Blog 32: Cultural Hotels - Asia
Are you someone who always likes to bring back a souvenir from your holiday abroad? Be it a fridge magnet, keychain, t-shirt or photo frame, isn't it always connected to the culture of that country? That's our little way of cherishing the culture we experienced and bringing it into our homes.
James Michener said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you’d be better staying at home,” and he's right. It's also true that not everyone can acclimatize to a new culture very quickly. Hence the term #cultureshock!
If you're travelling to an Asian country anytime soon and want to immerse yourself in their culture and heritage, be sure to book yourself at one of these hotels.
1- Linden Centre's Hotels in China are not only providing guests with an immersive travel experience into rural China's tangible and intangible culture but have also partnered with leading education institutions to create unparalleled learning programs in China’s hinterland. All their hotels are converted national heritage sites and have incorporated the local community to drive employment. Guests can learn from their innovative programming in topics such as the Spirit and History of Travel, Photography, Filmmaking, Culinary Arts (housed in the Xizhou Culinary School), Bird-watching, Environmental Protection Issues, and Yoga, all while the rich culture and warm people of China host them.
2- Hotel Ethnography is a group of boutique hotels built by Windows to Japan, a well-known travel agency promoting cultural tourism in Japan. The hotels are conceptualised around Kyoto and Japanese craftsmanship with rooms being designed by artists specialised in Hyogu (the traditional Japanese craft of mounting pieces of calligraphy, paintings, or other works of art onto scrolls, frames, or folding screens). The brand believes in taking care of the smallest details while keeping your stay comfortable, simple, homey and very close to Japanese traditions. Windows to Japan also offers various cultural trips to guests.
3- The Legendha Sukhothai Resort, Thailand (also known as the Thai Village Resort in Sukhothai) is set at the backdrop of the Sukhothai National Park and many ancient temples including the famous Elephant Temple with scriptures dating back to the 15th century. This boutique hotel aims to provide you with a glimpse of the luxurious way of life in the Sukhothai kingdom. All rooms have teak furniture, jacuzzis and Thai bath amenities. In addition to the warm hospitality, guests can also enjoy Thai dance shows, cooking classes, dance and light shows, almsgiving in the morning, Buddhist votive amulet making and Sukhothai-style costume dressing.
4- The oldest continuously operating luxury hotel in Asia, The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata, India is not only a gateway into India's diverse culture but also a building that signifies the country's past. A colonial-style hotel originally built to host British royalty and dignitaries, now celebrates Indian heritage and vibrancy and takes its guests on a spiritual, cultural and secular trip showing them the best of India. Referred to as the “Jewel of the East” and the “Best Hotel East of the Suez” by Mark Twain, it has been one of the top hotels in the country for nearly 165 years. Perhaps, that's the reason Queen Elizabeth has also stayed at the hotel once!
5- Tugu Hotels present the confluence of the art, soul and romance of Indonesia. Born out a man's love for Indonesian antiques, Tugu Hotels are a place where he displays Indonesian art and antiques. The group of hotels have now evolved as one of the finest cultural experiences into the diverse life of Indonesia. With hotels in Bali, Java, Lombok and Jakarta, each of them tells a different story about the history and legends of the country. From lavish feasts and banquets of kings from the 14th century Majapahit Kingdom with parades of soldiers, dancers, and offerings, to humble village dinners of Java and Bali with old ladies cooking in terracotta pots, wood-fire, and eating with bare hands- you can experience it all staying at the Tugu Hotels.
6- Now known for glamour, luxury, tall buildings, cutting edge technology and shopping, the United Arab Emirates was once all about the Arabian charm and culture. Beautifully infusing both the new and old world, The Taj Hotel, Dubai brings you an Arabian oasis with the view of the Burj Khalifa from every room. A dedicated concierge can help you plan your day and if you book the suite, your private butler can draw the bath for you as well after you return from a day full of exploring Dubai's old treasures (or shopping malls!). Centrally located, this hotel is the place to be if looking for a cultural yet modern Dubai holiday.
7- Iran is home to one of the oldest human civilisations and was the focal point of the Persian Empire. Today, it is one of the most upcoming destinations for cultural tourism. Preserving the rich Persian heritage and culture, The Ghasr Monshi Palace Hotel is the place to stay at if you're looking to be treated like royalty. A former house of the king of Persia, Fatahali Shah, the quarters are recognised as national heritage, built in the old Persian style and decorated with traditional and religious motifs. The hotel also hosts a traditional Persian gym (zurkhana). Definitely an off-beat destination, don't think twice before booking your stay!
So, which of these cultures are you diving into next? If Asia isn't on your mind, wait for the next few blogs on #cultural hotels from other parts of the world.
I'll leave you to make your holiday plans and see you soon,