When considering a holiday in Asia, one can always look for that special, extraordinary element, which is truly immersive and life-affirming. Iconic views are often at the very top of the bucket list, as we seek moments of pure serenity and quietude, or something that inspires awe and wonder. I'm delighted to share the below list with you:
Asia is renowned for its remarkable natural and manmade wonders, and although there is no dearth of touristy ‘viewpoints’, there is no greater joy and privilege than having the option of admiring these legendary monuments and landscapes from the unparalleled comfort and privacy of your own hotel room.
I have included below some of my current favourite hotel rooms with a view. This is by no means exhaustive, as you can imagine, given the size of the continent, but it allows a glimpse of Asia’s remarkable diversity:
One of my favourite ‘glamping’ resorts in Asia, HOSHINOYA Fuji offers fabulous views of Lake Kawaguchi and majestic Mount Fuji. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic views that has become a symbol of Japan, it really is a privilege to be able to admire it at your own leisure, from your own room. Each of the resort’s 40 cabins features a large picture window and a balcony offering panoramic views of the lake, Mount Fuji and the surrounding forests.
Cabin interiors are minimalist and subdued in colour to accentuate the majestic views, and their innovative design seamlessly combines contemporary luxuries and the joys of a traditional outdoor camping experience. Located two hours from Tokyo by bullet train, this region offers amazing adventures for active travellers including hiking, canoeing across the lake, cycling, traditional camping activities, culinary experiences, as well as horse riding.
For something a bit off-the-beaten-track and thrilling, I would highly recommend hiking through the Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees.
Located on top of a beautiful hill, deep in the lush mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, about 45 minutes outside Sapa in northern Vietnam, Topaz Ecolodge offers a touch of Scandinavian bliss in remote Vietnamese countryside. In terms of views, this is one of my absolute favourite places to stay in the country.
There are 41 rustic bungalows, each highly sustainably built using locally sourced materials, offering astounding views of the surrounding mountains and across the scenic valleys below filled with Sapa’s iconic rice terraces and quaint ethnic minority villages – somewhat reminiscent of the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces in China. It’s such an idyllic place for a holiday in Asia, whether you just want to relax, or completely immerse yourself in the surrounding nature and culture with ample opportunities for hiking, biking as well as discovering unique hilltribe villages and traditional markets.
Few places in the world are as mystical and awe-inspiring as Borobudur in Central Java. Sitting majestically amidst a stunning landscape of lush paddy fields, woodland and volcanic mountains, Borobudur is the largest and most impressive Buddhist temple in the world, akin to wonders like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Machu Picchu in Peru and Hampi in India in terms of its scale and historical significance.
Reflecting the temple’s grandeur, and celebrating the region’s magical nature and culture, Amanjiwo offers fabulously luxurious accommodations with impeccable service and food. Set in two graceful crescents, the luxury resort’s thirty-six spacious and generously appointed suites give way to sublime views.
My favourite suites are the Borobudur Pool Suites as well as the opulent two-bedroom Dalem Jiwo Suite that offer the most remarkable views of the temple. Catch a glimpse of sunrise at Borobudur; trek into the Menoreh Hills; cycle across the pristine countryside; discover local culture and crafts in quaint villages; conquer volcanic peaks; or simply relax and indulge in fabulous spa treatments, yoga, meditation, and superb cuisine; Amanjiwo and Borobudur are truly captivating.
An epitome of eternal love, the Taj Mahal in India is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world, and it is not at all surprising that it is found in most travellers’ bucket list. Seeing it in person is such an emotional and humbling experience; I was simply transfixed when I visited it for the first time.
Located just 600 metres from the majestic mausoleum, the Oberoi group’s luxuriant hotel Amarvilas pays homage to this cherished Mughal legacy with all of its rooms and suites offering unrestricted views of Taj Mahal. The hotel showcases the opulence and grandeur of legendary Mughal palaces with lavishly appointed rooms and suites, fountains, terraced lawns, reflection pools and pavilions, all complemented by impeccable service and food.
My favourite room from my own stay here is the Kohinoor Suite, which has a large private terrace offering unparalleled views of the Taj Mahal; it is without a doubt the best view in Agra!
World’s first carbon negative country, renowned for its unique philosophy of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is perhaps the most fascinating and pristine Himalayan Kingdom. Situated in the lap of the majestic Himalayas, with over 70% of the land covered by trees, Bhutan boasts unparalleled mountain vistas, virgin evergreen forests, gorgeous Buddhist monasteries and temples, glacial rivers, and lush rural valleys. It’s nothing short of a mystical storybook setting for your vacation!
With a dramatic location amidst terraced rice paddies, COMO Uma Punakha is one of my favourite luxury hotels in Bhutan. The hotel’s architecture and interiors are simple yet elegant, accentuating its fabulous natural surroundings. There are just eight rooms and two individual villas, each offering sublime views of the valley and the meandering Mo Chu River.
My favourites are the two standalone villas that offer ultimate privacy, space and views. Punakha offers a fascinating mix of history, culture, and outdoor adventure with opportunities for hiking, white water rafting, cycling, experiencing ancient Buddhist traditions and crafts, as well as discovering the imposing Punakha Dzong and the temple of Chimi Lhakhang. COMO hotels are renowned for their focus on spa and wellness, and a traditional Bhutanese hot-stone bath is one of the not-to-be-missed experiences.
Spread across 12 acres of lush palm-fringed jungle and tea plantations on a remote hillside near Galle, Kahanda Kanda offers a unique blend of culture, wellness and luxury. Owned and run by a well-known British interior designer, this intimate 12-villa boutique hotel is a hidden gem, just a short drive from the famous Sri Lankan south coast beaches and the historic town of Galle. Each of the villas is beautifully designed, featuring spacious interiors adorned with wonderful artworks and antiques.
My favourite is the plantation pool villa Kadju, which affords incredible views over the tea estate and jungle and has a gorgeous infinity pool. If you are looking for a jaw-dropping Instagram picture, this is it! Besides Galle and the amazing south coast beaches, I enjoyed spending time cycling in the countryside, surfing, going on a whale watching trip and learning to make traditional face masks. You can also immerse yourself in yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda sessions at the retreat.
Heavenly! Located in the lush hills of Dhulikhel just an hour’s drive from Kathmandu, Dwarika’s Resort is one of Nepal’s finest luxury wellness retreats. Overlooking Kathmandu Valley and the extended Langtang range of the Himalayas, the resort offers spellbinding views. My favourite suites are the Executive Suite with Terrace and the top category Royal Suite, as they offer spacious indoor and outdoor living and sleeping spaces with panoramic views.
The latter is set at one of the highest points of the resort offering unparalleled views. The resort’s spa and wellness programmes are focused on the ancient Himalayan Ayurvedic traditions, and its tranquil environs offer a perfect base to practice Yoga and meditation. If you are looking to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature and culture, there are ample opportunities for hiking and nature walks, visiting quaint villages and organic farms, discovering local arts and craft such as pottery, painting and block printing, and cookery sessions.
Set in the hillside of an ancient rainforest and surrounded by protected mangroves, Gaya Island Resort is a pristine natural sanctuary offering magnificent views and wonderfully immersive experiences in the heart of Borneo’s Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Accessible only by boat, the resort features 120 hillside villas and a two-bedroom suite showcasing sustainably sourced local materials and traditional Sabahan architecture that blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings.
Interiors boast contemporary elegance giving way to wonderful views including mangroves, tropical rainforest, and the South China Sea. Without a doubt, my favourite villa category is the Kinabalu Villa, which offers the best views in the resort, overlooking the South China Sea.
The resort is entirely focused on eco-conservation and has a dedicated marine centre that runs initiatives focused on turtle conservation, coral reef restoration and conservation through education, making it an excellent choice for family holidays. You can also indulge in various other immersive experiences including PADI diving and snorkelling, deep sea fishing and guided nature walks around the island.
The ethereal landscape of Phang Nga Bay needs no introduction, especially for the fans of James Bond. With jaw-dropping views over the majestic limestone pinnacles rising from the bay’s green and azure waters, this is undoubtedly one of the most idyllic locations in Asia if not the whole world! Accessible by boat from Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi is set on a lush 24-acre site on the small island of Koh Yao Noi.
The resort features fifty-six villas built sustainably using locally sourced materials with a gorgeous open-plan layout that accentuates the stunning natural beauty that surrounds the island. Although each villa is unique and offers fabulous views, my personal favourite is The View, which offers sweeping 360-degree, panoramic views of the bay along with complete privacy. Spread across 2,422 square feet, this vast one-bedroom villa has double-height vaulted ceilings and expansive windows revealing fabulous panoramas from every corner. It also features a large infinity-edge pool and a terrace, a sunken entertaining area, and a private cinema.
Six Senses Yao Noi is such a fantastic destination for couples as well as families, with a huge range of super fun and engaging experiences available including diving and snorkelling, island hopping by a traditional longtail boat or a luxury yacht, bicycle trails, nature walks, windsurfing, water-skiing, wakeboarding and kayaking, castaway picnics, as well as bespoke culinary experiences and lavish wellness therapies and treatments. For kids, a range of sustainability focused experiences can be organised including volunteering at a local school and learning about nature conservation.
Hidden in a remote corner of Yunnan in China’s forgotten Himalayas, Songtsam Tacheng Lodge offers blissfully untouched experiences far removed from the sprawling cities and hectic crowds. Yunnan boasts a remarkable diversity of astounding landscapes and pristine settlements that seem almost lost in time. Besides the world-renowned Tiger Leaping Gorge, I find the area of the Three Parallel Rivers utterly mesmerising for its incredible natural beauty and a rich tapestry of local ethnic minority communities.
Inhabited by colourful Naxi and Lisu communities, Tacheng lies in one of the most fertile valleys lauded for its high-quality rice, fruits and nuts, and wild honey. The area is great for birdwatching and is home to the iconic snub-nosed monkeys. Reminiscent of a typical Alpine chalet from the outside, the lodge features twenty elegantly designed rooms and suites. Rooms and suites in the main building are adorned with beautiful Chinese interiors with large windows and private balconies offering superb views of lush, terraced rice fields and majestic mountains.
It’s such an immersive area for active explorations; you can go rock climbing, learn how to make tofu, indulge in birdwatching, visit the Yunnan Golden Monkey National Park, discover Naxi and Lisu communities, or go on hikes and nature walks. Songtsam Lodges have other equally charming lodges dotted across Yunnan, so Tacheng can also be combined with other villages including fabled Shangri-La.
Please do feel free to contact us if you would like any more information about any of these phenomenal hotels and lodges. Or, if you would just like to dream for now, you can do so in our Video Library.
Images by kind courtesy of: Hoshino Resorts, Aman Hotels, COMO, Gaya Island Resort, Songtsam Hotels, Oberoi, Dwarikas Resorts, Six Senses, Kahanda Kanda, Topas Ecolodge