Why ultra-luxe hotel brands are moving resorts into the city

Why ultra-luxe hotel brands are moving resorts into the city

Urban landscapes are the new relaxation hotspots favoured by luxe hotel brands over exotic resorts.

Following the path beaten by high-end boutique names such as Como and Aman, a handful of ultra-luxe hospitality brands better known for their far-flung retreats are opening hotels in cities. Six Senses, for example, is set to open in Singapore this month. Says its president Bernhard Bohnenberger of the decision: “Our guests may be able to visit the resorts only once or twice a year. But in cities where they live or frequently visit, we can bring our wellness experience to them on a daily basis.”

Set in the Duxton area, in a series of restored shophouses sandwiched between nightlife spots, the oriental- style hotel offers a wellness programme with a local twist. Here, guests can find a resident doctor practising traditional Chinese medicine, along with a medicinal herb dispensary. A more comprehensive programme with spa treatments adapted to Singapore’s weather, and healthier food menus, will be available in June, when a larger, tropical-themed Six Senses hotel opens in Maxwell.

Capella, meanwhile, opened its first urban resort in Asia last September. Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li is a restored townhouse complex that reflects the oriental and Parisian styles of 1930s Shanghai. Located on the edge of the city’s business district, the sprawling resort offers an anachronistic respite from the city’s glass and concrete structures, with its lush gardens and spas. For wellness, its 24-hour fitness centre is equipped with a sensory deprivation tank and a salt-wall lounge for detoxification.

In Cambodia, Rosewood goes vertical, with the first city hotel in its expansion into South-east Asia. Situated in the top 14 floors of the 39-storey Vattanac Capital Tower, the highest building in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, the urban resort is in stark contrast to the concrete jungle around the area. The hotel sees travertine walls, dark timber furnishings, ceramic sculptures and artefacts, and lots of natural light; think a modern Angkor temple with panoramic views of the city.

“We wanted to present a contemporary mansion concept,” says managing director Daniel Grau. “From the moment they arrive at the lobby, our guests will feel the warm atmosphere of our surroundings and panoramic views of the city.”

The best of both worlds, then.


Where to find these resorts and what to do there, in a nutshell.

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Known for its exotic locales, Six Senses brings its health programmes and clean cuisine to a South-east Asian city. Traditional Chinese medicine, in the form of a resident doctor and dispensary, is available at its Duxton location and, when its sister hotel opens in Maxwell, guests can enjoy 24K gold facials along with the regular staples of massage.

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