Hotels in Asia are better than the US — we found out why

Hotels in Asia are better than the U.S. Period. Even if you’ve never traveled to Asia, you’ve probably heard (at some point in your life) someone say: “Marriotts are so much nicer in Thailand” or “Hyatt is so much better in Japan.” In fact, everyone agrees: any US-based hotel is notoriously more luxurious in Asia.

But why? What is it about Asia that can magically make a standard, mainstream hotel like Hyatt, Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton, W, Sheraton or even Four Points so much better than the country it originates in?


The reason is not so surprising… but it’s not the first thing you think of.

Graffiti artist at Marriott Marquis Bangkok

At a recent Marriott press conference I attended in Bangkok, Thailand, Mike Fulkerson, Vice President APAC Brand Marketing at Marriott International, revealed why American-chain hotels in Asia are considered substantially nicer than the US.

“The main reason is that, Marriott, for example, is aggressively new in Asia Pacific,” he said. “JW Marriott in Hong Kong opened in 1989, but since then we’ve grown to 650 hotels. The whole inventory is newer. The average age of a hotel in the US and Europe is all older. The majority of Asia hotels in our inventory are as early as 2012.”

Marriott press conference in Bangkok.

What Mike means is that hotels like Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Intercontinental in the US can date as far back as the 1960s (so they come across as dated) while these branded hotels are just starting to open in Asia.

Newer built hotels will be bigger, badder, more technologically advanced with more progressive design, better views and unbeatable locations. Also, throw in the fact Asia in general is notoriously supreme when it comes to service and hospitality. Hotel staff actually love their jobs, and it’s easier to love your job when you’re proud of the hotel you work in.

Sunset from Marriott Marquis Bangkok

The reason why I asked him this question at the press conference is because US hotel chains have a reputation for being unoriginal, cookie-cutter and boring, including Marriott. The new Marriott Marquis Bangkok (opened last year), on the other hand, blew me away.

TripAdvisor has the best deals on Asia hotels

As soon as you enter, you’re greeted by lovely hosts in the grand, opulent lobby (think chandeliers and columns). There are two outdoor pool areas, three of the five restaurants are considered the best in Bangkok (ranked in top ten on TripAdvisor), the staff is back bending, there’s a club lounge with outdoor terrace and the suites are humongous and tout insane cityscape views from high floors.

There are daily fitness classes, a heavenly spa oasis, huge gym and the backyard is a sprawling park. It’s also just steps from Thai massage parlors and EmQuartier, a massive mall that has 20 restaurants and all the top, local Thai fashion designers. The hotel has more than 800 rooms (!), which you would NEVER assume from staying here (it’s all about design).

Private Imagine Dragons concert at Marriott Marquis Bangkok.

So when you’re traveling to Asia, don’t be afraid to stay at a US-chain hotel you might not necessarily book back home. It just may be the best hotel you’ve ever checked into.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

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