The best spots around Asia with beautifully clear sea!
Long stretches of powder-soft sand, breeze-kissed day-beds and ice-cold cocktails with dinky umbrellas: there’s no denying beach life can be heavenly, but a world of tropical wonders awaits below the waters. We’ve teamed up with boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith to seek out the best secluded stays for some serious snorkelling.
Alila Manggis, Bali, Indonesia
A tranquil retreat of manicured lawns and ocean-facing terraces, Alila Manggis graces Bali’s eastern coast with a clever mix of modern European design and open-air living. Take time to explore traditional fishing villages, black-sand beaches and untouched coral reefs, or delve deep into one of the seven dive sites nearby. Back on shore, indulge at Spa Alila or flex your cheffing muscles at the award-winning cookery school.
Smith extra: Early check-in and 3pm late check-out (subject to availability), plus either a two-hour snorkelling trip or a 60-minute Balinese massage for two.
Six Senses Yao Noi, Phang Nga, Thailand
Built from local teak and topped with a palm-leaf roof, Six Senses Yao Noi’s villas have the feel of a luxurious tree house and private jade-hued pools for soul-soothing dips. Much of the resort’s allure lies in its remoteness, but some of the world’s best scuba diving and snorkelling sites are just a short skim away across mirror-smooth waters. When you tire of underwater realms, climb to the hilltop infinity pool for dramatic views of the limestone islands of Phan Nga Bay.
Smith extra: A Smith-tailored 30-minute foot massage or back, neck and shoulder massage for two people.
Trisara, Phuket, Thailand
Trisara means ‘The Third Garden in Heaven’ in Sanskirt, which says a lot about this sleek, intimate sanctuary. Renowned for authentic but elegant dining experiences (the chefs won’t brag, but the pad thai is arguably one of the best on the island), this hillside hotel flaunts jaw-dropping ocean views and private pools in every suite and villa. Head to nearby Banana Rock Beach for swimming and snorkelling: you’ll find a peaceful, private spot for luxurious lounging.
Smith extra: A bottle of champagne and 10 per cent off food and soft drinks; GoldSmiths also get 30 per cent off spa treatments.
Bunga Raya, Sabah, Malaysia
Laid-back Bunga Raya is a tropical-island paradise: an unpretentious, rustic hideaway in a spectacular curved bay, just a half hour from Kota Kinabalu. Get pampered at the Bornean-style, jungle-set Solace Spa with Asian massage scrubs and rejuvenating facials that draw on the therapeutic benefits of indigenous flowers. You can snorkel right off the beach outside the hotel, arrange for a PADI certified diving trip or charter a private boat for a spot of island hopping.
Smith extra: A one-hour guided jungle trek, kayaking or snorkelling session for two; GoldSmiths also receive a 45-minute spa treatment for two on arrival day.
Mia Resort, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
Sun-bathing and sea-frolicking can be hungry work; thankfully, this private-beach resort is blessed with both romantic rooms and an excellent restaurant. You’d be forgiven for flopping around here all day – the views are dazzling, particularly from the Cliff Villa – but if you’re looking for aquatic adventures, there’s excellent snorkelling at either end of the beach, where coral grows near the rocks and gem-coloured fish flit away happily. Paddle boarding and kayaking is also easy to arrange.
Smith extra: A bottle of sparkling wine and 15-minute massage on arrival; return transfers from the city centre and a snorkelling lesson in the resort’s swimming pool (Tues-Fri).
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.