1. Park Hyatt Shanghai
This is simply the most sublime city hotel in Asia. It also happens to be the tallest hotel in Shanghai, so the views are insane. The modern design will take your breath away, starting from the moment your taxi enters the driveway. The 91st floor restaurant, 100 Century Avenue, serves some of the best Chinese food and the Western-style steaks in China. Easily the best rooms in Shanghai.
2. Capella Singapore
This hotel almost qualifies as a tropical spa resort, but because downtown Singapore is merely three minutes away, I’m keeping this hotel in the city category. Sweeping modern design by Norman Foster contrasts beautifully with the original British colonial officers’ barracks that now serve as the hotel lobby and restaurant. Easily the best rooms in Singapore. Flawless service.
3. Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
The concierge desk here might be the best in all of Asia. The lobby on the 38th floor is spectacular. The bathrooms are flawless. And the location is perfect.
4. The Sukhothai
Bangkok has more amazing luxury hotels per capita than anywhere else in the world, and this is my pick for best of the best. Service is incredibly personalized. The rooms are supremely elegant and comfortable. And the Thai restaurant is one of the best in the country.
5. The Upper House
Hong Kong, China
Sophisticated. Modern. Glam. The best rooms in Hong Kong, by a nose. The bathrooms were the clincher. Every room comes with an iPod Touch preloaded with everything you need to know about the hotel and Hong Kong.
The Metropolitan Bangkok
6. The Metropolitan Bangkok
A study in contrasts. Fun yet luxurious. Minimalist yet warm. The hippest, in-the-know concierge desk in Bangkok.
The Opposite House
7. The Opposite House
This is one of the coolest hotels in Asia. Period. Truly cool hotels rarely ever get the service right, but this place nails it.
9. The Puli
Lighting is critically important in a hotel. It’s the one thing that kept several other hotels off this list. Good lighting shouldn’t simply show off the architecture and design; it needs to make guests look and feel beautiful in that light. And here, everyone looks and feels like a star (as does the hotel itself). Flawless bathrooms.
10. Park Hyatt Seoul
Seoul, South Korea
Beautiful contemporary design. Spectacular granite bathtubs. Super-sexy bedrooms. Incredible sushi bar.
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
11. Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China
This is one of the most glamorous hotels in the world (and currently the highest). Ultra posh rooms. Amazing pool on the 118th floor. Jaw-dropping views. Sexy bar scene.
Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake
12. Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake
The Intercontinental is a calming oasis in one of the world’s most frantic, chaotic cities. The setting is stunning, overlooking (and literally perched on top of) West Lake. The fine dining Vietnamese restaurant is unrivaled. Superb concierge desk.
This list is based purely on first-hand experience at dozens of hotels across Asia. The list will undoubtedly change as new hotels open. Stay tuned.