Set in the remote 600-year-old Taxia village, in a Unesco-listed corner of Fujian Province, this new hotel’s five refurbished tulou buildings – the classic round, multi-storey earthen homes of the Hakka ethnic group – mix authentic heritage touches with a sleek modern design. The ancient aesthetics of the Hakka’s common living courtyards are celebrated through tiled gable roofs, old-style wooden doors emblazoned with Chinese calligraphy and exposed brick walls. Inside, the 22 rooms and two suites feature a muted palette dominated by Chinese fir floors and beams, all elevated by minimalist fittings. Try your hand at pottery classes, citrus-tea making and tulou wood painting.
Get there: It’s around five hours from Xiamen Airport.
Embracing the artistic spirit of the central Tokyo neighbourhood of Ueno, where it’s located, this newly opened hotel boasts its own art gallery featuring work by students from the nearby Tokyo University of the Arts. This community aesthetic runs throughout the hotel’s warm yet simple design, with most of the stylish furniture made by artisans from the area. Even the shoehorns and leather “Do not disturb” signs are made by a nearby design studio. The 130 rooms feature a distinctly Japanese aesthetic, ensuring you remain connected with your surroundings.
Get there: Fly into Narita Airport and board the Keisei Skyliner train to Ueno station (40–60 minutes).
From a trash-filled island to a delightful five-star resort, Song Saa is all about so-called “barefoot luxury”, with the area recently awarded a protected marine park status. In a nod to the island’s past, the overwater and jungle villas have been constructed using reclaimed timber while the interiors feature upcycled wooden fishing boat parts and lampshades made from metal planks fished from the sea. Even the tables and chairs at the resort’s two restaurants – one overlooking the recovering corals, and another that sits directly on the shore – are upcycled. The result is a unique driftwood design aesthetic that blends seamlessly into the tropical surroundings.
Get there: Take a 45-minute speedboat ride from Sihanoukville’s port.
This article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine