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Jan 16

Why are hotels in Asia so good?


Night View of the Impressive St. Regis in Tianjin, China


It is impossible to say that every single hotel in Asia is amazing or perfect, but what is a fact is that Asia offers a better hotel market that anywhere else in the world. One to one hotels in the same category are far superior and more affordable that their counterparts in Europe, USA or other parts of the world. One of the justifications that I always hear is that labor is cheaper there. Certainly there are many political and social factors that may contribute to lower room prices, but I am not analyzing here a political panorama of a certain geographical region of the world. My intention is to present some facts about why hotels in Asia far superior to those found anywhere else.

My life experience thus far has shown me that there is some kind of conflict with information about Asia. Until I visited China for the first time I have to admit that I had the wrong concept of what the experience of visiting this country really would be. I found myself in China enjoying high class hotels with very affordable prices, a very developed society with amazing public transportation, friendly and educated people, excellent shopping centers and very modern cities. In Thailand I found a country that receives tourists with open arms, and a country with impressive metropolitan centers. Now that I have visited almost every country in far east Asia I can say that the idea that many people have about this continent is wrong.


A view of the poolside and riverfront from the Peninsula in Bangkok, an excellent place to enjoy a good drink


Actually saying Asia refers to an incredibly big geographical area and in this post I want to refer more to what we know as the Far East. So what makes hotels there so good?


-       Affordability: with very few exceptions (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and maybe South Korea) luxury is not overpriced as in other destinations. It is amazing to be able to stay in properties such as Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, JW Marriott, St. Regis or Conrad for a fraction of what we pay in other places. This applies to hotel services as well, from spas, to restaurants and even the prices of the minibar. Cities such as Shanghai or Jakarta offer very attractive rates too.


-       Service: This is probably one of the highlights of a trip there. The personnel have been trained in a very fantastic way, one will almost always find a friendly face with a smile, even when there may be barriers of language most of the people will go beyond normal expectations to please guests.

-       Facilities: three or four star hotels here offer better facilities than what one will find for example in a five star property in Rome or New York. It is impressive to find in a Double Tree hotel by Hilton in Kuala Lumpur an amazing Gym, impressive salt water pool, steam, sauna (everything complimentary) and even a top class business lounge for a fare of 100 USD per night. Courtyard by Marriott in Shanghai and Bangkok offer similar facilities. Then if we mention properties such as Banyan Tree or Shangri-La it is possible to expect the best quality available.

The Double Tree by Hilton in Kuala Lumpur is a stellar establishment in the heart of the city


-       Design and location: Every month several new hotels are opened in China, the same in other countries in Far Eastern Asia. In each one of my trips to Macau I have had the chance to stay in a new five star property, now there they are building a new Wynn, an all suites Ritz Carlton and the biggest JW Marriott in the world. So hotels are almost always new or in recent construction. They are almost always very well located or close to public transportation (most Asians are not driving addicts and they still like public transportation) and hotels are designed with amazing taste.


-       There is a local pressure for good service and luxury: the main clients of Asian hotels are not westerners (as almost everybody in this part of the world believes) they are actually locals, travelers from the same geographical area that go there for business or pleasure. They have good taste, enjoy balanced luxury and wellbeing makes up part of their daily lives. People from countries such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and others value good service and top class facilities and they are the ones paying the bill, so hotels are designed to satisfy the tastes of these local discerning travelers.


The Conrad Macau is an example of the ever expanding hotel scene in Far East Asia


-       Last week I was planning a leisure trip for this coming spring. I have been looking forward to visit South America. What did I find in my planning process? Very few top class hotels mostly located only in capitals. Most hotels are old and very expensive. Airplane tickets are tremendously expensive thanks to the monopoly of a few airlines. How is it possible to have to pay 500 USD for a Costa Rica – Panama roundtrip when a New York Beijing trip is 700 USD. At the end of couple hours research I took a decision: “I am sorry, but I’m going back to Asia”….



This is the Editorial Board of The Joys of Traveling. We are passionate travel writers who seek to provide objective and accurate accounts of travel experiences by means of written articles, photos and videos.

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