Friday, March 25, 2011

New Hotels in Asia Embrace Their Local Settings

The new Four Seasons in Hangzhou, China aims to underscore local culture using pagoda-stlye architecture and wok- mannig cooks. Towns in Singapore. Japan, Shanghai, and Vietnam are all embracing their local ,ancient heritage.

 In Singapore, the 1926 colonial building Fort Canning served as headquarters for the British military before the Japanese took it during World War II. Now, it is an urban resort, which features two swimming pools, a spa, an Asian and a Mediterranean restaurant plus a tapas bar, all walking distance from the shops on Orchard Road and the restaurants and bars. Still, Singapore’s cultural accents enterprise.  For example, room service meals come in wooden tiffins, which reflect Singapore’s Indian influence.

In Japan, Hotel Kanra Kyoto was inspired by the machiya. There are wooden town houses that extend from a storefront to a central courtyard. The 29-room hotel has rooms that feature four-poster beds opposite poured concrete washbasins and desks with a tatami-mat-covered living space beyond. All rooms include a Japanese-cypress bathtub, nature-inspired original art and artist-made teacups. In the lobby, ceiling panels cycle through images of the sky, evoking a garden.

In Shanghai, the Fairmont Peace Hotel takes a different spin. over run by communists many years ago, it now represents peace. The hotel is the product of new- age technology and modern day luxuries.

In Vietnam, the new Six Senses Con Dao encourages living close to nature. Each of 50 beachfront villas includes canopy beds, ocean-facing walls of sliding glass doors, private plunge pools and bathrooms featuring open-air showers. Inspired by local villages, a craft shop, art gallery and library line a row of wood-frame dwellings. There's a market-style restaurant nearby that has wok-fried noodles as well as a bakery and deli.

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