All About Asia

The Temple Hotel’s lounge is open to all guests.
The Temple Hotel’s lounge is open to all guests.

Luxury is rising all across Asia as A-list hotels and VIP experiences pop up all around the continent.

A forgotten Tibetan Buddhist temple near the Imperial Palace in Beijing has been given a new lease of life as a design property, The Temple Hotel. Belgian entrepreneur Juan van Wassenhove discovered it eight years ago while biking the hutongs, the ancient alleyways that are considered part of the city’s heritage. Today it’s a boutique hotel with personality, celebrating both Imperial age architecture and contemporary art. The eight guest rooms showcase a mélange of contemporary décor and historic touches, like original wood and flooring. The “Monk’s Quarters” are housed in the original monks’ dormitories, while two suites are located in the adjoining building, a TV factory dating back to China’s Great Leap Forward. The largest room of all is “Dragon and Phoenix,” the imperial suite which occupies the former quarters of a Qing Dynasty monk.

Meanwhile, Kerzner International Holdings Limited has kicked off construction on what is to be the first One&Only resort in China. Located in Sanya on Haitang Bay (Chinese Riviera, you say?) the resort will have 192 guest rooms, suites and villas. One&Only Sanya’s accommodations will range from two- to four-bedroom private villas and a Presidential Suite to executive suites and guest rooms, to be situated within either the main Manor House or Mansions. The resort will house a One&Only Spa and fitness center, as well as meeting spaces, a kids club and a range of sporting and entertainment facilities.

In other big news, the rumors about The Peninsula’s foray into Myanmar have been confirmed. The plan is to restore the former Myanmar Railway Company headquarters and transform it into a luxury hotel. Thus The Peninsula Yangon will occupy one of the oldest existing colonial buildings in the city. As Myanmar is such an exciting emerging market, The Peninsula will fill the niche for the accommodations sought after by adventure-seeking luxury travelers.

Sailing back to China, Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai is helping its guests cruise into spring with the launch of a new luxury yacht experience. Guests who book the highest category suites at the hotel can enjoy a complimentary sunset cruise aboard a luxury yacht along the Huangpu River. The experience kicks off with a complimentary glass of champagne at the Club Lounge. Guests will then be escorted to the marina to board the yacht. The journey passes between the buildings of The Bund and the skyline of Pudong. A butler will be on hand to point out the top landmarks and snap photos of the experience.