BANGKOK, January 9, 2008
Online hotel booking merchant, Agoda Company, has released its list of top 10 boutique hotels within Southeast Asia to coincide with the start of the Year 2008.
Noting the continuing trend among travelers to choose boutique-style accommodation, Agoda developed the list to highlight what the company considers to be the best boutique options available in the region.
As CEO Michael Kenny commented, "Many hotels these days are marketing themselves as boutique when actually they do not fit the definition of boutique as we classify it. We define a boutique hotel as a smaller, personalized alternative to larger hotel groups and brands. Boutique hotels are characterized by tailor-made service as well as unique designs and features that appeal to a niche market."
"The drawing card for most golf enthusiasts - besides a challenging course - is the price. SEA can offer a prime golfing experience at a fraction of the cost, plus there are other benefits such as spa and massage facilities which are simply peerless in this region," Fan added.
Kenny elaborated that while big brand hotel names are still the most popular choice among Agoda customers, there was a strong increase in boutique hotel bookings.
"We are very aware of the trend that has emerged with boutique accommodation over the last five years. Our own analyses have shown that this trend is particularly evident among young professional travelers, whilst more mature business and leisure travelers tend to stick to hotel brands they are familiar with. In an age demographic of 25 to 35 years around half of those customers will prefer to book a boutique hotel."
While dependable star-ranked standards and facilities remain key selling points of international hotel chains, boutique hotels push personalized treatment and aesthetics. The downside to not abiding the star-ranking system, however, is that hotels that label themselves 'boutique' could be lacking in amenities or services in which guests expect in their accommodation. This is why Agoda decided to create a top 10 list.
Besides having to fall within Agoda's definition of boutique, the selection criteria for the top 10 list included each hotel's popularity in terms of customer bookings and reviews.
"It is important to note that hundreds of boutique hotels have literally been built in the SEA region within the last 10 years. While many of these are legitimate, there are also hotels which are labeling themselves as boutique in a somewhat deceitful way. Being boutique should equate to providing high quality service and luxury as defined by unique qualities and personalized attention. By creating a list of the crème de la crème boutique hotels in the region we at Agoda are helping customers to narrow down their choices and also look at their own criteria for selecting this type of accommodation," Kenny said.
Agoda's Top 10 Boutique Hotels in SEA are:
As Southeast Asia destination has become one of the most popular vacation spots from many people around the world. The international tourist statistics among countries in the region are substaintially increasing year by year. Today, with the reflection of this increasing numbers, there are various accommodation options for tourists to choose from ranging from local hostel to international 5 stars hotel. Here is the list of recommended boutique hotel options;
1. Kemang Icon Jakarta, Indonesia
If Conde Nast's Traveler included this hotel it in their Hot List 2007, you expect it to be hot, and Kemang Icon lives up to its reputation. This boutique hotel artfully combines contemporary modern designs with art deco in cool tones and textures. Eight Courtyard and four Edge Suites are all individually designed with personalized bathroom scents, accessories and amenities. All guest preferences are noted prior to check-in so that the fruit basket, coffee and tea, i-Pod selections, toiletry brands and even lighting settings are adjusted to your taste before you even enter the room. "The Edge" tailors every meal to suit a guest's taste and health requirements. Fancy playing chef for the day? Shop online from their grocery list and the fresh goods and produce will be delivered right to your door. The Kemang Icon truly is a delightful marriage of chic and warmth, giving birth to an unrivaled multi-sensory journey, where almost every single facet of quality living is personalized.
2. The Scarlet Hotel, Singapore, Singapore
Dramatic, passionate and decadent are qualities at the heart of the Scarlet Hotel. Housed in a 1924 Art Deco building and a row of 1868 early shop houses on the historic Erskine Road are five themed suites with names like Splendour and Lavish, 26 Executive and 24 Premium rooms and 15 Deluxe and 24 Standard rooms. The hotel has gone to great lengths, decorating each room with specific personalities in mind. In-room features include one-for-one evening cocktails, personal bars with gourmet selections and a pillow menu. With a restaurant named Desire that serves 'provocative contemporary cuisine' and a bar called Bold, a playful sinfulness seems to come naturally to this hotel.
3. Dream Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
From the bed to the bar, the Dream Hotel is pure glitz. The interior is covered with a generous selection of colors accompanied by ethereal lighting techniques, producing an outspoken extravagance. With 100 stylishly themed and pet-friendly guestrooms, the highlight is the 'Dream Bed', which was carefully devised and created to truly provide guests with a good night's sleep. This über trendy hotel offers personal shopper services and pre-loaded iPods and their Avatar Spa features a creative range of facials, massages, full body and Thalmer Thalasso SPA treatments.
4. AKA Hotel Resort & Spa - Hua Hin, Prachuabkirikhan, Thailand
Fifty-one spacious villas amply secluded from one another, spread across 10 acres of tropical landscape, with natural lakes and a hillside backdrop. Drawing from the philosophy of the AKA, a hill tribe with origins in the Tibetan Highlands and Yunnan, China, the resort flawlessly blends spirituality, tranquility and simplicity together, transposing these qualities into the architecture, the Zen spa and their dining services. With private infinity-edged pools, garden terraces, private courtyards and sala roof gardens, this luxury retreat is the perfect escape from city life and a perfect way to pamper the soul.
5. Hotel de la Paix, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Designed by the renowned Bill Bensley, a combination of art deco and traditional Khmer styles distinguishes the Hotel de la Paix, which is built around a palatial inner courtyard with stone gardens and water features. This landmark in the heart of Siem Reap offers guestrooms and suites, categorized under five unique preferences and designs and accompanied by personalized assistance. French Chef and author Joannes Riviere brings exceptional dining experiences to the table with international and seasonal Khmer dishes, while Mediterranean, Italian, organic Khmer coffee and drinks and gourmet picnic baskets for temple visits are lovingly prepared at Café de la Paix.
6. S15 Sukhumvit Hotel, Bangkok,Thailand
Smack dab in the heart of Bangkok's business and shopping districts, the new S15 Sukhumvit Hotel is 72 stylish rooms decked with Italian light fixtures, marble bathrooms and sleek, contemporary furniture. The essence of this boutique hotel's design is an understated elegance that distinctly contrasts with the city's relentless bustle, allowing guests to gather and re-energize themselves after a day spent exploring the City of Angels. All public areas and guestrooms have Wi-Fi high-speed Internet access and the business center offer laptops and mobile phones. Another great way to unwind is to take advantage of the hotel's in-room spa services.
7. 3 Nagas – Luang Prabang, Laos
To enter the Boutique Hotel 3 Nagas is to enter three historical buildings protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Organization. Restored to its original Laotian style, the hotel is of exotic, wooden floors, traditional torchis walls and clay tile roofing. A total of 12 rooms and 3 suites with their own unique designs make up this authentic hotel in the heart of Luang Prabang.
8. The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
High ceilings, luxurious en-suite bathtubs, spacious bathrooms, raised platforms, split-levels coupled with unobstructed views of the South China Sea make up the 60 One-Bedroom Villas and 40 Pool Villas at The Nam Hai. Immediately, one will be taken by the sheer magnitude of space and seclusion at this exclusive, beachfront resort spa stretched across 35 hectares along Ha My beach. All villas are equipped with rain showers, iPods, 24-hour concierge and 24-hour in-room dining. Set around a lagoon close to the beach is The Spa, featuring customized regimens to suit each guest's needs and well-being.
9. JapaMala Resort – Tioman Island, Malaysia (East coast of Malaysia)
Eco-friendly, teak Sarang Villas, Sea Cliff and Tree Top chalets nestle in the lush jungles of Tioman Island with the sights and sounds of aqua blue waters and the white sand beach appealing to your senses. Guests can even make their own catch off the jetty and the hotel will cook the fresh seafood accordingly. Another option is to head over to the Tamarind Terrace Restaurant featuring all-day, casual, alfresco dining and specializing in Thai and Indochinese cuisine. A protected marine park, dive sites and furtive jungle surround this secluded, luxury resort.
10. Trisara, Phuket, Thailand
The emphases at Trisara are privacy, simplicity, peace and space. Forty-two villas and suites have been given a clean, contemporary look with subtle traditional Thai touches where private infinity edged pools meet sweeping views of the Andaman Sea. Apart from massages, body treatments and facials, the Trisara Spa specializes in yoga and meditation and offers the Trisara Punti Purification and Revitalisation program in partnership with expert herbalists. Other features at this exclusive resort & spa include complimentary iPods in the library with a wide range of music, customized private dining and a private bay surrounded by a ring of coral reef.