As Hong Kong gets into hot and sticky mode, a breezy three-or four-day break seems particularly alluring – and with the 1 July long weekend in sight, now’s the perfect chance to book a mini getaway where your only challenges are seeking out the shadiest spot by the pool and wondering whether the spa can fit you in for a mammoth post-lunch, pre-cocktail beautification session! Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have three swoon-worthy Asian hotels in mind – Soneva Kiri in Thailand, the Puli Hotel and Spa in Shanghai and Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort, Langkawi.
Best for Robinson Crusoe-style seclusion: Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand
Style All-ages tropical playground
Setting Undiscovered Koh Kood
Yearning for space and movie star-style privacy? Soneva Kiri Koh Kood will satisfy your desert-island castaway dreams. This unspoiled isle near Thailand’s eastern border with Cambodia is home to a handful of other small hotels, local restaurants and not much else… except sea, sand and the ancient Koh Kood rainforest. A model of eco-chic luxury (think sustainable wood and organic cotton sheets), the 27-villa resort includes 12 Oceanfront Pool Villa Suites with private beach access and tubs big enough for two.
Turn up the passion factor by signing up for the resort’s ‘Romantic Experience’, which includes a tree-pod sunrise champagne breakfast, night-snorkelling adventure, in-room aromatherapy bath and private viewing of your favourite flick – home-made popcorn included – at their alfresco Cinema Paradiso.
Best for spa/shopping stopover: The Puli Hotel and Spa, Shanghai
Style Flash in the Han
Setting Perched by Jing’an Park
With dark timbers and swish designer furnishings coolly feminised by white orchids and lotus flowers, you won’t want to leave the soothing surrounds of The Puli Hotel and Spa, a glass-fronted gem with Jing’an Park as its leafy backdrop. The spa’s signature massages tap into traditional Chinese medicine practices and there’s also a nod to Chinese tea culture, with detoxifying green-tea wraps and a circulation-boosting rose-tea body scrub on the menu.
Dinner at Jing’an sees Aussie chef Michael Wilson turn on the fusion charm with dishes like chitarra-cut pasta and mud crab, and slow-roasted apples with white miso ice cream. Up with the lark? Stroll over to nearby Jing’an Park to watch the tai chi-ers solemnly shift through their graceful moves before the streets of Shanghai splutter into life.
Best for a stilted rustic retreat: Bon Ton Restaurant and Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia
Style Rustic Malay restoration
Setting Lagoon-side Pantai Cenang
Ever fancied romancing atop a stilted villa where you can swoon over the stars from your lounger while murmuring sweet nothings into your sweetheart’s ear? Bon Ton Restaurant and Resort is the perfect pick for star-crossed lovers. Set on a former coconut plantation, the eight villas are housed in typical Malay buildings – five have freestanding tubs – and are faithfully furnished with traditional fabrics and antiques. Cool off at Pantai Cenang beach, a five-minute ride away, or simply forget your hectic Hong Kong life by zoning out on the mini-mountain of soft pillows strewn over your canopied bed.
Bon Ton is also home to one of Langkawi’s best eateries, Nam, where Nyonya specialties such as prawns in pandan leaf and pickled lamb curry pack a traditional Malay punch. Save some room for a dessert cocktail (try a Short Island Ice Cream – a sinful mix of vodka, Kahlúa, Cointreau, frangelico and ice cream) at bar/lounge Chin Chin next door, in a former Chinese shop-house; there’s a sunset deck if you get there early enough.
To snuggle up with Smith, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326