Your dose of ASEAN information

Monday, October 27, 2014

ASEAN's Best Beach Resorts 2014

Vampires (myth or real ) are the only known creatures with human form who are not into the idea of soaking themselves under the sun. But if they have daylight rings like the ones in Vampire Diaries or The Originals TV series that technically allow them to roam around in the middle of the day without fear of setting themselves alight, it still is possible to join humans to the enjoyment the sun, sand and the accommodation near the beach could bring.

In terms of beautiful and amazing beaches, ASEAN can certainly compete with the rest of the world. We have Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia and Palawan in the Philippines to name a few. I believe you've heard or perhaps visited these stunning seascapes and natural wonders. But do you know ASEAN's Best Resorts this 2014? Well, we can't fully enjoy in its entirety the marvelous beaches we have if we don't have beach resorts or accommodation that will absolutely make our trip complete as they create a perfect place to spend our vacation.

On the international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler's website, the original and only source of this post, the list says "Best Resorts in Asia: Readers' Choice Awards." It covers other resorts including those nesting in the mountains, near a lake or a river and those not part of the ASEAN region. The list we have here however has already been filtered to give way to dedicated beach resorts in ASEAN.

Let me reiterate: "Readers' Choice Awards." Therefore it means that readers were the ones who cast their votes to list the best resorts they think are. Just wanna make myself clear as I had someone who misunderstood my post last time, saying the list I have was different from what she saw on other sites. I simply informed her that each credible, international travel site on the web has its own rubrics or categories with which the result is based from. At the end of the argument that started so hot I thought of being burned in the sun, it ended nicely. Thank goodness!

Anyway, here are the top 5:

1. Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa (Boracay, Philippines): Providing "a great resort experience that everyone should enjoy," this property on 30 acres debuted in 2009. The main building is an open pavilion with a pitched roof and an exterior of local coral stone. Public areas create a sense of place with ten-foot-high tribal drums, carved wooden sculptures, and local art. "We had a gorgeous private villa with a pool right near the ocean--incredible." Room interiors showcase handwoven textiles, sconces made of local capiz shells, and oars framed as art. "The beautiful sunsets were eclipsed only by the great personal service." Seafood is the focus at the cliffside Sirena.

2. St. Regis Bali Resort (Bali, Indonesia): Occupying a prime tranche of sea coast in the resort enclave of Nusa Dua, the 123-room St. Regis brings Fifth Avenue smarts to the tropics without losing a scintilla of the island’s languorous magic. Even standard rooms are enormous (990 square feet) and turned out in cosmopolitan style. Spacious lagoon villas offer a choice of garden privacy, a private gate to the beach, or hop-in access to the meandering nearly 40,000-square-foot lagoon. There’s no end of things to do here— an athletic club, a private entry to the adjoining Bali Golf & Country Club, frequent cultural events, and an exquisite spa. The resort also abounds in private nooks: A magnificent formal garden dotted with thatched pavilions occupies an expanse of nearly two acres between the main building and the golf course. The beachside Kayuputi restaurant is easily one of the island’s best, offering extravagances like wagyu beef and Prunier caviar, and desserts both delicious to the palate and witty to the eye.

3. The Nam Hai (Hoi An, Vietnam): The 100-villa Nam Hai combines high design with stunning views of the breakers rolling in from the Gulf of Tonkin. The hotel’s centerpiece, a sequence of three huge pools that step down to the sea, divides the terra-cotta tile-roofed cottages into two different camps: ocean villas and the larger pool villas, each of which has its own plunge pool. Paris-based architect Reda Amalou and interior decorator Jaya Ibrahim’s guest rooms—all buffed gray stone floors and a central living platform of dark-stained teak—encourage a Zen-like serenity. Espresso machines and preloaded iPods are a welcome touch, but there are no reading lights by the bed, a curious lapse. Baths have indoor and outdoor showers and Acqua di Parma toiletries. The hotel’s public spaces are magnificent, including the main restaurant and a library.

4. Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa (Mactan, Lapu-Lapu, Philippines): As you step onto your private balcony, tropical sunlight washes over you and a soothing sea breeze kisses your cheeks. Your holiday has begun at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa - your tropical paradise on earth.

5. Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui (Koh Samui, Thailand): On the secluded northwestern tip of the rapidly developing island’s glassy Laem Yai Bay, Bill Bensley, architect of the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, has scattered 60 gorgeous hillside villas among the coconut trees. 

The villas all come with expansive Gulf of Thailand views (including from the tub), as well as decks with big plunge pools, shaded daybeds, and a stocked wine fridge. The resort has a small, effectively private strip of white sand beach by the main infinity pool, as well as sea-facing daybeds at the laid-back beach bar, where the attentive staff whip up an array of cocktails. The adjacent dining pavilion Pla Pla (meaning "many fish" and named for its fresh catch menu) is a romantic dinner spot, and the hilltop restaurant Lan Tania highlights indigenous dishes like coconut beef curry and steamed fish with lemongrass. Massages inside one of the spa’s tree house–inspired treatment rooms knead away any last trace of real-world stress.


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