City resorts: Urban oases

1 Jun 2017 by Valerian Ho

The parameters of business and leisure travel are becoming increasingly blurred as modern travellers take to the “bleisure” trend with gusto. Cue: a rise in city resorts, catering to all the corporate needs but with luxurious lifestyle options to boot. If you crave peace and quiet in the middle of town, or fancy a massage after a meeting, here are some options to satisfy the work/life balance.

Hoshinoya Tokyo

A luxury ryokan is the last thing you’d expect to find in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district – the Japanese-style inns being more at home in scenic mountainside retreats or by the ocean. Yet in July, Hoshino Resorts introduced this soothing accommodation type to the heart of the financial centre. Complete with tatami flooring, hot-spring baths and delicate seasonal cuisine, this little slice of paradise is the perfect place to escape after a long day in the city. Room interiors offer calming, minimalist Japanese architecture, with shoji paper sliding doors and futon beds, while the traditional ochanoma lounge is a tranquil spot to enjoy teas, sake and speciality coffee.


Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

Smack bang in the city centre, and connected to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is well known as one of the busiest business hotels in the metropolis. Yet hidden on the 11th floor is an 80,000 sq ft (7,432 sqm) resort-like sanctuary. Nine luxurious Plateau rooms plus one suite offer privacy and seclusion with panoramic harbour views. As part of the spa complex, guests can enjoy treatments in the comfort of their room or head to one of the purpose-built therapy rooms. Also on the 11th floor is the newly renovated fitness centre with tennis courts and a golf driving range, plus a heated outdoor lagoon-style pool with delicious surf ’n turf offerings provided by The Grill poolside restaurant.


Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong

Opened in April this year, the Kerry Hotel boasts an enviable position on Hong Kong’s Kowloon waterfront. The majority of rooms look out over the harbour, while a range of alfresco spaces on five different levels provide multiple opportunities for relaxation. Walk into the huge, light-filled lobby with its onyx walls and impressive artworks, and you know you’re not in a standard business hotel. The Kerry Health Club houses a spa, spacious gym and 25-metre heated outdoor pool – complete with lines of shaded loungers offering spectacular views of Hong Kong Island – while the retro-style but super-cool Red Sugar bar and lounge on the seventh floor boasts an outdoor terrace that’s already a hit with the evening cocktail crowd. On the hotel’s first level is a new gourmet food hall concept called Dockyard: a discrete area in an industrial-style setting, it provides multiple quick-service eateries (order by app!), a full bar and live music from a
range of genres.


Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund

Banyan Tree Shanghai On The Bund

One of the first international-brand urban resorts arrived in Shanghai in 2012. Located on the Huangpu River, guests enjoy visually contrasting vistas of the historic Bund on one side and the Lujiazui financial district’s towering skyscrapers on the other. All rooms focus on relaxation, with large tubs and panoramic views, but a highlight is the romantic spa-inspired dipping pool featured in the signature Oasis room category. The awarding-winning Banyan Tree Spa is a peaceful haven spanning three floors, where trained therapists deliver a complete sensory experience steeped in holistic Asian healing traditions. The 760 sqm Health Club houses a gym and yoga studio too, plus an indoor swimming pool and three relaxation pools.


Regent Chongqing

Regent Chongqing

Nestled in the heart of the Jiangbeizui financial district, Regent Chongqing opened its doors in December last year to provide a soothing shelter in this chaotic city. A host of F&B options include Robin’s Grill & Teppanyaki, offering prime cuts and an extensive wine cellar, as well as the rooftop bar with stunning river views, modern cocktails and shisha. The urban resort also offers a comprehensive gym and wellspring spa with sauna, Jacuzzi and indoor heated pool.


137 Pillars Suites Bangkok

Opened in February, this classy all-suite property stands near the upscale Emquartier and Emporium shopping area in fashionable Thonglor district.  Its 34 luxurious suites boast features such as walk-in wardrobes, large balconies, personal butlers, private dining facilities complete with wine cellars, and personal shopper services.  Air-conditioned tuk tuks and limousines enabled with wifi can whisk you to an appointment, before bringing you back to enjoy a spa treatment or a cool drink by the stunning infinity sky pool.


Rosewood Phnom Penh

Rosewood Phnom Penh

Soaring 188 metres above the heart of the business district, the new Rosewood hotel will inhabit the top 14 floors of the Vattanac Capital Tower when it opens later this year – an iconic symbol of the “new Cambodia”. The ultra-luxury hospitality experience has a range of options to help guests unwind, from modern nightspot Sora – a sophisticated sky bar offering rare whiskies and Japanese tapas – to leisure options like the spa, nail studio, 24-hour fitness centre and 20-metre indoor pool.


The Siam English Garden

The Siam

Set on three acres (1.2 hectares) of verdant frontage along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, this new boutique property is ideally positioned for either work-related excursions or downtime leisure. Relaxation opportunities abound, whether diving into a good book in the quirky interiors of the vinyl room, or enjoying a coffee in the leafy garden. In the evening, the spacious wooden deck of the hotel’s private pier is the ideal setting for a few sundowners or exclusive event. Meanwhile, the new Portier Technology means all guests have access to a smartphone with 4G data connection, concierge connect, a city guide and bulletin of activities to help them plan and maximise their time in Bangkok.


Bulgari Hotel Beijing

Bulgari Hotel & Residences, Beijing

Nothing says luxury lifestyle more than a designer fashion brand, and that is exactly what guests can expect at the Bulgari hotel opening in Beijing this year. Located in the heart of the embassy district, near the trendy dining and fashion quarter of Sanlitun, the hotel aims to cater to  “the discerning traveller in search of nature and art, and the sophisticated elite of Beijing”. The 118 guestrooms and Bulgari Suite will be among the largest in the city, boasting classic Italian architecture. Guests can also indulge in gourmet food at the Bulgari signature Bar and Ristorante, or a relaxing treatment at the spa.


Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

Renowned as Singapore’s  “second botanic gardens”, the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is situated near to Orchard Road and offers 15 acres (six hectares) of lush gardens for guests to explore. The Garden Wing is the best spot to enjoy this mini Eden, which recently unveiled 158 new nature-inspired rooms and suites following a S$68 million (US$48 million) renovation. From private balconies, guests can enjoy the soothing sounds of the waterfall and revel in the verdant grounds below, where koi carp swim lazily in the water and an iconic new structure called The Orchid houses a rare collection of elegant flowers.


Jumeirah Al Naseem - Sugarmash

Jumeirah Al Naseem

The recently opened Jumeirah Al Naseem in Dubai offers guests a unique opportunity to engage with the rehabilitation of critically endangered sea turtles. The urban resort features a 150-metre outdoor lagoon where turtles are nurtured before being returned to the wild. Hotel guests are able to participate in feeding sessions and learn more about the fragile ecosystem. Beyond this, the hotel features luxurious rooms with extended terraces to appreciate the spectacular sea views and iconic Burj Al Arab.


Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li

Opening soon in the Xuhui district close to bustling Nanjing Road, Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li will be the only all-villa urban resort in the city. Housed in the last cluster of 1930s shikumen-style buildings, its rare architectural heritage will give guests a glimpse into Shanghai’s romantic past. The estate comprises 55 villas and 40 residential apartments as well as a gallery of niche lifestyle brands and a spa. The on-site French bistro will provide a selection of premium continental fare for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.


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