As the year draws to a close, we look back at all those travel moments we enjoyed so much. 2018 was an active year for hotel and resort openings across Asia, with iconic new buildings and resorts erected to grace the skies and beaches of cities in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, India, Cambodia and more. We of course couldn’t include every single opening that happened throughout 2018, but we did our very best to narrow it down to what we consider to be the best hotel and resort openings of the year. If you haven’t started already, see how many of these you can tick off your travel list in 2019.

 

Cape Fahn Hotel, Thailand

Cape Fahn Private Islands Hotel on Koh Samui is the perfect getaway for those seeking solitude and moments of peace and tranquility. Far enough from civilization, the hotel is located just off the Koh Samui’s north-eastern coast, offering 22 independent villas, each with their own exclusive pool. The hotel’s first major event was the stunning wedding of Thai sweetheart and superstar Janie Tienphosuwan to Micky Allopach Na Pombhejara, whose friends and family overtook the entire hotel for a wonderful evening of romance and fireworks. Picturesquely situated just 300 metres from the Choeng Mon Beach, Cape Fahn is surrounded in Thailand’s tropical sun from sunrise to sunset and is a perfect choice for couples, families and friends.
24/269 Moo5 Koh Samui Surat Thani 84320, +66 77 602 301, www.capefahnhotel.com
Avani+ Luang Prabang, Laos

Gracing the royal capital of Laos – Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site – was Avani+ Luang Prabang at the beginning of 2018, a charming hotel occupying old colonial French quarters, combining authentic and personalised service with boutique chic. If you’re looking for a charming heritage getaway with a day-to-day agenda filled with rich culture, sustainable shopping and memorable sightseeing, Avani+ Luang Prabang should be on your radar. Housed at the centre of the old town, the location places guests in the midst of heritage temples, museums, stunning views of the Mekong River, a minute’s walk from river cafes and restaurants, a wide range of antique shops and of course, the night market.

Setthathirath Road, Hua Xieng Village, Luang Prabang 06000, Laos, +856 71 262 333, www.avanihotels.com

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand

One of Bangkok’s most publicised hotel openings of 2018, the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok opened its doors with glitz, glamour and style, showcasing the architectural fervour of André Fu, the inventive designer and Hong Kong native behind world-renowned Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong, The Pavilion Suites at The Berkeley, the Andaz Singapore, and the Villa La Coste in Provence. With dining destinations and bars that have occupied hundreds upon hundreds of social calendars of Bangkok’s creme de la creme in society, the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok bears the mark of elegance, sophistication and a highly refined type of luxury, perfect for international travelers visiting Bangkok or Bangkokians themselves looking for a state-of-the-art staycation.

151 Ratchadamri Road, Lumphini, Bangkok, Thailand, 10330, +66 2 846 8888, 

waldorfbangkok.waldorfastoria.com

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

July 2018 saw the opening of the Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur right in the heart of the city, marking the luxury resorts and hotel chain’s debut in Malaysia. Although the seven-floor hotel may seem modest, location is key as guests can enjoy the multitude of things that are on offer in Malaysia’s capital, one of the more fashionably affordable cities in Southeast Asia for luxury shopping. Constructed on top of Banyan Tree Residences in the Pavilion Building, the sky-high wonder sits high above the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle allowing guests to be instantaneously privy to the commercial, shopping and entertainment hub of Malaysia, brimming bright with what many travel for: Malaysian hospitality.

Wisma Misc, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 1 300 88 1818, www.banyantree.com

Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island Okinawa, Japan

Experience a whole other side toJapan with Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island Okinawa. All guest rooms are graced with sweeping views of the azure ocean as the hotel is located on an untouched private island on the west coast Okinawa. Aimed at providing an energizing getaway that connects guests with what matters to them most – nature and themselves – the hotel is surrounded in lush greenery, incredible stone walls inspired by the island’s ancient heritage and ocean views of the East China sea. The organically shaped outdoor pool – which is closed during the winter months – is the place to splash around and kick back if you’re not out exploring the natural attractions and white-sand beaches of the island.

1108 Seragaki, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0404, Japan, +81 98-960-4321, www.hyatt.com

Rosewood Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Rosewood Phnom Penh sits at the top of the city’s first real skyscraper, Vattanac Capital Tower in the central business district, occupying the top 14 floors and soaring 188 metres into the sky. Phnom Penh’s landmark building appears as a rising dragon and with it being so high up, guests are privy to unspoiled and panoramic vistas of Cambodia’s capital, including that of the winding Mekong River. Climb to the top in a most stylish of manner, as the hotel is accessible only by a high-speed elevator. True to the brand’s philosophy, guests can experience a true sense of place, as the hotel is nestled in the city’s local culture, nature and a distinct style of local and personalized service.

66 Preah Moha Ksatreiyani Kossamak Ave (106), Phnom Penh 12202, Cambodia, +855 23 936 888, www.rosewoodhotels.com

The Surawongse Marriott Bangkok, Thailand

Situated in the heart of Surawongse road, which some would say is an area reminiscent of the ‘old and charming Bangkok’ we all miss, The Surawongse Mariott Bangkok has been an interesting and unique addition to the hotelsphere in Bangkok. Complete with all the usuals – ballroom, meeting rooms and one-of-a-kind restaurants featuring Chinese, Thai and global cuisine – the five-star hotel boasts traditional or extended-stay guest rooms of up to 3 bedrooms with sweeping views of the city and life’s little luxuries, from an outdoor infinity pool, a full-service spa, a 24/7 fitness center and a rooftop bar serving up stellar cocktails best enjoyed at the end a busy day day sightseeing.

262 Thanon Surawong, Khwaeng Si Phraya, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, +66 2 088 5666, www.mariott.com

The St. Regis Zhuhai, China

September 2018 saw the opening of the St. Regis Zhuhai, beautifully positioned on the waterfront of Wanzai, Zhuhai on the southern coast of Guangdong province and a coastal city regarded by many as the ‘Chinese Riviera’. Featuring 251 stunning guest rooms and suites and over 1,500 square-metres of meeting space for the savvy business traveller, the hotel boasts one-of-a-kind views of the Greater Bay and landscapes of Zhuhai and Macao. Surrounded by a city characterized by moving palm trees, ocean views and a plethora of cultural sites to visit, the interiors feature a unique blend gracious Chinese traditions paired with a contemporary flair. The hotel is also home to a number of Cantonese fine-dining destinations, lounges and its signature Iridium Spa and Athletic Club.

Area E, No.1663 Yinwan Road (41-72F, Zhuhai Center), Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, +86 756 299 9888, www.mariott.com

 

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans, India

Located in the Bay of Bengal, the luxury haven of Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Andamans occupies 4,447 square-metres of the white-sand splendours of Radhanagar Beach at Havelock Island and has paved the way for being an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot. The resort rests peacefully in the secluded Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, a 700km stretch of islands from the southern tip of Myanmar towards the north of Sumatra, with views of a strip of mangroves, a river overlooking the beach and a vibrant and unique mix of unspoiled beaches, local ancient and tribal cultures, rainforests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. In its commitment to conservation and sustainable luxury, the resort is peppered with 50 modern luxury villas on stilts that were all built using recycled wood.

Radha Nagar Beach No. 7, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 744211, India, +91 3192 283 333, www.taj.tajhotels.com

Catherine Napalai Faulder
Catherine is Bangkok born and bred and knows the angles of the city and its people very personally. You'll often catch her writing about the upsides of Thainess, the richness and diversity of Bangkok's third cultures and the true meaning of wellness.