Robots deliver water to your room, a kids’ playground hangs above the check-in desk, an ancient Chinese mansion is recreated and an enormous tent offers jungle luxury – these are the quirky features of some of Asia’s most unique hotels.
Here are five of the most interesting hotels across Asia.
Yotel (Singapore) Feature image above
There’s a staff member waiting outside my room, bringing me two bottles of water and some fresh towels. I open the door and say hello to Yoshi, one of Yotel Singapore’s two robot butlers. Yoshi and his fellow robot Yolanda roll around Yotel delivering items and delighting guests thanks to their Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping technology, which allows them to independently navigate their way through the entire hotel.
This is all part of the hyper-modern style of Yotel, which is using cutting edge technology to enhance its customer services at its property on Orchard Road, Singapore’s chief shopping precinct.
When guests arrive at Yotel they meet the robots in the lobby and can then do a quick and easy self-service check-in at what the hotel calls Mission Control. This computerised hub, which operates 24 hours a day, not only facilitates a simple check-in process but also allows guests to order extra supplies or even additional room keys.
Once inside their rooms guests will first notice Yotel’s innovative SmartBed, which at the press of a button can be tilted from a flatbed position into a couch-like piece of furniture perfect for lounging on during the day time. Yotel’s rooms also feature hidden compartments, Smart TVs, USB plugs, and wonderful views of the Singapore skyline.
Meanwhile, the high-tech theme continues in Yotel’s common areas. There are co-working spaces available on the same floor as the large pool and state-of-the-art gym, which is open 24 hours a day and features treadmills, stationary bikes, weights and rowing machines. This gym is great for working off the delicious food you eat at Komyuniti restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves an incredible breakfast buffet with a remarkable range of food and drinks.
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Soravit on Granville (Hong Kong – China)
Standing Buddha statues, elephant design motifs, paintings of ancient Thai civilisations and liberal use of purple, which is considered to be one of the most auspicious colours in Thailand. Throughout Soravit on Granville there are interior design flourishes which evoke memories of being in a grand property in Thailand. But this is not Thailand it is Hong Kong, and this is the first ever Thai-themed hotel in this city.
Soravit Hotels Group likes to be innovative with the appearance of its properties. Also located here on Granville Road in Hong Kong’s bustling Tsim Tsa Chui district is Attitude on Granville which, Inspired by Hong Kong of the 70s and 80s, has retro murals of the city on its walls as well as quirky design pieces like vintage letterboxes and pay phones. Where Attitude on Granville is kitschy, Soravit on Granville is classy.
The hotel is embellished by artworks by two renowned artists from Bangkok, with these pieces focusing on iconic elements of Thai culture like elephants, its Songkran water festival, and Thai guardian angels. Meanwhile, Soravit on Granville’s plush rooms boast custom-made Thai silk linens and traditional Thai-style wooden furniture. These design features are consistent across its 18m2 deluxe rooms, 25m2 premier rooms, and 35m2 executive rooms.
The Thai theme continues at the hotel’s impressive first-floor restaurant, Queen’s Dining, which offers dishes from not just Thailand but also Vietnam and southern China. Renowned Thai cuisine chef Joanna Em-On Fu has designed a splendid array of Thai desserts, perfect to finish off your meal.
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Te Mata Glamping (Khao Yai, Thailand)
Wild elephants roam through pristine forest. Tigers prowl past roaring waterfalls. Deer graze beside crystalline rivers. Gibbons swing from branch to branch through a tropical jungle canopy. This is the magical natural environment of Khao Yai National Park, one of the most spectacular regions of Thailand. Is there a better way to experience this wild national park than by camping? Yes, there is. Instead, try glamping – glamorous camping.
Te Mata Glamping in Khao Yai offers a luxurious spin on camping at its hugely impressive property near the entrance to the national park. Gone are the drawbacks of camping, like uncomfortable bedding and a lack of toilet facilities, replaced by plush tent accommodation which gives guests a sense of being up close and personal with the Khao Yai flora and fauna.
Further enhancing the feeling of being in touch with nature is the fact that Te Mata Glamping is very private, catering to just one group of guests at a time in its massive tent property. This 70sqm tent, which is equipped with chic furniture, high-end bedding, a big bathroom and a flat-screen TV, can be laid out to accommodate anywhere from two to seven people. Couples can have the tent arranged with just one king size bed, while families can also request for up to four single beds to complement that larger bed.
At night time guests can gather around Te Mata Glamping’s fire pit to barbecue food while relaxing on the large couch that surrounds it.
Kokotel Ao Nang (Krabi – Thailand)
The first thing you notice when you walk into the lobby of this quirky boutique hotel in Krabi is that there’s a children’s playground right above the check-in area. A black iron spiral staircase leads up to a mezzanine level, which looks down into the lobby, where there is what’s called a Kids Room. Among the kids play equipment here is a tall spiral slide, something I have never seen before inside the entry area of a hotel.
Kokotel Ao Nang was designed with families in mind. Aside from the Kids Room, young guests will also love the rooftop pool which has stunning views to the jungle-draped karst mountains that loom over Ao Nang, the main tourist town in Thailand’s tropical Krabi Province. You can also see the renowned Ao Nang beach, one of the most pristine strips of sand in southern Thailand, which is just five minutes’ walk away.
The family theme continues with the rooms, which are decorated by playful wall murals. People travelling with kids will also appreciate the range of family rooms offered by Kokotel Ao Nang. There’s the Koko Family room which has a King and a single bed, the Koko Family Triple which has three single beds, the Koko Party Town which has two single beds and a bunk bed, and the Koko Party Double which has a King bed and a bunk bed.
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Shanghai Mansion (Bangkok – Thailand)
Visitors to Bangkok’s fascinating Chinatown often describe the experience as like travelling back in time. Never is that sense stronger than when you step foot inside Shanghai Mansion hotel. With its dark wood, ornate decorations and Chinese design, Shanghai Mansion was intended to mimic the appearance of glamourous Shanghai hotels from the 1930s, a period in which that city was one of the chicest, most happening places in the world.
Built inside one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Chinatown – which was the first Chinese opera house in Bangkok in the early 1900s – this 76-room boutique hotel is unlike any other in Thailand. Shanghai Mansion guests are charmed by its Art Deco interior design, and its generous array of Chinese antiques in the form of wooden furnishings, colourful paper lanterns and artworks.
Shanghai Mansion’s old-time appearance does not translate to a lack of comfort. On the contrary, as its rooms feature all the modern amenities one would hope, like fast Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, high-end toiletries and luxury linens on its king size beds. Adding to the appeal of this unique hotel is its very convenient location right in the heart of Chinatown, which boasts some of the best shopping, food and nightlife in Bangkok.
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