Who knew these air-con weather destinations could provide affordable luxury escapes?

Barracks Hotel Suite - Accommodation

Remember when staycations were the only way to feel like we were on a proper break?

There was something novel about the change in scenery — booking the accommodation, the anticipation, checking into the property and being away from home, albeit just 30 minutes away. It was fun and bougie, and it definitely served its purpose when we couldn’t travel. 

Looking Out Airplane Window - Accommodation

Now that travel’s back, it’s time to treat yourself to the real deal. Beat the heat by heading over to these nine destinations with affordable luxury escapes, just a few hours away from Singapore!

1) Lake Toba — Indonesia

Best time to visit: May – September
Average temperature: 18 – 25°C
Flight time from Singapore: 1hr 15min to Medan (Non-stop)

Lake Toba and Medan Itinerary - Luxury Escapes

During our last visit to Lake Toba in 2017, we were amazed by its beautiful landscapes and stunning caldera views. Fun fact: A caldera is a depression formed when a volcano erupts, and Lake Toba has one of the world’s youngest and largest Quaternary caldera — intersecting three other calderas!

Lake Toba Scenery - Luxury Escapes

Aside from admiring volcanic craters, Lake Toba’s calm waters are perfect for water activities like kayaking or jet-skiing. But if you’re not into water sports, the area’s also great for soaking in the scenery or chasing waterfalls too!

Read also: 5D Lake Toba & Medan Itinerary — Caldera views and Gastronomic Adventures

Rooms of tuk tuk timbul bungalow - Accommodation

Tuk Tuk Timbul Bungalows. Photo credit: Booking.com

For a unique stay near the lake, pick a traditional Batak Bungalow at Tuk Tuk Timbul Bungalows. Disconnect from the outside world with this kampung-chic stay but don’t worry, the bungalow is just an 8-minute drive from Tuk Tuk centre if you need to grab any necessities in town.

Tuk Tuk Timbul Bungalows
Cost: From ~S$28/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: Jl. Lingkar Tuk Tuk, Samosir Island, Toba Lake, 22395 Tuk Tuk, Indonesia

rooms of Juma Cottages Lake Toba - Accommodation

Juma Cottages. Photo credit: Booking.com

Alternatively, wake up to a magnificent view of Lake Toba at Juma Cottages. Their on-site restaurant also serves fresh seafood like grilled fish and lobster.

Attractions like Batak Museum and Huta Siallagan are only 15 minutes away by car, while Mount Toba is about an hour’s drive away.

Juma Cottages
Cost: From ~S$45/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: Jalan Gereja, 22395 Tuk Tuk, Indonesia

Taman Simalem Resort room - Accommodation

Taman Simalem Resort. Photo credit: Booking.com

Although on the pricier side, Taman Simalem Resort is worth a stay because of its great vantage point of Lake Toba. It’s around 1200m above sea level — meaning you’ll enjoy cool weather (15°C – 23°C) all year round! The resort also offers trekking and farm tours you can book directly.

Despite its remoteness, the resort is just a 20-minute drive from Air Terjun Sipiso-piso — the tallest waterfall in Indonesia, at 120m.

Taman Simalem Resort
Cost: From ~S$154/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: Jalan Raya Merak – Sidikalang, 22173 Tongging, Indonesia


2) Kundsang, Sabah — Malaysia

Best time to visit: Feb – Apr
Average temperature: 13 – 27°C
Flight time from Singapore: 2h 20min (Non-stop)

Cows in Kundasang - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: JSK Tours and Travel

Low temperatures, mountains, and green pastures have aptly coined this small town ‘the New Zealand of Sabah’. Its landscape looks straight out of a Windows XP default desktop background!

Kundasang is only a 2-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu International Airport, so thankfully you don’t have to spend too much to actually fly to New Zealand.

aerial view of sosodikon hill - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Sabah Tourism Board

There are plenty of hikes with varying difficulties to do here, such as a short 10-minute hike to Sosodikon Hill or a two-day Mount Kinabalu climb. Other laidback activities include visiting Ladang Tenusu Desa Cattle dairy farm and Alpaca Club.

La Cantenne Villa in Kundasang - Accommodation

Sweeping Mountain View Retreat at La Cantane Villa. Photo credit: Booking.com

For luxury escapes that are ideal for big groups, La Cantane Villa is equipped with three spacious bedrooms, a kitchen and a large terrace for lounging. On top of that, it’s fitted with a hot tub as well as tall glass windows with unobstructed mountain scenery.

La Cantane Villa
Cost: From ~S$452/night
Accommodates: Up to 8 people
Address: Past Kinabalu Golf Course, 89308 Kundasang, Malaysia

Beds in Celyn Resort Kundasang - Luxury Escapes

Celyn Resort Kinabalu. Photo credit: Booking.com

Celyn Resort Kinabalu is an option that’s friendlier on the wallet. At ~S$63/night for two people, the resort sits in a quiet location with a superb view of Mount Kinabalu.

Head early to the nearby Kundasang Market for locally-grown durians as they sell out quickly! Other produce like strawberries, jackfruit and local snacks are available at the market too.

Celyn Resort Kinabalu
Cost: From ~S$63/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: Kampung Samuruh, Jalan Samuruh Kinoundusan, Kundasang, 89300 Kundasang, Malaysia

spring garden chalets - Accommodation

Spring Garden. Photo credit: Booking.com

If you’re not afraid to splurge, Spring Garden is a highly-rated luxury escape. Situated in a literal garden, there are only two rooms — each its own individual chalet. These modern wooden chalets look just like cosy cabins in the woods.

Spring Garden is an 11-minute drive from D’mesilau Rabbit Garden and Mesilou Highland Strawberry Farm. It sits right at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, so you’re guaranteed to wake up to close-up views of the mountain and fresh air.

Spring Garden
Cost: From ~S$293/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: Jalan Cinta Mata Mesilou, 89308 Kundasang, Malaysia

3) Tagaytay — Philippines

Best time to visit: Feb – Apr, Nov – Dec
Average temperature: 19 – 27°C
Flight time from Singapore: < 4h (Non-stop)

View from Tagaytay - Luxury Escapes

Sitting on top of mountain ridges, Tagaytay’s high altitude makes its temperature much cooler than Manila’s.

The cheapest way to get to Tagaytay from Manila is via a 2–3 hour bus ride (₱87, ~S$2.10), but it’s recommended to travel by private car (~S$133 for up to 10 passengers) as it’s much faster. The main spot to visit is Taal Lake as the town sits above Taal Volcano Island.

The city also offers green spaces like Tagaytay Picnic Grove and People’s Park in the Sky — making it a popular choice for a quick weekend retreat, especially among plantitos and plantitas (basically people who enjoy taking care of plants).

living room of tagaytay airbnb - Luxury Escapes

Modern Country Family Suite. Photo credit: Airbnb

Check out this Modern Country Family Suite on Airbnb for a good view of Taal Lake! The condominium’s interior mimics that of a cabin with wood panelling and natural-coloured countertops. Sky Ranch Tagaytay Amusement Park is also just a 5-minute drive away — perfect for families!

Modern Country Family Suite
Cost: From ~S$121/night
Accommodates: Up to 8 people
Address: Tagaytay, Calabarzon, Philippines

Hotel room in Hotel Casiana in Tagaytay - Accommodation

Hotel Casiana Tagaytay. Photo credit: Booking.com

Consider Hotel Casiana Tagaytay for a pocket-friendly luxe experience. Its spacious rooms and modern interiors add an upscale vibe for luxury escapes. Plus, it’s also close to many restaurants and attractions like Tagaytay Ridge.

Hotel Casiana Tagaytay
Cost: From ~S$150
Accommodates: 2 – 3 people
Address: 5915 Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway 5915 Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway, 4120 Tagaytay, Philippines

Exterior of black cabin in tagaytay - Luxury Escapes

The Black Cabin at Sandari Batulao. Photo credit: Airbnb

Escape civilisation by heading to The Black Cabin at Sandari Batulao. This standalone cabin boasts epic views of Mount Batulao with large windows lining the walls. The wood and steel-clad cabin describe itself as ‘industrial chic’ with its minimal and rugged décor.

The remote location of the quiet neighbourhood is a luxury escape for those looking to rest and chill.

The Black Cabin at Sandari Batulao
Cost: ~S$363/night
Accommodates: Up to 8 people
Address: 3RR9+CX, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines

4) Da Lat — Vietnam

Best time to visit: Dec – Mar
Average temperature: 14 – 23°C
Flight time from Singapore: < 5h (with connection in Ho Chi Minh City)

Girl looking at valley on top of Lang Biang mountain peak - Accommodation

Located in Southern Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Da Lat is a lesser-known city with average temperatures ranging from 14°C to 23°C.

Da Lat City Skyline from Drone - Luxury Escapes

Just a 1-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ would have you mistaking it for a small European town — with its French Chateauesque architecture, pine forests, lakes and waterfalls.

While the ambience is more tranquil here compared to the bustle of Vietnam’s major cities, there are still plenty of things to do. A few things we did on our trip to Da Lat were riding the alpine coaster, kayaking and cafe hopping!

Read also: 3D2N Da Lat Itinerary — A Magical Alpine Adventure in Southern Vietnam

Room for CozyNook Boutique Apartments Dalat - Luxury Escapes

CozyNook Boutique Apartments. Photo credit: Booking.com

CozyNook Boutique Apartments is a spacious apartment with a scandinavian-esque interior, complete with natural wood furniture. Its central location is a walking distance from the centre of Da Lat and the night market. For yummy pastries and bánh mì, head to Liên Hoa Bakery across the road!

CozyNook Boutique Apartments
Cost: From ~S$67/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: 19 Ba Tháng Hai, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng 670000, Vietnam

Rooms in the note dalat - Luxury Escapes

The Note Dalat. Photo credit: Booking.com

The Note Da Lat is a chic stay with boho-style decor, offering a range of facilities such as a bar, a shared lounge and a garden. You can even rent a bike or a car at the reception to expore nearby attractions like Xuan Huong Lake, Yersin Park Da Lat and Hang Nga Crazy House!

The Note Da Lat
Cost: From ~S$44/night, ~S$11/night for a bed in dormitory
Accommodates/Sleeps: 2 – 4 people in a private room
Address: 19 Ba Tháng Hai, Phường 1, Thành phố Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng 670000, Vietnam

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa - Accommodation

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa. Photo credit: Booking.com

As far as luxury escapes go, Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa is pretty impressive — with a charming exterior resembling a French-colonial-villa. But what really sets this place apart is its La Cochinchine Spa, offering various therapeutic services such as a foot massage, as well as sauna and steam baths!

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa
Cost: From ~S$159/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: Đường Lê Lai, Phường 5, Thành phố Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam

5) Batanes — Philippines

Best time to visit: Nov – Jan
Average temperature: 22 – 26°C
Flight time from Singapore: < 14h (with long connection in Manila)

Lighthouse at Batanes - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Travel Observers

Batanes is the smallest province in the Philippines with friendly locals, picturesque landscapes and a vibe that almost feels nordic.

What’s more, this archipelagic province is less than 2 hours by flight from Manila and temperatures can drop to 7°C in the colder months of November to February!

Visit the lighthouses and hills all around the island, hike Mount Iraya or feast on Ivatan cuisine like lobsters, grilled tuna and fern salad.

Pension Ivatan Batanes Exterior - Accommodation

Pension Ivatan. Photo credit: Airbnb

Pension Ivatan checks both boxes for convenience and scenic views — it’s close to the airport, a walking distance from town, and overlooks Mount Iraya. Affordable and authentic Ivatan cuisine is available at the property as well.

Pension Ivatan
Cost: From ~S$121/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: Basco, 3900 Batanes, Philippines

Rooms of Bernardo's Lantia Hotel - Accommodation

Bernardo’s Lantia Hotel. Photo credit: Booking.com

Hospitable staff, spacious and clean rooms, and proximity to places of interest like Batanes Lighthouse — no wonder Bernardo’s Lantia Hotel has an ‘8.4’ rating on Booking.com. You can rent a car at the property too, making it easy to drive to iconic spots like Valugan Boulder Beach in under 15 minutes.

Bernardo’s Lantia Hotel
Cost: From ~S$85/night
Accommodates: 2 – 5 people
Address: Payin Street, Barangay Chanarian, Batanes, 3900 Basco, Philippines

Exterior of Fuentes BnB: An Ivatan Heritage House - Accommodation

Fuentes BnB: An Ivatan Heritage House. Photo credit: Airbnb

A fun stay in Batanes would be in the traditional Stonehouse Fuentes BnB: An Ivatan Heritage House.

Fun fact: This newly restored 1900s cottage house served as artillery quarters during the Japanese occupation in World War II!

It’s located in the middle of Argonza Street with plenty of dining options and shops. The property also provides tour arrangement services around Batanes, covering all the must-sees and dos.

Fuentes BnB: An Ivatan Heritage House
Cost: From ~S$145/night
Accommodates: Up to 4 people
Address: Payin Street, Barangay Chanarian, Batanes, 3900 Basco, Philippines

6) Ruteng — Indonesia

Best time to visit: Jun – Sep
Average temperature: 11 – 26°C
Flight time from Singapore: 5h (with connection in Bali)

spider web fields in ruteng indonesia - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia

Next on the list of luxury escapes is less than 3 hours from Jakarta by plane.

Ruteng is a small serene town with European-style buildings as a result of Dutch and Portuguese influence. Its cool temperature is due to its highland location towards the western end of Flores Island.

This family-friendly town is good for outdoor enthusiasts with places to explore like the Liang Bua Cave (Hobbit Cave) and the Lingko Spider Web Rice Fields!

Room of Spring Hill Hotel Ruteng Indonesia - Luxury Escapes

Spring Hill Bungalow Ruteng. Photo credit: Booking.com

Spring Hill Hotel Ruteng’s cabin-like exteriors paired with rustic decor, transports you to an European town! This cosy and value-for-money hotel is conveniently located just a 5-minute walk from local street food vendors.

Spring Hill Hotel Ruteng
Cost: From ~S$62/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: Jln Kesturi No 1, 86512 Ruteng, Indonesia

An aerial view of Ara Garden Inn - Accommodation

Ara Garden Inn. Photo credit: Booking.com

Ara Garden Inn is the ultimate wellness retreat boasting lovely gardens, comfy beds and clean rooms. The surrounding greenery and natural ventilation of the villa encourage you to just sit back and relax — add that to your list of luxury escapes.

Rent a car or bike at the property to reach Poco Ranakah and Poco Mandasawu, the tallest mountains of Flores island, in less than 30 minutes.

Ara Garden Inn, Accommodation, Yoga studio & Spa
Cost: From ~S$58/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: Jalan gewak 1, 86518 Ruteng, Indonesia

7) Bukit Tinggi, Pahang — Malaysia

Best time to visit: Jun – Feb
Average temperature: 19 – 29°C
Flight time from Singapore: <2h to Kuala Lumpur

Exterior of Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Colmar Tropicale

Located an hour away from Kuala Lumpur City Centre by car or shuttle bus, Bukit Tinggi is mainly known for Colmar Tropicale — a resort inspired by 16th Century Colmar in France. Indulge in French Cuisine, visit boulangeries, or simply live out your cottage-core dreams with the medieval-like architecture.

Other places of interest here include Colmar Adventure Park, the Japanese Village and Rabbit Farm. It’s a cooling, peaceful, and low-key escape for nature lovers looking for an alternative to Genting Highlands.

Rooms in The hill Regency in Bukit tinggi - Luxury Escapes

The Hill Regency @ Selesa Hill Homes. Photo credit: Airbnb

Colmar Tropicale is quite popular and can be fully booked during the holiday period. So consider staying at The Hill Regency @ Selesa Hill Homes instead — just a 25-minute drive from Colmar Tropicale.

It’s a quiet and comfortable escape away from the city with tropical views and cool temperatures. Do note that it’s best to access this property by car.

The Hill Regency @ Selesa Hill Homes
Cost: From ~S$51/night
Accommodates: Up to 4
Address: Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia

Sustainable rustic farmhouse cabin in Bentong Pahang - Accommodation

Sustainable Rustic Farmhouse @ Plateau Farm. Photo credit: Airbnb

Take luxury escapes to the next level and stay off-the-grid (there’s literally no WiFi) at the Sustainable Rustic Farmhouse @ Plateau Farm. It’s located 35 minutes away from Colmar Tropicale, within a working farm furnished with ducks, dogs and chickens as your morning alarm clock.

Sustainable Rustic Farmhouse @ Plateau Farm
Cost: From ~S$99/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: 8RFH+84, 28750 Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia

The Chateau Spa & Wellness Resort room - Accommodation

The Chateau Spa & Wellness Resort. Photo credit: Booking.com

Luxury escapes don’t have to cost a bomb, even if it’s a five-star resort like The Chateau Spa & Wellness Resort. For less than S$200 per night, guests can expect spacious rooms with lush interiors fitted with comfy couches.

The Chateau Spa & Wellness Resort
Cost: From ~S$191/night
Accommodates: 2 people
Address: KM48, Persimpangan Bertingkat, Lebuhraya Karak, Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Karak, Pahang, Malaysia

8) Baguio — Philippines

Best time to visit: Jan – Mar, Nov – Dec
Average temperature: 15 – 23°C
Flight time from Singapore: 3h 45min (Non-stop)

baguio city skyline - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Ayman Mat via Facebook

Baguio is the Summer Capital of the Philippines — where people go to escape the heat due to its low temperatures of 15°C – 23°C.

Nicknamed the City of Pines, its year-long cool climate allows plants, flowers and vegetation that wouldn’t usually survive elsewhere in the country to thrive!

Rooms of G1 lodge in Baguio - Luxury Escapes

G1 Lodge. Photo credit: Booking.com

Situated in the city centre, G1 Lodge is a short walking distance to local attractions like SM Baguio, Burham Park and public markets. The rooms may have a minimalistic design but it’s comfortable and roomy! Plus, the internet speed is pretty fast too 😉

G1 Lodge
Cost: From ~S$65/night
Accommodates: 1 – 4 people
Address: 2 Leonard Wood Road, Benguet, 2600 Baguio, Philippines

Bonus: Taipingshan, Yilan — Taiwan

Best time to visit: Apr–Oct (Autumn foliage), late Nov–Mar (snowy mountains)
Average temperature: 12 – 24°C
Flight time from Singapore: <5hr to Taipei (Non-stop)

woman going up stairs at Taipingshan purple maple - Luxury Escapes

Photo credit: Luodong Forest District Office

While this cool-weathered destination is outside of Southeast Asia, it’s only a 4.5hr flight from Singapore!

Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area is surrounded by mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and even a natural hot spring, making it a great escape from the city.

Experience cool weather and beautiful scenery all year round here — with the autumn foliage of Japanese maple from April to October, and snow-covered mountains from late November to March!

room in outskirts of taipingshan taiwan - Luxury Escapes

安農671民宿. Photo credit: Booking.com

You may choose to stay in the two properties in Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area but rooms are limited and can get booked out fast. Alternatively, venture a little further to 安農671民宿, which is located in a quiet field less than 2 hours by car from Taipingshan.

Cost: From ~S$144/night
Accommodates: 2 – 4 people
Address: No. 71, Section 6, Annong North Road, 266 Sanxing, Taiwan

Planning Your Next Luxury Escape

two friends having a drink - Accommodation

You don’t have to travel too far or spend too much to experience luxury escapes in cool temperatures — sometimes we just need to put in the extra elbow grease to find these affordable nearby places.

And once that’s settled, your accommodation will be a large part of the vacation experience. I remember feeling unfulfilled on one of my trips with my family because the place we booked was…not the best.

Here are some tips on finding good accommodation at reasonable prices:
1) Use price filters
2) Look through reviews on both the booking service’s website and on Google Reviews — check if photos from the reviewers differe greatly from the official website’s
3) Use Google Maps to check how accessible/inaccessible the property is
4) Check listings on both desktop and mobile as prices differ
5) Check the listing across different platform as there may be discounted prices

Know of any other affordable luxury escapes in cool weather? Share with us in the comments below!

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