JNL dishes: The finest hotels in Asia

I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the place so you don’t have to waste your time and end up at some tourist trap in cozumel fighting your way through a morbidly obese conga line at Carlos n Charlies.


If you really want to GET OUT THERE, you need to be in asia. Any seasoned traveler knows that asia provides an unbeatable combination of incomparable service, great value, and all of this in a relatively safe environment where you generally don’t have to worry about some gypsy making off with your passport. Most asian countries are (for some odd reason) generally hospitable and friendly towards Americans and other westerners, so take advantage. Do you really want to spend your travel dollars in France where people are ACTIVELY hating on you even WHILE you’re spending money?  If you’re willing to drop a couple coins in asia, you’ll be sure to be treated with a level of service not attainable in the United States or Europe. I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t help you, let me get into it. This feature will focus on the top hotels that exist within large cities, Im not talking about the full moon party (which sucks by the way). Im talking about five star, not to be missed hotels in major metropolitan areas.


Singapore is not Vegas, in fact its quite the opposite. Its clean, there are lots of rules, and the alcohol flows like… well… it doesn’t really flow, it trickles. That said, there is a new hotel that makes singapore absolutely worth visiting. This is the Marina Bay Sands, a casino hotel shaped like a giant boat sitting on top of three hotel towers. This hotel is quite vegas-like in that you really don’t have to leave. Every restaurant, shopping destination, nightclub and sweeping skyline view can be had from the confines of this hotel. The service is unparalleled, the food is excellent, and structurally there are few hotels in the world that come close to this one. This archetectural marvel is quite maginificent just to drive up to, and most of the rooms share the incredible view out into the harbor, and gaze upon singapore’s skyline. No trip to Singapore is complete without visiting the Sky Park and having a drink by the pool at the very least. In addition, MBS managed to add on a couple nightclubs, PANGEA, and AVALON which are basically situated right on the harbor directly in front of the hotel. I did manage to visit both of these nightclubs, and I found both to be quite aesthetically pleasing, and certainly convenient, although its hard to say what they are like now, or even then, given that I was just a solo tourist passing through. 

THE POOL SCENE. Is there a pool scene? I’m not really sure. I’ll be honest here, Singapore is a tough nut to crack. It’s very affluent, its family oriented, its a controlled environment. These aspects don’t really make it conducive to jumping in and “crushing it”. That said, I would say the pool at the MBS was mostly families, and couples chilling, and the adjacent bar up there was mostly expats, and what looked to be an afterwork crowd enjoying beers and the sunset. This is not Tao Beach. That said, the service and food were great, and I was actually looking to relax, all the while, I found it quite breathtaking.


OH YEAH THERES A CASINO, which I would avoid. The casino was probably the most depressing aspect of the MBS. The casino at the MBS, much like some of its counterparts in Macao, did not allow alcohol. They did serve complementary coffee however, and most of the people smoked cigarettes. There were about 90% males, the majority of whom were sitting silently, betting, and looking annoyed. There were very few shouts or cheers upon someone winning. The casino is situated in the basement of the hotel, and you need to show your passport to enter, its a serious place where serious bets are made.


Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities. It’s the gateway to asia, and no matter where you’re heading, you deserve a stop here to get oriented and to have a look around, its always changing, so you’ll be sure to walk into something different every time. For the weary traveler, it could not be an easier city to get around. A high speed train whisks you into central directly from the airport. Most everyone speaks english, the infrastructure is excellent, the food is delicious. Within Hong Kong, The Hotel LKF is my favorite place to stay. Centrally located midst the windy streets of Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong neighborhood, the Hotel LKF by Rhombus towers over the highest concentration of restaurants and nightlife anywhere in the city. The LKF is not huge, but it boasts 6 restaurants, several bars, and a great staff that caters to your every whim. For a small but extra on your nightly charge, they offer complementary breakfast along with unlimited minibar from your room. I’ve always been treated well here and just walking into the place gets me excited. Like many hotels around here, the rooms are reasonably priced, but pretty small, efficiently laid out. What you get convenience and location, just walking out of the hotel at night and your night begins, actually you don’t even need to leave the hotel. The rooftop azure bar offers great meals, a great view of the city, and at night it turns into a nightclub where you’ll have VIP access since you’re staying there. When you check in make sure you ask about upgrades, and see if you can get a high floor room for the view, it worth it. The club suites are great if you plan on hosting the after party, they go late around here, just make sure you book the latest flight you can out of town.

The hotel bar/restaurant azure

The view from the top of the hotel LKF


The Hyatt on the Bund is very legit hotel and is a good example how you can spend $300 a night in china and get the service and quality that you’d expect paying $1000 a night in the US. The rooms at this place are insanely nice, and people literally will run after whatever you might ask them for. The location is just off the bund, with a great view of the riverbend, and a striking view of PuDong. Again, its key to get a high floor here, as the views are quite spectacular. Make sure to get a Hyatt Gold Passport and start racking up miles, they have a very generous rewards program, and a little effort on your part will get you lovely upgrades and freebies. On my visit, my room came with complemetary cocktails from 5-8 in the club bar, and complementary breakfast. I could not say enough about the staff. I had a problem with my wifi, so I called down to the lobby, within minutes, and IT guy was set up in my room with a laptop troubleshooting the problem. My room unfortunately did not have a hot tub, so I can’t really speak for the pictures below, but I have to say service wise, this was one of the best hotels I have every stayed in. In china most of the cab drivers do not speak a word of english, so the Hyatt staff was nice enough to print out maps and Chinese characters for me to give the cabbies to get me to my destination. I guess they do this for all the whiteys, it was a huge help.




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