bleisure travel business leisure hotels city escapes urban retreats
Photo: Getty

Someone update international Arrival Cards already because the days we have to choose between travelling for “Business” or for “Leisure” are long gone. I’m travelling for “Bleisure” (a portmanteau of both) and so are a rising percentage of millennials who are making the most of a work trip by extending a day or two as a personal treat. Plus, I find much inspiration to create content by the pool, with a freshly squeezed juice in hand and my laptop, well, on my lap—so why not make it official? Here are our favourite city escapes to mix business and pleasure around the globe:

Pulitzer Amsterdam in the Netherlands

If there is one quick way to identify how hip a hotel is, take a whiff of the lobby. If there are copious candles wafting Le Labo’s Santal 33, you know you’ve hit fashion jackpot. Le Labo has created the most ubiquitous scent in fashion; a signature smell that you can recognise in every major fashion city in the world. So, what is it doing in the lobby, bathrooms and suites of the Pulitzer in Amsterdam? Well, this charming independently-run hotel, situated along the picturesque Prinsengracht canal and occupying 25 canal houses with over 400 years of heritage, is somewhat of a hidden gem. The Pulitzer is located in the Nine Streets quarter, on the doorstep of the colourful Jordaan neighbourhood—a boutique shopping hub, full of bicycle-friendly paths, and close to the Royal Palace and the museum district. Sign up for fabulous tours, including a personal tour of the Van Gogh Museum (your host will walk you through his life and his most famous paintings), or throw restraint to the wind and indulge in a gastronomic feast that will allow you to sample some of the city’s Michelin star restaurants with a three-course, three-restaurant tour that not only satisfies the tummy, but also your nomadic spirit. After a night out, escape into the cosy-yet-chic Pulitzer Suite, resplendent with its freestanding grand bath tub, super king size bed and view of the gardens. By Kenneth Goh 

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Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit in Thailand

There is so much to do in bustling Bangkok and yet, there is a hotel whose guests would rather not stir out: Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. For starters, anyone who has stayed here will liken the bed to cloud nine—MyBed is Sofitel’s exclusively designed sleep experience comprising an ultra-plush yet firm mattress with a downy duvet, crisp white sheets and pillows of your choice picked from a menu of specialised fluff. If a great night’s sleep doesn’t fully recharge you, there is Le Spa, a sanctuary by L’Occitane that melds Thai wellness philosophies with French beauty traditions. Its Golden Siamese Treatment with a deep-tissue oil massage and stretching, hand and foot wrap, and indulgent gold leaf treatment for the face (said to boost oxygen levels) will take you right to spa heaven.

The Westhouse in New York

The Westhouse New York is what Manhattan property dreams are made of. The 172-room hotel provides a home away from home experience with well-accessorised Art Deco interiors that reference old Hollywood glamour for a stylishly curated residence. Beyond all the trappings a hip, urban jetsetter would appreciate, it’s the only hotel to boast a direct line to Net-A-Porter’s Personal Shopper department, so retail therapy is that much easier. The Carrie Bradshaw in all of us would approve.

ME Milan-Il Duca in Milan

The 132-room ME Milan Il Duca is where the chic travellers of the world stay, and denizens of Italy’s fashion capital play. Though the plush bed and modern bath beckon, you won’t be getting much rest here. Instead, you will be up all night at STK, the high-energy New York steakhouse with a candelabra-rich bar; the lobby library, where you can savour Prosecco, dramatic fashion imagery by Madrid-based photographer, Alberto Van Stokkum, and deep house tunes; or the Rooftop Bar, where potent cocktails and pulsating beats are served up with sparkling views of the new Garibaldi area skyline.

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The Mark Hotel in New York

If you manage to snag a stay at The Mark during Fashion Week, be ready to rub shoulders with moguls and models all day—and night—long. The chicest hotel on the Upper East Side block is designed by French interior designer Jacques Grange, boasting Art Deco areas and 150 contemporary classic rooms and suites that have hosted everyone from Mario Testino and Carine Roitfeld to Kendall Jenner. Deft doormen are trusted to keep paparazzi in line as guests mingle in the black-and-white marble lobby, sip cocktails on cow-print banquettes at The Mark Bar or dine at celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant (black truffle-flecked cheese pizza, anyone?). Tight security and sleek settings aside, The Mark goes the extra mile to keep its well-heeled clientele front-row and red-carpet ready with a host of exclusive services, like mane-pampering treats at the in-house Frédéric Fekkai salon. Need a minaudière to match that last minute dress change? Don’t fret—just a quick call to the concierge will set you up with a chauffeured ride on “The Bergdorf Goodman Express” (a limited edition version of The Mark’s Pedicab service) to take you from hotel to store no matter the hour, giving you VIP access to shopping and personal shoppers at Bergdorf Goodman 24/7. If you think this is what suite dreams are made of, you will adore the free USD500 gift card and complimentary facial when you check in.

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By Dana Koh