These hotels offer more than just a luxurious stay.
Anantara Hoi An Resort
Aboard Anantara Hoi An Resort’s quaint, lantern-decorated sampan. Fashioned by talented local carpenters, guests putter down the beautiful Thu Bon River and soak up a picturesque new cruise. The daily one-hour journey on the 33CV-powered boat almost 13 metres in length and more than three metres in width opens up one of Asia’s most storied waterways in a whole new way. The cruise offers a glimpse into the locals’ fascinating way of life on the river ranging from fishermen in sampans and coracles snaring a catch to fishmongers spruiking their wares at the bustling riverside markets.
Galle Face Hotel
As Sri Lanka’s most iconic property, the Galle Face Hotel has been the place to stay in the capital for over 150 years. Now, a ride in its 1954 Cadillac is just as coveted. Once used by Lord Louis Mountbatten, during the 1954 Commonwealth tour by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the classic car came out of retirement earlier this year. The journey is at the whim of the driver – the hotel’s general manager – but will no doubt involve a cruise alongside the Galle Face Green, the capital’s popular seaside park. Not bookable in advance, the experience itself is offered on a case-by-case basis.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
The two vintage Citroëns parked in front of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi may not be as souped up as Doc’s DeLorean, but the brace of the vehicles are time-transporting nevertheless. Since 1953 and 1956, these two old timers have plied the streets of Vietnam’s storied capital, as private cars initially and more recently as the Metropole’s premier means of taking in the town. For anywhere between an hour and all-day, a white-gloved driver motors guests on plush, white cordovan bench seats to stops as varied as the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh’s tomb.
The Sanchaya Bintan
The Sanchaya likens its pristine and secluded beachfront at Lagoi Bay to the powder white sands at The Maldives, and from the open cockpit of a seaplane, it’s tough to argue otherwise. The 20-minute microlight ride with Air Adventures Flying Club begins with the thrill of taking off on the water before buzzing the bay, banking over mangrove forests and zipping over dense tropical rainforest blanketing Indonesia’s Bintan island, only a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore.
La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa
You haven’t really travelled through a Vietnamese city unless you’ve sat in the berth of a cyclo (xich lo), pedaled by a local driver perched high up on a seat behind you. Other countries in Southeast Asia do traffic in three-wheeled pedicabs, but no place compares to Vietnam. And nothing compares to a languorous ride on a sweltering day with a canopy shielding you from the sun. In Hue, the one-time imperial capital of Vietnam, La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa dispatches guests on half-day food tours with stops at the market and at food stalls for banh beo, banh nam or banh loc.
The Reverie Saigon
As far as arrivals go, it doesn’t get more auspicious than pulling up to Saigon’s hottest new address, The Reverie Saigon, in the hotel’s Rolls Royce Phantom Dragon – one of only eight in the world. The special edition car, a 2012 model to honour the legendary creature from the Chinese zodiac, has a price tag of over USD1 million. Get ready to explore Saigon from the best seat in town.