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Samui holidays return, HK staycations, Shanghai deals...

Pick from luxe and quirky new brands in Samui as the island opens up in Covid times, an urban spa retreat in Shanghai, and staycation cosetting in Hong Kong.

Centara Reserve Samui replaced the Centara Grand on Chaweng Beach

Reserve some time for Samui


Reborn August 2021 as the uber-luxury Centara Reserve Samui (August 2021, www.centarahotelsresorts.com/reserve/), replacing the family-friendly Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui that was closed for renovations since June 2019, this is a grand colonnaded establishment straight out of Gone With The Wind with a huge grass lawn offering a counterpoint to the stark white building. Check its relaunch offers. The pool area is right on the beach and, yes, the sea is swimmable even at low tide. The place serves up 184 spanking-new top-end rooms, pool suites and beachfront pool villas equipped with 'sleep therapy clocks' and Hosts for suites and villas. The Reserve Ocean Pool Villa conjures up 500sq m with access to a private beach. For foodies, this escape offers everything from a barefoot beach bar to fine dining, seafood, Thai tapas and a gin bar. Look forward to further indulgence at the Reserve Spa Cenvaree while children are kept entertained at the kids' club. Non-motorised sports - yoga, kayaking, beach volleyball, canoe, catamaran - are on offer to ensure low beach noise and to stay with the resort's eco-friendly credentials. The tennis courts are gone but the signature white colonnades remain in brighter fashion with a chic new look in the lobby.


Hyatt Regency Koh Samui (above left, www.hyatt.com/koh-samui/) brings you rooms at the north end of Chaweng Beach on the island's east that are light and airy - welcoming of light and views - in simple white with deep blue rugs and powder blue sofas and cushions with flashes of turquoise. The suites have more colourful flourishes and features.. At a 70sq m Hyatt Regency Suite enjoy two 55-inch flat-screen televisions, 'Sleepwell' mattresses, iron and ironing board and digital newspapers for executives on the go. Expect four freeform pools at this family-friendly Samui resort, a spa (opening late 2021), and a Camp Hyatt for kids that runs from 9am to 6pm. At the swank JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong (above right, www.marriott.com) that presides over shopping, transport and vast city views, a 'Double Happiness Summer Staycation' from HK$3,080 per night with two connecting rooms, possible upgrades to a harbour view, breakfast, dining credits and a skincare set. That complimentary bottle of red will help get you in the mood.

The PuLi Shanghai, a spa retreat and urban escape

Escape to Shanghai's dark side


From The PuLi Hotel and Spa, Shanghai (thepuli.com/en/), a sumptuous smorgasbord of summer offers from staycations to spa pampering and specially crafted afternoon teas. This understated but darkly beckoning hideaway is in the heart of fast-developing Jing'an District. Think darkwood floors, gleaming carved and delicately painted wooden cabinets, black four-poster beds contrasted with startling white linen, all set within a bamboo grove with green views and a pool. A summer staycation with an upgrade to a Club Deluxe King starts at an attractive Rmb888 and, at the woody UR Spa, 10 hour-long treatments await for Rmb7,888. The hotel interiors are hushed and calming with a soothing design and meditative ambience. An urban retreat, as it styles itself, is exactly what it is. And all the shopping and dining hustle you might crave is right around the corner.

Hyatt Regency Koh Samui opened 2021 JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong

Apurva Kempinski Bali (above leftt, www.kempinski.com/en/bali/) brings you L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo, an artistic top-floor escape with fine whiskies, exotic wines, Cuban cigars, art by the yard and chilled music spun by DJs. Kongo is a gifted graffiti artist who has been turned loose at the stately Apurva Kempinski Bali that melds traditional Indonesian decor (as in the stunning lobby) with hyper-modern architecture and a cliffside location with breezy views over a vast azure pool. The atelier is open Wednesdays to Sundays and a minimum charge applies. A stone's throw from the historic Opera House and its selfie-throngs and wedding parties dressed to the hilt in lace and finery, the all new 47-room Capella Hanoi (above right, January 2021, www.capellahotels.com) is a Bill Bensley designed throwback in an "une petite auberge" mould saluting a nostalgic time of operatic enjoyment and refinement. Yet this is anything but a casual small inn. Capella Hanoi is a magnificent and sumptuous construct, from its curving white exterior with balconies to the spacious interiors and vast suites from 59sq m to 194sq m kitted out with generous daubs of red velvet, marble, cobalt blues and irridescent greens.

L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo at Apurva Kempinski Bali Capella Hanoi

Alma Resort (above right, www.alma-resort.com/) at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, has decided to up the tempo at this smart seaside getaway with singalong karaoke for foot-stomping musicals like La La Land, Yesterday, and A Star is Born. The hotel's Singalong Karaoke runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday so brush up on your shower crooning and head to Vietnam as soon as you can for a live session with other wannabes. At the stately Mandarin Oriental Jakarta (above left, www.mandarinoriental.com/jakarta/), city stays with a difference. Why not take the chance to learn or improve your SCUBA diving skills? The hotel's 'Dive into the Weekend' package serves up a few options including a pool submersion for beginners (eight years and above) with a minimum two-night stay in a Deluxe over the weekend at Rp2,550,000 per night, and an open ocean experience at Thousand Islands in Jakarta Bay (for up to five persons aged over 18) from Rp8,130,000 per night. Expect breakfast and a private boat. Well, this surely beats the city's traffic.

Mandarin Oriental Jakarta Hotel Alexandra opens in Hong Kong March 2021

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