There is a type of traveller for whom the very resort is the destination. What makes the hotel itself the destination? Values of crass luxury such as 'gold-plated' doors are eschewed in favour of a subtly woven combination of locally-inspired architecture, a deep-rooted connected to the community in which it resides and a seamless integration into its environment - topped off, of course, with the amenities that elevate the pied-a-terre of choice.
These properties exemplify the uniqueness with which some hotels can transform a holiday, or even become the very destination.
Rayavadee, Krabi, Thailand
It is arguable that Krabi, with its protruding limestone karsts and mangrove forests between shades of teal and azure waters, is one of the most spectacular destinations anywhere in the world. At the far southern tip sits a resort that does this exceptional destination great justice. Rayavadee embraces its surroundings with low-key but comfortable standalone pavilions and villas that echo the setting with rounded rooftops, offering a serene but unique getaway in Thailand, with a heavy focus on outdoor living.
Keemala, Phuket, Thailand
For seasoned Asian travellers, Phuket might be a done and dusted location - that was until Keemala set up shop in the hills of the western region of Kamala and opened its doors in late 2015. At Keemala, you do not stay in suites or pavilions, but in clay cottages, glass-fronted tent pool villas, tree houses and the bird's nest pool villa; a selection of designs that are modern luxury interpretations of classic Thai dwellings and rustic homes. And then there's the award-winning spa...
Pangulasian Island by El Nido Resorts, Palawan, Philippines
Philippine's rise to fame as an international destination has been largely accompanied by the annual "best island" awards that the region and islands of Palawan sweeps up. A picturesque trail of sugar-white, soft, sandy beaches, coral and aqua-marine blue clear waters and unique rock formations accompany world-class diving sites and a thriving underwater reef. At Pangulasian by El Nido, you're at the forefront of the Palawan experience; the resort offers the definitive microcosm of Palawan; a focus on eco-sustainability, a terrific house-reef for the snorkelers/divers, a 750-metre long private beachfront encased by 42 deluxe accommodations including pool villas.
Cascading gently down Indrakila hill in peaceful northeastern Bali is perhaps the island's quintessential resort - Amankila's spacious yet elegant suites and expansive yet intimate beach club culminate in the glorious private stretch of volcanic black, shimmering sand. Situated in Manggis near the old Balinese regency of Karangasem away from the mass hordes of south Bali, there is no doubt that Amankila integrates itself beautifully - not just into its verdant landscape, but also resonating with the people of nearby villages. But it is the jawdropping three-tier pool, mimicking Bali's renowned rice terraces, elevates this resort above all others.
The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An mixes that rare combination of a thriving old town of cultural significance (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with unending stretches of fine beach and coastline. The 100 suites and villas that make up The Nam Hai dot the beachfront offer ample living space fused with interiors that draw inspiration from ancient feng shui philosophies of wind and water. Indulge in relaxation at your private pool villa, or treat yourself to a spa treatment by the koi-populated lagoon.
Ananda in the Himalayas, India
There is more to life than beaches. The mountains are often associated with spirituality and solitude, and it is in the greatest of mountain ranges that a holistic health retreat combines the best of both worlds. A reconverted palace built in 1910, the colonial and Indo-Sarcenic inspired palace, some thousands of feet above sea-level, uses mythical healing powers of ancient thousand-year old Eastern treatments with modern techniques to create a peaceful haven for those who want to find a deeper and truer version of themselves.
Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia
Set amid one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and now a UNESCO-protected site, the Four Seasons Langkawi finds its home along a coast of a stretch of white sand. The Moorish architecture here contrasts with the destination, but the sizeable accommodation offers luxurious living among lush landscapes and a flourishing and varied ecosystem. Family pools and adult-only pools make this an ideal destination for both families and those seeking a little R&R.