Short Breaks Travel

5 of the coolest design hotels in Asia

If you’re seeking one-of-a-kind concepts and incredible Insta-worthy interiors on your travels, you’re in luck. Asia has some of the best design hotels in the world, delivering ultra-stylish retreats like no other. We asked Flight Centre Hong Kong to round up some of their favourite destinations across the region to tickle your aesthetic tastes.

design hotels: Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie has stayed at Phum Baitang
Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie has stayed at Phum Baitang

1. Phum Baitang, Siem Reap

Blending traditional Khmer craftsmanship with high-end contemporary facilities, Phum Baitang is a welcoming oasis of calm from which to experience Siem Reap and the nearby temples of Angkor Wat. Set within extensive tropical gardens and paddy fields, the resort’s 45 stilted villas all come with private terraces or plunge pools, and are crafted from wood to create an authentic yet luxurious experience. With excellent Cambodian and international restaurants, private dining, a “spa temple” and a spectacular communal pool to enjoy, it’s no wonder that Phum Baitang has played host to some discerning guests since its opening last year, with Angelina Jolie one of the first people to stay at the resort. If it’s good enough for A-listers …

MORE: 5 Asian destinations to visit while living in Hong Kong

The Warehouse in Singapore pays homage to the city's past
The Warehouse in Singapore pays homage to the city’s past

2. The Warehouse Hotel, Singapore

Located on the banks of Robertson Quay, this historic “godown” was originally built in 1895. It was once a hotbed for bootleg deals, illicit distilleries and other underground activities. Now it has been restored and reincarnated as a 37-room boutique hotel. The Warehouse’s industrial-chic design pays homage to the building’s past in all the right ways. It has high ceilings, bare brick walls, exposed original beams and, the pièce de résistance, an incredible custom-made light in the lobby made from wheels and pulleys. There’s also a swanky rooftop pool, kicking cocktail bar and plenty of thoughtful made-in-Singapore touches. Pure design catnip for the Instagram generation.

design hotels: The Slate blends beach bliss and cutting-edge cool
The Slate blends beach bliss and cutting-edge cool

3. The Slate, Phuket

This Bill Bensley-designed Thai sanctuary is one of the region’s most stunning design hotels. It has a perfect combination of beach bliss and cutting-edge cool. Inspired by the island’s tin-mining heritage, The Slate’s glam-luxe style uniquely blends raw metals and traditional Thai décor to simply stunning effect. And that’s before we’ve even got onto the lush tropical surroundings, trio of swimming pools and serene shores of neighbouring Nai Yang Beach. Things get even more dreamy at the hotel’s award-winning Cocoon Spa. The spa features a spectacular wicker tree-house “Nest” suspended from an ancient banyan tree … now this really is anything but your average beach hut!


4. The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Blending old and new has become something of a design cliché – but when it looks as amazing as The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, who’s complaining? It is located on the Bund (with killer skyline views as standard). This hotel boasts an impressive Victorian Renaissance façade dating back to 1906, a sweeping Jacobean oak staircase and seven coolly contemporary rooms. The rooms take inspiration from the city’s heritage in the form of birdcage beds and hand-painted silk screens. It’s also home to 18 workshops for an ever-changing rostrum of international artists-in-residence. When they depart, they leave behind a piece of art as a gift, which then goes on to be displayed in the hotel itself. A must-visit of Shanghai design hotels.

Claska is the original Tokyo design hotel
Claska is the original Tokyo design hotel

5. Claska, Tokyo

Set in the trendy Megura district, Claska is the original of the Tokyo design hotels. It was masterminded by renowned architect Tei Shuwa and British design firm Tomato. It boasts 20 rooms kitted out in four distinct themes: traditional tatami, Japanese modern, contemporary and most intriguingly, DIY. These rooms were completely crafted by their designer-creators, from construction to finishing touches (including, in one case, a bed made from soft toys … yes, really). The creativity continues throughout the building. There are floors dedicated to galleries, art spaces, studios, a design shop, rooftop terrace, and what might just be the coolest dog groomers in Tokyo. For an utterly unique combo of Japanese minimalism and high-art quirk, the Claska is still the coolest kid in town.

If you’re planning to stay in one of these properties, or you need more recommendations on design hotels elsewhere, contact the experts at Flight Centre Hong Kong.

  • 17 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
  • Shop 8B, 10 Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley
  • 66-68 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai 2830 2730

This article first appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.