3 Boutique Hotels to Check Into This Summer
Tired of staying at five-star hotel chains? Plan your next long weekend getaway at one of these brand-new boutique hotels that exude plenty of character and cool.
Bali: You Say Tomato, I Say Potato
The group behind the infamous Potato Head Beach Club in Bali has opened their first resort right next door, and we were one of the first to check out their brand new digs.
With a stunning modern architectural design composed of 1.5 million hand-laid terracotta bricks, the new Katamama in Seminyak, Bali is just steps away from the buzzing beach club, and embodies pretty much what you’d expect from a project of the PTT Family, which runs Potato Head: a friendly staff, an uber-trendy look, and a laidback yet infectious energy. If you’re coming to Bali to while away the days with surf and sand and a drink or two (or three)——this is where you want to be.
The first order on the agenda: a cocktail. Each of the 58 suites is outfitted with an in-room bar, complete with bar equipment, mixers, house-infused spirits, and a cocktail recipe handbook for guests to mix their own drinks. If you’d rather leave it up to the experts, simply call the barman up to your room to prepare your complimentary welcome drink. Or, head to Akademi, a hub of knowledge and drinks experimentation created by award-winning mixologist Dre Masso. Here, Katamama staff, visiting world-class bartenders and hotel guests can dive deep into the world of mixology, experimenting with local Balinese ingredients, different maturation methods and spirits in a range of classes and workshops.
Next door to Akademi, Aussie import MoVida has kicked off its first overseas venture. Bright and airy with traditional handwoven fabrics and tropical plants, the restaurant offers a menu of Spanish jamóns, inventive tapas with local ingredients, and signature dishes including the infamous air-dried wagyu with poached organic egg and truffle foam. With prices a cut below the original outpost, you can easily sample all the bite-sized tapas on the menu and still have room for the massive Javanese suckling lamb shoulder—a must try. They also serve an excellent breakfast menu, from confit duck toast to soft-shell crab on scrambled eggs.
Other amenities include a state-of-the-art gym and an outdoor swimming pool set in a lush tropical garden. Of course, if your idea of a holiday is lounging on the beach with a drink in hand, mosey over to the beach club, where you can flash your Katamama card and bunker down on a lounger for the day with the beautiful Seminyak beach at your feet. Welcome to paradise.
From $2,095 per night. Jl Petitenget 51B, Seminyak, Bali, 80361, Indonesia, (+62) 361-302 -9999, www.the-katamama.com
Phnom Penh: From Dawn ’til Dusk
Once you’ve filled your temple quota in Siem Reap, head south to discover the rich culinary and cultural paradise of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh. The newly opened Sun & Moon Urban Hotel has it all for the young, hip backpacker: an artsy boutique vibe, an excellent central location and high tech concierge services.
You’ll be greeted with a striking façade, encompassing a T-shaped brightly-lit central atrium. Art and design converge in the public spaces, brought to life by contemporary artworks and a vibrant color palette throughout the property. The hotel’s distinct retro design casts a fun throwback vibe, with psychedelic blue and orange colors pervading the rooftop pool, bedrooms and lobby.
You may not find the sprawling spaces of five-star chains, but expect more personalized services including flexible check-in, onsite currency exchange and more. A state-of-the-art spa offers body scrubs, facials and massages. Sip on craft cocktails at poolside sky bar Cloud 9, or head downstairs to the multicultural Salt n’ Pepper Gastropub.
First time in Phnom Penh? Check in with the concierge for a tailor-made itinerary to explore the area, from the gold-plated Royal Palace to the National Museum housing a priceless selection of Buddhist and historical artifacts.
From $621 per night. No. 68, corner of 136 St. and 15 Phar Kandal 1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, (+855) 23-961-888, www.sunandmoonhotel.com
Zhejiang: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Holiday
If a peaceful getaway is what you’re after, step back in time at the newly opened Alila Anji in Zhejiang province. Here you’ll discover the more serene—and even spiritual—side of China in this majestic natural setting surrounded by verdant rolling hills, towering bamboo forests and picturesque waters.
Famed as the filming location for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Anji is China’s first “National Ecological County” dedicated to preserving the beautiful countryside, and this private resort is a hidden gem enveloped by 60,000 hectares of bamboo groves and white tea plantations. The Alila fits seamlessly into its surroundings, with sloping dark-tiled roofs and white-washed exteriors made to resemble a traditional Chinese village. A total of 74 country-inspired villas use a palette of natural woods and bamboo, with modern amenities including rain showers and daybeds.
Choose from the one-bedroom Hill View Villas with built-in double vanities and a master bedroom—ideal for honeymooners who want a bit of privacy—or the Lake View Villas which can accommodate two adults and two children in a cozy “home-away-from-home”.
Visit in spring to witness the blossoming of plum trees adjacent to the resort and try out the rare nutrient-rich Anji white tea from this pollution-free region. The idea of sipping a soothing cup of tea on our own private terrace overlooking a lush mountainous landscape puts the Alila Anji right at the top of our list of hidden boutique destinations.
From $1,672 per night. The Meiziwan (Plum Tree Bay) Scenic Area, Hang Gai Town, Anji County, Zhejiang, China, (+86) 572-510388, www.alilahotels.com/anji