Architecture / Interior /

The 8 Luxurious Hotels of the Orient World

For many centuries, history has recorded that the Orient has consistently been among the most opulent parts of the world. From palaces to artisan works, the Oriental world continues this tradition in a way which is still relevant in the modern day. Over the last 10 months, I have been travelling to the ancient city of Byzantium (now is Istanbul), all the way up to 3,000 meter above sea level to another ancient city of Lijiang, down to the shore of the Lhaviyani Atolls in the Maldives, and finally to Singapore to find eight luxury hotels that still keep the spirit of Oriental world opulence.


The Majestic Heritage

In order to create a contemporary design in the remote 800-year-old town of Lijiang that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one needs to first respect the surrounding traditional culture and architecture. Situated in China’s renowned Yunnan Province in the south, the popularity of Lijiang and the indigenous Naxi people has been known for centuries. The peaceful Amandayan, perched beautifully on top of Lion Hill, is one of the few luxurious brands in this city that fully embrace the culture and history of Lijiang by re-creating their own version of majestic dwellings from the ancient past.


Designed by the late Jaya Ibrahim, Amandayan architecture follows the historical classic type of Chinese residence known as Siheyuan or of the South China’s style. Each guest room features a joint living room, bedroom, and working space, with a spacious bathroom and a large terrace. Accents like Jin clay tiles, pine wood, intricate wooden screens, geometric Tibetan style wool silk rugs, poppy flower inspired table lamps and bed runners based on a 18th-century batik pattern add a unique quality to the overall ambiance. Lijiang marks the beginning and the end of the ancient southern Silk Road, and Amandayan, through Jaya Ibrahim, draws on this fact in its architecture and interior design approach. The end result establishes Amandayan as part of Lijiang’s current and future history. courtyard houses that are surrounded by buildings on all four sides.


This type of house in Lijiang was inherited from the Qing dynasty and is constructed with a wooden frame with an overhanging roof. Several small and exquisite windows are opened on the south wall for ventilation and for natural light. Jaya Ibrahim recycled these principals to build Amandayan and created a contemporary version by using intricate wood carvings, embroidered Naxi textiles, and furnishings crafted from local pine and elm. Set on four acres of land, Amandayan’s 34 rooms and the two bedroom Amandayan suite incorporate a similar design approach. Furnishings are subtle yet sophisticated, featuring the design aesthetic.


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