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Asia Made Easy

There has never been a better time to go to Asia. The continent is thriving, welcoming travelers with new nonstop flights and low-cost airlines, new places to stay and things to do—all for less, thanks to favorable exchange rates, especially when compared to Europe. We've gathered all the latest information: just-opened hotels; the hottest shopping districts; gallery and museum openings; and restaurants. So whether you're looking for a stylish city hotel in Hong Kong or an inspired dinner spot in Bali, it's here. Plus: Tours, guides, deals, and everything else you could possibly need to plan a trip to the Far East, right now.


TOKYO In Roppongi Hills, Tokyo's innovative urban development project, the Grand Hyatt (6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 800/223-1234 or 81-3/4333-1234; tokyo.grand.hyatt.com/; doubles from $440) is a bastion of 21st-centuryingenuity. Therooms may not be especially large, but they come with pleasant touches like heated toilet seats and remote-controlled blackout shades. Open them and awake to eye-popping views of Mount Fuji before eating breakfast at any of the property's excellent restaurants.

With a mere 11 rooms spread over 10 floors, Yoshimizu (3-11-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku; 81-3/3248-4432; www.yoshimizu.com; doubles from $254) is a modern take on a traditional Japanese ryokan. The sister hotel to the well-known Yoshimizu Kyoto, this Ginza branch is tucked away from theneighborhood's busy streets. Tatami mat floors and futons are part of the ryokan experience—as are the shared bathrooms (which include a pair of antique-style baths in cedar and stone, located on the inn's top floor).

SEOUL W Hotels makes its Asian debut with the W Seoul-Walkerhill (21 Kwangjang-Dong, Kwangjin-Gu; 877/946-8357 or 82-2/465-2222; www.whotels.com; doubles from $265). Situated on Mount Acha, the hotel has 253 rooms and suites and a massive 50,000-square-foot spa with a Turkish bath and 21 treatment rooms. Three restaurants and the super-sized Woo Bar compete for guests' downtime.

HONG KONG A decade ago, designer Philippe Starck reinvigorated Hong Kong nightlife with the raucous interiors of Felix, the supper club atop the Peninsula hotel. Now Starck has picked up where he left off with the 25-floor Jia (1-5 Irving St., Causeway Bay; 852/3196-9000; www.jiahongkong.com; doubles from $250). Jia means "home" in Mandarin, and its quarters consist of 57 full-service apartments with the designer's typically whimsical interiors; guests can relax on one of two public sundecks.

Also new in Hong Kong is Le Méridien Cyberport (100 Cyberport Rd.; 800/543-4300 or 852/2980-7788; www.lemeridien.com; doubles from $165), in the territory's "digital city" development. The hotel is high-tech and business-friendly, with everything from 42-inch plasma TV's to wireless broadband access to gadgets like custom-programmed Apple iPods in the fitness center.

BEIJING The Peninsula Palace (8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing; 800/223-6800 or 86-10/8516-2888; www.peninsula.com; doubles from $320) is not new, but the hotel recently completed a $27 million renovationand announced a name change: it has revamped all 530 rooms and suites, expanded its luxury lobby arcade to more than 50 boutiques, and inaugurated Huang Ting, a Cantonese restaurant with an interior modeled after that of a Qing dynasty palace.

BANGKOK The Metropolitan (27 S. Sathorn Rd., Tungmahamek, Sathorn; 800/337-4685 or 66-2/625-3333; www.metropolitan.com.bz; doubles from $300)—sister to the London hotel of the same name—was built in a former YMCA in the embassy district, as incongruous as that might sound. The 171-room property is a chic alternative to the capital's classic hotel standbys: rooms come with Bose stereos, limestone bathrooms, and platform beds; the staff is decked out in Yohji Yamamoto.

GOLDEN TRIANGLE On the banks of the mighty Mekong River at the meeting point of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos is the new Anantara Resort & Spa Golden Triangle (229 Moo 1, Chiang Saen; 66-24/770-760; www.anantara.com; doubles from $170). The Zen-luxe retreat, near the Thai town of Chiang Saen, unabashedly makes the most of its location. Each of the 90 rooms includes a balcony with a canopied daybed for prime tri-cultural vistas. The Anantara's spa has five treatment rooms, equipped with both Thai massage platforms and private outdoor decks. The Mekong plays host to scenic river rides on long-tail boats, and the resort's nearby elephant camp, affiliated with Thailand's Elephant Conservation Center, offersriding courses. There's also a Thai cooking school, along with two restaurants and a bar.

KO SAMUI Amid the cashew, coconut, and palm groves on the northern coast of this Thai island stands Pansea Napasai Samui (65/10 Ban Tai, Maenam; 800/237-1236 or 66-77/ 429-200; www.pansea.com; doubles from $280). The small, low-key beach resort's rooms, villas, and cottages have light, whitewashed furniture and wooden floors and walls. A spa, Euro-Asian restaurant, pool, tennis courts, and diving facilities are all on-site or nearby; the seafront villas are also available for purchase.

SINGAPORE The tiny red lanterns and low-cost snack shops running along Singapore's Keong Saik Road recall its Red Light-district past, but with the opening of Hotel 1929 (50 Keong Saik Rd.; 65/6347-1929; www.hotel1929.com; doubles from $79), the area is earning a more sophisticated reputation. Built into five landmark buildings, the 32-room property is colonial in style on the outside, pure Mid-Century Modern within. The hotel is named after the year of its original construction, and the owner has filled the small rooms with big-name design details—from Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, and Eames furniture to Marimekko fabrics on the beds. Suites have private terraces and outdoor bathtubs.

ANGKOR Although best known for its intimate properties in Bali and Thailand, Sanctuary Resorts is making its mark in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the gateway to the legendary Angkor Wat temple. Shinta Mani (Oum Khum St. at 14th St.; 855-63/761-998; www.sanctuaryresorts.com; doubles from $144), an 18-room urban spa oasis, has just opened, and another property is set to debut later this year. Located in the city's historic French Quarter, the hotel trains local at-risk youths at its Institute for Hospitality.


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