Juliet Kinsman
Juliet Kinsman


Hotels • August 2017

Asian hotels: hi-tech versus digital detox

Whether you want it all at the touch of a button or yearn to go off the grid, luxury hotel expert Juliet Kinsman picks six stays across Asia that will satisfy either holiday craving

01 Hi-tech: Naumi, Singapore

Hi-tech: Naumi, Singapore

This slick urban abode in Singapore’s CBD matches form with function thanks to built-in USB chargers and Apple TVs in its 73 comfortable rooms, as well as Google Home in its themed rooms and Nintendo Switch consoles available on demand. If you’re an Instagram addict, then it’s selfie sticks at the ready for Cloud 9’s 10th-floor deck with infinity pool – you’ll find the perfect perch from which to admire the city-state’s skyline and share it with your followers.

02 Digital detox: Vana, India

Digital detox: Vana, India

Spiritual development is at the heart of this holistic 66-suite retreat in the Himalayan foothills. And that involves a strict no-phones and social-media blackout policy. The bold contemporary architecture is more European art gallery than ashram, but this hideaway health centre in north India practises its combination of therapies with great integrity. Ayurveda, sowa-rigpa (traditional Tibetan medicine) and yoga are what you will tune into here, and by the end of your stay, you may never want to reconnect with the real world.

03 Hi-tech: Peninsula Tokyo, Japan

Hi-tech: Peninsula Tokyo, Japan

As hi-tech as the attention to detail is in this 24-storey luxury hotel in the business district of Marunouchi, thankfully it’s never intimidating. Make your 21st-century commands discreetly through easy-to-use switches in what are some of Tokyo’s biggest bedrooms. Lit-up labelled buttons let the hey-presto effect transform your bathroom into a private spa with Japanese classical music and soft lighting. In the dressing room, find a vent for drying just-painted fingernails, and a magic cubby that begs to take your clothes and return them freshly laundered and pressed.

04 Digital detox: Tri, Sri Lanka

Digital detox: Tri, Sri Lanka

Space to think – that’s the luxury of this unique sustainable hotel in Sri Lanka where three-quarters of the property is surrounded by Lake Koggala. Living walls, green roofs, recycled wood and entirely local materials make up the construction, and water is heated by solar power. Local culture and natural beauty are showcased intelligently in an inspiring landscape, with beaches, biking and walking tours among the distractions to lure you from this soothing sanctuary. Wake up to exotic birdsong, not the sound of your phone pinging.

05 Hi-tech: Upper House Hong Kong

Hi-tech: The Upper House, Hong Kong

Paper? Pah. Being paper-free is a priority of Swire Hotels’ design hotel in Hong Kong, The Upper House. Don’t worry about filling in forms, this is a place of iPads for check-in, digital concierge services, and of course there’s a tablet in your room. There you’ll also find a high-definition IPTV (Internet Protocol television, to the non-geeky), the ultimate entertainment system for those who like to be wired for best-in-class sound and visuals.

06 Mirihi Island, Maldives

Digital detox: Mirihi Island, Maldives

Swap smartphones for sunshine and starlight, and switch off completely here on the South Ari Atoll. Who needs Wi-Fi to be wowed? The moment you set foot on this tiny private Indian Ocean island, with its soft white sand, nature is the star attraction. Swim straight from the steps of your stilted wooden villa onto the pristine house reef and spy marine life galore, from puffer fish to harmless reef sharks. Nighttime is also the right time to snorkel and scuba dive under moonlight – you can see bioluminescent plankton glow in the dark.

This article has been tagged Destination, Hotels