"Чтобы проникнуть в сущность заурядных явлений, требуется весьма незаурядный ум." Альфред Норт Уайтхед
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Hotel Il Pellicano
Opened in the 1960s on a wild, rocky stretch of the coast of
Tuscany by a dashing British aviator and his American wife, Hotel Il Pellicano hotel has just celebrated its 50th birthday. For its fiercely loyal clientele, this discreetly elegant seaside refuge is a club as much as a hotel, one where staff are greeted like family and fellow guests become good friends. So how do first-timers fare? Pretty well, these days. Savvy socialite Marie-Louise Sciò, who runs the hotel with her father Roberto, likes to keep things fresh and interesting. In her time, she has raised Il Pellicano Restaurant to dizzying heights with exquisitely presented, surprisingly light dishes. It was first under Antonio Guida (later poached by the Mandarin Oriental in Milan) and currently with Pugliese chef Sebastiano Lombardi, ably abetted by Federico Morosi, one of the most talented bartenders in Italy (Bono is a fan of his watermelon-based Angurita cocktail). Two books have been published on Il Pellicano and its food, with contributions from the fashion photographer Juergen Teller and writer Will Self; the hotel has even launched its own travel app. Only the interior design of the 50 bedrooms remains resolutely old-school, with wonderful Tuscan antiques, terracotta floors, Carrara-marble-lined bathrooms and floral-paisley four-poster canopies. There are rooms in six cottages in the landscaped grounds, set amid olive and cypress trees, but the suites in the main building outdo all others by providing the fastest route to the heated seawater pool and beach terrace.
Big cats are notoriously elusive and tiger safaris especially require a fair dollop of managed expectations. Which is why
Jawai — where leopards are the thing — is so extraordinary. This smart Rajasthani safari camp is in a district of small villages and farms rather than a wildlife sanctuary, and leopards are highly visible, coexisting in almost supernatural harmony with the human population (there hasn’t been a leopard attack in more than a century). The camp itself melts into a landscape of acacia forests and mustard fields, the horizon studded with the smooth-sided granite hills where the leopards live. Its nine suites are in spruce, canopied safari tents outfitted with chrome campaign desks and crimson lampshades and cushions that echo the red turbans of the local Rabari herdsmen. Winding paths lead to a splash pool, a dining tent, and a clearing where guests feast on thali curry by starlight. This is safari but not as you know it: at dusk, watch the sleek silhouette of a female leopard padding down a rock face, ignoring children on the dusty road, while music plays noisily from a nearby temple. There’s magic at play in Jawai, and it’s of the most bewitching, tail-twitching variety.
Address: Jawai, Jawai Bandh, Bisalpur, District Pali-Marwar, Rajasthan
Telephone: +91 11 4617 2700
Price: doubles from about £665 full board, including twice-daily game drives
Hôtel Crillon le Brave
The Vaucluse, that part of Provence where agriculture is the culture, may be lavender-scented and Grenache-splashed, but it is also tough and down to earth. Viewed from the terrace at
Hôtel Crillon le Brave, its weather-beaten greens, browns and mauves take on a Cézanne-like allure. The once-desolate village where this 36-bedroom hotel has been evolving elegantly since the early 1990s is a settlement on a low flank of Mont Ventoux, yet, with a glass of Viognier and a featherlight piece of aubergine tempura in hand, you could be soaring sky-high over the plain. As well as the expansive, half-roofed terrace bar and restaurant, where a jazz band plays and the ex-Negresco chef sends out gastronomically plated pork and mountain lamb, there’s a nominally less glamorous bistro, tucked into one of the many stony nooks that are so unfakeably ancient, mossy and charming. A pétanque piste lies hidden just beyond the swimming pool, and a new adults-only sunbathing corner seems like a wonderfully sensible idea when families are splashing about in the afternoon. You may have the pleasure of walking along a narrow street or passing the old church to reach your room. Big, cool and very quiet, they combine chic linens and mineral tones of grey and heather with original tomette floor tiles and whopping wardrobes. If the huge walk-in showers don’t soothe your woes, a new spa in the vaulted former stables provides treatments suitable for everyone from heavily pregnant women to Tour de France emulators.
Address: Hôtel Crillon le Brave, Place de l’Eglise, Crillon-le-Brave, France
Telephone: +33 4 90 65 61 61
Price: doubles from about £295
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli
LAKE GARDA, ITALY
Villa Feltrinelli does not require its official prefix of Grand Hotel, for those who care about such things know exactly what it is. Its highly ornate, neo-Gothic turreted form, in bands of gold and terracotta, has stood since 1892 in the little town of Gargnano on the edge of Lake Garda, described by DH Lawrence as ‘one of the most beautiful places on earth’. The villa and its park were created as a family summer retreat by the sons of lumber magnate Faustino Feltrinelli, who frequented it until the war when Mussolini was housed here under German guard for over a year. It was returned to the family, but years of neglect and different ownership followed until hotelier Bob Burns restored it, beginning a new chapter in 2001. This is a house of Venetian mirrors and frescoed walls, of Liberty-style stained-glass windows and carved wooden ceilings, of service as plentiful and polished as the silver; where art is original and paper hand-made, fabrics bespoke and gardens tiered with ancient lemon trees. Twenty-one bedrooms ensure exclusivity, some in the grounds, others in the villa; all are sumptuous, marble bathroom floors heated. There’s a swimming pool in the lawn next to where croquet is played. Down by the lake, two private boats await. This is a place for those who yearn to escape, to indulge in lobster and langoustines, truffles and tiramisu, and to sleep on the finest of pillows in lakeside tranquillity.
Address: Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, Via Rimembranza, 38, Gargnano, Italy
Telephone: +39 0365 798 000
Price: doubles from about £1,030
Berkeley River Lodge
THE KIMBERLEY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Kimberley, in the far north-west of Australia, is one of the emptiest places on Earth. It is possible to drive for days without seeing any sign of human habitation. Yet here, on a sensational stretch of dramatic coastline, stands this unique wilderness lodge. It is so sequestered that the only way to get here is by helicopter or air taxi (or perhaps private yacht). People come for the isolation — in few places can the nights appear darker or starrier — but also for the deep, tranquil comfort of the 20 smart villas which seem to float like a lovely little armada on the coastal dunes. All the bathrooms at the
Berkeley River Lodge are outdoors for long showers beneath a yellow tropical sun in the clear Australian sky. Some of the cabins look out on the snaking Berkeley River, others have views of the Timor Sea. And this sea is for looking at, not for swimming in, because the glittering water teems with bull sharks and saltwater crocodiles. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Go fishing off the two islands called, mysteriously, Aunt and Uncle. Or take a guided boat tour down the river — the best way to see the wild Kimberley and all that lives here: ghost gums and bottle-shaped boab trees, brahminy kites, jabiru birds with beaks like screwdrivers. The hotel chef can make up a fabulous lunch box filled with salads and focaccia to take along and enjoy with a cold beer beneath the Casuarina Falls. And if you are desperate for a dip, there is a beautiful swimming hole (without crocs) at the far end of the first creek on the right.
Address: Berkeley River Lodge, Berkeley River, Australia
Telephone: +61 8 9169 1330
Price: doubles from about £875
The Peninsula Shanghai
It’s not just the flawless recreation of Art Deco opulence, the Chanel showroom, or the bedrooms overlooking Huangpu River with views of jostling tankers and fishing boats. It’s not even the chilli-hot noodles for breakfast in the marble-pillared lobby. No, what makes
The Peninsula Shanghai so impressive is the service. When on a rainy morning taxis are scarce and there is talk of an hour’s wait, somehow the doorman conjures up a deep-green vintage Roller and an important meeting is saved. An army of concierges is always on hand, such is the attention to detail. But it’s also fun to potter around the wonderfully restful bedrooms, which are havens from the bustle of Shanghai. Sip green tea and phone friends for free; Instagram the Star Trek-style Oriental Pearl TV Tower lit up in princess purple. And the electronics demand a go, from triple-choice curtains at the touch of a button to the nail-polish blow-drier tucked into the panelling in the enormous dressing room. The food, both Chinese and Western, is wonderful. This year executive chef Terence Crandall has garnered Michelin stars aplenty (two in Yi Long Court, one in Sir Elly’s Restaurant). The heated pool, spa and fitness suite are tip-top too. This might not be the coolest hotel in the world, but it is one of the most impressive. A conjuring trick? Maybe. Incredible staff, for sure.
Address: The Peninsula Shanghai, 32 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai, China
Telephone: +86 21 2327 2888
Price: doubles from about £330
Overlook, for a minute, the family-friendly fanfare surrounding this Mediterranean pile on the north-west coast of Cyprus:
Anassa is so much more than somewhere to keep children happy. There are grown-up suppers to eat beneath lantern-lit olive trees, phenomenally firm massages in the comprehensive spa, clouds of heavily-scented lavender and jasmine in the gardens and thick rolled towels on the day beds. A perennial favourite for spring and autumn sunshine, the hotel recently underwent a gentle nip-and-tuck to the tune of seven figures, resulting in a smartening of the bedrooms, a refreshing of the communal areas and an opening of a boutique that gives Matches a run for its money. Now the whole place is glowing. Sunlight bounces off the polished marble floors and bougainvillaea erupts from terracotta urns. Fling open the pale-blue shutters for stellar sea views of the gin-clear waters of the Akamas National Park on one side and the bobbing marina of nearby Latchi on the other. Make no mistake, Anassa is big — the rolling lawns, the different levels of the pools, the winding path down to the wide scoop of pebbly beach — but it is well considered. Everything is muted and understated — a nautical striped chaise longue is as wild as the design gets — but a rotation of visiting artists means there is always something engaging on the walls.
Address: Anassa, 40 Alekou Michailidi Road, Neo Chorio, Cyprus
Telephone: +357 26 888000
Price: doubles from about £380
FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA
Babylonstoren is so much more than a hotel: it’s a working fruit farm with a historic Cape Dutch homestead, a destination restaurant, an award-winning vineyard, a brilliant bakery and, above all, a sensational garden. Over the past 10 years, owner Koos Bekker and his wife Karen Roos have transformed what was once a derelict, 300-year-old farm at the foot of the Simonsberg mountains into the coolest destination in the
Cape winelands. The couple recruited Patrice Taravella, responsible for Le Prieuré d’Orsan cloistered garden in the Loire Valley, to establish the 3.5-hectare walled kitchen garden that is the core of the property and which supplies the restaurant, known for its fresh, inventive salads and vegetables picked young and cooked whole. The hotel itself is small, with just 13 suites carved out of old farm-workers’ cottages which line the oak-tree-edged avenue bordering the garden; the original farmer’s house was recently converted into a nine-bedroom lodge. Roos delights in combining the historical — small, shuttered windows and rough-hewn stable doors set in thick whitewashed walls — with the contemporary. Kitchens in the cottages are essentially clipped-on glass boxes that jut into the little private gardens; a Philippe Starck Ghost chair presides over a traditional fire-blackened hearth; on a modern four-poster bed is a handmade crochet blanket, and everywhere the sound of water running through culverts in a gravity-fed irrigation system that dates back to ancient Babylon itself. Nowhere else in the winelands manages to feel as fresh or relevant as Babylonstoren.
Address: Babylonstoren, R45, Simondium, South Africa
Telephone: +27 21 863 3852
Price: doubles from about £260
Singita Sabora Tented Camp
Safari-lovers go to Africa to see game, to walk in the wild and to relax while surrounded by nature. But
Singita Sabora, a tiny dot of a camp in the 350,000-acre private game reserve in Tanzania owned by American philanthropist Paul Tudor-Jones, also supplies a dose of the most decadent old-school glamour. During the Great Migration, the wooden decks of the nine tents become surrounded by thousands of animals, bleating and harrumphing (even watching as you serve on the unfenced tennis court), making Sabora the perfect spot to soak up Africa. The big, lavishly decorated mess tents are lined with silk Persian rugs; there are sun-bleached animal skulls, glossy tortoise shells and giant seedpods to examine, and leather-bound safari photography books to pore over on a feather-stuffed sofa. The vast tented bedrooms — as close as you’ll get to an Out of Africa film set — are scattered with antique mahogany carvings, silver brushes and mirrors, and dominated by wooden four-posters. After a massage in the shade, a G&T in a crystal tumbler, and slow-roasted marmalade guinea fowl followed by raspberry soufflé in the twinkling light of silver candelabra, all that’s left to do is gasp at the vastness of the Milky Way above. Or — this being a private reserve — go out on a night drive to spot a leopard stalking an impala, or listen to the chilling whoop of hyena on the hunt.
Address: Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
Telephone: +27 21 683 3424
Price: from about £1,040 full board per person per night, including twice-daily safaris and transfers
Six Senses Zighy Bay
Here you are, in the fabulous desert and coastal adventure that is Oman. The light is astonishing, the beach pale gold. This is an unplugged beach hotel that is perfectly executed. It’s easy to get to for that hit of winter sun (just a two-hour drive from Dubai), and the smart, eco-friendly villas have private, sandy gardens with small pools. You can bring the children, yes, but the restaurants and general vibe also deliver a dollop of Middle Eastern candlelit charm. Despite the butler-with-buggy service, the essence here is barefoot cool: goats wander about, fig and lemon trees line the bicycle paths, and ever present in the background are those astonishingly beautiful, mysterious mountains. Be sure to get on the water for a different perspective: set sail into Haffa Bay where children still take boats to school. And when you want to retreat, the spa has the most amazing, deeply intuitive therapists. What’s so special about this place is that for all the sharp trimmings, including private wine cellars, the overall mood is heartfelt and lolling.
Address: Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam Peninsula, Dibba-Musandam, Oman
Telephone: +968 26 735555
Price: doubles from about £530
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
This glorious villa on a cliff overlooking Bantry Bay was once owned by the shipping magnate Sir John Ellerman. It is an intensely private, cossetting space; non-residents are only permitted if they are visiting a guest, or on an official art tour. For this little beauty (there are just 13 bedrooms in the house) positively shimmies with one of the finest South African art collections in private hands. The current owner, conservationist Paul Harris, says sharing
Ellerman House with others is part of the fun. ‘We set very high standards,’ he says, ‘but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.’ And what a warm welcome awaits. The snug library and separate sitting room, with its grand piano and sea-green walls coated with priceless, 19th-century Pierneef landscapes, open out onto a wide dining terrace, from which a balustraded staircase leads down to the lawn and Mediterranean-blue swimming pool lined with plump sun beds. Below this, almost invisible from above, is a bespoke bunker of a cutting-edge contemporary-art gallery; there is also a massive wine cellar, spa and two vehemently modern villas. But the real charm, of the kind that warms the cockles, will always lie in this much loved pink-stucco house with its polished mahogany antiques and crystal whisky decanters, fine-china tea sets, deep-pile carpets and heavy drapes, now with added twinkle after a recent, barely imperceptible and entirely appropriate refurbishment. There is little doubt Ellerman House continues to be the most exceptional place to stay in the fairest Cape of all.
Address: Ellerman House, 180 Kloof Rd, Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Telephone: +27 21 430 3200
Price: doubles from about £505
A love letter to light, written in concrete. Everything everyone says about
Amangiri is true. Including the fact that it is impossible to get a room. Part hotel, part art installation, Amangiri is a luminous place of startling beauty, but also ridiculously fun. The swimming pool wraps itself around a rock 164-million-years old, the clouds above are pink, and cowboys on horses trail across the distant desert for hours, the dust kicking up behind them like half-formed thoughts. But here also, a short drive away, are beautiful slot canyons like deep tunnels of melted rock, and Lake Powell, the iridescent flooded canyonland where there’s doughnutting behind speed boats driven by blonde boys called Chad. Brilliant for families, but also, with its terrace fires and rooftop beds open to the clang of crashing stars, absurdly romantic, Amangiri manages to be all things to all people. And yet while the freshness and lightness of touch is remarkable, its staff superlative and the green juice certainly the freshest you’ll find in the tri-state area, it is the design that has everyone wide-eyed and exhilarated. Like being inside a living James Turrell sculpture where the shades of the world are hyper-realised, Amangiri seems to exist in some parallel — and wildly more spectacular — universe.
Address: Amangiri, 1 Kayenta Road, Canyon Point, Utah, USA
Telephone: +1 435 675 3999
Price: doubles from about £1,375 full board, including private transfers to and from Page Airport and group daily hikes
Book your room at Amangiri on Expedia now.
Dunton Hot Springs
The hummingbirds are practically an issue. Hundreds of tiny perfect feathered fingers pulse around the porch, furiously busy in an otherwise hazy world of plotting rivers, whispering aspens and dandelions lolling under the weight of their gargantuan heads. There’s a huge difference between hotels created for commercial enterprise and hotels as labour of love, where the owners live and invite their friends to stay. For all of
Dunton’s rough-and-ready mining bones and the fact that, not so long ago, it housed a biker gang whose names are carved with knives into the bar, it has the most sophisticated swagger. Underfloor heating, copper baths, beds like beautiful wet concrete looking out over rushing waterfalls and teepees. There is serious trekking and fishing for trout here, horse riding and endless plunging into the hot springs, brown as a penny, good for the soul. Dunton has a sister property opening up in Telluride imminently. Until then, head to the River Camp; the cabins at the main lodge are truly decadent, but there is a very special quiet Wild West otherworldliness to living in tents at the water’s edge.
Address: Dunton Hot Springs, West Fork Road, Dolores, Colorado, USA
Telephone: +1 877 288 9922
Price: cabins from about £710
NEW YORK, USA
The hotel opened for business in 1930 and neither the Great Depression, nor any subsequent blip, ripple or nuisance, social, political or economic, has left so much as a muddy footprint on its immaculate threshold. At a certain point, probably during the Kennedy administration, with which
The Carlyle was closely associated, it morphed into something more than a mere hotel; it became a locus of myth and magic. To spin lightly off 76th Street through its unresisting revolving doors and into its black-and-gold lobby is to pass into another, lovelier world — one that’s not quite real, and all the better for it. People who call The Carlyle an Art Deco hotel are either careless or have only seen it from the outside. It actually comprises a wild jumble of styles — Orientalist flounces here, neoclassical flourishes there, cheerful twitters of Wiltshire chintz, and shouty outbursts of butch, blocky mid-century Manhattan modernity. The biggest rooms aren’t necessarily the best — there are some here the size of broom cupboards that are more charming than entire villages in Provence. The ace up The Carlyle’s sleeve is Bemelmans Bar, of which every good thing you’ve ever heard is true. Though the lights are low, the murals, by Ludwig Bemelmans, author and illustrator of the Madeline books, are soul-brightening, and the superb Martinis even more so.
Address: The Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street, New York City, USA
Telephone: +1 212 744 1600
Price: doubles from about £315
LAKE TITICACA, PERU
At first glance,
Titilaka’s neo-industrial entrance appears to have turned its back on new arrivals. But step into the airy lobby and it’s easy to why: the entire hotel is built to make the most out of South America’s highest, largest, most wondrously beautiful lake on the other side. Everyone comes to this corner of the world to visit Lake Titicaca‘s curious islands, but only guests at Titilaka get floor-to-ceiling views of the lake and its soaring dome of blue sky. And, as if this isn’t enough, there’s a wrap-around terrace with double beds and deck chairs from which to take it all in. The bright interiors are crafted by architect Jordi Puig, the owner Ignacio Masías and his sister Sandra Masías (also the team behind the smart Hotel B and the new Atemporal hotels in Lima). Untainted sunlight streams in, warming the adobe brickwork, plush sofas, throws and rugs in bold Altiplano colours, and bespoke Pop-art pieces. During the day, a choice of 14 outings is offered as standard, ranging from rafting or exploring the archaeological site of Sillustani to taking a catamaran to Bolivia’s glorious, car-free Island of the Sun. On your return, indulge in a massage or kick back in your room — all 18 have lake views and heated floors, and most have big bathtubs. Start the evening with pisco-powered cocktails at sunset — a pit-fire is lit to tame the Andean chill — before a supper of New Peruvian dishes such as alpaca carpaccio, mountain trout ceviche and quinoa soufflé. Before bed, make one final visit to the deck to see one of the best night skies on the planet.
Address: Titilaka, Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Telephone: +51 1 700 5100
Price: doubles from about £820, including meals, excursions and transfers
Originally built as a simple surf lodge in the 1990s,
Nihiwatu was bought by American entrepreneur Chris Burch four years ago, who transformed it into a smart barefoot retreat. Indonesia‘s Sumba island, which Burch likens to Bali 40 years ago, has pristine beaches, quiet forests and traditional villages, where ikat weaving is still done by hand and cattle are used as dowry. The 33 bedrooms here are all seductive with elaborate, shell necklaces used as decoration and cushions covered in colourful batik; even the outdoor, egg-shaped bathtubs have been artfully gilded. Only 10 guests at a time are permitted to ride the left-hand break that made Nihiwatu the stuff of surf legend; everyone else lounges by the infinity pool, hikes through the surrounding rice paddies to out-of-time villages or gallops on horseback down the beach. No one wears shoes here, and everyone seems to don board shorts in the restaurant, where Australian chef Ben McRae produces sensational green-papaya soup and Thai pomelo salad with prawns. Everyone is invited to visit one of the projects supported by The Sumba Foundation: a philanthropic vehicle for local medical clinics, clean-water projects, and a school-lunch programme that has increased attendance figures. And if that doesn’t pull your heart strings, says foundation director Steve Bierman, you just don’t have a heart.
Address: Nihiwatu, Desa Hobawawi, Kecamatan Wanukaka, Sumba, Indonesia
Telephone: +62 361 757149
Price: villas from about £535 full board
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
HAWKE’S BAY, NEW ZEALAND
Set on a 2,400-hectare working sheep and cattle station,
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers isn’t yet 10 years old, but it feels like it’s been here forever. Perhaps the most beautiful of Julian Robertson’s stable of super-smart New Zealand lodges, it has 22 rustic-chic bedrooms and a wonderfully stylish private house, the Owner’s Cottage. All are dramatically positioned on a grassy ridge overlooking its superb 18-hole championship golf course and surrounding farmlands, with the orchards and celebrated winelands of Hawke’s Bay in the distance. On a clear day it’s possible to make out snow-capped Mount Ruapehu on the horizon. The main structures resemble a cluster of farm buildings, with a domed silo that houses a wine cellar in its basement and an intimate snug on the ground floor. Throughout the property, wonderful farm-related objects — old tractor seats, metal cartwheels, wooden grain boxes — are deployed as artworks and the Colorado-based interior designer Linda Bedell has used plenty of tweed and leather to keep the rural dream topped up. Chef James Honore sources the best produce from this bountiful region — cheese from Havelock North, mushrooms from Napier, Hawke’s Bay lamb — and supplements them with his own home-grown sweetcorn, fennel, lettuce and tomatoes. From fresh laid eggs with crispy New Zealand bacon for breakfast in the farmhouse kitchen to pre-supper canapés by the open fire, The Farm really does deliver the whole New Zealand package — and on a wonderfully grand scale.
Address: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, 446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 6 875 1900
Price: doubles from about £1,045 half board
An easy drive along the north coast from
Jamaica‘s Montego Bay, this is the most glamorous of Chris Blackwell’s merry trio of hotels (the founder of Island Records, who made Bob Marley a global superstar, also owns Strawberry Hill and The Caves). The centrepiece here is, of course, the five-bedroom villa which was once home to Ian Fleming, and where he wrote his James Bond novels. But put the literacy legacy and Marley music connections aside, what makes this hotel continue to shine is its clever combination of spacious clapboard villas and funky, feel-good Jamaican spirit. It’s a tough choice deciding between the step-onto-the-sand beach villas and those facing the lagoon near the tiny, lemongrass-scented spa. The look is similar — polished wooden floors, white walls and high ceilings, outdoor showers — but the lagoon-side cottages are more private and come equipped with kayaks. Watersports are the thing at Goldeneye, with stand-up paddle boarding, glass-bottom-boat rides around the bay and morning fishing trips. Or simply laze on the beach and play backgammon at the open-air Bizot bar, where the driftwood shelves are lined with bottles of Blackwell rum. At night, cross the torch-lit wooden bridge to The Gazebo for delicious suppers of curried shrimp with coconut rice. Six years after opening, this gorgeous, laid-back hideaway still has serious groove.
Address: Goldeneye, Oracabessa, Jamaica
Telephone: +1 876 622 9007
Price: one-bedroom ocean-front villas from about £850; beach huts from about £350
A star was born when the thick, red-velvet curtains at No 42 Avenue Gabriel parted and the doors to
La Réserve opened. Instant classic. Two years on, the instant has passed but the classic remains. La Réserve may well be the most thrillingly sensuous hotel in Paris — a city not unacquainted with such pleasures. It occupies a former hôtel particulier, built in 1854 by Baron Haussmann as a present from Napoleon III to his half-brother, the Duc de Morny. One wonders what category of dwelling the baron might have been called upon to assemble had the emperor and the duke shared identical parentage. The location does the place no harm — a macaron’s throw from the Place de la Concorde, with airy views across treetops towards the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower. However, as they say about all kinds of raving beauties, it’s what’s inside that counts. Credit for La Réserve’s inner loveliness goes to design panjandrum Jacques Garcia. He sweetly insists that he took his cues from the building itself and from the art of the period — in particular, a painting by James Tissot entitled Le Cercle de la rue Royale. This is not wholly convincing. There’s nothing in Tissot’s insipid tableau to prepare anyone for the rampant sexiness of La Réserve. Happily, Garcia’s respect for the past appears to have been quite overwhelmed by his lust for saturated colours and strokeable textures. The opulence is shameless, and irresistible.
Address: La Réserve, 42 Avenue Gabriel, Paris, France
Telephone: +33 1 58 36 60 60
Price: doubles from about £945
The name means ‘a home’, which is exactly what this townhouse feels like — if, that is, your home has a private chef, impeccable interiors, a fitness suite with Pilates equipment and a mini-spa with hot-stone massage area, not to mention 12 bedrooms with the sort of exquisite wood panelling you didn’t think anyone could make any more. For the rest of us,
Ett Hem feels more like heaven. It’s located in the heart of the city in Lärkstaden, one of Stockholm’s most architecturally stunning neighbourhoods, but when you step through the door into the walled garden it feels like you’re a world away. The building dates from 1910 and British designer Ilse Crawford has created timeless interiors with a blend of classic Scandi icons (a bit of Finn Juhl here, some Hans Wegner there), contemporary pieces, including the monumental brass bar in the living room, and an abundance of copper, marble and stone from the island of Gotland. Anyone can stroll into the kitchen to ask a handsome young chef to whip up something seasonal and local — all meals are made from scratch each day, based on what produce is at its best. Browse the library, or idle away an afternoon reading in the orangery; there’s simply no place more delectable to lodge in the Swedish capital.
Address: Ett Hem, Sköldungagatan 2, Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: +46 8 20 05 90
Price: doubles from about £360