Cities provide a landscape where it often feels like the world converges: a place that brings together people from all over the state, region, country or even the world, in a unique environment, resulting in a buzzing atmosphere that is bursting at its seams with creativity and a constant stream of new ideas: from culture and customs, to food to language.
This also means that cities, as the epicentre of all that, are a hectic affair, and that’s precisely why many people love them: the energy is unmatched – anyone that has been to New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Shanghai has, in one way or another, been affected by the city’s constant buzz. But at the end of a long day of touring a metropolis as the archetypal tourist, you want to return to a peaceful, quiet enclave.
The luxury hotels below offer just that: a haven of tranquility in a sea of chaotic city mess, without ever compromising on location.
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Despite being the smallest ‘city’ on this list, with a population under 600,000, anyone who has been to the “Sin City of the Far East” knows that this population packed into a tiny space, and added to with a mass of tourists (30 million plus a year) who have come to gamble away results in a hectic affair. Macau is known for its ostentatious and often garish architecture. The Crown Towers, although situated in the City of Dreams, catering to an entirely different crowd, looks the other way: offering hints of luxury (a chandelier here and there) without ever going over-the-top. This is evident from the hotel entry which offers muted tones of soft gold and bamboo, and a calming fragrance. The rooms are spacious, large and providing all the modern amenities in a tasteful manner. And the airy and light spa, with single and couples suites, is one of the most relaxing.
Formerly serviced apartments run by Swire Properties within the upscale Pacific Place shopping mall complex, The Upper House is one of Swire Hotels’ signature hotels, and its style still reflects the welcoming atmosphere to be expected of a pseudo-hotel that will serve as your home for the next few weeks/months. The Andre Fu-designed masterpiece offers some of the city’s largest rooms and entry-level suites (730 square feet and 1230 square feet respectively), and also some of the city’s most stunning bathrooms – the latter featuring a 400-square-foot spa-inspired bathroom, with a freestanding soaking tub (with a handy television) and a view of the urban jungle ahead, and Victoria Harbour beyond. Although this boutique hotel of 110 rooms and suites does not have a pool or a spa to luxuriate in, the calming atmosphere is an extension of the beautiful design.
Designed like an austere Japanese ryokan but set within Otemachi Tower in Tokyo’s financial district, Amanresorts’ first urban property opened to rave reviews in December 2014. The resort mixes ancient Japanese traditions, with the interiors utilising timber, washi paper and stone, with the technological advances that Japan is well known for, with subtly-hidden televisions and modern comforts. The five room types, starting at a generous 760-square-feet, each offers views of the bustling metropolis of Tokyo and beyond, from the city’s finance centre to the Imperial Palace Gardens to majestic Mount Fuji. In typical Amanresorts style, the interiors are reflective of the local culture, and depict understated elegance, even in the more lavish bathrooms and spa.
Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok might be where the city congregates come dusk, but for those seeking a little solitude in this Thai city riddled with restaurants and bars, shopping centres and night markets, then the slew of hotels that populate the snaking banks of the Chao Praya River is the place to be, chief among them The Peninsula Bangkok, which enjoys a legendary reputation among luxury travellers for being one of Asia’s best city hotels. All guests at this elegant hotel enjoy river-views from each of the hotel’s 370 rooms thanks to the W-shaped structure. In addition to the relaxing, long three-tiered pool that stretches into the river and surrounded by Thai salas, one of the best highlights at The Peninsula Bangkok is the River Café and Terrace, that serves some of the city’s best mixed buffets alfresco, river-side.
For those ever so slightly tired of Bangkok’s infamous traffic, the hotel’s helipad allows for private transfer to and from airport.
The hard, monolithic architecture and design of the iconic hotel is imposing at first as you drive through Delhi’s most prestigious address to get to the hotel. But once past the gates, the lawns open up to reveal a tennis court here, a pool there, a spa here, a gym there, and lots of artwork in between. More importantly, the rooms not only break the ‘norm’ for what is considered luxe in a city hotel, but shatter the mold completely. With only 40 rooms and suites, there is plenty of space to play with, and at The Lodhi Hotel, with its soft tones, it shows: the entry-level Lodhi Room starts at 1,350 square feet, and each room comes with a private terrace-balcony and an outdoor private plunge pool. Set in an area surrounded by the homes of some of Delhi’s and India’s most important people, as well as one of the country’s most important historical sites and a lush garden in the vicinity, this is a true escape from the pollution and traffic chaos that Delhi is famous for.