Today, hotels across Asia are investing big money in art collections; they’re dispatching guests into the environs with knowing guides of the local art scene; and they’re setting up easels for fledgling artists to ply their craft worlds away from what’s familiar.
A gourmet meal laid out in the mouth of a rocky grotto in Halong Bay, a table for two set smack in the middle of Ubud's fertile rice paddies, a dinner reservation in the crumbling ruins of an old French villa on a secluded Phu Yen beach -- these are some of Asia's most atmospheric dining options.
For year hotels and resorts around the world have steered guests toward reputable tour operators and travel desks, whose job it is to present the destination's historic charms, to laud the local architecture and divert the inquisitive guest.
Some hotels come online fully fledged as hotels. Their restaurants are purpose-built and gleaming with stainless steel from the get go. Their pools are spacious enough to accommodate x-percent of the guest base when the hotel is running at y-percent occupancy. And the fitness centers, well, they're often marvels of technology, whirring with spinning wheels, and flush with televisions screens angled just so for optimum viewing.
How much value does a few square metres of outdoor space add to a room? A lot, if the space in question is one of these breath-taking platforms. Each of these bewitching balconies, from a 20-square metre terrace overlooking Bali’s Seminyak Beach, to a lofty perch...