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Shishi-Iwa House boutique hotel by Shigeru Ban in Karuizawa, Japan

Shortlist unveiled for AHEAD Asia 2020 hospitality awards

A Shigeru Ban-designed boutique hotel in Japan and a resort that hides amongst the Malaysian rainforest are among the projects to be shortlisted in this year's AHEAD Asia awards.

The AHEAD Asia awards honour exceptional hospitality projects that have been launched, opened or reopened on the continent between September 2018 and August 2019.

AHEAD Asia awards 2020 shortlist

All submissions were first sorted into 15 categories, which acknowledge everything from a project's guest rooms to its lobby and public spaces.

A shortlist has then been compiled by a judging panel of industry experts. This year it includes figures such as founder partner of AvroKO, William Harris, managing director of Swire Hotels, Toby Smith, and curatorial director of BAR Studio, Rowena Hockin.

AHEAD Asia awards 2020 shortlist

One of the projects to be shortlisted is Shishi-Iwa House, a boutique hotel designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban. It's has just 10 rooms, which are nestled amongst the forested woodlands of Karuizawa in Japan.

Another project in the running is Tokyo's one-room hotel Trunk House – it takes over a 70-year-old building that once served as living quarters for geishas, and even includes a miniature nightclub for guests.

Also on the shortlist is the Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, a high-end hideaway in India which lies at the foot of the Himalayas, and The Datai Langkawi, a contemporary hotel that's set against the dense rainforests of Malaysia.

AHEAD Asia awards 2020 shortlist

In the 2019 edition of the AHEAD Asia awards, the much-sought-after Hotel of the Year title was ultimately awarded to Amanyangyun Shanghai: a guest property on the outskirts of Shanghai that occupies a couple of Ming and Qing dynasty-era buildings.

It was created by Kerry Hill Architects, which explained in a Dezeen-produced short film that the hotel is designed to be a "living museum" that celebrates Chinese culture.

AHEAD Asia awards 2020 shortlist

This year's winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Andaz Singapore hotel on 12 March 2020, tickets for which can be purchased on AHEAD's website.

Asia is one of four regions covered by the AHEAD awards, which also considers projects from the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. Prize-takers from each region will go on to compete in a global biennale, where worldwide titles can be won.

See the full shortlist below:

Bar, Club or Lounge

Absinthe at Hôtel de la Coupole, Sapa, Vietnam
Lennon's at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand
Manor Club at Rosewood Hong Kong, China
UNION at The Opposite House, Beijing, China

Event Spaces

Grand Ballroom and Junior Ballroom at Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Grand Hyatt Xi'an, China
The Great Room at Raffles Singapore
The PuXuan Hotel & Spa, Beijing, China


Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, Shaviyani Atoll
Grand Hyatt Xi'an, China
Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand
Rosewood Hong Kong, China

Hotel Conversion

Moss Hotel, Hobart, Australia
Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore
Sunyata Hotel Meili, Yunnan, China
TRUNK(HOUSE), Tokyo, Japan

Hotel Newbuild

ENSO ANGO, Kyoto, Japan
Park Hyatt Shenzhen, China
Rosewood Hong Kong, China
The Thousand Kyoto, Japan

Hotel Renovation & Restoration

Grand Hyatt Seoul, South Korea
Hayman Island, Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Raffles Singapore
The Datai Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces

Alila Villas Koh Russey, Bamboo Island, Cambodia
Capella Sanya, China
Six Senses Bhutan
The Chedi Ninghai, China

Lobby & Public Spaces

Conrad Hangzhou, China
Grand Hyatt Xi'an, China
Hotel Kapok Shenzhen, China
JW Marriott Qufu, China

Lodges, Cabins & Tented Camps

Origin Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Shinta Mani Wild, Southern Cardamom National Park, Cambodia
The Hidden Valley Resort, Yunnan, China
The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, North Otago, New Zealand

Resort Hotel

Mason, Pattaya, Thailand
Shishi-Iwa House, Karuizawa, Japan
Six Senses Bhutan
Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, India


Nan Bei at Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand
Terra at Waldorf Astoria Maldives, Ithaafushi Island
The Legacy House at Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Yi by Jereme Leung at Raffles Singapore

Spa & Wellness

ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa, Japan
Hôtel de la Coupole, Sapa, Vietnam
Joali Maldives, Muravandhoo Island Raa Atoll
Rosewood Bangkok, Thailand


Grand Harbour Corner Suite at Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Presidential Suite at Grand Hyatt Seoul, South Korea
The Prestige Hotel, Penang, Malaysia
The St. Regis Hong Kong, China


Fenides Liveboard
Genting Dream
Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for AHEAD as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.