Art & Lifestyle

Best Luxury Resorts in Asia for Some Alone Time

Escape to these pockets of pampering for the chance to reconnect with yourself

by Gavin Yeung

10 Jun 2019

Travelling with friends, family or your significant other inevitably has its moments of infuriation. In a recent survey conducted by the Wellness Travel Association, 25 percent of respondents said that they prefer to travel solo – a figure that’s only bound to increase in the near future. In light of this, get ahead of the curve and carve out a holiday for yourself at these resorts best enjoyed with a company of one.

Hoshinoya Kyoto, Japan

Stowed up the bend of the languid Ōi River, away from the touristic bustle of the Arashiyama district, Hoshinoya Kyoto is both a part of, and apart from, the already abundant charms of its mother city. Reached by a 15-minute boat ride, the 25-suite resort feels a world away, so complete is the enfolding of the surrounding foliage, which ranges from cherry blossom-laden in spring to fiery red in autumn. Architect Rie Azuma is responsible for the design of the complex, which took shape around the 400-year-old residence of a wealthy merchant – the interior design similarly harks back to a bygone era with classical Japanese craftsmanship, from the woodblock-printed kyo-karakami wallpaper to the painstakingly polished century-old wooden fixtures. Travellers looking for a slice of solitude will appreciate sensory indulgences such as the monkō incense-smelling ceremony, morning temple worship, and Chef Kubota’s five-flavour kaiseki cuisine – a consummate reflection of Kyoto’s dazzling seasons. And if ever the allure of the ryokan’s quietude wears off, Kyoto’s urban delights present a new chapter to unfold.

Alila Fort Bishangarh, India

If ever there was a setting for a modern-day Indian fairytale, Alila Fort Bishangarh would be it. Situated in the culturally abundant Indian state of Rajasthan, the luxury resort inhabits an imposing 230-year-old warrior fort perched atop a granite hillock. Protected by two-metre-thick walls, the seven-year-long restoration of the former home of Shahpura royalty was a gargantuan undertaking, necessitating the use of local materials and craftsmanship to painstakingly recreate its stately airs, as well as to build an arrival courtyard and ramp, banquet lawns and a pool terrace from scratch. Its 59 suites each boast magnificent views of the surrounding Aravalli Range, with large jharokha bay windows and sprawling daybeds to admire the shifting Rajasthani light. North Indian cuisine is allowed to shine at the stunning Amarsar restaurant, while Nazaara specialises in Rajput grill dining atop one of the fort’s battlements. All of this, while the arresting ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur and its otherworldly palaces beckon just an hour’s drive away.

Amangalla, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the most vibrant travel destinations in recent years, and the small coastal city of Galle stands out in particular for its unhurried charm and authentic colonial architecture. A shining example of the latter is Amangalla, which inhabits a 17th-century Dutch colonial building that was home to the former New Oriental Hotel, within the grounds of the UNESCO-recognised Galle Fort. Its 28 suites have been enlivened with Aman Resorts’ ethos of soothing minimalism and restored to their former colonial splendour – antique four-poster beds, original teak floors, and Pettagama chests imbue each room with a real patina. There’s the institution of afternoon tea which is served on the verandah and offers views of the fort’s old tiled roofs; afterwards, retire to The Baths spa for Ayurvedic treatments and craniosacral therapy. All the while, a chauffeured white Ambassador is on hand to whisk you to world-renowned tea plantations, the temples of Yatagala and Unawatuna, or the fray of the city. The sights, sounds and smells of Ceylon await.

COMO Cocoa Island, Maldives

The Maldives might be synonymous with honeymooners, yet few know its transformative hold on solo travellers. Chief among them is COMO’s luxury resort on Cocoa Island, just a short 40-minute speedboat transfer from Malé International Airport. Comprised of 33 bungalows designed to resemble the local dhoni fishing boat and connected by snaking suspended walkways, the resort was built on a small island that takes only 10 minutes to walk from point to point, yet is no less enthralling. Paper-white sands, balmy 29-degree waters, and peace and quiet are in natural abundance, setting the scene for COMO’s Shambhala concept of holistic treatments, of which the hydrotherapy is a must. There are daily meditation sessions and complimentary yoga, while the resort’s restaurant, Ufaa, serves an organic menu designed for rejuvenating the body. A tropical paradise in every sense of the word, COMO Cocoa Island holds – and lives up to – the promise of self-discovery.

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