New Hotels Offer a Cultural Experience

written by | Posted on February 29th, 2012

The Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa.

When you’re traveling around exotic locales in Asia and Africa, part of the adventure is finding hotels that offer more than just a bed to sleep in. This week, we’re featuring three of those kinds of accommodations that are as much a part of that vaction adventure as the destinations themselves.

In Laos, for example, the Hotel de la Paix Luang Prabang, which previously served as the governor’s residence, offers upscale accommodations in the ancient royal capital of Lang Xang, where guests can still shop for tapestries and handicrafts at the night markets, or see Buddhist monks begging alms at dawn.

The boutique property features 23 suites with traditional Lao architecture and European influences, each with sofas and lounge chairs, king-size beds and rain showers in the bath. In-room technology includes HD flat-screen TVs, iPods and complimentary WiFi, while outside of their suites guests can indulge at Spa Indochine, taste authentic Lao cuisine at the 2-story Kaipen Restaurant, or meditate in the courtyard gardens.

But for that immersive experience, Hotel de la Paix Luang Prabang offers hands-on cooking classes to learn the traditions and flavors of Lao cuisine, or they can provide guides to help negotiate at the markets. Rates at the Hotel de la Paix Luang Prabang start at $249 per night. For more information, visit hoteldelapaixlp.com.

Relaxation is the one of the central foundations of the Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa, one of the most recent resorts to open its doors in Zhejiang province, China. Located two and a half hours from Shanghai, the Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa is surrounded by tea plantations, ancient Buddhist temples, caves, and working fishing villages. Its position on the banks of Dong Qian Lake, partnered with the Yue Hu Spa—with treatments incorporating the principles of ancient Chinese wellness philosophy—and the Tea House, located in a former ancestral family mansion and serving a wide variety of tea and snacks, all come together to form a relaxing Chinese experience for any guest.

Each of the property’s 236 rooms are appointed with double daybeds, bathtub, rain shower, vanity area and dressing room, plus the Hyatt standard iPod docking station, high-speed Internet access, 24-hour room service and concierge services. And 10 of those guestrooms are actually freestanding villas, featuring simple exteriors and tiled roofs. Calling on Chinese architectural principals, open courtyards, sky wells and ponds decorate the property.

Amenities at the Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa include heated indoor pool, fully equipped gym, reflexology facilities, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpool baths and outdoor infinity pool. Rates start at $222 per night. For more information, call (800) 492-8804 or visit ningbo.park.hyatt.com.

Opening May 1, the Selman Marrakech in Morocco will offer 56 guestrooms and suites, plus five larger riads—traditional Moroccan houses featuring their own private gardens—heated pool, and 24-hour butler service. In addition, the property features three bars and two restaurants including Selman, a brasserie with an international menu, and Assil Pavilion, specializing in Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

The main attraction, though, will be the 12,000-sq.-ft. Espace Vitalite Chenot spa, comprising seven treatment rooms, four hydrotherapy rooms, sauna, jacuzzi, fitness facilities, relaxation room, Spa Suite with private Turkish bath, and a collection of pools including one indoor, two outdoor and a massage jet pool.

Showcasing how unique the property is, the Selman Marrakech will also have its own stable, housing a private collection of 16 Arabian horses—10 thoroughbreds, and six suited for trekking rides.

Rates at the Selman Marrakech start at $539 per night. For more information, visit selman-marrakech.com.