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While some in the travel industry are promoting wellness retreats as group-style getaways on isolated resorts that include daily workouts and a dumbed-down diet, the Banyan Tree brand has its own plan to help lower your blood pressure: They combine the local nature and culture, stick you in a suite, and close the door behind them.
It's true. Space and privacy are big selling points of Banyan Tree properties, such as the five-star Macau resort with in-room private relaxation pools. As it reads right on its homepage, "The philosophy behind the hotels, resorts, residences, spas, retail galleries and destination club is based on rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul – a Sanctuary for the Senses."
Opening this summer, the Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei 0 will take things to the next level. Set amongst the alleged healing waters of the North Hot Springs outside of Chongqing, this baby is essentially built into a hillside and will feature 107 suites and villas with private hot spring pools (using the water from the North Hot Springs). There will be 48 Hot Spring Retreats and 59 Hot Spring Villas as well as seven different indoor/outdoor springs throughout the property. As you can see from the photo, this will be a retreat in every sense of the word.
A Lagoon Pool Villa at Banyan Tree
We may have gotten excited when Banyan Tree arrived on Shanghai’s The Bund in October, but this wasn’t the only development the small hotel group had up its sleeve: just weeks later it opened its first property in Vietnam.
This isn’t just a simple hotel opening though: the “integrated resort community” Laguna Lăng Cô, in the Chan May region of central Vietnam, contains both a Banyan Tree and Angsana Resort. It’s not the first time Banyan Tree has pulled this off, with a similar combination already existing in Phuket, Thailand.
So what's the difference between the two resorts you ask? And what's there to do when you arrive? Read on to find out.
If it seems like China is getting all of the newest and flashiest hotels, it's because, well, they are getting all the newest and flashiest hotels. The country is certainly a hotbed for hoteliers to pull out all the stops and wow their guests. Banyan Tree Hotels are no different with their newest addition to Shanghai, and this one's a gem.
Banyan has build a brand new urban resort on the banks of the Huangpu River in the most happening area of town called The Bund. The area is a definite contrast of new and old with turn of the century banks and hotels juxtaposed across the river with the big lights and big city of the financial district, Pudong, this modern building houses great service and modern luxuries.
Each of the 130 rooms and suites will offer modern Asian decor with a focus on wood and natural fabrics all arranged around a textile wall behind the beds. All rooms are fully equipped with high-tech devises like LCD flat screen TVs up to 52 inches, Nespresso coffee makers and complementary WiFi. While these are nice features, we wouldn't be able to tear our eyes away from the passing boats and cruises of the river views that the suites boast. The top-of-the-line 'Banyan Suite' offers a Shanghai exclusive: the en-suite swimming pool. It can be said that this is a first for the city; other than in Macau, we can't imagine it's common place in many other hotels.
While we're speaking of Banyan Tree Resorts, we mustn't neglect to mention our new minor obsession with the one in Bangkok. No, we aren't sleeping there and no, we aren't even too interested in its interiors. We're all about the architecture of the building itself because, from the moment we saw it and knew it as the Banyan Tree, it's looked exactly like that in our eyes.
Tall and stark but thin, like the trunk of a strong tree, the Banyan Tree towers above the strip of modern office buildings and other nicer hotels along Sathorn Road. It's even within a quick walk of the upcoming W Hotel site and the even further-in-the-future Ritz-Carlton Residences The W, however, will at least not be W-shaped.
Have you see any hotels with architecture that reminds you of their names? Let us know!
And this is one of the lowest category rooms
In case there was any doubt about Macau being a huge hotel hot spot, a new five-star Banyan Tree has just opened in a massive complex which will also eventually be joined by the Hotel Okura Macau. It's part of the Galaxy Macau complex, but that doesn't mean it's going to be all giant, corporate hotel or anything. We're talking Banyan Tree here, which means all rooms (246 of them) are suites, some with private indoor "relaxation pools," the hotel isn't calling itself a hotel, but a "resort."
Macau's high-class casinos regularly bring in more moolah than Las Vegas these days, and it only makes sense that the accommodations on the peninsula rival (or bet) those in Sin City. If Caesar's can have entire high roller villas, then so can the Banyan Tree Macau, and indeed they do. Said villas are expansive, with entire private pools, spa treatment rooms, entertainment dens...everything a deep-pocketed gambler needs to feel comfy cozy enough to stay on dropping loot.
The view from the Banyan Tree Bangkok. Wouldn’t be a trial to work out our karma there.
Karma. We like ours good, and sometimes we wonder how ours is doing when we fritter away money on nice hotel stays.
But what do we know? Very little, by the looks of it. Because it turns out that booking a posh hotel can give you good karma.
Stay two nights at a Banyan Tree or Angsana hotel, and they’ll hand you back a resort credit that’s the same price as a night’s stay. For real. Up to $1,860 worth of credit, that you can use for food,
souvenirs important purchases and, most crucially, spa treatments. It’s called Karma. We repeat, for real.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
March 1st marked the opening of the brand new Banyan Tree Mayakoba on the Riveria Maya, the first South-of-the-Border property from the chain of super-luxe retreats. With its 132 pool villas and a indulgent Banyan Tree Spa, this hideaway offers a bit more of an adult experience than the boozey Spring Break frat-storm of Cancun but the peace and pampering is pricey. Could the several-hundred-dollar room rate be worth it? Reader L. from HeWhoTravels, one of the first guests at the property, weighs in:
I have to say, the Spa Pool Villas are simply stunning. The resort is built next to the ocean and linked via a series of lagoons/canals to other resorts throughout the complex. Each Villa is like its own self-contained house...
The rest of the review plus a couple more snapshots after the jump.
Just in case you still enjoy daydreaming about tropical resort vacations, we've just heard that the luxurious line of Banyan Tree Hotels is prepping to open their first Mexico property on the Riviera Maya on March 1st. Joining the Mayakoba development with other hotels and the first PGA tour golf course outside of the US and Canada, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba serves as an indulgent getaway option far from the cheap thrills of Cancun.
If the picture above and the fact that they'll have 132 pool villas and a complete Banyan Tree Spa get your motor running, then we'd advise you to jump on it now as they begin with an opening special rate of $495 a night for the month of March. This includes the serious incentive of a 90-minute spa massage, and the knowledge that you beat their usual rates of $655-$800 a night by a longshot. Let's not forget that each room comes with more than just a private pool, but also the exhibitionist's delight: an outdoor bathtub. That's it, we're down for it--when's the next flight south of the border?
[Image via Banyan Tree Mayakoba]