of sliding doors for cupboards and the bathroom. Now you see your mother-in-law, now you don't. Rooms feature narrow but cheerful balconies which, depending on the floor and room type, may be classed by frequent travellers as premium or a knee-bruising economy. For a business class stretch book a Suite (with an extra toilet and living room) or go whole hog with the 81sq m Executive Suite. Fronting the best stretch of Sanur beach (a 500m slice) and its brightly coloured catamarans and cafes, the hotel serves up a spacious dedicated spa with rock pools and breezy walks. More in our Bali resorts review

The St Regis Hong Kong is unusually intimate and personal on a smaller boutique scale - albeit with its high ceiling Great Roomlobby

The St Regis Hong Kong

The St Regis Hong Kong (www.marriott.com/st-regis-hong-kong/) arrived almost unnoticed in April 2019 to a quiet corner of Wanchai North just across from the milling mayhem of the convention centre, its intriguing blue glass facade framed by white angular overhangs resembling neat picture frames. From the cavernous greystone porte-cochère at street level, a lift takes you up to the high-ceilinged 2nd floor Great Room (the aptly named reception oasis) but not before you have borne the full brunt of welcoming butlers who emerge from nowhere. All guests at this 129-key luxury boutique bolthole get an in-room check-in. Grand Deluxe rooms weigh in at 48sq m to 53sq m clad in hushed grey pastel tones with pale tan wood floors, sky-high ceilings and open views across the harbour (on higher floors). André Fu has dug deep into his design DNA (this is breakaway cutting-edge St Regis and a hint of Upper House perhaps) to create a minimalist but lush residential space that is quite unique. Large well-lit marble bathrooms feature soaking tubs (some perched saucily by the window). Expect a regal well-fattened bed with lilac runner and Old Wanchai design motifs like the cream concertina door fitted snugly, if disconcertingly, above the headboard. Private label gins, vodkas and rums are aplenty but serious tipplers will enjoy the convivial hum of the St Regis Bar, set up like a private salon, its distractions including anything from 'Diedrich Knickerbocker' (lemon, fennel, pineapple) and the 'St Regis Hong Kong Canto Mary' to the swooning creamy ecstasy of the Valrhona hot chocolate. Also on the menu here are Champagne-popping sabrage, fine Chinese (Cantonese) cuisine and contemporary French by Michelin-starred chefs, a small alfresco pool, a spa, and a huge fitness centre. Expect service on rails.

Large well-lit marble bathrooms feature soaking tubs (some perched saucily by the window)

Grand Hyatt Bali is one of the best family-friendly hotels in Asia and it serves up an incredible five swimming pools

Grand Hyatt Bali

Grand Hyatt Bali (featured as an EDITORS' CHOICE hotel, bali.grand.hyatt.com) stormed the Nusa Dua scene in 1991, a typical mega-resort in the Hawaii mould with a sprawling campus ablaze with pink bougainvillea and more swimming pools than you could throw a herd of hippos at. Spread out in four ‘villages’, each a self-contained cluster of multi-level low-rise rooms and suites connected by open sided zigzagging corridors overlooking vast lotus ponds with monitor lizards (alarming some but fascinating many), this has always been the one to beat. Grand Hyatt’s modestly elevated reception, open to sea breezes (the lobby lounge now sports an air-conditioned section too) and a grand view leading to the pools and beach is a signature design element copied by many. It immediately sets the mood with a quintessential gamelan duo tapping out that cheery hypnotic discordant melody. Kids can enjoy supervised activities from 9am to 6pm while the parents retire to the secluded Kriya Spa. There are tennis courts too. And for that extra wow factor, there’s the alfresco Balinese buffet dinner amphitheatre Pasar Senggol with its lip-smacking local fare and the added allure of a traditional kecak dance. En route to this venue is the village ‘market’ with stores from the likes of local cotton lace favourite Uluwatu, and surfer biggie Quicksilver. Rooms are being upgraded and an in need of it. Grand Club rooms weigh in at 51sq m of space but explore a slightly more contemporary Grand Club Suite or the large beach-sited one-to-three-bedroom Villas with in-room spa facilities. More in our Bali resorts review

the campus is ablaze with pink bougainvillea and more swimming pools than you could throw a herd of hippos in

Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon is one of the best heritage picks in Songdo

Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon

The hands-down star of the show in Songdo, South Korea, is the traditional ‘hanok’ style Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon (launched May 2015, www.ambatel.com) that maintains a discrete presence adjoining the southwest side of Central Park with its handsome low wooden structure, sloping shingle roofs, and broad gravelled courtyards with flowering trees. This is a period construct paying homage to Goryo (also spelled Goryeo or Koryo) dynasty architecture. Not surprising then the ambience is one of quiet zen contemplation, enhanced by simple but rich wood tones. It is quirky, quiet, and fun. Rooms open directly onto the courtyard and are set along an open-sided corridor that is a tad brisk in winter. In a first-floor 43sq m Deluxe Numaru, you leave your shoes in the narrow foyer and slide the rice screen partition to enter the simple bedroom with its high wooden beam, plain cream walls, small screened windows, and a plump white king bed. Find two international three-pin electric sockets and internet cables. WiFi is free. Expect an iron and ironing board, a flat laptop-friendly safe, flat-screen TV (mainly Korean channels, no CNN or BBC), electric kettle, Nespresso coffee shots, soft and firm pillows, and small windows. There’s no double glazing but street sounds are minimal. The toilet features a Japanese spoil-your-bottom potty. As at most Korean hotels, air-conditioning in winter is devilishly hot and dry, and this should be your first item of attention. Remember the floors are heated too. More in our Songdo business hotels review

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi with its signature blue Citroens

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (www.sofitel-legend-metropole-hanoi.com/) with its starched colonial whitewash is a cultural heirloom that comes packaged with a navy-blue vintage car parked outside to underline the point. It has two blocks, the older one sporting creaky teakwood floors. The pool has been upgraded and smartened. The atmospheric Old Wing of the hotel has been gussied up to emerge all spit and polish. The 32sq m Luxury Rooms feature compact bathrooms with L’Occitane toiletries, dark wood parquet flooring, a wooden work desk, classical comfy chair, silk cushions in sober colours, and double-glazed windows to firmly keep out street noise. Room features include a classic-face bedside clock, a ceiling fan, a rather comfy bed, flat-screen TV, DVD player, patterned wall fabric and occasional pops of art. The remodelled “New” wing or the Opera Wing has corridor carpets in startling orange-red stripes with the walls in vertical black-and-white barcode stripes across which hang virginal white doors. It's not as hallucinogenic Alice in Wonderland or Sixties as it sounds. The ensemble is designer mod. This address is a must-do must-see for any visitor to Hanoi. More in our Hanoi business hotels review

with its starched colonial whitewash this is a cultural heirloom that comes packaged with a navy-blue vintage car

Park Hyatt Sanya review - cubist Game of Thrones landscape

Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort

Park Hyatt Sanya (www.hyatt.com) is a resolute city slicker with all the attendant comforts you might expect of a luxury lifestyle downtown escape, complete with seamless wall-to-wall air-conditioning. It may seem trite to mention aircon in a posh hotel but this hideaway takes it very seriously indeed. The entire space and connecting corridors are cooled (with a few exceptions) and, remarkably, there are no balconies (just 28 rooms afford this resorty luxury). For the sweat averse this will be heaven. Consider it an "urban resort". The hotel is a series of brooding grey stone rectangles, a Temple of Doom meets Game of Thrones fantasy. It is slick, modern, minimalist, and playful. There are almost 200 Park Ocean View rooms and a few villas. A high floor room in Building 5 will offer the most panoramic bay views with stunning sunrises. Enter your room through a tall wooden door. The carpeting is rustic and springy underfoot with a dressing area at the entrance followed by the bathroom all along one side running to the window and the bedroom on the other. This makes for a long roomy bathroom - with twin vanities, red wall and black stone floor - and a spacious bedroom with big window frontage right across (even for the black granite moulded bathtub). The single bathtub sliding pane can be opened with a key from reception that requires you to sign a disclaimer. But why leap out of the window, even for a selfie? Despite its dark corporate hi-tech tones, this is a very child-friendly hotel with several fun activities fronting a sand-and-pebble beach for tanning (rather than swimming). This is an address for sybarites. More in our Sanya beach resorts review

The hotel is a series of brooding grey stone rectangles, a Temple of Doom meets Game of Thrones fantasy

Review - Why Rosewood is among the best Beijing business hotels

Rosewood Beijing

The tall grey stone 282-room Rosewood Beijing (www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/beijing), the group's first foray East is constructed with tiles in varying grey texture. It sits at a busy intersection with the Third Ring Road. Yet, inside, you might hardly notice it for the green shrubbery screening ‘walls’ have turned the place into a genuine refuge. The lobby is intimate, small, and restrained, with cream marble floors, gold-tan leather seats, angular interlocking beams overhead, and a glinting steel filigree head offsetting a tall Chinese landscape painting in deep greeny-blues. WiFi is free. Expect sumptuous breakfasts and quality restaurants – from Cantonese, to tapas and hot pots – with Country Kitchen dishing out Beijing and northern fare. Everywhere, service runs on rails. Set to one side is almost 38,000sq ft of space for events or smart CEO chinwags and corporate meetings. Plush yet restrained decor with woody accents and black trim defines the spacious rooms. Premiers start at 50sq m with an invitingly plump bed and windows welcoming of light. Think dark wood floors, rustic jute mats under the bed, books and homey artefacts lining low-slung black-stained wood shelves, Nespresso shots, deep sofas and ochre leather chairs. A signature burst of indigo flowers is found in many rooms, its colour accentuating the subtle but rich interiors. Think cubist zen, straight lines and minimal clutter, with 600 thread-count Frette linen, 50-inch LCD smart TVs, and toiletries from Lorenzo Villoresi. Mark this down for your travel diary, no matter it be business or leisure. It is ahead of the competition by a mile. More in our Beijing business hotels review

Sofitel Sanya Leeman Resort fronts a super stretch of sand in Hainan

Sofitel Sanya Leeman Resort

Sofitel Sanya Leeman Resort (www.sofitel.com) is a stately and swank offering with great service and attitude to match as well as superior child-friendly facilities. The high ceiling lobby is welcoming of light and breeze with mariachi singers perhaps of an evening. One of the first things you'll notice here is how interactive and attentive staff are. Whereas at some hotels staff will shrink at the sound of a foreign voice, here people step up to engage you in conversation in a sociable and pleasant manner. Converse in English, French, Putugongua... It puts this hotel a cut above. Of the 477 rooms, the majority are ocean facing and with balconies to watch some amazing sunrises. A 65sq m Ocean View room offers a marble foyer, light wood parquet inside, pale green fabric walls and a signature anthurium (in season) on the round wooden table. Next to the table (and bedside) are three-pin multi-plug sockets. The plump bed framed by just a grey-weave headboard and accompanied by two elegant vases with cream lampshades faces a large slim television that belts out Sofitel's unique chillout music that will get into your head. Paths along the manicured greens resound with cool guitar strains in the morning hours emanating from tiny but powerful hidden 'rock' speakers . A stunning and long two-tier pool awaits by the beach. The food is excellent. Expect lavish breakfasts with everything from Japanese noodles and fresh breads to savoury eggs Benedict by the yard. More in our Sanya resorts review

the manicured greens resound with cool guitar strains in the morning hours emanating from tiny but powerful 'rock' speakers

Rafrfles Jakarta offers a marble museum of a lobby with stunning murals

Raffles Jakarta

Opened March 2015 in Kuningan the chic 173-room Raffles Jakarta (www.raffles.com) is housed in the gleaming multipurpose Ciputra World 1 complex with its Lotte Shopping Avenue and the innovative Ciputra Artpreneur gallery, theatre, and museum. It’s a buzzing corner. Yet, given Jakarta’s unpredictable traffic, the area has variable speed of access. No matter the mayhem on the roads, Raffles serves up an astonishing confection to attract the punters and it is certain that anyone walking into its cavernous minimalist cream marble vault of a lobby will pause to marvel, and perhaps shoot a selfie in front of the giant ceiling-high wall mural constructed out of thousands of small glittering coloured tiles. It is part fairy tale, part casino hotel, part haute couture design, and it is nothing like the classic sola topi colonial Raffles you may be familiar with in Singapore. Raffles Jakarta is contemporary with arty flourishes from the whimsical lobby level Writers Bar to the sole restaurant, Art’s Café that links into the mall. The rooms, with butlers on rails, are sumptuous yet minimalist with pastel tones, blue patterned carpets on wooden floors and marbled bathrooms. Soaking tubs offer city views. A large freeform alfresco pool on the 14th floor is a huge plus along with the surrounding palm trees, the Raffles Spa, fitness centre, and 350m of jogging track. At the spa, après massage, enjoy steam, ice, and cold jets, followed by a long flop on a tiled ‘hot’ lounger. Expect tennis courts, children's pool, yoga space and the 2,500sq m Dian Ballroom. Mark this down as a top Jakarta business and conference hotel. More in our Jakarta business hotels review

The Murray Hong Kong, a splendid luxury hotels pick compares well vs Upper House and Landmark Mandarin

The Murray Hong Kong

The Murray Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel (opened January 2018, www.niccolohotels.com), is a luxury offering from Wharf Hotels better known for its solid if unremarkable business hotels. Set apart from the reflective glass banks and offices of Central, this is an understated construct identified at once by its laundered white arches, straight lines, and symmetrical square windows. Cars circle around a remarkably preserved 100-year-old tree to drop guests at a starkly minimal black marble lobby with tall windows running its length framed in gold. Views throughout the hotel are aplenty, skimming the skyline vertiginously up 25 floors from where a separate lift runs up to the rooftop Popinjays restaurant with its wraparound balcony that presents an extraordinary perspective on Hong Kong as well as scrumptious breakfasts. The 336 rooms range from 50sq m to an elephant-swinging 75sq m in the suites. Expect a light textured palette with pale wood, white-and-black offsets, pastel grey leather chairs and divans, Smart TVs for media hijinks, Bluetooth and free WiFi. Signature Suites set the pace with stained-black wood doors opening into a cubist all-white chapel with high ceilings and a study desk set in a small alcove. Expect USB ports and two three-pin sockets (one a multiplug). The Murray represents a dramatic transformation from government office block (1969) to a virginal white, quietly reticent monument to a slice of the territory's history. More in our Hong Kong business hotels review

stained-black wood doors open into a cubist 'chapel' of white walls, high ceilings, and vast green views

The Fleming Hong Kong lacks connectivity but is a top boutique hotels choice and compares well vs Mira Moon

The Fleming Hong Kong

The Fleming (thefleming.com), a small and intimate 66-room Hong Kong boutique hotel known for its insouciant style and cheerful decor is set a little away from Wanchai's naughtier neon hubbub. It shut down mid 2016 for a complete overhaul and reopened with a new look  October, 2017, that will make eyes pop and purses fly open for a 30sq m 'Large' room (there's small, medium and extra large too). Targeted at business travellers - with an eye on conventioneers - the hotel offers a unique nautical design theme based on Hong Kong's iconic Star Ferry complete with elegant dark green wall borders and brass rivets. The hotel features large Hollywood lights at the entrance like a retro movie billboard and chic outsourced seafood restaurant - Osteria Marzia - at street level. A 'Large' room with wooden floors and a navy blue striped carpet under the beds is like stepping back in time on a cruise liner. Brass knobs and dimmers control brass lamps, a brass basin awaits in a compact herringbone marble-floor bathroom next to a brass rain shower. USB hubs are aplenty on either side of the bed but, mysteriously, three-pin plug sockets are a rarity and hard to find and whimsically placed (none within reach bedside). The brass lamps are grand but make poor reading lights. Think curved door borders, curvy companions, curved everything, slim boudoir-red lifts, and lobby level washrooms with the flooring entirely made up of 50 cent coins (2,400 of them). More in our Hong Kong business hotels review

Raffles Makati is one of the best Manila luxury hotels with a style and service all its own

Raffles Makati

Raffles Makati (www.raffles.com/makati) is an immaculate classic cube, small, intimate, and bright, with a white marble lobby under a circular crystal shower chandelier that presides over whimsical metal sculptures. The Writer's Bar, just behind, does great afternoon teas and to one side are the imposing grille gates of the Long Bar where, after noon each day, guests toss discarded peanut shells on the tile floor while sipping immaculate Singapore Slings under the watchful gaze of Manny Pacquiao and his red boxing gloves. After some pleasant colonial carnage beaming staff will hand you over to a butler. High above the city, say hello to Mirèio with its inspired Provencale menus. Expect service on rails. The hotel has just 32 plush suites (with a staff to room ratio of three to one). The aforementioned butlers pack and unpack for you, and they can draw your bath if you are not yet familiar with that modern invention - the faucet. There are lady butlers too. Dark timber floors - and that Gone With the Wind DNA - runs through the bedroom, separated from the foyer by white louvred windows that provide a decadent country manor touch. A plump virginal white bed dominates with sheer heft. It sleeps as good as it looks. Enjoy a dressing room, twin vanities, a rain shower set in a generous cubicle (with seat) and a window-facing tub with Lanvin toiletries. Expect a safe (for a notebook perhap), a competent hairdryer, and large tactile light switches - but no telephones in the toilet. The hotel's art collection is extensive from the lobby sculptures to the Mireio paintings and the stunning bookshelf portrait of opera diva Maria Callas by Rafael Samson. More in our Manila business hotels review

Grand Hyatt Bali is one of the best family-friendly hotels in Asia and it serves up an incredible five swimming pools

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Stepping into The Dharmawangsa Jakarta (featured as an EDITORS' CHOICE hotel, www.the-dharmawangsa.com) you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into a home rather than a hotel. Blink and adjust to the dim light as your body starts decompressing and the pulse slows down. Indonesian artefacts adorn the walls and rooms like sombre museum displays sans any architectural arrogance. The Dharmawangsa is uniquely Indonesian, proudly so, and it blends into the neighbourhood’s low-rise mansions with an endearing reticence. Think gamelan musicians in the lobby, fresh jasmine flowers or orchids in the rooms, and huge smiles. This is as far from contemporary that you can possibly get. Yet the complimentary WiFi springs on in an instant – albeit not in the lobby. With just 99 rooms and suites - all designed in five Indonesian styles – the service is hugely personaland with butlers. Recurring design motifs – like the surya (sun) orb inlaid into the floors – are from the Majapahit dynasty. Hotel roomswith 66sq m of stretch space are somewhat masculine in their simple décor, with tall herringbone-wood doors, huge private balconies, large bathrooms featuring rare yellow Italian marble, twin vanities with brightly lit mirrors, a tub, and power-shower cubicle – there’s no rain shower but you’ll enjoy mastering the antique tramcar lever that controls the water. Dharmawangsa is among the best Jakarta business hotels and, despite its 20 odd years, punches well above its weight for small corporate meetings, weddings and leisurely hideaway weekend ‘staycations’. More in our Jakarta business hotels review