One of the better perks in travel writing has to be our makeshift offices where we have found ourselves working from fantastic accommodations around the globe, from Boutique hideaways to luxury pool villas. But the most memorable of all these makeshift offices will have to be the rooms with views. With a bottle of wine and a window of inspiration right in front of us. So I thought I would share some of the more memorable to date. And these are some of the best hotel room views in Asia.
On our most recent visit to Osaka we stayed two nights in the iconic Osaka Marriott Miyako hotel which is situated on the top floors of the Abeno Harukas building which is not only the tallest building in Osaka, but all of Japan. And our entire stay just felt surreal starting from arrival at the 19th floor reception as we open out to towering spaces and floor to ceiling windows, which overlook the tops of the surrounding highrise skyline. The lobby feels more like a futuristic sci-fi skyport, than any urban city lodgings, yet we are still only a third of the way to the top. So we continue through check-in, before being rocketed, in an elevator, to our 53rd floor guestroom suite above the city. To put the height into perspective, the observation deck, which is one of the main attractions in Osaka, is found just seven stories above us, on the 60th floor of the Abeno Harukas building. And we do get complimentary tickets to this attraction with our stay, although the views are very similar to what we look over from our own room. Yet they are undoubtedly more relaxed and enjoyable with a bottle of sake and Japanese snacks in the cloudlike comforts of our 53rd floor guestroom suite. Our full review here>>
As far as destinations go Vang Vieng has everything going for it. It has the views, it has the adventure, and the tourist infrastructure has always been there. But following the backpackers exodus in 2012 it did lose its niche and since has been in a hiatus of sorts, a time of transition, as they try to shake off the old stigma and replace it with more diverse and ultimately lucrative markets. So now, what once was the place to avoid for discerning travelers, is an unlikely gem, and the Riverside Boutique Resort appears to be leading this transition. The views from our balcony are truly outstanding where we have one of the most beautiful and somewhat iconic scenes of Southeast Asia and Laos set right on our doorstep. We really couldn’t be more centrally located as right next to the resort passes the rickety wooden toll bridge and the main crossing to the west side of the Namsong river, which in itself is a charm to watch from the restaurant balcony. Our first night here was just so memorable as we watched through twilight as the daytime traffic transitioned into serene river scenes, and the birds and buzz of river boat propellers faded into a chorus of Namsong river beasts, and the faint sound of traditional Lao music coming from the opposite riverbanks. Our full review here>>
The one experience not to be missed in Japan is the traditional ryokan experience, which is more than just your typical hotel stay, but a package of fascintaing cultural experiences, all wrapped into one. This normally includes a traditional hotel suite, with frills attached, the hot spring baths, kimono dress, and, more than not, a multi-course kaiseki dinner. Yet Takaragawa Onsen was more. For me it was the Japanese dream, where, other than on-screen, I never thought places like this existed in real life. But what really brought this experience together is the setting next to a mountain stream, surrounded by mists from the hot water springs, and forests bound in snow. It is dreamlike and I’m fairly certain that these are the most beautiful and serene scenes I have witnessed in my life. And we watch on from our traditional Japanese suite, on the corner of the pinewood building, where the corner windows have incredible views over the passing Takarawaga river and suspension rope bridge, which marks the start of the hot spring onsens which are dotted throughout the surrounding mountain forests. I could happily live and die here. Our full review here>>
One of the most iconic landmarks of Southeast Asia would have to be Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers, the majestic crown of Southeast Asia. From the Traders Hotel (Shangri-La), we find ourselves with front row seats, up close and intimate. During the day the scenes are picturesque and serene but it is at night when Kuala Lumpur and the towers really come to life. On our first night we pass time with a bottle of wine (as always) and haul the guestroom sofa to the front window for the perfect frame. We sit to watch as the city night views unfold. First is the park below which lights up, closely followed by the neon shop fronts. Then it is the office buildings surrounding but soon they are all completely dwarfed by the marvel of the Petronas Towers. Tiny tourists gather by the foot of the towers for the scene’s prestige with a ‘Lake Symphony’ of music, dancing fountains and shimmering lights. Hard to beat. Our full review here>>
Unobstructed views of Mount Fuji… do I need to say more? This well deserved respite was during intensive travels in Japan as we indulge in the many pleasures of Japan’s prestigious Ryokan hotels. Our stay is in a traditional Japanese suite with floors of Tatami matting and partitions of sliding doors. Complimenting the unmatched views of a snowy peaked Fujisan; we indulge in onsen baths with water from surrounding hot springs, before feasting on traditional kaiseki fine dining. Between hot spring baths we still find time to organize a community treasure hunt almost 10,000 miles away in Northern Ireland. Our office none to shabby. The views do disappear at night, but come first light they are unbeatable as the lake sits untouched and still, for the most beautiful views of mount Fuji reflecting on the lake’s surface. This hotel is one of a handful found in the Kawaguchiko lake area. Our full review here>>.
There are seemingly endless numbers of ocean view resorts in Thailand alone. For our favourite to date? This would have to go to the pool villas of Santhiya where we sit perched on the cliff-sides of the smaller, lesser known island of Koh Yao Yai not so far from Phuket. I remember arriving to Santhiya Koh Yao Yai and as we are being ushered through door after door of the extensive villa my eyes are firmly fixed to the horizon as the infinity pool spills out towards the ocean below. With such perfect views I fail to even notice the intricacy of the carved teak wood interiors. The focus from every room is of course on the horizon and some of the better spots to lounge and indulge include the veranda with panoramic views, the bedroom suite which is set just back from the pools edge and the hidden sunken bath. We share the perfect Andaman sunset with complimentary red wine and local ‘bah bin’ coconut cakes courtesy of the restaurant head chef. Alone and private, the only chance of prying eyes comes from the local fishermen who plough the seas far below. Our full review here>>
In the past we’ve stayed in umpteen ‘jungle’ retreats; from the primary rainforests of Borneo, to unspoiled, lesser known islands of Southeast Asia. Of these, we’ve never experienced nature and wildlife quite as abundant as we do at the Alila Ubud resort where we are holed up in a villa overlooking green canopies of the Ayung River valley below. On our first morning we share breakfast with a troop of passing macaque monkeys. Soon after, as we sit watching the life in the treetops a draco flying lizard lands on the tree directly in front of me. Later, on our walk to the resort restaurant, we are held up by a friendly snake who passes on an evening slither. At night we sleep under a chorus of frogs, lizards, crickets, and other jungle beasties which hide in the canopies that surround us. All shared with some unforgettable infused cocktails. Our full review here>>
This experience was very much in the budget range of our travels. It was also a one of a kind experience. Having visited numerous tea hills throughout Asia we are yet to find one with a hotel or resort overlooking them. At the Cherry Resort, in the Indian Himalayas, we are set right in the centre of traditionally cultivated tea gardens and our balcony views look out to hills above, and clouds below. We are in the Temi Tea Gardens of Sikkim India, 7,000 feet up in the Himalayan ranges, and an area so remote that the ‘nearby’ city of Gangtok is a 3 hours drive away. When we arrive it is to bewildered staff as we are the only guests at the resort. For half the night we plunge into darkness with a power outage, and failing to find the cook our driver helps prepare our dinner of Dal Baht and Curry Aloo (he tells me the following morning). All this adds to the experience where the only other souls are found in surrounding tea gardens where they plug tea leaves from 7am – 4pm daily. Our full review here>>