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Best New Stays in Southeast Asia

Check into a newly opened hotel or resort, where everything’s sleek and shiny. We’ve found some of the best newer resorts in the area.

1. Best For A Family Vacation

Maalifushi by Como, Thaa Atoll, Maldives, Open since March 2014

Not just a favourite of honeymooners, Maldives is also a family-friendly destination. A seaside vacation at Maalifushi by Como, on the pristine Thaa Atoll, promises an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The island resort’s Beach Suites and Beach Villas come with private pools, lawns and sun decks, as well as direct access to the beach. Book a stay in the Maalifushi Water Villa, and enjoy the luxurious over-water bungalow comprising two bedrooms, a private pool and a private jetty – ideal for a small family.   

Have fun under the sun with beachside picnics or snorkelling in the company of dolphins near the prow of a privately chartered dhoni, a traditional handcrafted fishing boat. Surfing and sailing are popular pastimes, and the crystal clear lagoon is safe for swimming. The resort also provides childminding services at the kid’s club, Play by Como, if you and Hubby crave an invigorating rub-down at the famed Como Shambhala Retreat.

Price: From US$800++ (S$1,057++) for a one-night stay in a Beach Suite, depending on the season.


The Sea Shanty, Bali, Indonesia, Open since June 2014

A four-bedroom luxury villa located in the pleasant, low-key Balinese village of Jimbaran, The Sea Shanty is aimed at young families, so you can expect a slew of child-friendly features like a wading pool, an optional pool safety fence, non-slip floors, high chairs and kids’ cutlery. You’ll also find plenty of children’s toys, books, DVDs and even a chalkboard wall within the villa, all of which will surely keep the little ones entertained.

From the villa, you can drive to Waterbom Bali, a water park with rides and attractions, or to Bali Safari & Marine Park for a fun day out. You can also go swimming and surfing at the nearby Jimbaran Beach. There are numerous restaurants, bars and boutiques to visit around the area, and you can round off your evenings by embarking on a boat cruise and enjoying spectacular views of the sunset.

Price: Rates start from US$630++ a night, depending on the season.


2. Best For A Getaway With The Girls

The Castle Hotel, Dalian, China, Open since September 2014

Grab your girlfriends and splurge on a fairy-tale holiday at this opulent hotel, which is truly a destination in itself. The Bavarian-style castle (inspired by the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany) is perched on top of Lotus Mountain, with panoramic views of Xinghai Bay and the Yellow Sea. Its interior is no less palatial – think intricate stonework, handcrafted wood furnishings, glittering chandeliers and soaring ceilings. Each of its 292 guestrooms and suites also feature luxe European linens, plush lounge chairs and oversized bathtubs.

Price: Check website for most recent rates.


Ambalama Villa, Bali, Indonesia, Open since June 2014

Have a girlfriend who’s about to tie the knot? Stage a memorable hen party for her at Ambalama Villa, a complex of four guest villas nestled in the traditional Balinese village of Cemagi. Besides the usual sun, surf and sand offerings (you’ll be just 50 metres away from the beach!), the villa offers a three-day, two-night “Hen Party Package” that includes round-trip airport transfers, daily breakfast, a three-course dinner, an hour-long Balinese massage for each guest, as well as a complimentary bottle of champagne.

When you and your girlfriends are done lounging about in the villa, embark on a tour of the village and its paddy fields to learn more about Balinese traditions, then drink in gorgeous views of the sunset along the black sand beach, or party it up at one of the many nightspots in lively Seminyak, which is a mere 20 minutes’ drive away.

Price: The “Hen Party Package” costs US$450 nett a guest. The villa can be booked for a minimum of 4 guests, and up to a party of 10.


3. Best For A Romantic Retreat

The Sanchaya, Bintan, Indonesia, Open since January 2015

This upscale beachfront resort is the epitome of elegance, blending South-east Asian design elements with colonial splendour. While there are a total of 21 villas and 9 suites to choose from, we recommend that you and Hubby luxuriate in one of the Lawan Villas, which are furnished with romantic canopied beds and free-standing bath tubs overlooking private gardens. There are also lavish amenities to boot, such as Ploh bed and bath linen and Bang & Olufsen sound systems. You can expect service to be top-notch, as the resort’s staff are trained at the prestigious British Butler Institute in London.

Looking for something to do? Go for wine tasting at the Decanter, opt for a massage at the exquisite Sanchaya Spa, or simply soak up the sun’s rays by the resort’s infinity pool. Of course, you and Hubby can just spend quality time together on the beach with a cocktail in hand. The best part is, it’s just a 50-minute ferry ride away.

Price: From US$795++.

Telunas Private Island, Riau Islands, Indonesia, Open since July 2014

Whisk Hubby away for a holiday at the secluded Telunas Private Island, located just three hours away from Singapore by boat. Kick back and relax in one of 15 rustic over-water villas fashioned from upcycled wooden boats. Each villa also boasts a private veranda that offers guests scenic views of the ocean. 

There’s no Wi-Fi on the island, so you and Hubby can disconnect from your mobile devices and reconnect with each other instead. Go fishing, stand-up paddling or kayaking, or simply laze about on the beach. For a surprise romantic touch, consider pre-scheduling a couple’s massage on your private veranda or organising a candlelit dinner for two on the jetty. We recommend booking a stay during weekdays or during the island’s designated “kid-free” weekends (e-mail the resort to enquire) for maximum peace and quiet.

Price: From S$225 a night for two persons, excluding meals.

X2 River Kwai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand  Open since July 2014

Forget hectic Bangkok and head to the laid-back town of Kanchanaburi for a rejuvenating couple getaway. There, you can unwind at the gorgeous X2 River Kwai resort, located along the Kwai Noi River. Instead of the usual stately villas, quirky industrial-chic cabins offer guests panoramic views of the river and the surrounding countryside. Facilities include an infinity pool with sun lounges and sunbeds, a restaurant with a river view and an outdoor deck, iPads for loan and a library. You can also rent bicycles to explore nearby forests, mountains, caves and waterfalls.

The resort is currently offering a “River Romance” package, which includes perks like two glasses of champagne upon arrival, daily champagne breakfasts, a dozen roses and a romantic riverside dinner for two. We can’t imagine a better way to up the romance stakes.

Price: The “River Romance” package starts from 6967++ baht (S$280++) a night for a PoolXide Cabin, until May 31. A minimum two-night stay is required.


Keep vacation dreaming here!


By Delle Chan, Simply Her, March 2015

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