Magashi Camp, Akagera National Park

No comments yet

Perched on the banks of Lake Rwanyakazinga in Akagera National Park, Magashi Camp is poised to open your eyes onto another dimension of Rwanda’s rich wildlife. With the gorillas and the chimps ensconced in the jungles of the east, Akagera is instead given over to a teeming abundance of plains game – and even the odd glimpse of the Big Five. Seen from the luxury of Magashi Camp, where eight gorgeous tents teeter over hippo-filled waters and a magnificent boma crackles beneath the night sky, this is the Rwanda you never knew existed.

Location

A three-hour drive from Kigali will lead you out of mountainous foothills and instead into the grassy savannah of Akagera National Park. Tucked into a northeastern corner, on its own private patch of land, you’ll find Magashi. The wildlife is abundant here, with lions and black rhino both reintroduced in recent years. Making the most of their exclusive-use patch, Magashi offers both boating safaris on their decked-out swamp cruisers and game drives by day and night.

Your room

There are only eight tents at Magashi meaning it always feels like an intimate experience. Spread out along the lakefront, the tents sit high up in the treetop with commanding views out across the park and wide-open decks to soak it all in from. Inside, decor is muted with delicate shades of blush pink and the light khaki warmed by woven light fittings. Large window panels on either side bring a panoramic feel whilst natural materials connect you further to the environment. You’ll also find large ensuite bathrooms with dual vanities and a walk-in shower out the back. So, whilst this may be a tent, you’re a long way from camping.

Why we like it

Ticking off over 500 bird species, each of the Big Five and a whole host of other plains game, Magashi proves that Akagera has more than enough on offer to compete the other plains destinations of East Africa. The night drives are a real treat. Something that is only possible courtesy of Magashi’s exclusive use area, each evening promises a new surprise as nocturnal life takes control. The days aren’t to be sniffed at either with tree-climbing lions, rare sitatunga and Africa’s highest density of hippo.

One&Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Forest National Park

No comments yet

Shrouded in mist, One&Only Nyungwe House emerges as a blissful sanctuary in the Rwandan hillsides. Surrounded by ancient forest on one side and a working tea plantation on the other, Nyungwe House is not an invitation to switch off; rather, it is one to connect. From the 22 treetop rooms and suites, 13 hiking trails extend out into the distance to cover 130km of forest. So before you put your feet up, stretch your legs. As the playful monkeys that you’ve no doubt come to see cavort overhead and rare birdlife flutters by, you’ll have discovered a place of such magnificent proportions and ecological importance that you can’t help but be left feeling small – in the best imaginable way.

Location

South of Lake Kivu, sitting snug against the Burundi border, Nyungwe Forest National Park is Rwanda’s original national park – and arguably its most important. Home to 13 different species of monkey and a hooting 20% of all Africa’s apes, the opportunity to trek alongside these charismatic primates is one not to be missed. But neighbouring Gisakura tea plantation, time must also be allowed to get to know Rwanda’s chief export. Learn all there is to know about tea with a visit to the plantation, a signature tea ceremony and a one of a kind dining experience in the heart of the tea fields. It’s a long but scenic five-hour drive from Kigali, or alternatively a 30-minute hop by helicopter or a 45-minute drive from the local domestic airport at Kamembe.

Your Room

Skimming the treetops, the 22 rooms and suites of One&Only Nyungwe House have the effect of leaving you to feel utterly secluded in beautifully untamed surroundings. The design of each and every one celebrates Rwanda’s natural beauty with a demure colour scheme, regional curios and views that frame the rainforest – even from the walk-in shower. Connecting you to the beauty and power of Nyungwe, spend some time out on your private terrace and tune into the different melodies of the day, from the mangabey monkeys by morning to the turaco birds by night. Back inside, four-poster birds and wood-burning stoves offer ideal respite from the elements.

Why we like it

There is a genuine warmth to One&Only Nyungwe House that makes it feel like home. Staff not only know you by name here, but they know your favourite gin, what time you like tea in the morning – and how you like it. Thoughtful touches ensure that your stay is entirely unique. Romantic picnics are set up on a secluded hillside, constellations are mapped through the forest canopy, secrets of local sports of archery and spear throwing are shared. A stay at One&Only Nyungwe House is yours and yours alone.

Sustainability

Community forms an integral part of Rwandan culture and nowhere showcases this quite like One&Only Nyungwe House. Time your stay for the last Saturday of the month and relish the opportunity to take part in Umuganda. Translating as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’, this series of community initiatives has come to form an important pillar in local life. Whether helping to plant trees or built schools, taking park in Umuganda offers a chance to connect and give back like no other.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Volcanoes National Park

No comments yet

Whilst the name One&Only Gorilla’s Nest will leave you in no doubt as to the draw of this luxurious mountain lodge, stepping inside to the rhythmic beat of local drums, unveils so much more. Allow your senses to lead the way through vibrant gardens where the flora and fauna has been carefully curated to provide a home to endemic wildlife to 21 treetop lodges and suites, to a mist-shrouded infinity pool and to a restaurant framed by eucalyptus. With binoculars by your bedside and conservationists by the fireside, adventure leads the way at Gorilla’s Nest.

Location

Set high among the volcanic peaks of Volcanoes National Park, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest offers front row seats to Rwanda’s mountain gorilla sanctuary. A true bucket list experience, set off on a trek in the company of expert rangers as you come face to face with man’s closest relative. But there’s plenty more to keep you busy too, such as hiking to renowned primatologist Dian Fossey’s grave or exploring the ancient Musanze caves. You’ll find Gorilla’s Nest a scenic 2.5 hour drive from Kigali, but if you’re itching to start the adventure sooner, it’s a mere 25 minutes by helicopter. Soaring over the volcanic peaks before coming to land in the heart of the jungle, it makes for a spectacular first impression.

Your Room

Each of the 21 lodges and suites of Gorilla’s Nest sits floating among jungle canopy, bringing you face to face with volcanic peaks. Shrouded by trees, the sense of privacy here is unmatched and you could easily believe you’re the only people here. The design takes its cue from nature with the colours and textures of Rwanda brought to life through local Imigongo art and the eye drawn outside by sweeping private terraces and outdoor showers. Indoors, you’ll find freestanding bathtubs and fireplaces to take the chill of those colder nights.

Why we like it

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is so much more than a base from which to see the gorillas. It represents an intimate connection to the vastness of the nature that surrounds you. A sanctuary for local birds, you’ll see them flit by from the oasis-like pool. A bountiful chef’s garden, you’ll taste local produce in every mouthful at Nest. A  hub for conservation, you’ll gather nightly by the bonfire to hear tales of endemic species. No matter whether you find yourself here, be it at the spa or the bar, nature is always at your fingertips.

Argentina: Experience a Solar Eclipse from a Luxury Private Camp

No comments yet

“On December 14th, 2020, at 1:07 in the afternoon, the world will be plunged into ethereal and temporary darkness. As the Moon makes its transit between the Earth and the Sun, those who glance (safely, with their eyes protected) into the false sky will — for 2 minutes and 10 seconds — experience one of the natural world’s rarest and most spectacular encounters.”

Join us in experiencing it.

An occurrence as unique as this, deserves to be marked. With that in mind, and in the company of our team of local Patagonian experts, we’ve rolled out the map, picked out the perfect spot and planned a route. Following the path of the eclipse, we’re setting up camp (literally) and bringing some of the best guides, astronomers and chefs in the country with us. This is no ordinary camping trip though, with luxurious setups complete with woodburning hot tubs. Your camp is completely customisable, meaning your experience is too. Spend two nights slumbering beneath astronomy in motion, but on either side of that there’s time to explore further with a night at the Rojo Tango in Buenos Aires, a mate tasting on the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake and a further starlit experience on the remote Isla Victoria. The perfect trip to mark the end of 2020, bring friends, bring family – or simply come as you are. This is one for the ages.

 

(An example of what our luxury camp in San Martín de los Andes will look and feel like)

Highlights

  • Spend two nights in a luxury Black Tomato Blink camp, designed exclusively for you, for the eclipse. Our camps come fully equipped with four-poster beds with high-quality bedding, luxury bathroom facilities, private chefs and expert guides – as well as spa therapists, bartenders and white water rafting instructors if you so wish.
  • Access to an expert astronomical guide on eclipse day who will walk you through the science behind this natural phenomena from your own private viewing spot. They’ll also provide all necessary eclipse viewing equipment, such as glasses and telescopes.
  • Experience a traditional Argentinian asado from your luxury camp, beneath a star-blanketed sky and complete with local music and entertainment, on the evening before the eclipse.
  • Pre and post eclipse, we are able to curate a custom set of experiences throughout Argentina – such as a night in a luxury wilderness camp on the remote Isla Victoria or an evening behind the scenes of one of Buenos Aires’s top speakeasy bars. It doesn’t have to be over just because the sun’s come out.

Read More

Villa Beluno, Bariloche

No comments yet

Down a winding alpine road, perched on a precipice overlooking the iridescent waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake, you’ll find Villa Beluno. Caught somewhere between escapism and immersion, between harsh jagged peaks and soft morning light, this intimate 13-suite hotel has perfected a delicate interplay of the senses. There is a lightness of touch to the all-encompassing luxury here – and as you gaze in wonder over the landscapes of Bariloche from your private balcony, you’ll realise you’re exactly where you need to be.

Location

From Bariloche airport, spend an hour winding your way along the panoramic banks of Nahuel Huapi to discover Villa Beluno. Shrouded in Andean forest, you’ll catch the first glimpse as you rise up over a hill onto the San Pedro Peninsula. Here, a palatial European inspired villa spills out before you, running all the way down to the lakeshore. Days at Villa Beluno are best spent outdoors, exploring the bountiful nature that surrounds you. Whether that’s out mountain biking, hiking – or merely skimming stones across the lake surface – is up to you.

Your Room

Making the most of their lake views, each of the suites at Villa Beluno is flooded with light and opens up onto a private balcony. The sight of the shores and gardens outdoors is amplified by warm earthy tones indoors, through the use of local lenga wood and statement stone walls. This, though, is simultaneously softened by sheepskin carpets, the flicker of a wood burner and the promise of relaxation in deep soaking tubs. The result is both timelessly elegant – but also cosy and inviting.

Why we like it

The cuisine at Villa Beluno is standout. There’s no question about it. But there’s so much more to it than just taste. Drawing influence from Italian and French cuisine, the team here have fused generations-old family recipes with contemporary interpretations to create something quite special. The produce is undeniably local too, with ingredients grown in the property’s own hydroponic greenhouse, ensuring that these international flavours are delivered with minimal environmental impact.

Shinta Mani Siem Reap

No comments yet

Step into an astonishing getaway at Shinta Mani Siem Reap. Reaching beyond the bounds of imagination, creativity flows through every detail of the design with distinctive black and white geometric designs lifted by flamboyant décor and lush, exotic greenery rising and draping at every turn. Idyllic for couples, the ten stylish villas deliver a secluded setting to reconnect and unwind in between exploring Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

LOCATION

Peacefully nestled on a quiet street within Siem Reap’s bustling centre, Shinta Mani is easily walkable from the fantastic bars and restaurants that the city has to offer. Nevertheless, the tranquillity of the hotel removes you from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. A private Tuk Tuk is available for use when the exhaustion kicks in from all the adventures whilst a 20-minute drive takes you to and from the airport and Angkor Wat lies within 15 minutes away.

YOUR ROOM

Raising the bar on luxury, the villa designs are as carefully thought out as the rest of the hotel, with antique books and vintage telephones tastefully displayed. Slide open the glass doors and jump straight into your private pool before grabbing a refreshing beer and relaxing among the exotic flora surrounding your terrace. Our favourite touch though? Returning each day to an al fresco bathtub filled with delicate orchid petals and fantastic views as the sun slowly sets over Siem Reap.

WHY WE LIKE IT

There hasn’t only been attention paid to design here – but to service too. A welcoming private host will be at hand with a relaxed yet attentive approach throughout as you experience private breakfasts on your villa’s terrace or out on the rooftop, or anything else your heart desires. Perhaps you’re looking for a change of scene? In which case, why not pay a visit to one of the sister hotels across the street, unwinding at the fantastic swimming pools and spa, or indulge in a private candlelit dinner with traditional Cambodian dance performance and live music for an extra touch.

SUSTAINABILITY

The impressive work of Shinta Mani Foundation makes this hotel one of our favourites for many reasons. To support local communities, the foundation established a hospitality school to provide opportunities for disadvantaged individuals to receive training to support long-term employment. Some of those from the hospitality school you will see working at the hotel and are true assets to the Shinta Mani family. Additionally, the foundation provides school supplies within local hotels and builds homes for the community.

Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito

No comments yet

For those of us that have long dreamed of packing it all in and moving to the beach, Rosewood Miramar Beach may just be the answer. A spectacular estate that sprawls across 16 acres of landscaped gardens, leading onto one of Southern California’s most heralded beaches, it feels like the getaway you never need leave. 161 rooms and suites welcome you home here whilst a host of innovative restaurants, a restorative spa and an exclusive member’s only beach club cater to every whim.

Location

Whilst many will lose Montecito in the shadow of Santa Barbara, those that find it, find something spectacular. Far from left in the dark, this small town is a shining light of the American Riviera. Tucked between the San Ysidro Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find Miramar Beach, one of the best stretches of coast we’ve ever strolled across. A 90-minute drive from Los Angeles or 15-minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport and you’ve arrived at once of America’s finest beach getaways.

Your Room

Making the most of its beachfront location, the rooms and suites at Rosewood Miramar Beach benefit from private patios and terraces with views over the ocean or into the gardens. There is an overarching aesthetic of modern sophistication here with light, airy spaces and hushed coastal tones framed by luxurious fabrics and contemporary designs. Looking for a space to never leave, we fell in love with the Beach House Suites with their panoramic views from terraces teetering over the sands below. It’s more than enough to convince you to take the plunge and live your life on the beach.

Why we like it

Whether it’s the flawless beach butler service of the Miramar Club, the taste of Southern Italy meeting hyperlocal Californian produce at Caruso or the ‘Lost Remedies’ that make up the treatment list of Sense Spa, Rosewood Miramar Beach will have you falling in love with the American Riviera again and again.

Lazalu, Zion National Park

No comments yet

Completely off the grid and set beneath the star-strewn skies and awe-inspiring landscapes of Zion National Park, it comes as little surprise that Lazalu started life as a secluded artist’s retreat. Whilst you’re more than welcome to channel your artistic spirit and pick up a paintbrush, today, we find the best canvas to be that which lies outside your door. Spend your days exploring the bounty of the National Park before returning each evening to the bold colours and homely atmosphere of Lazalu. An intimate bolthole for just eight people, Lazalu is never short on character and will leave you with the most overwhelming feeling of contentment.

Location

On the western edge of Zion National Park, Lazalu opens its front door onto some of the country’s most spectacular hiking. A 20-minute walk and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the park itself – without any of the usual crowds. You could easily go your entire stay at Lazalu without seeing another soul beyond the property manager, there to help you with whatever you may need. Lazalu is a retreat in the truest sense of the word. A two-hour drive from Las Vegas (or spectacular 40-minute helicopter flight), it’s an easily attainable remoteness too.

Your Room

Comprising the Zion Guest House and Adobe Suite, there’s room for just eight guests at any one time at Lazalu. With two bedrooms in the former and one in the latter, it’s possible to take a house on its own but we think Lazalu works best in its entirety. The perfect escape for a multi-generational family or group of friends. The design is eclectic, and rightly so, with art-fuelled touches creating a rustic elegance. From adobe stone walls to the enormous standalone marble bathtub and sheepwagon out in the garden, there are few places like it.

Why we like it

In the ever frenetic world we live in, Lazalu is one of the few places where you can fully disconnect. 40 minutes from the nearest town, there is not a sound to be heard nor a light to be seen. The stars here seem so close you feel as if you could reach out and touch them. The internet is but a distant memory with ‘connection’ taking an altogether different meaning. Ancient petroglyphs, pristine reservoirs that beckon on hot summer days and hikes without another soul in sight; connect, instead, with Zion.

Sustainability

Recognising the beauty of the environment in which it finds itself, Lazalu is an entirely green and off-grid retreat. The property relies instead on its own well and solar power system. If the lights do go out though? All the better we say for really showcasing those night skies.

Madeline Hotel & Residences, Telluride

No comments yet

Adventurers, make yourself at home at Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection. In the heart of Colorado’s backcountry, alpine trails and unbridled nature await. Cosy down in one of the 95 rooms and suites – or perhaps find a space to call your own in the residences – before savouring modern mountain cuisine at the signature fire tables of Black Iron Kitchen & Bar and resetting from the day with natural inspired therapies in the spa.

Location

Tucked away down in the base of a canyon, flanked by red rocks and snowcapped peaks, adventure extends from Telluride in every direction. From Madeline Hotel & Residences, both ski slopes and hiking trails run from your doorstep. To get here, it’s just a short 15-minute drive from the US’s highest airport, Telluride Regional Airport. Further afield, Montrose, Grand Junction, Durango, even Denver, will bring you into the outdoors.

Your Room

Commanding views over either the village or mountains, the 95 rooms and suites are characterised by warming leather tones and Alpine sentiment. Boasting deep soaking tubs and balconies – plus fireplaces in the case of the suites – these are spaces to retreat to and relax in at the end of a day outdoors. If you’re looking for more space or to stay a little longer though, the residences come hard to beat with all the warmth of a private home and all the luxury of high touch service. To really get away from it all, head 50 miles north to Sleeping Indian Ranch. Your very own slice of the West with eight bedrooms and 15,000 acres.

Why we like it

There’s no hiding from it, Madeline Hotel & Residences is a place for adventure. Days here are spent exploring the outdoors with private horseback trails, cycling through the San Juan Mountains, trout fishing on the San Miguel River and whitewater rafting down Snaggletooth Rapid. Come evening, it’s over to the bonfire for gold-dipped s’mores and a warming glass of whiskey. Whilst in the winter, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and dog sledding abound with apres served up slopeside at M Lounge.

Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara

No comments yet

Rubbing shoulders with Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighbourhood, Hotel Californian isn’t afraid to do things differently. A luxury 121 room hotel, Hotel Californian is setting out to redefine the American Riviera with its unique blend of Spanish Revival and Moroccan inspired architecture complemented by flawless Martyn Lawrence Bullard design. Sleek and sophisticated, there is a calming effect to a stay here with a rooftop pool overlooking the ocean, innovative yoga classes held in sun-dappled courtyards and Turkish inspired treatments set to revitalize in Majorelle spa.

Location

Caught between the oceanfront and iconic Route 101, Hotel Californian boasts a quintessential California address. Stop off as part of a West Coast road trip, with the property an hour and a half’s drive north of Los Angeles and five hours’ south of San Francisco. Alternatively, Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is just a 15-minute drive away. Once you’re settled in, it’s time to get out and explore. Grab one of Hotel Californian’s custom bicycles and head out to explore the graffiti murals and wine rooms of the Funk Zone or head further afield and explore this stunning stretch of coast.

Your Room

Whilst there is an overarching aesthetic of Spanish Revival meets Moroccan flair, each of the 121 rooms has something distinct to offer. Be that the view they look out onto, the option of Juliet balconies or private verandas, or a fireplace to cosy up by. The design is undeniably bold with a monochromatic colour scheme lifted by opulent dark blues and accented by gold tones and mosaics of tiles that have come all the way from Morocco. But our favourite feature? The selection of local spirits and small-batch mixers. There to refresh, yes, but also to remind you this is no ordinary hotel.

Why we like it

Santa Barbara boasts an impressive set of culinary credentials – you need look no further than the Urban Wine Trail and smattering of bohemian restaurants to prove it. Nor do you need leave Hotel Californian to get a taste of it. Start your day with an alfresco brunch at Goat Tree, perhaps picking up a picnic for later. If you’re staying in, an afternoon at the rooftop pool awaits with handcrafted cocktails courtesy of Tan Tan to keep you refreshed. Once the sun has set, it’s onto Blackbird, Hotel Californian’s signature restaurant. Here, you’ll find finger-on-the-pulse Mediterranean cooking with locally sourced, hyper-seasonal ingredients. End the night with an ever-inventive nightcap at Djinn and you have the perfect taste of Santa Barbara.