The new hotels in Asia Pacific we’ll be booking first after the coronavirus pandemic, from Thai spa retreats to an Australian city property
- Should a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Australia open up, travellers could stay at The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel in increasingly hip Hobart
- For the spa break we all need there is The Rakxa in Bangkok or Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho in south-central Vietnam
Nobody has a crystal ball to predict where and when we might be able to travel when borders finally reopen, but it seems plenty of Hongkongers will be prepared to splash the cash on something special when we can take flight.
Our choice of destinations is likely to be limited at first, but there have been, or will be, a number of notable hotel openings in places considered relatively safe.
So where might you be able to go? And where should you stay?
Here are a few new addresses worth noting for a holiday in countries that have shown an ability to control Covid-19 and have had low infection rates and/or speedy vaccination roll-outs to help ensure their own people, and visitors, are as safe as can be.
Coral reefs and a historic harbour in Australia
If it is, there are a couple of fabulous hotels to bookmark, including Silky Oaks Lodge, expected to open on October 1 in Queensland’s pristine Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest surviving rainforests in the world. It’s not brand-new, but the owners have poured millions of dollars into upgrading the complex, so it will have that just-opened feel.
Part of the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection, Silky Oaks features 40 suites – garden retreats, riverside lodges and tree houses – as well as an alfresco restaurant elevated in the jungle canopy, a bar set above the gurgling Mossman River and a spa that focuses on the area’s sacred healing waters.
Things to do to while away the time include morning yoga, kayaking, hiking through gorges, visiting the Great Barrier Reef and birdwatching – look out for the bizarre-looking southern cassowary, a dodo-like flightless bird with a royal blue head and brown horn.
Further south, The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel will open in increasingly hip Hobart, also in October. Housed in a knot of historically important buildings, it will have 152 rooms with restored features and wood-burning fireplaces. Spend your days strolling the harbour, visiting art galleries and feasting on farm produce, and your evenings ensconced in The Tasman’s low-lit whisky bar.
Thailand’s new wellness wonders
More than 20 per cent of Phuket’s population have received their first vaccine shot. It will be a stretch to get to the required 70 per cent by July 1, but tourism officials remain confident – in public at least. The kingdom is expected to start a mass inoculation programme this month using locally manufactured doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Its spa programmes combine holistic practices and traditional Asian therapies with meditation, fitness, nutrient-packed foods and cutting-edge medical science (backed up by Bumrungrad International Hospital). Jim Thompson silks feature in the villas, some of which have private pools.
Other new options for a Thai wellness getaway include the Banyan Tree Krabi, which has a sensational beachside location and a rainforest-inspired spa, and the ecologically committed The Pavilions Anana Krabi, complete with a Himalayan salt chamber, natural volcanic water pools and an emphasis on yoga.
But it is Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho we’ll be blowing the budget on. Elegant and environmentally aware, the hotel is set between a white-sand bay, virgin jungle and lime-green rice paddies in Phu Yen province, on the south-central coast of Vietnam. Built using wood and with handcrafted fabrics and furnishings, its 71 pool villas have echoes of the homes of the Eden, Cham and Rade tribes. The spa focuses on ancient Vietnamese wellness practices.