Cavort Like A Sultan at Brunei’s Empire Hotel and Country Club

December 16, 2009 at 10:15 am | Posted in Brunei, resorts | 1 Comment
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by David Paul Appell

It’s just nine years old, but as you’d expect, this resort on the South China Sea beachfront in the small Malay sultanate ruled by one of the world’s richest men — originally built as a royal palace by the sultan’s kid brother to the tune of more than US$1 billion — has been in the front ranks of Asia’s top hostelries ever since. With 420 rooms, suites, and villas on a lushly landscaped 45-acre (180-hectare) spread, the palatial joint is awash in soaring columns and all manner of sumptuous finishes — marble, teak, silk, gold, you name it.

Plus, everything here is big — from the atrium lobby to the guest rooms (we’ve been in some Manhattan studios smaller than these bathrooms), and the amenities just go on and on: not just a lagoon beachfront, five restaurants, five pools, tennis courts, gym, and 18-hole Jack Nicklaus links, but even a movie theater, live stage theater, and bowling alley (one big drawback for the non-abstemious: no booze, according to Islamic practice). The Empire makes a great base for exploring the mosques and water villages of the sultanate, along with ecotourism in the Borneo rainforests that begin right outside the gates. Rates are more reasonable than you’d imagine, starting at B$250 (US$180/£108) per night, with special promotions sometimes even less. More info:


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  1. […] of royalty by staying at one of Asia’s most singular resorts. A destination in itself, the Empire Hotel & Country Club sprawls across 45 beachside acres (180 hectares) –  the size of Vatican City — and was […]

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