Size matters – and small is big right now. Only a few hotels with top standards make it on the exclusive list of  ‘small luxury hotels’ worldwide. This list looks at  6 of those hotels located in Asia. These gorgeous boutique properties, with a maximum of 38 rooms and a minimum of just 3 rooms, are inspiring a serious case of wanderlust right now. Rightly so, because what they lack in square footage, they compensate with exclusivity, design, top-notch service and local culture.

No longer will you be just another tourist in a cavernous and impersonal hotel lobby when you set foot in these small luxury hotels. Staff will likely know you by name as they can devote time to recommending hidden finds for your holiday in a lobby that feels like the home of a very stylish friend.

Best of all? You will never have to stand in line for long at the eggs station at the breakfast buffet. Bliss!

route-div-1 The Edison in Penang, Malaysia

the-edison-smallluxuryhotels copy

The latest addition to Penang‘s growing portfolio of boutique hotels is The Edison. What was once a former Hokkien tycoon’s stately Anglo-Chinese mansion is now the 35-room boutique hotel conveniently located in historical George Town. The area’s rich culture and heritage is artfully blended in with contemporary colours and fixtures to create an aesthetic best described as “hip heritage”.

Indulge in Penang’s gastronomic offerings – char koay teow, assam laksa, lor bak, cendol and so much more. Duck into your room at The Edison in between hawker hunts to recover from food comas and plan your next meal. The playful street art by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is not to be missed too!the-edison-penang-bath the-edison-penang-hallway

Best Time to Go

Best time to go: October to March


How To Get There: Jetstar, AirAsia and Tiger Air fly direct from Singapore to Penang in about 1 hour 30 minutes

Flights to Penang


route-div-2Keemala in Phuket, Thailand

keemala-birds-Nest-Pool-VillaWhat do you get when you fuse mountains, mythology and modern design?

Keemala resort is the very Instagram-friendly result of the trio of elements coming together on the west coast of Phuket.

The 38 pool villas are divided into 4 types inspired by the clans that used to inhabit the island, according to local folklore. The eco-minded resort is built with locally sourced materials, such as timber for the villas and bathtubs carved out of stone. Expect lots of tribal motifs and colourful mosaics too.

Keemala offers interesting workshops like learning about crystals and artistic journalling so there is really not much reason to leave the sprawling compound. If you really insist on venturing out, Kamala beach, Patong beach and Laem Singh beaches are nearby.

Depending on how lucky you are, you might just cross paths with the resort’s three resident water buffalo grazing on grass.


Best Time to Go

Best time to go: November to February


How To Get There: Jetstar, AirAsia and Tiger Air fly direct from Singapore to Phuket in about 2 hours

Flights to Phuket


route-div-3 The Luang Say Residence in Luang Prabang, Laos


Luang Prabang the former ancient capital of Laos, is a fascinating mix of traditional Laotian culture and European architecture. The city still retains a quiet, small town charm and The Luang Say Residence fits right in with its subtle elegance.

Travel back in time at The Luang Say Residence where the hotel and its 24 rooms hark back to a bygone era.

Spend the day temple-hopping, Wat Xieng Thong is especially magnificent or dipping in the Kuang Si Falls, made up of three-tier waterfalls that cascade into turquoise pools. If you fancy a spot of trekking, the falls meander through a jungle you can explore. After an adventurous day working up an appetite, retreat to the hotel and sample Laotian fare at the restaurant, La Belle Epoque.bathroombalcony

Best Time to Go

Best time to go: November to May


How To Get There: SilkAir and Lao Airlines fly from Singapore to Luang Prabang with one stopover, taking a minimum of 5 hours in total

Flights to Luang Prabang


route-div-4Bisma Eight in Bali, Indonesia

bisma-eight-baliBefore you think, “Surely Bali doesn’t need another boutique hotel…”, read on.

Teetering on the edge of a tropical jungle in Ubud, Bisma Eight stands out in the right ways with its stylish blend of wood and concrete. All 38 rooms are effortlessly chic but perhaps the best part of each room is the deep Japanese-inspired onsen soaking tub – not that you would have much stress to soak away when in Bali.

Every corner of this petite luxury property is very photogenic but the money shot is at the (heated!) infinity pool overlooking the treetops at sunset.

Foodies clued in on the locavore trend in Bali will relish picking their own vegetables for their meal at the resort’s restaurant, Copper Kitchen  Bar.bisma-eight-bali-hotelbisma-eight-pool-bali

Best Time to Go

Best time to go: April to October  


How To Get There: AirAsia, Jetstar, TigerAir and Singapore Airlines fly direct from Singapore to Bali in about 3 hours

Flights to Bali


route-div-5Bijuu in Kyoto, Japan

With just 3 rooms, Bijuu is as tiny as small luxury hotels come.

Owned by a 180-year old Japanese pickle store in Kyoto called Murakami Jyu Honten, the third room was only added in May 2016.

Unlike typical Japanese hotels, Bijuu’s largest asset is space. Suite 501 – all 114m of it – has a bathtub take centre stage. The suite also has a sauna that comes with 2 stone beds to rejuvenate weary bodies after a day of shrine-hopping. Yasaka shrine and Gion for geiko-spotting are a stone’s throw away. That’s assuming you can bear to leave the comfort of the room.

Guests are spoiled not just with the luxury of a beautifully designed space but also with the finishing touches like sleepwear made specially for Bijuu and seasonal ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) in the room.

If you opt for the Japanese breakfast offered with the room, you will of course get to sample pickles from the owners.

Best Time to Go

Best time to go: March to May (Spring) or October to November (Fall)


How To Get There:  Singapore Airlines and ANA fly direct from Singapore to Osaka in about 7 hours. Then take a 15 minute bullet train ride from Osaka to Kyoto

Flights to Osaka



Borobudur, Indonesia – Villa Borobudur

Feel like Javanese royalty on a retreat in the ancient Menoreh mountains in central Java at Villa Borobudur. The 6 villas offer stunning views of the valley in Borobudur, including Borobudur Temple and Mount Merapi volcano.villa-borobudur-mountain-view

All villas are designed differently but they share the lavish traditional look, such as grand four poster beds and intricately carved teak walls.

Needless to say, the famous Borobudur Temple is a must-visit but you may also opt for walk through rice padis or learn pottery and batik printing at a nearby village.

Best Time to Go

Best time to go: April to October


How To Get There: AirAsia flies direct from Singapore to Yogyakarta in about 2 hours 30 minutes

Flights to Borobudur