7 of Asia’s best hotels with a view
Everyone enjoys a stunning skyline.
Whether to start the morning, wind down with a drink in hand at the end of the day, or to regroup with a cool evening swim before a big night out.
CNNGo’s city editors share their favorite hotels with a view.
1. Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai
The Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai is perfectly placed in an area that’s undergoing a process of swift gentrification and now calls itself mid-town Mumbai.
On one side the Haji Ali mosque landmark leads south to Colaba and on the other the sealink takes you north to Bandra and beyond.
It is, in part, because of this situational and logistical advantage that the Four Seasons has become one of the top three business hotels in Mumbai since it opened three years ago.
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No other hotel offers this 360-degree view of old Bombay and new Mumbai. The choice of views is comprehensive -- Arabian sea view, historic mill district view, Sealink bridge view, Mahalaxmi Racecourse view, with a dash of construction and slums thrown in for good measure -- because that is real Mumbai. Not some picture post-card.
Insider tip: Aer bar, the highest bar in Mumbai, takes over the entire open-air rooftop on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons. With Champagne served by the glass, you can watch the sunset over the Arabian sea, spot the billion-dollar home of Mukesh Ambani and get a bird’s eye-view of some slums too as Mumbai’s richest and poorest jostle for space.
114 Dr. E. Moses Road, Worli, +91 22 2481 8000; www.fourseasons.com/mumbai
2. Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney
With the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge in its backyard, there are few Sydney spots that boast a better view than the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.
Located by the historic Rocks district and Circular Quay area -- and also prime fireworks location -- the Presidential Suite, Deluxe Royal Suite and two Royal Suites have been re-designed in the style of 1930s New York apartments with bay windows and over-sized bathtubs to make the most of their 34th-floor perch.
From the Presidential and Deluxe Royal suites, spot groups attempting the Bridge Climb in the distance. The two Royal Suites have a sweeping view of Sydney’s Central Business District, Circular Quay and Walsh Bay to be enjoyed from the comfort of the bathtub.
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What’s lies outside the windows of the other rooms is not to be sniffed at.
Corner rooms take in the sail-shape of the Opera House, Circular Quay and the Museum of Contemporary Art, while the Premier Harbour View rooms have window-facing beds so you can watch criss-crossing ferries and yachts at all times of the day.
Insider tip: The hotel is almost located on the spot where Captain Arthur Phillip landed in 1788 and established Australia's first convict colony.
199 George St., +61 2 9250 3100; www.fourseasons.com/sydney
3. Hyatt on the Bund, Shanghai
Although there have been a number of new hotels popping up with killer Shanghai views (hats off to Indigo and the Ritz-Carlton Pudong) the view from the Jacuzzi atop Hyatt on the Bund at VUE Bar still reigns supreme as the best Shanghai hotel view in town.
What makes the scene from VUE Bar second to none is two-fold. First, you actually want to sit there and enjoy the view, drink in hand (we recommend the Vue-tini, Jacuzzi dip optional) versus simply taking it in and moving on as you might at the observatory at the Shanghai World Financial Center.
The other part of the view that keeps Hyatt on the Bund in the top spot is that its location in the north Bund gives anyone looking out the window views of both the Pudong and Puxi side of the Bund, something you can’t get from many places lower down the river.
Insider tip: If a few Vue-tinis have you eying the Jacuzzi or the day beds, but you forgot your swimwear, no worries, “Vue Jacuzzi Wear” can be ordered off the Vue Bar drink menu.
32/F, Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Lu, near Wuchang Lu黄浦路199号上海外滩茂悦大酒店西楼32楼, 近吴昌路+86 21 6393 1234 ext. 6348; www.shanghai.bund.hyatt.com
Go to page 2 for more stunning views from Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
4. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Guests who book into the Marina Bay Sands aren’t just checking into the world’s most expensive hotel -- it cost S$8 billion (USD$6.6 billion) to build -- but are buying a chance to dip their toe into one of the world’s largest outdoor pools.
For the number crunchers, that’s a 150-meter long infinity pool perched 200 meters above the ground with a stunning, panoramic view overlooking Singapore’s surrounding Central Business District area.
Cleverly, architect Moshe Sadfie has scattered other key viewpoints across the three 55-story towers.
The boat-shaped SkyPark is its most democratic gawking spot; for S$20 (USD$16.26) this is where the masses go to for an unfettered view of the Lion City, and to snap the requisite cheesy “I was here” photo.
Another two options include Justin Quek’s Sky on 57 gourmet Asian restaurant, and the restaurant/bar/club Ku De Ta where hardcore party revelers can spend sunset-to-sunrise.
Inside, of the 2,500 rooms, the City rooms overlook the Marina Bay area including the newly-built Marina Bay Financial Center, and on a clear day, Orchard Road can be spied at a distance. On the other side of the towers, the Garden View rooms overlook the upcoming Gardens by the Bay with the backdrop of the South China Sea.
Still, nothing will quite beat hanging off the side of the pool with its 144.6 meter vanishing edge to feel as if you’re on top of the world.
Insider tip: The hotel’s design was inspired by a deck of cards, and the 1.2-hectare long SkyPark is as long as the Eiffel Tower is high.
10 Bayfront Ave, +65 6688 8868; www.marinabaysands.com
5. The Plaza Hotel, Seoul
The guests at Seoul’s 400-room Plaza Hotel often get treated to the most dramatic views in Korea, and no, the drama has nothing to do with the skyline.
It all started during the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, when almost 100,000 screaming Red Devils filled the piazza in front of Seoul’s City Hall to cheer on the national soccer team on its epic path to the quarterfinals. Since then, the City Hall location has been established as the gathering spot for crowds with a purpose.
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Whether the occasion is a national candlelight vigil, a presidential funeral procession, or an impromptu idol concert, Koreans turn out by the tens of thousands a couple of times a year.
Often, they are decked out head-to-toe in clothes befitting each occasion, providing a spectacular sight for the hotel’s patrons who have a front-row bird’s eye view of the piazza -- The Plaza’s 22-story panoramic view of Seoul’s skyline isn’t exactly shabby either.
The hotel itself is also quite a sight, re-opened last November after six months and a ₩75 billion (USD$69.825 million) makeover; it is one of the most expensive in Korea’s hotel history.
Italian-designer Guido Ciompi, who masterminded the reconstruction, pursued a boutique concept. The result is a fluid, chromatic exterior and interior design, which differs considerably from other five-star hotels in Seoul.
For a secret rendezvous, check out the basement level of The Lounge, tucked behind a floating wooden staircase, a Ciompi trademark.
Insider tip: The Plaza is located where the Jicheonsa Temple used to be during the Chosun Dynasty, where the King would hold ancestral rituals during times of misfortune or when stars fell from the sky.
23 Taepyeongno 2-ga, Jung-gu; +822 771 2200; www.hoteltheplaza.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong makes no bones about its claim to be the world’s highest hotel.
Located on the top of Hong Kong's tallest building, the 488-meter tall International Commerce Centre, The Ritz-Carlton has an incredible vantage point of possibly the best panoramic views of Hong Kong.
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Cheeky and insightful touches mark the hotel, from the telescopes in all 312-guest rooms to the wheels fitted onto the dining chairs to the Chocolate Library, a cacao-themed lounge that serves a chocolate high tea. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is trying hard to cater to every whim of its 21st-century guests.
Ambiance starts with unbridled glamor at Ozone, the world's highest bar, a curved length of a room in an energetic patchwork of gilded wood, leather and marble serving cocktails, Japanese cuisine, and Asian tapas. Then follows the classy swagger of the restaurants Tosca and Teen Lung Heen where 8,580 bottles of wine line the walls, at the last count.
Some of it is almost braggadocio like the Bar and Lounge with its double fireplaces and two-story tall chimneys, or the world's highest swimming pool complete with 144 screens on the ceiling in case swimmers get bored.
Insider tip: The elevator ride to the Ritz-Carlton's lobby on the 103rd floor is said to be the fastest in Hong Kong, traveling nine meters per second.
102-118, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2263 2263; www.ritzcarlton.com
Lebua at State Tower, Bangkok
In Bangkok, it is the city’s second tallest building, not the tallest that boasts the best view in town.
Perched on the 63-story of the Lebua at State Tower is Sky Bar at Sirocco, still a favorite rooftop watering hole.
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Designed with a circular illuminated bar that changes color, the bar performs as a personal backlight to Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River sprawled out beneath.
To drink in the view for longer than a few martinis, there are 221 Tower Club suites spread out from the 51st to 59th floor. Each comes with a colonnaded balcony to enjoy panoramic city or river views throughout your stay.
The crowning glory however is the State Room, located at the top of the 67-story Tower Club at Lebua with floor-to-ceiling windows and privy to 360-degree panoramic views of the city and the majestic river that’s the heart of Bangkok.
Insider tip: For wine connoisseurs, Sky Bar stocks a wide range of vintage wine.
1055 Silom Road, +66 2624 9999; www.lebua.com