Five of the most incredible stays worldwide
All over the world there are remarkable hotels born of bold vision and epic endeavour. We know just the place for a romantic, luxurious retreat though, the properties that go the extra mile to boost your time away, from seriously cool camps to absurdly cosy cabins and places that strive to create the perfect sanctuary. Here we share our first-hand knowledge to suggest accommodation that’s best for your style of escape – whether you want to go glamping deep in Botswana’s outback or cruise through the Indonesian archipelago on a customised yacht.
Many of the places to stay we recommend simply have the wow factor. They ooze creative flair and originality. It’s not just that their locations and interiors are stunning – these hotels, lodges and camps connect you intimately to their environment, offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences in stunning locations. They’ve transcended mere ‘accommodation’ to become travel icons. Spend a night here and you’ll be talking about the experience for the rest of your life.
Infinity pools that blend into the sky and seriously chic whitewashed cubist cottages set into a cliff above Santorini’s volcanic caldera make Katikies about as dreamy as Greek island escapes get. Fill your days with spa pampering, pool-hopping and exploring the rugged coast by boat, leaving the warm evenings free for unashamed intimacy over exquisite gourmet food and wine. For one of the Greek islands’ most romantic experiences, dine together beneath the stars on a secret rooftop veranda.
San Camp, Botswana
Perched on the edge of Botswana’s vast and shimmering white Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, San Camp is possibly the most romantic tented camp in Africa. Emerge from the cotton sheets of your tastefully pared back safari tent, step outside and you’ll feel like you’re gazing into eternity. Spend your time exploring remote islands of baobabs on quad bikes, tracking aardvark, gemsbok and gangs of friendly wild meerkats, or heading out on nature walks with the local San Bushmen and learning their secrets of survival. After dinner, around a roaring fire, you’ll swap bush tales and gaze up at an African sky filled with a billion stars. We guarantee the modern world will never have felt further away.
Soneva Jani, Maldives
Soneva more or less invented the concept of barefoot luxury, but their latest offering in the Maldives’ idyllic Noonu Atoll takes this to a whole new level. Private pools, round-the-clock butlers, a principled commitment to the environment and a steadfast ‘no shoes, no news’ policy are all standard fare for Soneva, but what sets Jani apart are your villa’s retractable roof that allows you to fall asleep beneath the Milky Way, a silent cinema with noise-cancelling headphones issued so as not to disturb the turtles and some extremely innovative boat rides. Needless to say, the dining and diving are of equal perfection. There’s even a villa that comes with a curved water slide to deposit you in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Being a castaway has never been more alluring.
Dunton Hot Springs & River Camp, USA
High up in the mountains of southern Colorado, Dunton Hot Springs & River Camp is a mining-camp-turned-ghost-town once frequented by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Now boldly reimagined as one of North America’s finest lodges, Dunton’s exquisitely tasteful log cabins and riverside tipis drip with understated Western romance, and there’s even an old-style bath house built around the natural hot springs. But it’s the great outdoors you’re here for, right? Around you is the vast wilderness playground of the Rockies and, boy, you’ll have some adventures. The hiking (with or without the help of helicopters), horseback riding, mountain biking and fly-fishing in these parts just don’t get any better, and when you’ve had enough action for one day, there’s startlingly good food to enjoy and an authentic Western saloon where you can make new friends and swap fireside stories.
Designed specifically for Southeast Asian waters, the Lamima is a superyacht masquerading as a traditional Indonesian phinisi schooner. Finished to an extraordinarily high spec, it is a heavenly way of exploring the coral reefs and spice islands of Indonesia, Burma and Thailand. When you’re not snorkeling with turtles, trekking to ancient villages, surfing a secret break or looking for birds of paradise and Komodo dragons, you can jet ski, kayak and wakeboard behind the boat before enjoying tailored spa treatments, cocktails on deck and fresh-caught seafood, served al fresco or as a candlelit beach barbecue. If the mood takes you, fall asleep on the top deck, under the stars.