For a decadent, tropical vacation like no other, check into these top accommodation picks with villas, pools, beaches, spas, and fine dining
Southeast Asia is far more than just a playground for backpackers, adventure junkies and culture seekers. The region’s also home to some of the world’s most decadent accommodation, renowned for their impeccable service, cutting-edge designs and tranquil locations. From the deliberately rustic (yet unmistakably sumptuous) to the opulently decorated, we’ve picked 10 of Southeast Asia’s most luxurious resorts and hotels.
The Sanchaya Bintan
Located in Bintan’s previously untouched Lagoi Bay, The Sanchaya harks back to a glamorous bygone era, with its colonial, monochrome exterior structure. Within its interiors, Southeast Asian heritage is celebrated with a mish-mash of decor including historical Vietnamese artefacts, Peranakan-inspired tiles and lavish Thai silks. 21 villas and nine suites are up for booking here with upscale amenities like Bang & Olufsen TVs, Apple TVs, iPad minis and walk-in closets available in almost all.
Getting here: From Singapore’s Tanah Merry ferry terminal, hop aboard a 45-minute ferry ride to Bintan island. Register at The Sanchaya Lounge at Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, a mere 15-minute drive from the property.
Song Saa Private Islands
A luxe sanctuary for the well-heeled, Song Saa Private Islands remain untouched, resulting in lush rainforests, gorgeous reefs and pristine beaches. Like its name suggests, the biggest draw here is privacy, so immersing yourself into this serene world is effortless. Whichever sanctuary you pick from the 27 villas, each offers unhindered landscape views, private pools and high-end creature comforts for the luxurious traveller – think oversized sunken bath tubs, Bose surround sound systems and even a mojito-making station and stair access to the ocean for upper-tiered villas.
Getting there: Fly to Siem Reap and board Cambodia Angkor Air for a 50-minute flight to Sihanoukville International Airport, where a driver will be waiting.
Song Saa Private Islands, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Anyone who’s been to Bali would know that the name Alila is synonymous with luxury. Its Uluwatu mainstay boasts one of the island’s most prominent icons: an overhanging, sunset cabana poised atop towering limestone cliffs and overlooking the Indian Ocean. The resort’s modern design seamlessly blends with its verdant surrounds; all of its pool villas feature open-plan designs for an abundance of sea breeze, as well as stunning interiors furnished with both contemporary and Balinese accents.
Getting here: Fly from Singapore to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International. Hire a private airport transfer to the resort.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Jl. Belimbing Sari, Banjar Tambiyak Desa Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia.
Soneva Kiri Koh Kood, Thailand
When thinking of Thailand, what usually comes to mind (aside from cheap shopping and Chang beers) are the droves of crowds in markets and beaches. So to hear of a locale which touts itself as “Thailand as it was years ago” is thoroughly refreshing. With its untamed forestry, untouched beaches and lively fishermen trade, Koh Kood is reminiscent of ancient Siam. Located only an hour away from busy Bangkok, the Soneva Kiri Koh Kood resort offers 14 accommodation types, ranging from secluded one-bedroom pool villas with beach access to sprawling six-bedroom reserves. Spend your afternoons wiling away on the private beach, snuggle up under the stars with an outdoor flick at Cinema Paradiso, or drop everything and head to the Six Senses spa for a thoroughly pampering sesh.
Getting here: Fly to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, then take a short 70-minute flight on the resort’s private plane to the property. Alternatively, take a domestic flight from Bangkok to Trat followed by a short boat ride to Koh Kood.
Soneva Kiri Koh Hood, 110 Moo 4, Koh Kood Sub-District, Koh Kood District, Trat 23000, Thailand.
St. Regis Langkawi
The recently launched new St. Regis Langkawi has raised the bar for luxury on the Malaysian isle. At this paradise-on-earth, guests are treated to dips in the 100,000-square metre swimmable salt-water lagoon (which, FYI, integrates seamlessly with the Andaman Sea *swoon*) and 600 metres of pure, white beaches. The plush confines of this lush, all-suite resort also includes exquisite dining options, a luxe spa with decadent treatments and bespoke cocktails over at the St. Regis Bar. Quick luxury getaway, sorted.
Getting here: Fly from Singapore to Langkawi International Airport. The St. Regis Bentley Service offers private transfers to and from the airport.
The St. Regis Langkawi, Beringin, Jalan Pantai Kok, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines
Exclusivity begins the moment you arrive at the resort‘s welcome lounge in Caticlan. Here, you’ll be whisked away via private speedboat to the isle’s only deluxe resort. We recommend checking into the Seaview Suite for the luxury experience; the hideaway features spacious rooms, and an outdoor jacuzzi close enough to hear the sound of the crashing waves. For an activity-packed weekend, head to the seas – they offer a myriad of sea activities like kayaking, parasailing, and deep sea diving.
Getting here: From Manila, it’s a short 45-minute flight to the island’s Caticlan Airport and a further 15-minute combined sea and land transfer.
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines, Barangay Yapak, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan 5608, Philippines.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
Sitting on a dramatic bay on the East Vietnam Sea, this swanky resort boasts an array of gorgeous accommodation, with the rock pool villas (set amongst the bay’s rock formations) and the water pool villas (built on the edge of water) stealing the spotlight. If languorously lazing around in your villa simply isn’t an option, there are plenty of excursions to fill up your day, including romantic cruises, island hopping and trips to hot springs down the winding Cai River.
Getting here: Fly to Tan Son Nhat Airport at Ho Chi Minh then transfer via domestic flight to Cam Ranh International Airport. From there, take a 60-minute car ride to the resort’s lounge, where you’ll hop onto a 20-minute boat ride to Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.
Six Sense Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Vân, Ninh Hòa, Ninh Vân, Vietnam.
Hanging Gardens of Bali
Float above the treetops at one of the world’s most photographed swimming pools. At Hanging Gardens of Bali, its award-winning, twin-tiered pool appears suspended over the rainforest. But the pool isn’t the only draw; situated in the heart of the jungle, this forest sanctuary sits at the edge of a valley and is surrounded by rich rainforests and the famed rice terraces of Ubud. Each of its 44 private villas is also a peaceful haven decked out with both contemporary and Balinese decor and the finest amenities.
Getting here: Fly to Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. Head to the resort via private transfer or taxi.
Rayavadee Krabi, Thailand
Think Phuket’s done-to-death? Hop over to its quieter cousin, Krabi – gorgeous beaches are aplenty here without the tourist flock. Skip the usual resort hotels and check into the Rayavadee if you’re planning to splurge. Located in the heart of Phranang Peninsula on the border of Krabi Marine National Park, the resort’s 96 two-storey pavilion and five luxe villas are scattered throughout tropical gardens and coconut groves. The range of accommodation starts from the Deluxe Pavilion, which offers fully-furnished and spacious accommodation with swish tropical decor, while the largest at the end of the spectrum is the sprawling Family Pavilion with Pool.
Getting here: Fly direct from Singapore to Krabi International Airport. There, a private transfer will transfer you to the pier where you’ll depart to the property via boat.
Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa, Philippines
Located at the Southernmost tip of Bohol in Philippines, this beach-fringed, paradisiacal hideaway is the epitome of rustic luxury. Named after the only known indigenous tribe of Bohol, Eskaya exudes a village-like feel, with its 15 balais (villas) inspired by traditional Filipino architecture and constructed out of materials like bamboo and thatch. While its massive infinity pool and swim-up bar is a magnet for cocktail-sipping sun-soakers, it’s the utterly gorgeous, crystal clear beaches adjacent to the resort that’ve repeatedly enticed holidaymakers.
Getting here: From Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila), hop on a short flight to Tagbilaran Airport, where you’ll be picked up by hotel staff.
Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa, Barangay Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines, e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mulia, Uluwatu, Bali
Truth: It’s hard to pick the most luxurious hotel in Bali on an island dotted with so many. But The Mulia scores major points in our books for its beyond stunning decor – the star of its venue are the rows of towering statues (depicting Balinese women with platters on their heads) lining its sublime pool area, which looks out to the sparkling waters of the Indian ocean. It’s no less opulent within the hotel – only suites – complete with 24 hour butler services and luxe furnishings – are found on its premises, and the finest of restaurants and bars cater to its guests’ exquisite culinary tastes.
Getting here: Fly to Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport. Head to the resort via private transfer or taxi.
The Mulia, Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, Kawasan Sawangan, Nusa Dua, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80363, Indonesia
Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand
We promise you’ve never experienced Krabi like this. Located beyond the island’s soaring limestone cliffs, abundant rainforests and magnificent waterfalls lies a secluded tropical paradise. Decked out in contemporary Thai decor, its one-bedroom pavilions and villas boast four-metre long beds, private garden views, outdoor baths, private plunge pools and massive indoor baths. However you wish to spend your holiday, there’s an activity for you – the array includes sound meditation classes, yoga, basic Thai classes and pilates.
Getting here: Fly to Krabi airport. Head to the resort via private transfer or taxi.
Phulay Bay, 111 Moo 3 Nongthalay, Muang, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Shinta Mani, Siem Reap
Designed by famed American architect Bill Bensley, the upscale hotel is a sleek homage to its hometown – think concrete hallways lined with symmetrical columns, stylish white brick walls lined with contemporary Khmer art and a primarily black-and-white palette, save for the occasional splash of orange as a respectful nod to Cambodia’s Buddhist monks’ robes. Rooms are no less plush, with soft beddings, gorgeous bathrooms and luxury extras like coffee machines. When you’re not exploring the Old Market in the day, spend your afternoons cooling off at the stunning saltwater pool flanked by palm trees. Don’t forget to check into the spa – if you think Balinese and Thai rubdowns are uh-mayzing, you’ll love the traditional Khmer ones doled out by the skilled therapists here.
Getting here: Fly to Siem Reap’s airport. Head to the resort via private transfer or taxi.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai
Contrary to its name, this ain’t any ‘ol camp. Located in the natural surrounds of Northern Thailand’s border between Laos and Burma, Four Seasons Tented Camp is an opulent escape from everyday reality. Tents are a treat; each Deluxe tent features a custom-made wooden hot tub, while the Superior tent has an outdoor shower and a hand-hammered copper bathtub. If you can bear to leave your luxurious tent, you’ll interact with elephants in their natural habitat, explore mountain trails and bamboo jungles. Tip: For an experience of a lifetime, catch the sun rising over the Laos mountains and Burmese plains, before heading back down to the elephant bathing pool.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, P.O. Box 18, Chiang Saen Post Office, Chiang Rai 57150 Thailand.
Getting here: Fly to Bangkok International Airport, then to Chiang Rai International Airport. Head to the site via private transfer or taxi.