As the festive season's holiday period nears, some travelers seek solace and seclusion, while others crave something that keeps them close to the action. Asia makes these decisions a little easier, because a frenetic city is often nearby a peaceful idyll.
For those who need not worry about the price tag, Asia has even more options. From booking the presidential suite atop a skyscraper to renting an entire island, here are the swish hotels and resort vacation destinations favored by the region's rich and stylish.
Song Saa – Cambodia
In the Koh Rong Archipelago is what's nicknamed The Sweethearts: two mostly undeveloped islands, sitting side-by-side. The sustainability-focused Song Saa resort – its own marine reserve that protects dugongs, seahorses and fish is Cambodia's first government-recognized reserve – sprawls across both islands, joined by a footbridge. Styled like a Cambodian fishing village, visitors can kayak, dive, snorkel, enjoy the rainforests and stroll down its white sandy beaches.
The Raj Palace Hotel – India
The four-floor presidential suite at the Raj Palace Hotel is a bragging right in itself. The décor is bold with gold, the walls are tall, and the private roof terrace and swimming pool with a view of the city of Jaipur is all yours – there's even a museum within the hotel walls.
The Lombok Lodge – Indonesia
A short boat trip off the coast of Lombok sits nine lodge suites by the bay. With a contemporary minimalist design created by Italian architect Vittorio Simoni, the Asian-influenced villas – complete with luxurious modern amenities including Apple TV and Hermès bathroom products – feel like an untouched Bali from decades past, with an added decadent touch.
Ritz-Carlton – Japan
The height of this hotel sets it higher than the rest – until Toranomon Hills was built, Roppongi's Midtown Tower where Ritz-Carlton lives was the tallest building in Tokyo. At 300 square meters, the hotel's presidential suite is Japan's most expensive, with Frette linens and featherbeds, marble bathroom and rain shower, plus a 360-degree view of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace and Mount Fuji.
La Residence Phou Vao – Laos
Deep in the jungle of northern Laos is this French colonial designed building, seeped with Lao culture, as well as and a 13-meter infinity pool with a view of mountains and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, Laos' old city. Rooms are open-plan, with verandas to enjoy the green surroundings, as well as local Lao cuisine made by the hotel's restaurant.
The Upper House – Hong Kong
Modern luxury in the heart of the city, the André Fu-designed hotel has wide corner views of the city and Victoria Harbour, as well as a high-dining experience on the 49th level. Be sure to check out the contemporary Asian artworks in the 10-storey central atrium.
Mandarin Oriental Pudong – China
The large-scale glass mosaic at the entrance is one of many nature-inspired aspects of the hotel, which is on the bank of Shanghai's Huangpu River. The 788-square-foot presidential suite is the largest in town, with its own grand piano and private gym. And there's a plethora of Chinese contemporary artwork to gawk at – 4,000 pieces, said to be the most extensive of any hotel. And don't forget the spa shaped like a butterfly.
Layana Resort & Spa – Thailand
Thailand's tranquility personified in a hideaway resort, the two-storey suites here have a 270-degree view of the Andaman Sea. Ko Lanta's adult-only resort is an island retreat, complete with a long stretch of golden sand beaches and some of the world's best diving spots.
Park Hyatt Seoul – Seoul
A great combination of city and soul, Gangnam's Park Hyatt hotel has rooms to impress – floor-to-ceiling windows to watch the bustling city's streets and skyscrapers light up, and mountains in the morning. If you're in the presidential suite, there's a personal butler available – and a bathroom that looks like a luxurious cave with its oversized granite bath.
The Datai – Malaysia
Being nestled alongside a Malaysian rainforest is part of the charm of this Langkawi resort. Villas are spread out over the grounds, so wildlife is the only soundtrack you'll hear. The island's wide beaches grabbed National Geographic's vote as ninth best in the world.