GUESTS will be able to float in a cantilevered, glass-bottomed infinity pool at the new Hotel Indigo in Wanchai district on Hong Kong Island, which will open in April.
The 29-floor, 138-room hotel will be wrapped by a gold dragon that also provides shade, while a rooftop bar, 24-hour gym and library will be places of retreat.
Deluxe rooms each have hand-crafted mosaics of butterflies and dragons, and statues of kung-fu master Lam Jo, one of Wanchai's loved sons.
Beyond the hotel there's old Wanchai market, the flea market at Canal Road East, and Tai Yuen Street for antiques.
At 246 Queen's Road East, Wanchai. A superior room costs from $HK3300 ($410) a night, twin share.
Haven to stars reborn
A HAVEN for Hollywood's stars, from Clark Gable and Carole Lombard to Diane Lane and Barbra Streisand, the restored Orient-Express hotel, El Encanto in Santa Barbara, 90 minutes from Los Angeles, opens in March.
In an area known as the Riviera of California, the early-20th-century building, set on more than two hectares overlooking the Pacific Ocean, has 92 bungalows. There's also an outdoor infinity swimming pool and a window-lined ballroom with private terrace.
For true star lodgings, the Hummingbird Suite is designed for privacy but still manages two patios and an outdoor shower.
In addition to its craft beer and herb and vegetable garden, milk from the hotel's cow, Ellie (on a farm elsewhere), is used exclusively for a specialty cheese.
For gentle exercise, electric bikes with carry baskets are provided for guests to pedal into Santa Barbara or to surrounding vineyards.
A superior bungalow costs from $US525 ($510) a night, twin share.
Optimum pleasure in the air
GUESTS can nominate optimum room temperature and preferred time for room cleaning at the newly named and renovated Parkroyal Darling Harbour in Sydney.
Formerly the Crowne Plaza, the 340-room hotel has remained open during the multimillion-dollar refurbishment. New technology arriving later in 2013 will allow guests to use smartphones as room keys.
Club room guests have access to lounge drinks and canapes every evening, a hotel boardroom and daily laundry service.
At 150 Day Street. Rooms from $169 a night, twin share.
Protein shake-up on the roof
THE roof at the Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square now doubles as a spirulina aqua farm. The company, Energaia, will turn the spirulina into product for smoothies and ingredients for chefs. The farm is expected to produce more than two tonnes of the vegetarian protein a year, according to the hotel's general manager, David Baldwin.
"We were attracted by the innovative use of space, and the idea that we could incorporate the finished product in our healthy menu offerings," Baldwin says.
At 392/44 Siam Square, Bangkok. Rooms cost from $132 a night, twin share.
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