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Park Hyatt Bangkok
With the Grand Hyatt Erawan already open, the group’s selection of brands in the city is nearly complete. So Mister Hyatt, will an Andaz be next? While we wait for that announcement (we just heard about a Tokyo addition), read on for details on the two new hotels.
Reflecting the city's common juxtaposition of ancient buildings next to modern highrises, the hotel will marry both of these Bangkokian elements. The structure is half 31-story glass tower and half 100 year old heritage building that used to be the former Russian Embassy. We've previously noted how sexy the building is; this place will most certainly be a scene if you are a local or passing through the city.
With 407 guestrooms, this won't be a peanut operation, but the signature features we know the W does so well will be repped. W Lounge, Great Room, WOOBAR, and WET pool bar will all play a role on making your stay fun. And, of course, being in a foodies city such as Bangkok, The Kitchen Table will serve up tradition Thai fare with a modern and whimsical twist.
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Anantara Resorts has begun to sell "naturally refined" coffee beans in some of their hotels in the Maldives and Thailand, but you're going to want to read the fine print on this one: They're made from beans that have been digested and pooped out by elephants. Anantara isn't the first with Bali's Ayana resort doing strange things with coffee, cat bladders and their bowels, but they're certainly the priciest. For $1,100 a kilogram, or approximately $50 a cup, travelers can enjoy what is currently the world's most expensive coffee. The digestion of the beans apparently breaks down the proteins that cause bitterness, claiming to make this cup of Joe go down as smoothly as it no doubt comes out of the elephants.
Anyway you slice it, Anantara Resorts gets the last laugh with this one. The irony in the fact that you are paying 50 times what a cup of coffee should cost in an effort to drink what comes out of the back end of an elephant cannot be overlooked. We had to chuckle when we saw that they decided to name it Black Ivory Coffee, as if we needed any spacial imagery for this one.
Are we down? In theory, yes, but not for that price - it's just ridiculous.
Does dunking a donut in elephant dung coffee do anything for you? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo: Anantara Resorts]
How about that? We mentioned it over the summer when we looked at new Asia hotels, but Regent Hotels will finally open its first new property in a long time early December: the Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, Thailand.
Set in its own private bay, 15 minutes away from Phuket town, the hotel features 105 rooms, suites, and villas. Entry-level pavilions start at 60m2, suites are a little larger and have an open plan lay-out with a view of either the bay or the ocean. Pool villas will give you 150m2 to roam around in, an outdoor deck with a private pool, butler service, and complimentary access to the Regent Club for breakfast and drinks throughout the day. All rooms come with an iPad and happily, complimentary WiFi.
Following the opening of its first Asian property in Beijing in 2013, Rosewood Hotels has announced it will add a Phuket resort in 2014.
The beachfront retreat, which is near a 40-acre banyan-tree filled forest bordering Western Phuket's Emerald Bay, will be a modest haven of 87 one-and-two bedroom villas, 20 two-to-nine-bedrooms residences set on a half-acre each, and six exclusive forest “hideaway” hillside homes comprised of two-to-three-bedrooms each with a private gymnasium and lap pool. There will also be six restaurants and lounges for dining and entertainment.
Naturally, a highlight will be the brand's Sense Spa, with its five treatment rooms and seven private spa villas complete with a swimming and Watsu pool for therapies. Yoga will continue to be a staple and a dedicated pavilion will be on site. To take advantage of the Andaman Sea, a sea sports pavilion will offer a variety of water sports options, and a rooftop tennis court will provide what can only be mean game-distracting views of the region.
Rosewood plans to add 10 more properties to its Asia profile within the next five years.
[Image: Rosewood Hotels]
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As we mentioned earlier today, there's a hotel boom happening in Asia right now. There's so many to list, we're giving you a sort of Magic Mike-type news brief. A little tease, and a little unveiling. It's just a little show for now, but keep coming back and we'll keep giving you a little more...detail.
Rosewood Beijing, slated to open in summer 2013 in the business-centric Chaoyang District will be the brand’s first China property. The 279-room hotel, though in an urban location, will be filled with terraces, gardens and balconies throughout to go along with its intended residential feel. Guestrooms will be designed to look like luxury apartments, with big bathrooms, walk-in closets and even window-seats, and at 538 sq.ft., they’re said to be amongst the largest in Beijing. The hotel will have seven restaurants and lounges, an indoor swimming pool, yoga studio, and the Rosewood Sense spa with five suites designed for overnight stays.
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With big things happening for Tune Hotels in the UK and Australia, it kind of makes sense that the expansion waves would also carry over to Asia, where the chain is actually based.
This September, Tune will open its third Thailand hotel, a 130-room outpost on Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 14, a few blocks away from Lumphini Park, and encircled by pricier hotel choices like Westin Grand Sukhumvit, Grand Millennium Sukhumvit and Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit.
But while basic rooms at those places generally go for around $150-$220 USD, Tune will be swinging into town with rates of just $15 USD/night.
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A brand new luxury travel flash site called Out Escapes just launched this month, and it's the first ever flash site oriented towards gay travelers.
Luring customers in with super-slick photos (pretty much a requisite for any commercial travel site), Out Escapes offers deals on boutique hotels and all-inclusive resorts, destination packages, and tickets to gay events around the world. Once a hotel has been given the "stamp of approval" (ie, it's gay-friendly), it pops up on the site as an "escape," with a quick blurb on the hotel and the destination, and enticing half-off rates, as well as extras thrown in like a bottle of wine, 60-minute massage and VIP beach passes.
In the words of co-founder and CEO Jimmy Im, the whole idea is essentially to "offer escapes in places that aren't typically known as gay destinations. Our goal is to get gay travelers to travel outside their comfort zone."
Always a good thing...
What would you say if we told you that a hotel just opened today that has rooms with private courtyards, with private pools and rooftop terraces, and yet it's in a giant metropolis and not on some deserted island? Well, you'd probably ask where and how much. The answers: Bangkok, Thailand and starting at $516 per night for no pool and $1000 per night with the pool.
It's called The Siam and in a town where luxury rooms can usually be had for as little as $100 per night, it's a hotel with a certain demographic in mind, specifically high-spenders looking for maximum privacy with minimum big city feel.
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No? Well, that's because you've never spent a night at Ritz-Carlton's
over the top opulent Reserve Phulay Bay in Krabi, Thailand. Comprised of 54 villas set along the Andaman Sea, every inch of the resort is pure luxury—from the feng shui-inspired welcome pavilion to the cathedral-like bathrooms.
The above shot shows a bathroom entrance in one of the Ocean Pavilion villas (these bad boys go for around $550/night during the summer season). The painted double doors alone are pretty impressive, and peeking inside, we love how the scalloped porcelain sinks are set in the middle of the room like a shrine. But the fancy faucets are only the beginning of what Phulay Bay's bathrooms have to offer...
Swissôtels are elusive properties. It's hard to believe that though the chain has a slew of hotels around Europe, they have only one in the US (the Swissôtel Chicago) and, now, only one resort in Asia: the newly debuted Swissôtel Resort Phuket, Thailand.
Although it's not a new buildit used to be the Courtyard by Marriott at Kamala Beachthis Swissôtel is sticking to the business formula, positioning itself as a resort for businesspeople who need a getaway. Of course it helps that the resort is only 30 minutes south of Phuket International Airport and has a conference center for 150.
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On the coast of Krabi in Thailand sits Ritz-Carlton's prize jewel, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve at Phulay Bay. While a lot of meticulous planning went into the property's design, it seems there was one element of Phulay Bay that needed some adjusting after the initial opening.
Specifically, the welcome pavilion, where, upon arriving, guests must ceremoniously walk around the edges of a pond by following a path of stones (above). Fair enough. Except the path splits in two, so guests have to choose whether they want to enter from the left or right. Fair enough.
Then, the hotel found out that walking counter-clockwise is considered bad feng shui. Meaning half the guests, before they'd even checked into their picture-perfect villas, were already doomed. What to do?