For a decadent, tropical vacation like no other, check into one of Southeast Asia's Top 10 island stays with six-star villas, luxe infinity pools, dazzling beaches and gourmet fine dining - swoon!
Though we love our paradise island home, sometimes we like to check out the competition and see what else Southeast Asia has to offer, especially when it comes to ultra-luxe hotels and resorts. Far more than just a playground for backpackers, adventure junkies and culture seekers, the region is home to some of the world’s most decadent island stays. From the deliberately rustic (yet unmistakably sumptuous) to the opulently decorated, we’ve rounded up 10 of our fave luxurious hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia for you to swoon over.
Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia
The new “must-visit” destination for all well-heeled travellers to Indonesia is the oh-so-hot-right-now Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba. Rated as the number one hotel in the world for two years running [2016 & 2017], it’s the best of the best in the region. It’s an all-inclusive paradise, where not only your gourmet meals and ultra-luxe private villa are included. Chuck in 2.5 kilometers of private Nihiwatu beach, 567 acres of unspoilt natural reserve and six-star luxuries like a resort movie theatre, private beach club, an oceanfront library and, since Sumba is slated as the “Africa of Asia”, there’s even safaris and wild excursions around the island.
Getting here: Sumba is just 400km East of Bali, and with the brand new Sky Team Garuda bombardier jets, the flight is just 50 minutes away. Sumba’s Tambolaka airport is then 90minutes from the resort, where a private transfer will be waiting for you.
Nihiwatu Resort, Bali office: Kuta PoLeng Complex Block C/2, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, p. +62) 361 757 149, e. [email protected]
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: The fastest route is 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.
The Sanchaya Bintan, Jalan Gurindam Duabelas, Plot 5Lagoi Bay, P. Bintan, Kep. Riau, p. (62) 770 692200, e. [email protected].
Song Saa Private Islands, Cambodia
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.
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, Malaysia
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 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.
The Oberoi, Lombok, Indonesia
With Bali becoming ever-popular on every traveller’s radar, those looking for ultimate luxury and serenity in Indonesia are hopping over to Lombok, home to the gorgeous The Oberoi, Lombok resort. Tucked away in the enchanting Medana Bay with exclusive beach access and sunset views all the way over to Bali’s volcanic Mount Agung, The Oberoi, Lombok is seriously stunning. It spans twenty-four acres of beautifully manicured gardens abundant with towering indigenous trees, flaming bougainvillea and a spectacular infinity pool overlooking the water. There’s even a croquet lawn, tennis courts, its own scuba diving centre, al fresco dining and gorgeous lolling spots throughout the resort’s grounds for ocean-view intimate cocktails or shaded brunches.
Getting here: From Bali, Lombok is just a short 30minute flight away, or you can also take a fast boat from Padang Bai on the East Coast. Whichever you choose, The Oberoi can arrange private transfers to your villa doorstep.
The Oberoi, Lombok, Medana beach, Tanjung, North Lombok, Indonesia, p.+62 370 6138 444 e. [email protected]
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 to Krabi International Airport. There, a private transfer will transfer you to the pier where you’ll depart to the property via boat.
Rayavadee Krabi, 214 Moo 2, Tumbon Ao-Nang Amphur Muang 81000, Krabi, Thailand, e. [email protected].
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. [email protected].