Asia is known for some of the most beautiful places in the world, from the Vietnamese landscapes to the bustling cities of Bangkok and Hong Kong. These places can be experienced while enjoying historical stays at these five hotels.
Sofitel Legend Metropole – Hanoi, Vietnam
“Legend” has earned its place in the Sofitel’s name with events occurring here since its opening in 1901. The first motion picture to be shown in this region was premiered at the hotel. In 1936 Charlie Chaplin honeymooned at the Sofitel and has a suite named after him. In the 1940s, the hotel was known as Thong Nhat and provided a bomb shelter for its guests to protect them from WWII air raids. These air raids can be heard in Joan Baez’s song, “Where are you now, My Son” as she recorded it from her room at the hotel during an attack. At today’s Sofitel Legend Metropole you will find an opera wing, history wing, office tower, three restaurants, three bars, a heated pool, and a full-service spa. The rooms are all colonial style and the cuisine ranges from “rustic comfort food” to French and Vietnamese dishes.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel – Bangkok, Thailand
Built in 1879, the Mandarin is the oldest hotel in Thailand. Audrey Hepburn, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and Michael Jackson have all visited the Mandarin. The location along the Chao Phraya River is renowned for its beauty, and many of the 324 rooms offer views of this landscape. The hotel is known as the cities top gourmet destination with nine restaurants and bars. The cuisine available covers everything from French to Thai, to Italian. There is a jazz bar as well as a cigar lounge inside the Mandarin and each of the suites offer butler service.
Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace – Jodhpur, India
This trifecta of a hotel, royal residence, and museum began in 1929 as a project to provide jobs for thousand of farmers who were struck by famine. Jodhpur’s royal family took up residence here in 1942 when construction had finally finished and descendants of the original family still occupy a private wing of the estate today. This palace is the world’s sixth largest private residence while also offering 64 art deco style suites and rooms for guests. Each of the rooms has a pink marble bathtub and hand-painted murals. The Taj sits on twenty-six acres of gardens with a large population of peacocks roaming about the grounds. Inside and around the hotel, you will find a 103-foot tall dome with an outer terrace overlooking the property, a Grecian inspired pool in the basement, several restaurants, a library, and tennis courts. The museum is dedicated to the Jodhpur Royal family and tells the story of their heritage.
Tai O Heritage Hotel – Hong Kong, China
In 1902 the hotel originated as a police station and was established to combat pirates. There was a huge decrease in crime rates in the area after construction of the station and the building mostly served as an administrative center and patrol post. From 2002 until 2009 the building was not used at all and was eventually restored by the heritage conservation foundation into a nine-room boutique hotel. Today’s hotel guests can take part in a tour of the facilities, visiting the original guard tower and inspectors quarters. The Tai O features a roof-top restaurant serving artistically presented local dishes with phenomenal panoramic views of the China Sea. A unique and adventurous option for visitors is to choose from one of the hotels’ specialty packages. These packages include things such as the “glamping experience” giving guests the option of sleeping out under the stars and enjoying a glamping themed suite.
Hotel Majapahit – Surabaya, Indonesia
This National Heritage Landmark was built on the island of Java in 1911. During the events of WWII, Japanese soldiers took over the hotel and used it as barracks and a prison camp. Once restored to its accommodating state, the Majapahit became a 143 room luxury hotel. The hotel now has eight meeting rooms, making it ideal for anyone traveling on business. Each of the guest rooms is furnished in 1930s style and there is a pool, jacuzzi, gym, and spa onsite. Another great feature of the Majapahit is its Indigo restaurant serving the authentic Chinese cuisine.