Our Top New Year Accommodation Choices for December
With New Year just around the corner, here is our selection of great hotel choices for December, as seen and experienced by our Khiri Travel Team during their trips to far-flung corners of the region.
Sanctum Inle Resort, Shan State, Myanmar
Designed in the style of an old monastery with arches and cloisters that hark back to a monastic life, the 4.5-star luxury Sanctum Inle Resort is a perfect gateway to Shan State’s beautiful freshwater Inle Lake, only minutes from the hotel. Inspected by our team from Khiri Travel Myanmar, the property offers four types of room with comfortable beds, elegant wooden furnishings, private terraces, cable television and minibar.
After a day of exploring the Shan hills, Sanctum Inle Resort is a beautiful haven to stop off for sundowners by the pool, or to try Sanctum Inle’s new Shan menu at The Refectory restaurant, featuring salads, soups, curries, noodles and more. The restaurant also offers a delectable palate of curries from wider Myanmar, as well as a variety of western fare. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available with incredible views overlooking the lake.
For those guests wanting some after-dinner refreshment, there’s the Cloister Bar, which serves a selection of traditional cocktails and a choice of local beers. For wine connoisseurs, the bar uncorks two premium vintages from Myanmar, each produced under separate German and French management. There’s also a list of international wines keeping cool in the hotel’s cellars, and selection of Cuban and Dominican cigars for smokers in the segregated cigar lounge.
Possible alternative accommodation in the area includes Villa Inle, Lake View Resort and the Inle Prince – all within close proximity to Inle Lake and other attractions.
High Season Pool Villa & Spa, Koh Kut, Thailand
Located on the beautifully unspoiled island of Koh Kut in the Gulf of Thailand, the 5-star High Season Pool Villa & Spa offers guest 42 well-appointed private pool villas on Klong Chao Beach, surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens full of flowers and coconut palms. You can enjoy a real sense of comfort, luxury and privacy at the resort’s Deluxe Pool, Grand Pool and Beachfront Suite Pool villas that are all within easy reach of the High Season’s facilities, including the biggest swimming pool on the island and, of course, the resort’s High Spa, which takes a holistic approach to wellness, using only natural organic products.
On a recent inspection visit to the resort, we were particularly impressed by the standard of service and the fact that guests can use the cordless phones in their rooms to get direct assistance from the butler. We also loved the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and the beautifully unspoiled, white sandy beach. There’s all sorts of activities to be enjoyed that can be arranged by the resort, including beach volleyball, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, yoga and boat adventure trips, such as scuba diving and island sightseeing.
High Season also offers a great selection of dining options, including its Beach Front Restaurant with a choice of Thai dishes and international cuisine, and its Italian Restaurant where you can enjoy wonderful gourmet pizzas, straight from a large brick oven. Coming soon is also a Thai restaurant that will specialize solely in authentic Thai food.
Spring Hill Hotel, Flores, Indonesia
This rustic accommodation is a great place to get off the tourist trail in Flores, Indonesia. The hotel is basic, but a very welcome addition to the small inventory of hotels in Ruteng town, the capital of Manggarai Regency. Located on the outskirts of town, this quaint accommodation with its friendly staff is close to the lush-green terraced rice fields and valleys south of the town. It’s a fantastic place to get out for some bicycling or hiking.
There are just six spacious wooden cabin-style rooms with high ceilings, all set in landscaped gardens that surround a large fishpond with a bridge leading to the rooms. Each guest room has its own hot shower, tea and coffee, and a flat screen TV. At your request, breakfast can also be provided on your terrace, or in the garden. On the other side of the pond are the main entrance, reception area, restaurant and children’s playground. Wi-Fi is also available in the hotel’s restaurant, which serves a tasty selection of dishes at affordable prices.
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Ansara Hotel, Vientiane, Laos
The Ansara Hotel stands in one of Vientiane’s most charming lanes – a quiet but centrally located little street, just meters from the Mekong River. Entering the hotel from the street for the first time, guests will be pleasantly surprised to discover a large courtyard garden behind the elegant colonial-style main building.
The 12 guestrooms and two suites are in separate low-rise buildings built around the garden. Room facilities at the Ansara are first class and include complimentary in-room minibar (soft drinks only), and a personal laptop with free wireless internet access throughout the hotel – a very unique and useful perk.
The Ansara Hotel stands out for its French La Signature restaurant, headed by a talented young chef, Jean-Marie Stainmesse, who trained in a 5-star Michelin restaurant in France. The hotel’s location is also superbly situated a stone’s throw from the lively riverside area, with its bars, restaurants and markets.
Khiri Travel was impressed by the overall look and feel of this property. The Ansara’s food and beverage – at value for money prices – makes it a great dining location too.
Santa Clara Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Santa Clara Boutique Hotel is a quiet 3-star riverside hotel located only a short stroll from the temples of Angkor Wat, with gorgeous, spacious rooms that are all uniquely styled and appointed. The hotel was extensively renovated in 2014 and offers 13 contemporary style rooms in four designs with private balconies overlooking the hotel’s courtyard. Interconnecting rooms are also available that are ideal for families and can comfortably sleep two adults and three children.
photos credit: Santa Clara Boutique Hotel
Santa Clara’s open-air restaurant is a great choice in a lovely setting with views of the lush garden and pool. It offers and delicious selection of authentic Khmer cuisine from its all-day menu, as well as a broad choice of western dishes. Dietary preferences can also be catered to with many vegetarian and vegan options available. Where possible, vegetables are sourced from the hotel’s organic garden, while jams, chutneys, bread, buns and even ketchup, are all made on site by the hotel to avoid unwanted preservatives and food additives. Room service is also available for those who just want to sleep in or relax.
Khiri Travel Cambodia’s Country Manager, who inspected the hotel, was particularly impressed by the service, as well as the spacious rooms and great scenic location. Alternative hotel options in the area that we recommend include the Natura Resort and the FCC Angkor.
Prince of Galle, Galle, Sri Lanka
Khiri Travel Sri Lanka was lucky enough to visit the Prince of Galle hotel located inside the ramparts of Galle Fort, which opened recently. Run by an Australian-born family with roots in Sri Lanka, the Prince of Galle embodies everything that you could possibly want in a hotel. It is small and fits in perfectly with the vibe of Galle Fort as a restored colonial-style house that is both authentic and modern.
Located at the heart of the historic Fort, and within easy walking distance of many historic sites, including the Buddhist Sudharmalaya Temple, the Fort’s ramparts and plenty of restaurants and quaint little shops, the Prince of Galle is one of our favourite hotels to open in 2017. It’s ideal for families and couples but make sure you let us know in advance, because their small inventory is in high demand.
photos credit: Prince of Galle Hotel
Rooms are wonderfully appointed and we are glad to report that the owners have a commitment not to use any plastic. Beautiful glass water bottles are provided to guests in-room, along with metal straws to enjoy their delicious iced teas – and even the rooms’ garbage bags are made of paper. We also loved the attention to detail and the fact that staff really strived to make us feel comfortable and at home.
Our insider tip is that Galle can be visited all year round, and with its historic centre it’s an ideal place to explore either on your own, or with one of our specialist guides. A trip to Sri Lanka without visiting Galle would really be a lost opportunity to see this culturally unique part of the island. We love it and so will you.
Moon Garden Homestay, Ky Son village, Vietnam
Moon Garden Homestay is a boutique hotel in Ky Son village on the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam. This delightful property is only an hour’s drive (55 km) from Hanoi and five kilometres from the acclaimed and fascinating Duong Lam ancient village.
Moon Garden’s accommodation comprises of three houses, with two of the houses offering double and twin rooms and a living room, while the third house provides a twin room and one double room with a double bed in the living room. It’s an upscale guesthouse, ideal for families and small groups.
On our inspection of the property, we particularly liked the option to join cooking classes, or take a bicycle tour in the surrounding countryside. The Moon Garden is a great base to explore villages in the area and the Duong Lam settlement, as well as farms where you can pick green tea, corn or rice (depending on the season), and enjoy the rhythms of Vietnamese rural life.
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