Our Favorite ‘Small Luxury Hotels’ in Asia, Bali and The Maldives

Point Me To The Plane Contributors David Ghorbanpoor and Sarah Johnson collaborated on this report.

Earlier we featured a select few of our favorite Small Luxury Hotels properties in Europe. This week we’re looking the other direction, and have pulled out a few notable and unique SLH properties in Asia and The Indian Ocean that are definitely going on our Hyatt hitlist.

World of Hyatt recently joined up with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) – a collaboration of over 500 independent boutique properties around the world. World of Hyatt members will soon earn points and elite status credit at certain Small Luxury Hotels properties.

It remains to be seen what type of availability will open up for World of Hyatt free nights and point redemptions, but it’s likely most if not all of these popular properties will be available for points bookings.

If you’re needing extra Hyatt points, Hyatt is running a generous 60,000 point intro promotion on its new co-branded Chase card, for new cardholders who spend $3,000 in the first three months and at least $6,000 in the first six months. More info here.

Hyatt has yet to announce the specific properties, so for now, we will cross our fingers and wait.

Asia

The Small Luxury Hotels Asian portfolio is its second largest after Europe, at 73 hotels across China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea and Southeast Asia. However, for World of Hyatt members, the biggest draw will be the boutique properties in Indonesia and the continental southeast, as there are no less than seven Hyatt properties in China alone. Add to that an astonishing 297 Marriott/Ritz-Carlton properties in Asia and 86 Hilton hotels and resorts, and those booking on points definitely have options!

Even amongst boutique SLH properties, our picks tend toward the smaller side of things. The Viceroy Bali has just 25 rooms and villas. 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai has 30 suites set in a historic 1880s villa.

Viceroy Bali, Ubud

Small Luxury Hotel Bali Indonesia Hotel Viceroy review

SLH Member Hotel Viceroy Bali. Image by Viceroy Bali

Travelers choose to visit Ubud while in Bali for its art, culture, yoga and natural highlands beauty. Discerning travelers to Ubud choose to stay at the Viceroy Bali. Each room at the Viceroy Bali is perched at the edge of a steep ravine and boasts its own plunge pool overlooking the Petanu River gorge.

Guests preferring a more efficient commute may opt for direct helicopter transfers to and from the property’s helipad situated adjacent to hotel reception. Some helicopter transfers are chartered solely for the purpose of visiting the Viceroy Bali’s restaurant, CasCade, which overlooks the lush jungle and is rated amongst the top fine dining spots in Bali for its food, wine and ambience.

Although some luxury properties in the Ubud area can be booked with points, none of them reach the level of the Viceroy Bali, which bears no relation to the Viceroy Hotels & Resorts Group. The Mandapa Ritz Carlton Reserve might otherwise compare, but the select few Ritz Carlton Reserve properties which have cropped up around the world do not participate in Marriott Rewards.

Nightly base rates begin at $400 and extend beyond $1,000.

137 Pillars House Chiang Mai

Small luxury hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 137 Pillars House review

SLS Member Hotel 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai. Image by Roderick Eime | Flickr.

Another historical revival project within the SLH portfolio, 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai was the original East Borneo Company headquarters built in the 1880s as the center of life for the few foreign employees and their families who were in northern Thailand to ship teakwood to Europe.

After changing hands to the Japanese military during World War II, the Company sold the “Borneo House” post war to an employee, Scotsman William Bain, who kept the property in his family until 2005 when Bangkok born, Harvard educated architect Panida Wongphanlert bought the dilapidating house as a weekend retreat from her residence in the Thai capital.

After a multi-year restoration, which included moving the house via hydraulic lift to the center of the property, Wongphanlert decided to share the former East Borneo Company headquarters with the public as a luxury boutique hotel in 2011.

Small luxury hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 137 Pillars House review

137 Pillar House Chiang Mai Pool & Living Wall. Image by 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai.

With 30 suites, four on-site restaurants, a spa and a swimming pool nestled against a dramatic five-story living wall, the 137 Pillars House is an illustration of how exquisitely designed nostalgic decor united with modern comforts can create an intangible tranquility worth something greater than the sum of a resort’s parts.     

The Maldives

Best Small Luxury Hotels Maldives Asia

SLH Member Hotel Baros Maldives. Image by Baros Maldives.

The Maldives first began welcoming overnight visitors in 1972, a time when the island atolls communicated with the outside world by morse code and locals moved around in wooden dhoni sailboats. The iconic Baros Maldives opened in 1973.

Through the years the resort has set the standard in authentic luxury while other global brands, arriving later, eventually discovered the splendid natural beauty of the Maldives and set up roots.   

SLH named the Baros Maldives it’s resort hotel of the year in 2017. Comprising five restaurants and 75 villas, 30 of which are overwater, the property successfully aims to provide its guests privacy, serenity and comfort.

Unlike fellow luxury properties such as the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort or the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, the Baros Maldives is located within the same atoll as Velana International Airport (MLE) in Male. Thus, after a long journey, a simple 25-minute speedboat transfer awaits Baros Maldives guests upon touchdown in contrast to the further seaplane transfers required for guests of resorts in further flung atolls (which can easily run over $500 per person).  

Base villas start at $400 per night during low season and reach $1,000 during peak spring dates. Overwater villas generally command a $100 to $200 premium.

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