If you’re looking for a true luxury experience, consider a trip to major cities in Asia, such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Chiang Mai. These also rank as some of the most expensive in the world—according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Tokyo was the most expensive city in the world last year, but now comes in at number six. Hong Kong ranks at number 13, and compared to these two, Chiang Mai is a bargain destination. In grand “presidential” style, Luxe Lavs contributors Natalie Compagno and Angela Fairhurst highlight over the top hotel suites in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Chiang Mai.
InterContinental Hong Kong
Well-known for its uninterrupted views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island, the InterContinental Hong Kong has the esteemed title of Hotel with the Best View. Nearly two-thirds of the 503 rooms have this perspective. When staying in the Presidential Suite, guests can enjoy round trip airport limousine service in their choice of a Rolls Royce, Bentley, or Mercedes limousine, access to the Club InterContinental Executive Lounge,and a personal 24-hour on-call butler.
All the rooms are nicely appointed with spacious bathrooms, but the Presidential Suite sets itself apart because of its expansive 7,000 square feet. It’s not only the largest suite in Hong Kong, it also offers so many facilities and services guests never need to leave. We would prefer to never leave the master bathroom as it is a spa experience in itself.
Soak in the massive Pharo Whirlpool Lugano 340 while admiring the Beijing Long Mai abstract stainless steel sculptures on the tub deck. The Harborview shower room has a state-of-the-art rain shower experience for two called Raindance by Hansgrohe with two rain forest and two hand-held shower heads, plus an overhead Rainsky by Dornbracht.
The two impressive oversized sinks are each carved from massive single slabs of green African Butterfly marble from the Fujian Province in China. The toilet room has its own sink and mirror with frosted glass doors and window blinds for privacy. It features a Neorest toilet by Toto of Japan that includes a remote control, heated toilet seat with front and back wash, as well as cool and warm drying. Top it off with towels by Yves Delorme and amenities by Chanel, and they haven’t missed a thing. For all five bedrooms, the suite costs HK$108,000 or USD $13,917, plus 10 percent service per night.
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
The view from the lobby on the 38th floor is enough to overlook the grayness of the prestigious financial district of Nihonbashi where the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is situated. LTW Designworks modeled the interior of the hotel with the main themes of wood and water. The concept conceives the hotel as a single, large, living tree with the guest rooms as branches, and the materials, décor, and furnishings reflecting the theme. In keeping with traditional Japanese aesthetics, no object stands alone as all elements come together to form a whole. All bathrooms feature three different types of shower heads – body, hand and rain showers, sunken bathtubs, and a separate toilet room or “washlet.”
The Presidential Suite has marbled bathroom features, a Jacuzzi bathtub, walk-in shower, black marble sinks, and a television. There are heated floors and towel racks, plush terry bathrobes, and Yukatas. The smallest details matter, and one most appreciated touches was the LOHAS fragrance organically cultivated from essential oils and left daily beside the bed to pour into a small dish or to use as a bath essence. On a clear day, Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance. The Presidential Suite costs approximately USD$11,755, and the room rate is subject to 5 percent consumption tax, and a 15 percent service charge starting January 1, 2015.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Sitting outside the entrance of the Peninsula Hotel is a fleet of 14 Rolls Royces all painted in the Peninsula’s signature green. Paying homage to the fabled clipper flying boats that linked Asia and the U.S. from the 1930s until after WWII, there is an exclusive lounge located on the 30th floor called The China Clipper, which looks out onto the only hotel helipad in Hong Kong.
The public is not invited, unless of course you’ve bought the Fly and Dine package or rented the Flight-Seeing Tour helicopter experience for HK$8500 or US$1,100 for 15 minutes. Not bad if you consider the helicopter seats six.
In the rooms, a standout feature is the Tablet Bedside Panel. Developed by the hotel’s Research & Technology department, the panel allows you to see the weather, set your alarm, handle room controls, TV and audio, and access all guest services in 11 different languages. This state-of-the-art panel extends into the bathroom as well, controlling the lighting, music, temperature, and more.
The bathrooms have an expansive tub made by Germany’s Kaldewei, and if you want to paint your nails, there are even portable fingernail dryers. The amenities are Oscar de la Renta complemented by Frette bathrobes. The suite rents for HK$128,000 or US $16,410, plus ten percent per night.
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
For a completely different kind of hotel experience located in the Central district, there’s the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, a contemporary luxury hotel with 113 rooms and suites designed by Hong Kong native Peter Remedios. For a smaller hotel, it has some big offerings such as the Michelin-starred French Restaurant Amber and the generous Oriental Spa including an infinity lap pool.
The guest rooms offer sleek, modern design with clean lines combined with subtle colors. They are comfortable and user-friendly for international travelers with a “home away from home” feel. The bathrooms were obviously designed to be a place where you can really indulge and relax after a long journey. The 2,000 square-foot Presidential Suite’s bathroom is much like a spa space, with a seven-foot spherical bathtub and rainforest shower. You can also indulge in a spa service in your own private treatment room.
Prices and photos for the Presidential Suite are normally not published, but they have allowed LuxeLavs to do so. The rack rate for the Presidential Suite is HK$68000 or USD $8,750, plus ten percent. The saying, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” applies here.
The Peninsula Tokyo
Tokyo is notorious for having a confusing street address system with lots of back alleys. The Peninsula Tokyo takes care of this issue by having a compact yet comprehensive guidebook in the room and a concierge loaded with maps in both English and Japanese so that you can understand how to get around. Located in the business district of the Marunouchi, pedestrians notice the hotel’s style from the ubiquitous vintage Rolls Royce parked in front of the grand two-story entrance to the female door valets dressed in cream colored vintage-esque uniforms.
A quality touch at the Peninsula Tokyo is that all the rooms, whether a suite or not, have the same spacious private dressing rooms and bathrooms with Oscar de la Renta products. The bathrooms feel like Japanese hot springs—or onsens—with polished and rough-hewn granite and cherry wood. They have large soaking tubs, stone faucets, large showers, and separate toilet rooms.
The Presidential Suite takes the style of contemporary Japanese elegance and the ultimate in Peninsula service up a notch with 3,730 square feet of understated opulence, including an office, gym, dining room, kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling windows with an amazing view from every vantage point. The Presidential Suite costs ¥2 million or about $16,950 per night.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Dhara Dhevi luxury resort in Chiang Mai is much more than its expansive, expertly curated property. The design is ambitious, a complete recreation of a Lanna village with traditional Thai houses as guest accommodations. It is owned and influenced by an art collector, and each palatial “home” has statues and paintings that could be featured in museums. We arrived in a torrential downpour to the city wall, but the rain did not detract from the opulence of the lobby. All the common buildings are inspired by ancient palaces, including the well-stocked library.
Dhara Dhevi provides a complete Northern Thai experience. The nightly classic Northern Thai cuisine dinner has been rated one of the best, and the Thai dance performances that accompany the meal are a must-see experience with highly-trained and admired dancers. The rooms and villas are spacious and open with bathrooms bigger than most hotel’s guest quarters. Hand-carved dark wood lattice work, porcelain tubs surrounded by antique statues, and lotion inside vintage perfume bottles are all authentic details, but one bathroom stood out from the rest.
The Grand Deluxe Villa has a whirlpool circular bath raised on a wooden platform with a hand-sculpted statue reigning over the tub. The separate rain shower, walk-in wardrobe, silk-cushioned changing stool, and the grandness of the bathroom itself turns it into a sanctuary. At 3,853 square feet, the Grand Deluxe two-bedroom villa with pool has an average rate of 91,000 THB or a mere $2,776 a night.
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By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for PeterGreenberg.com