If you think a global-scale pandemic has stopped hoteliers from unveiling their passion projects on far-flung tropical islands – you’re in for a surprise.
Everyone needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of life every once in a while, especially after the year we’ve just had spent in long days of isolation. While slightly unconventional and not what most of us are probably used to, the hospitality industry has been one of the earliest to flourish and there’s nothing quite like packing up your life and immersing yourself in a different culture.
You might even have a little money saved up from saving on transportation or food costs, which means you can more than splurge on a decadent and luxurious vacation. There is no shortage of excellent accommodations to be found around the world, so the world is your oyster in terms of choosing the best getaway which best speaks out to you. It’s always best to plan everything beforehand, the way one would normally do even before the restrictions of travel.
Whether you are looking to adventure in your country or right around the border, these resorts and hotels offer each guest a place to let go, relax and revitalize with their amazing amenities and locations. You might have to double-check their updated guidelines regarding quarantine restrictions and changes in their opening days.
1. Giraffe Manor, India
If you’ve never found yourself enjoying a cup of warm coffee and steaming chocolate-chip pancakes over breakfast while a giraffe casually eavesdrops on your meal, where have you been? No matter how many safaris you’ve been on, there is nothing quite as wonderful and unforgettable as Giraffe Manor in India.
This marvel is a stunning turn-of-the-century stone mansion with 10 rooms, also home to half a dozen friendly giraffes that poke their long necks into the large windows as guests are having breakfast and join them in the front garden for late-afternoon tea. But don’t get too friendly – some of the more naughty giraffes like to give the occasional head butt!
2. Katikies Sun Rocks, Greece
At first glance, you may be tempted to think this is just another Santorini hotel with its signature white-washed Cycladic architecture and stunning view of the azure sea–but that’s where you’re wrong. Katikies Sun Rocks is special for many reasons, most primarily: the hotel itself is carved into the side of a volcanic cliff and has spellbinding views of the caldera.
Aside from that, foodie lovers from all over the world are sure to enjoy its fresh gourmet meals that range from traditional risottos to Aegean-inspired rockfish tartar.
3. Four Seasons, America
For lovers of the Wine Country, another reason to head on to Napa – aside from some of the best wine and food in the world – is none other than their equally world-class lodging. Located in Calistoga, California, Four Seasons Resort consists of 85 villas nestled on hundreds of acres all framed alongside the Sierra Nevada Palisade Group.
Lucky guests can enjoy views from the pool, restaurant, or their own private terraces between trips to historic Calistoga, winemaking lessons, and grape-to-glass tasting sessions at the resort’s organic vineyard.
4. Alaia Belize, Belize
Located on Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest known island, Alaia Belize is a feast for the beach babies with its abundant sea life and convenient location next to the world-famous Great Blue Hole — the largest sea hole in the world. Divers will be thrilled to explore the abundant sea life at Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
If you prefer steady ground as opposed to freefalling on oceanic depths, guests can also take their time exploring the beachfront Beach Club or the rooftop Pool Terrace. They can also take part in curated events ranging from local art shows to DJs inside the hotel and on the sand.
5. Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy
Situated in Lake Como, this glam Art Nouveau is the epitome of Italian excellence in every aspect: from its exquisite parquet floors, Botticelli-esque oil paintings on full display, and gem-coloured sofas in the sitting room. The ever grandiose Grand Hotel Tremezzo also house rooms that are just as ornate, with baroque buffs appreciating gilded bed frames and mirrors, high ceilings decked with floor-sweeping curtains and stylish wall scones.
At the hotel’s main restaurant, La Terrazza Gualtiero Marchesi, the view is the main draw. The on-site trattoria, L’Escale, is another fine choice for dinner. During the day, take Ruy or Batt, the hotel’s slender mahogany water limousines, for a spin around Lake Como, or a jaunt up the coast to the historic, azalea-shrouded Villa Carlotta for a day of exploring.
6. Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique
Spanning 300 hectares of virgin territory in Mozambique, Kisawa Sanctuary on Benguerra Island is the first hotel established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Nina Flohr. Kisawa proudly boasts of 12 bungalows from 1-3 bedrooms; each with its own open-air deck, private pool, outdoor kitchen, and a secluded part of the beachfront. This intimate set-up provides guests with plenty of room to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the landscape, showcasing all of its traditional craftsmanship.
The hotel’s culinary programme is also an impressive feat, with a variety of dishes all offering organic and seasonal produce grown at the resort or bought from a network of local farmers situated in the area. Kisawa operates on a zero-waste policy and doesn’t use any processed ingredients in any of the menu, making each meal specially hand-crafted and made with love.
7. Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, Japan
Located at the heart of the quintessential Japanese culture, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto is situated precisely where the centuries-old founders of Japanese corporations, the Mitsui family, used to live. The hotel’s undisputed five-star sheen and contemporary decor, thanks to renowned architect Akira Kuryu and Hong Kong-based Andre Fu, includes in total 161 rooms and 2 restaurants.
Firmly rooted in its Kyoto heritage, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto sits directly opposite the 17th century UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle. With its kimono-clad staff, hot spring onsen, and hard-to-replicate traditional ambience, this hotel is sure to give travellers the full Japanese experience of hospitality.
8. Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Mexico
Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a haven of serenity and wonder. Located against the backdrop of the dramatic coastline of San José del Cabo, this resort is one of the five properties in the already impressive Ritz-Carlton Reserve: a luxurious collection of rare and exotic resorts all strategically located in untouched stretches of paradise for travellers seeking an underrated getaway.
In particular, Zadún is home to a set of magnificent pools with breathtaking vistas out across the pristine sands and turquoise waters. The luxury suites and villas reflect the land and the sea. At Zadún, dining journeys celebrate traditions from throughout Mexico to create new chapters in Mexican cuisine.
9. Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, Dubai
A magnificent and towering 43-story hotel in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences is a passion project brought together by only the best designers and architects in the world, both including Kerzner International and KPF Associates. When you’re not looking up at the marvelous display of architecture that is its very building, there’s also its many other charming amenities: a 300-foot Sky Infinity Pool, snorkel or scuba dive in the Ambassador Lagoon, or grab a bite at any of the restaurant’s approved by only Gordon Ramsay and Jose Andres.
10. Cap Karoso, Indonesia
Indonesia, like its many other archipelagic neighbours, is made up of thousands upon thousands of islands – but Sumba is something else entirely. Its majestic wonder has even gone so far as to capture the hearts of first-time French hoteliers, Fabrice and Evguenia Ivara, who have been charmed by this particular patch of land they decided to open up Cap Karoso.
This French couple embarked on this passion project in 2018, moving to Singapore to oversee the build of the 47-room hotel and 20 villas in Southwest Sumba.