Stylish Asian resort chain Alila opened two dramatic new properties in July. In the relatively pristine reaches of China's Guangxi Province at Guilin - famous for cruises on the Li River through Ha Long Bay-style limestone pillars, and for streets perfumed with osmanthus - Alila Yangshuo has 117 rooms and a surprisingly industrial feel thanks to its former life as a sugar mill in the 1960s. But its humble roots have not cramped Alila Yangshuo's style. The original loading dock is now a glamorous swimming pool with views to forested limestone peaks, and the pressing room is home to the hotel's signature Sugar House Restaurant. In the old refining room, the jewel-toned 1969 Bar has its own rum distillery.
Reception at Alila Yangshuo.
The Yangshuo region is full of surprises; the concierge team can organise a climbing trip to karst hills nearby, cycling along the Yulong River or a sugar-spinning workshop that explains the site's history.
Meanwhile, in the Aravalli Hills outside India's desert capital Jaipur, the long-awaited, fairytale fortress hotel Alila Fort Bishangarh also opens this month. The turrets of this 230-year-old citadel capture hypnotic views from 59 newly built suites, with baths clad in pink desert marble. Fort Bishangarh is an hour's drive north from Jaipur and about four hours south-west from Delhi, so factor it in as an indulgent detour in a broader Rajasthan itinerary.
Rooms at Alila Yangshuo from CNY 1380 (about $270) and Fort Bishangarh from INR 18,326 (about $380).