SLH Be Inspired Magazine Issue 2

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SCHOOL OF COOL Ski skills, winter activities, Christmas family holidays

EXOTIC ESCAPES Mexico uncovered, the best places to unplug, innovative islands, romantic hideaways


Luxury pilgrimages, culture & gourmet, spa & shopping





Luxury Leather Goods and Accessories Hand Crafted in the United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 8877 1616

Baros Maldives

WELCOME to Be Inspired In the ever-changing world of travel, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ strives to keep pace with the very best. And Be Inspired is our wonderful showcase of all that’s new and exciting about your favourite hotel collection and the world around it. As we went to press, SLH is delighted to welcome new hotels in The Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, pushing the boundaries of luxury travel with hotels in destinations as far flung as Nicaragua, Vietnam and Slovenia as well as old favourites including New York City, Japan and Portugal. Existing hotels also announced upgraded facilities, renovation programmes and new packages, continuing to improve the service they offer to you. Choice continues to be what SLH is all about. A greater choice of destinations, a greater number, style and type of hotel within those destinations, and a greater variety of memorable experiences available in and around those hotels. And you also have the choice of how to pay for your stay. Look at our pre-paid stay options for value savings. Or join The Club and take advantage of our private monthly pre-paid flash sales. Quality is another key attribute. The quality you receive when hotels are small and able to offer intimate experiences. All our hotels work in harmony and thrive from their locale. As the champion of independent hotels, each has its own distinct personality, determined by the owner, who is often on hand to contribute to the authentic personalised service and insider appreciation of the local culture. Throughout the pages of Be Inspired, we bring you a taste of the quantity and quality of experiences on offer. We hope you enjoy the features and, if you are a Club member (it’s easy to join, just visit, we look forward to treating you to room upgrades and other benefits on your next trip. Booking couldn’t be easier, whether through, on your iPhone or iPad, Facebook, or with your favourite travel agent. And for a personalised itinerary just for you, simply contact our dedicated call centres. It’s all there in the name. Small Luxury Hotels of the World™. Small hotels. Big experiences.

P a u l Ke r r C E O f o r Small Luxury Hotels of The World™ and Joint Managing Direc tor of Hill, Goodridge & A ssociates Ltd.

B r i a n Mi l l s Joint Managing Direc tor of Hill, Goodridge & A ssociates Ltd. Hill, Goodridge & Associates Ltd. is the global management c o m p a n y o f S m a l l L u x u r y H o t e l s o f t h e Wo r l d ™ L t d . PRODUCTION Editor: Jane Anderson Production Editor: Anna Wood, SLH Email: Design & Production: Strattons ( Front cover image: Hotel Belvedere, Mykonos, Greece Back cover image: Blanket Bay, near Queensland, New Zealand © Small Luxury Hotels of the World Ltd™

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retreival system, digitised or transmitted in any form, whether by means of photocopying electronically, mere copying or in any other way, without obtaining the written consent of Small Luxury Hotels of the World Ltd™.

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Left: Sublime Samana Hotel & Residence, Dominican Republic Middle: Family skiing Right: South Lodge Hotel, England

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MAKE IT A DATE What's happening around the world – from the European Capital of Culture to Aussie food festivals.

10-13 NEW HOTELS TO INSPIRE Discover the impressive range of hot new SLH hotels from Nicaragua to Cambodia.

20-23 A QUESTION OF TASTE Think you can handle 12 courses? Then check out the SLH guide to tasting menus. Also find our stellar wine cellars and beachfront dining ideas.

24-25 STYLE & SUBSTANCE From cocooning spaces to bringing local landmarks inside, why hotel design adds a whole other dimension to your stay.

14-17 SCHOOL OF COOL Match the right ski resort to your downhill skills for maximum results. Plus all the best winter mountain activities from sleigh rides to Nordic walking.

18-19 TOTAL IMMERSION Getting under the skin of your holiday destination from antique hunting to elephant safaris.


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26-27 LUXURY PILGRIMAGES How the Grand Tour has evolved for the 21st century traveller.


SUITE LIFE Why London is on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list and where to find the best suites in the capital.

30-31 ENGLISH COUNTRY MANNERS Bracing walks and afternoon tea beside a roaring fire. Why you can’t beat a weekend in the English countryside.

32-33 ON THE EMERALD ROAD Take to Ireland’s highways and byways for an uplifting spring break.

34-35 MEXICAN WAVE From the Mayan Riviera to the Baja California Sur, check out the best of Mexico, ancient and modern.

36-37 DIGITAL ESCAPES From remote ranches to rainforest hideaways, unplug and reboot body and soul.


38 38-41 CASTAWAY IS THE NEW SWITCHED ON Island resorts are leading the way when it comes to innovative getaways from tribal art classes to volcanoview dining.

42-43 MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN For romantic sojourns, the secret is matching your couple type to the right holiday.

44-45 HAPPY FAMILIES How to keep kids and parents happy on holiday, plus the best children’s clubs around and where to go for a cracker of a family Christmas.

Left: Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia Middle: Canaves Oia, Santorini Right: Seiser Alm Urthaler, Italy

48 56 48-51 PAMPER ME Spa resorts to complement whatever type of holiday you have planned, plus girls' pampering getaways.

52-53 BRING IT BACK Insider tips on what to buy in some of the world’s great shopping cities, plus top Christmas Markets.

56-57 HOW WAS IT FOR YOU? Posts from The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™.


54-55 A CRAFTMANSHIP OF CARE SLH general managers divulge their secrets when it comes to caring for a new wave of luxury travellers.

ON THE ROAD WITH SLH Q&A with Honoured Club Member Pete Beor.



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Where will your imagination take you? To the end of the boardroom table? Or to the place of your dreams? Of course, how you get there is important. Perhaps you should consider one of the world’s finest yachts with proven performance and unsurpassed build quality, designed to take you as far away from the routine as possible. To discover a world of difference, from 46 to 125 feet, please call +44 (0)1473 695 005 or email us at SAIL | BROKERAGE | CHARTER | REFIT



New Year’s Eve FLORIDA KEYS For a different take on New York’s traditional New Year’s Eve ‘ball drop’ in Times Square, Key West’s celebrations include the dropping of a gigantic manmade conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, at Sloppy Joe's Bar. Party on at the Santa Maria Suites Resort, less than one block from happening Duval Street.

From Marseilles-Provence, the European Capital of Culture 2013, to new food festivals in Australia, SLH hotels around the world take you right to the heart of the action. Santa Maria Suites Resort


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DIARY Station Centennial







Marseille-Provence is the European Capital of Culture 2013 and events kick off on the weekend of January 12 to 13 with a French air force aerobatic display, pyrotechnical shows, musical performances and a giant treasure hunt. Among the many celebrations scheduled throughout the year, art features high on the list. ‘From Van Gogh to Bonnard’ at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Marseille and ‘From Cézanne to Matisse’ at the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, both celebrate painters inspired by the region. Ensconce yourselves in luxury at Hotel Le Pigonnet.



Chinese New Year HONG KONG Celebrate the Year of the Snake in Hong Kong with the International Chinese New Year Night Parade on Sunday 10 February where festive crowds line the route around Tsim Sha Tsui to watch the colourful parade pass by, Victoria Harbour serving as a stunning backdrop. Monday 11 February sees the lunar New Year firework display and on 12 February, visitors can head to the Sha Tin racecourse for a lucky flutter. Stay at the designer Lanson Place Hotel close to Causeway Bay where the Hong Kong Flower Show is held in the run up to Chinese New Year.


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Taiwan’s Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (24 February) is widely regarded as the world’s second largest carnival. Revellers gather in the small mountain town of Pingxi, write their wishes on the lanterns, which, rising in their thousands and transporting wishes towards the heavens, look like stars glittering the skies. Stay at Hotel Quote named ‘The Best Boutique Hotel in Asia-Pacific’ at Business Traveller AsiaPacific Awards or the elegant San Want Residences Taipei, with its superb collection of modern sculptures and paintings, both in the heart of Taipei.

New York City’s iconic Grand Central Station celebrates its 100th birthday in 2013. Centennial events begin on February 1 with a day of music, public performances and the opening of a dramatic new multimedia exhibition about the Terminal’s history. Find out how much the clock in the centre of the Terminal is really worth and where President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s private train is hidden before tucking into champagne and oysters at the Oyster Bar & Restaurant. The 7-14 February is also New York Fashion Week; New York City Ballet’s Winter Season runs from 15 January to 24 February and the New York Botanical Garden has an Orchid Show from 2 March to 22 April. Plenty of reasons to visit the Big Apple and stay at The Refinery (opening soon), one of five SLH New York hotels, in the heart of the garmant district, near Byrant Park. Celebrate with artisanal cocktails on the Rooftop Bar whilst enjoying cinematic views of Manhattan.

The Refinery

DIARY Grasmere Lodge


Gourmet Calendar

The British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival from 25 to 31 March is a great reason to visit this stunning Caribbean destination renowned for some of the best sailing in the world. Now in its 42nd year, over 150 boats take off to race on three courses around the Sir Francis Drakes Channel, while the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay on Tortola creates a party every night. See all the action when you stay at Katitche Point Greathouse on Virgin Gorda with breathtaking views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Margaret River, one of Australia’s top food and wine regions, hosts a new festival, The Gourmet Escape from 22 to 25 November. Over four days, 25 of the world’s best chefs, wine critics and celebrities including culinary creative Heston Blumenthal will run master classes, pop-up restaurants, cooking demonstrations and tastings at unusual venues including vineyards, beaches, forests and caves. Complement the culinary excitement with a stay at Injidup Spa Retreat or Smiths Beach Resort, both in the Margaret River region.



CAYMAN ISLANDS French chef Eric Ripert, of three Michelin star "Le Bernadin" in New York, hosts a weekend-long gathering of culinary greats at this year’s Cayman Cookout on Grand Cayman from 17 to 20 January. This year’s line-up includes chef and author Anthony Bourdain and David Kinch of California’s Manresa. Stay at the Cotton Tree, Grand Cayman.

Motor Racing

CHARLESTON USA The Charleston Wine + Food Festival (28 February to 3 March) attracts America’s hottest chefs to the stunning South Carolina shore. Book one of the Perfectly Paired Dinners at which Charleston chefs are joined by a guest chef and expert winemaker for a five-course tasting menu. Stay at Wentworth Mansion, Charleston.

The Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix now alternates between the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona and the Valencia Street Circuit in Valencia. From 10 to 12 May it’s the turn of Barcelona. Stay at Gran Derby Hotel, a relaxing bolthole with its own private garden and outdoor pool or the Hotel Bagués, a renovated palace right on La Rambla.

NEW ZEALAND The Hokitika Wild Food Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand (9 March) celebrates the best of New Zealand’s west coast cuisine. If wasp larvae ice cream or cucumber fish aren’t your thing, try a wild boar long dog or an award-winning sheep’s milk cheese. Stay at Grasmere Lodge, Canterbury.




Katitche Point Greathouse

Smiths Beach Resort

Wentworth Mansion


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N EW H OT E LS TO IN SPIR E When you're well travelled, it's a treat to discover a new bolthole. SLH has an impressive range of hot new hotels from Nicaragua to Cambodia, guaranteed to revive your wanderlust.


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We are pleased to announce that we now have a hotel in one of the world's most popular destinations: Hawaii. Made up of hundreds of islands, Hawaii's varied natural scenery including active volcanoes, beautiful beaches, mountains and its fantastic climate, make it a very popular location to visit. Situated on the island of Maui, Hotel Wailea is an all-suite boutique hotel, nestled in the hillsides with awe inspiring views of the mountains, white beaches and sparkling Pacific Ocean, where you can be as busy or as relaxed as you want. Learn to kiteboard with a professional guide if you're feeling energetic, or try your hand at yoga with your personal instructor for a more restful time. Nicaragua is a land famed for revolution, poetry, lakes and volcanoes. Too often associated with the Contra War which ended more than 15 years ago, it is actually one of the safest countries in Central America. Mukul Luxury Resort & Spa (Mukul meaning ‘secret’ in a Mayan dialect) is a ground breaking, eco-sensitive, boutique resort on Guacalito de la Isla. Each of the 37 spacious villas comes with its own pool, and there’s an emphasis on anticipating guests' needs – be that at the beach club, restaurant or spa. David McLay Kidd has designed what is sure to be an award winning 18-hole Guacalito Golf Course with stunning ocean views, and crucially, without cutting down any trees.

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico just keeps on getting hotter with its designer hotels, white sand beaches, lush rainforest, top reefs and surf. SLH has two exciting new hotels, ideal for a twin-centre experience. O:live Boutique Hotel is located in San Juan’s ritziest neighbourhood, Condado, with its designer shops and sophisticated bistros, yet close to the beach too. Influenced by the art and culture of the Mediterranean, O:live has just opened a new Rooftop Club with a sophisticated lounge, pool, Jacuzzis and panoramic views of the Condado Lagoon. For one of the most stunning golf course settings in the world, head to Royal Isabela on the Puerto Rico’s northwestern Atlantic coast. The Golf Links at Royal Isabela, designed by Stanley and Charlie Pasarell and golf architect David W. Pfaff, opened last year and is perched dramatically on craggy cliff tops. It recently won the best course in the world in Robb Report magazine. Guests have a choice of 20 beautifully designed, onebedroom casitas (little houses) with stunning ocean views and private plunge pools. There is a huge emphasis on sustainability plus an organic farm to support farm to table initiatives in The Restaurant at La Casa, the hotel's main house. The Quin Hotel is the latest chic hotel to open in New York City. Located just steps away from Central Park south and Carnegie Hall, its artistic ambience harks back to the Arts and Crafts movement, at its peak when the hotel was originally built. All guest rooms and suites have The DUX beds, Nespresso Espresso Machines and artisanal Fresh spa products.

Opposite Page Left: Mukul Luxury Resort & Spa Middle insert: Capuchin monkey, Nigaragua This Page Middle top: Hotel Wailea Middle bottom: O:live Boutique Hotel Right top: Central Park, New York City Right bottom: Royal Isabela, Puerto Rico

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This Page Left: Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang, Vietnam Middle top: Angkor Village Hotel & Resort, Cambodia Middle bottom: The Club Saujana Resort, Kuala Lumpur Opposite Page Left top: Nira Caledonia, Edinburgh Right top: La Maltese Estate, Santorini

ASIA PACIFIC Hong Kong is known as one of the world’s most vibrant cities enticing visitors with its heady mix of ancient and modern. Exciting new Hotel Pravo Hong Kong is nestled off Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, in the heart of bustling Kowloon. Designed by one of Hong Kong’s hottest architectural teams, its special touches include 24-hour dining, a rooftop terrace with three Jacuzzis, a sky garden and cool views of Victoria Harbour.

to Mount Fugen to view the lava flow from the 1990 eruption. One of the world’s great sights is Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple complex ever built, dating back to the 12th century. Stay at Angkor Village Hotel & Resort, architecturally inspired by traditional villages built in Khmer with wooden houses nestled among tropical ponds and gardens. Between spa treatments and sightseeing, take an elephant ride with knowledgeable mahouts.

For another Asian city stay but this time with a tranquil lake and golf course setting, check into The Club Saujana Resort in Shah Alam, tantalizingly close to the Malay capital of Kuala Lumpur. From your lap of luxury you’ll be able to visit the top sights like the Petronas Twin Towers or book the hotel’s personal shopping service.

Vietnam is a country just waiting to wow you. Tucked away on breathtaking Hon Tre Island, Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang is reached by a spectacular 10-minute trip on board the luxurious Spanish Astonda 44 Fly Yacht. Stay in a sumptuous villa and treat yourselves to a massage in the overwater Vincharm Spa, a round of golf or a spot of tennis.

If you fancy a change of pace, the spa town of Unzen in Japan is a traditional summer retreat for its cooler temperatures and heavenly hot springs. Stay at the Unzen Kanko Hotel where Swiss chalet style meets Tiffany lamps and William Morris wallpaper. There’s a fabulous spa and an awardwinning restaurant. Visit the ‘Hells’ or ‘Jigoku’ area to see sulphurous and boiling hot springs or take a hike through Japan’s oldest national park, Unzen-Amakusa, via Nita Pass

Further to the south, set on the shores of Ke Ga Bay, you will find the chic Princess d’Ân Nam Resort & Spa with its beautiful villas, fabulous spa and views of the East Sea. Take a tour of the surrounding area and discover the winding village roads of Binh Thuan Province. Drive past rice paddy fields and dragon fruit orchards to impressive mountains and National Parks rich in rainforests before returning for a delicious dinner in your villa.


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EUROPE With more European choice than ever before, SLH features some wonderfully diverse new hotels from Scotland to Santorini. The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is a majestic city to explore any time of year, but its Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) street party and Winter Fair are legendary. Ensconce yourselves at the Nira Caledonia and you’ll never want to leave. Here bohemian chic meets contemporary comfort with Nespresso coffee machines and iPod docking stations in the rooms and regional specialties like smoked Scottish salmon and haggis, neeps and tatties in the restaurant. Inspiring you to visit new destinations is what SLH is all about and Eastern Europe is certainly an intriguing playground. New hotels include the IDW Esperanza Resort in Lithuania, a forest eco resort beside a beautiful lake. Come in winter and there’s ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing on the agenda. Or how about a romantic winter city break at Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa in the heart of Ljubljana, Slovenia, a gem of a city with a dazzling hilltop castle, vibrant culture and emerald-green river? Portugal is the sleeping giant of European holidays. Always subtle but just as stunning as Italy, France and Spain, this modest country ticks all the boxes for beautiful weather, gorgeous and relatively undiscovered beaches, delicious and inspiring food, a plethora of vineyards and a rich culture.

Head south to Quinta das Lágrimas Palace (Estate of Tears), once a private sanctuary that welcomed kings and emperors, and now an elegant hotel in Coimbra, the ancient capital of Portugal which lies halfway between Lisbon and Porto. The hotel is famed for its one Michelin star restaurant, Bamboo Garden Spa and golf academy. Portugal’s Algarve is well explored, but SLH has pushed the boundaries inland to its hidden rural idylls with Vila Monte Country & Spa Hideaway, a magnificent manor where Andalusian orange grove meets Moorish charm. With its Orangerie Restaurant, exotic Kasbah spa and golf in abundance, it’s the perfect place to unwind and just 10km to the beach. Greece is another destination that just keeps upping its game when it comes to luxury resorts. La Maltese Estate is perched 250m above the waters of the awe-inspiring caldera on Santorini. With the feel of a private members club, this elegant hotel is steeped in history having once been home to a sea-faring Greek captain and since been meticulously renovated with original antiques, opulent mirrors, oriental rugs and a grand piano. Dine under the stars on locally sourced, organic ingredients on the candlelit terrace overlooking the magnificent Aegean. Whilst on Santorini, be sure to also visit Aressana Spa Hotel & Suites in the main town of Fira, with its white cabanas by the pool, bio organic restaurant and seductive spa.

About 50 miles north of Porto lies the pretty market town of Ponte de Lima named after the majestic Roman bridge that spans the Riva Lima. Check into Carmo’s Boutique Hotel and it’s easy to explore the medieval centre and the local wine estates that produce vinho verde. Take a ride in the hotel's own horse-drawn carriage along the Lima River, stopping for a specially prepared picnic on the way. To book visit


SKI Main image supplied by: Swiss Tourism Board Middle top: CordĂŠe des Alpes, Verbier, Switzerland Top right: Kristiania Lech, Lech am Arlberg, Austria Bottom: El Lodge Ski and Spa Resort, Sierra Nevada, Spain


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SCHOOL OFCOOL FINDING THE RIGHT SKI RESORT AND SKI SCHOOL FOR YOUR DOWNHILL SKILLS IS SOMETHING OF AN ART FORM. FIND OUT WHERE TO HEAD THIS SEASON TO IMPROVE YOUR SKIING We all know the feeling. On easy, groomed runs you are bursting with confidence, but once the going gets tough your technique falls to bits. Practice alone is not sufficient. Whatever your level, from complete beginner to off-piste enthusiast, you need tuition to progress. Or perhaps you’d like to learn a new technique or have a completely fresh experience such as cross-country, ski-racing or ski-touring? Felice Hardy reports. ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS Bansko, Bulgaria The skiing is surprisingly good here, with lower runs through the trees and open skiing at the top of the area offering fresh tracks after a new snowfall. The local ski school is well respected and an excellent place to learn, whether you are a complete beginner or more experienced. Stay at the foot of the slopes at Premier Luxury Mountain Resort.

IMPROVERS Lech and Zürs, Austria Around half of Lech’s visitors choose private rather than group lessons and what they get for their money is a year-to-year continuity not necessarily experienced in other resorts. Off-piste guiding can be arranged through ski schools such as Lech and Zürs Ski School, with heli-skiing possible through Wucher Heli-skiing. Stay in the small and private Kristiania Lech. Gstaad, Switzerland The pistes are relatively tame, but the amount of skiing covered by the regional lift pass begins to compensate for the absence of gradient. Nearby Les Diablerets glacier provides reliable snow and the slopes are generally uncrowded. The three ski schools are Alpinzentrum Gstaad Snowsports, Gstaad Snowsports and Snowsports Saanenland. Stay in the zen-like atmosphere of Grand Hotel Bellevue.

Sierra Nevada, Spain The Spanish resort offers mainland Europe’s most southerly skiing – as well as some of the highest. Here you can quite feasibly ski in the morning and drive down to the beach in the afternoon. Beginners to intermediates can improve their technique here since the pistes are wide and the ski school has a high percentage of English-speaking instructors. Stay at the ski-in ski-out El Lodge Ski and Spa Resort. Kitzbühel, Austria The various ski schools here have all merged under the banner of Rote Teufel/Red Devils, which now have 350 instructors. There are also some good mountain guides you can hire here too. Although Kitzbühel isn't known for its classic off-piste descents, there's a lot of good terrain between the pistes when the conditions are good. Stay in Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel with its extensive spa to relax in after skiing.

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Main image supplied by: Swiss Tourism Board Left: Seiser Alm Urthaler, Bolzano, Italy

Jackson Hole, USA This is the spiritual home of all who like a skiing challenge. Pride of place amongst the many ski and snowboard programmes on offer goes to the Steep and Deep camps: fourday feasts of adrenaline and adventure, which take you into terrain you’ve never dreamt you could tackle. Only strong skiers need apply. Stay in the Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa in the centre of the cowboy town of Jackson. Seiser Alm, Italy This is skiing for all standards in an area that would take a lifetime to fully explore. Little-known Seiser Alm, Italy is a secret backdoor into the Sella Ronda area. Strong intermediates can join a class with Schlern 3000 ski school for their first time away from the marked pistes on a ‘taster’ skitour. Guides take you on powder runs and demonstrate the equipment needed. Stay at the Seiser Alm Urthaler, built entirely from natural materials.

Correntoso, Argentina Nearby Cerro Bayo is one of the most exclusive boutique ski resorts in Argentina and a magnet for extreme skiers – those who wish to test themselves on ever-steeper slopes. Almost half the runs are itineraries, which you can try when accompanied by one of the ski school’s international instructors. Stay at Correntoso Lake & River Hotel in the shadow of the Andes. FAST AND FURIOUS Verbier, Switzerland In the heart of Les 4 Vallees, Verbier is a perfect base for high adrenalin skiing from the top of the Mont-Fort glacier. For experienced skiers, classic runs include Tortin, Chassoure and Mont-Gelé. Off-piste is huge here and with some of the best instructors and guides in the Alps, you are sure to find the perfect slope to try out your off-pisteing techniques. Stay at Cordée des Alpes with its own pool and fantastic spa. Felice Hardy is co-editor of the ski information website 16

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SLH BLOGGER MELISSA VINELLI PREPARES HER SKI WARDROBE Another delicious summer has spun past and my girlfriends and I are firmly focused on sourcing this year’s must have fur coats and moon boots for the upcoming ski season. The question on everyone’s rosy lips: where is the next “it” ski destination, which celebrities will be the subject of many an “après ski” faux pas and most importantly...what to wear on (and off ) the slopes? For starters, to avoid getting hit by the odd snowball bearing anti-fur activist,

a Stella McCartney fake fur is the only way to go – deliciously warm and soft like the real thing. And a pair of Marc Jacobs Moon Boots paired with Moncler gloves match wonderfully whilst looking cool with a Chanel snowboard, ready to hit the powder. You can certainly expect some of the A-listers to be donning these insulating items and do a Victoria Beckham by using the slopes as a project run-way this season. Heidi Klum and Kate Hudson, who have been spotted in Aspen, Colorado, will be ones to look out for in my opinion, working classically chic monochrome outfits and head bands like born snow bunnies. I’m taking my inspiration from them this year in the hope I’ll bag a sexy ski instructor in time for Christmas – the ultimate accessory on the slopes!


SLOPE OFF AND HAVE FUN YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A DEDICATED DOWNHILL SKIER TO ENJOY AN ACTIVE WINTER WEEK IN THE MOUNTAINS. ACTIVITIES RANGE FROM THOSE WHERE YOU CAN TAKE IN THE BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS AND BREATHE THE HEALTHY MOUNTAIN AIR, TO SOMETHING THAT GIVES YOU A REAL ADRENALINE RUSH. FELICE HARDY REPORTS RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF… Sleigh-rides in Jackson Hole If you want the day off skiing there are plenty of real Western things to do – like riding at one of the working ranches. Or being pulled along in a horsedrawn sleigh through Wyoming’s National Elk Reserve. Stay in the Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa with its home-from-home atmosphere. Snowmobiling in Bansko Snowmobiling is an exciting way of exploring the snow-covered expanses at speed. If you’ve never ridden one before, you’ll find it a thrilling experience and you will often see areas you'd otherwise never be able to reach on foot. Stay at the Premier Luxury Mountain Resort with its numerous activities nearby. MORE EFFORT NEEDED… Snowshoeing in Seiser Alm and Kronplatz Zanseralm, close to Alpe di Suisi, is a tiny resort dedicated to snowshoeing. At Vilnöss ski school you can rent equipment and hire a private guide. A network of trails takes you up to Glatschalm or Dussleralm

via a restaurant offering typical South Tirolean dishes. Stay at Seiser Alm Urthaler with its tasty South Tirolean cuisine. Nordic walking in Kitzbühel Classic Nordic walking takes place on summer pastures, but you can also do it in winter. The only difference is what you wear and the special winter ‘baskets’ needed for your ski poles. The cleared winter walking routes in Kitzbühel and its surroundings offer a wealth of possibilities. Stay at the strikingly contemporary Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel. Riding in the snow at Correntoso Riding a horse through the woods, with a mountain backdrop, couldn’t be more romantic. As you meander through the National Park you will be greeted by spectacular views of Correntoso and the Nahuel Huapi Lakes. Stay in Correntoso Lake & River Hotel at the southernmost tip of the Western Hemisphere. Tubing in Sierra Nevada You sit in the middle of what looks like a colourful car tire inner tube, grip the handles, and set off down a prepared slope, twisting and turning as you go.

The tubing slope at this Spanish resort is located at the top of the children’s lift at Borreguiles. Stay in El Lodge Ski and Spa Resort, where the views up at 2100m are magnificent. ADRENALINE PUMPING Ice waterfall climbing in Lech Mountain guides from the Alpincenter Lech organise ice tours of the Arlberg Region’s many frozen waterfalls, with equipment provided. But first of all try climbing the beginners’ practice waterfall at the ice-climbing park in St Anton before progressing on to something bigger – and steeper. Stay in the beautifully decorated Kristiania Lech. Heliskiing in Verbier Enjoy fabulous views from up above on one of the daily flights available (weather permitting). Soar over forests, glaciers and beautiful slopes and if you're seeking that adrenalin rush, strap on your skis and take on the challenging descents. Stay at Cordée des Alpes in the village, set on the first and second floor of an impressive wooden ski lodge.

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With the trend in luxury travel for extraordinary, one-of-a-kind experiences, one way to guarantee lasting memories is to be immersed in local culture, be it cooking classes, learning local crafts or village encounters. Hotels are increasingly offering curated travel, employing historians, archaeologists or astronomers as travel guides and connecting guests with local characters for a unique perspective.

TOTAL IMMERSION GETTING UNDER THE SKIN OF YOUR HOLIDAY DESTINATION IS ALL THE RAGE THESE DAYS. NICKI GRIHAULT INVESTIGATES Left: Les Sources de Caudalie, France Middle top: Thai Boxing ring, The Siam, Bangkok Middle bottom: Ulagalla Resort, Sri Lanka Right: Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia


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La Bastide De Marie, Provence, France The area around this dreamy country house set in a vineyard is famous for antiques. Armed with advice from owner Jocelyne Sibuet, at weekends guests can hunt for everything from hand-painted furniture to embroidery in factories or warehouses in L’Isle-sur-laSorgue, a village famous for its antiques. Nicknamed 'Little Venice', for its canals with quaint paddle wheels, join locals at its Sunday morning Provençal market. Cour des Loges, Lyon, France 'Secret Treasures' tours are an unusual offering from this architectural gem set in Renaissance buildings around a Florentine courtyard in the old Gaul capital. On the half-day walking tour Hidden Monsters & Gargoyles, author of The Master of Gargoyles Nicolas Lebreton weaves legends and stories around dragons, monsters and griffins. Brandenburger Hof Hotel, Berlin, Germany This discreet boutique hotel in a ‘fin de siecle’ mansion in the bustling capital specialises in tailormade arrangements in culture, art and cuisine. The ‘Contemporary art arrangement’ highlights Berlin as a hot spot for rising artists. It includes a tour to important galleries in a chauffeured limousine, privately guided by a renowned expert and can include meetings with artists in their studios.

The Siam, Bangkok, Thailand The Siam holds its Thai cooking class in a special setting – the century-old Thai teakwood house owned by socialite Connie Mangskau, whose legendary parties were attended by Jacqueline Kennedy and the Rockefellas. It also has a Thai Boxing ring, and offers guests a Muay Thai boxing experience with specialist instruction and professional fights at historic stadiums with opportunity to meet the boxers. Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua Hin, Thailand This all-suite boutique resort, set on the beautiful Gulf of Thailand, offers a three-day adrenalin-filled experience with its “Gourmet Gliders Retreat”. Highlights include a trip to the Aleenta farm to choose fresh ingredients for your Master Thai cooking class, visiting the local market for a mix of eastern and western produce and not forgetting a Paramotor aerial tour, gliding over the beautiful beaches and surrounding countryside. All this completed by a private dinner by candlelight on the golden sands of Pak Nampran Bay. The Luang Say Residence, Luang Prabang, Laos Private crafted day excursions at this colonialstyle escape range from a rustic river boat trip to meditate with monks at Wat Hat Seo Buddhist temple to the services of a professional photographer around the scenic markets, villages and temples of UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang. Other trips take guests to create a Batik with guidance from a Hmong tribe master.

The Serai, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India In-house coffee connoisseur Mr Savio tempts guests from their pool villas to explore India's coffee country on a day's Plantation Tour. Tracing the journey from bean to cup, it includes roasting and curing, sampling and a coffee museum. Inspired heritage experiences include joining Jain pilgrims at the 57foot Gommateshvara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola, the world's largest monolithic statue. Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka This eco-retreat in a restored 'walawwa' or grand ancestral home with private plunge pools offers tailormade tours of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. A three-hour guided cycle tour explores village life and the ancient ruined kingdom of King Dutugemunus. One of the most magical experiences though, is a safari to Minneriya National Park, where elephants gather around a waterhole at sunset. Tanjong Jara Resort, Dungun, Malaysia This spa resort resembling a 17th century Malay palace on a beautiful east coast beach offers new themed culture–rich retreats based on the ancient Malay concept of Sucimurni which emphasises spirit, health and wellbeing with personalised menus, spa treatments and activities. The Sucimurni Signature gives insight into the traditional Malay way of life and includes the art of making Ubat Periuk (traditional health tonics and remedies), The Santapan Retreat offers a gustatory exploration with cooking classes and an exotic culinary tour and, on the Sesegar Bayu Retreat, designed for rest and rejuvenation, guests learn the art of Malay massage.

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A QUESTION OF TASTE Forget about the traditional trio of starter, main, dessert, these days, any chef worth his rosettes (or étoiles Michelin or toques Gault Millau) conjures up at least one multi-course tasting menu, designed to take diners’ palates on a journey of culinary discovery. Like a great novel or piece of music, the best examples hook you in with a titillating intro, designed to awaken the tastebuds and pique your curiosity. At the Michelin two-star ABaC Restaurant & Hotel in Barcelona, chef Jordi Cruz kicks off his 12-course extravaganza with a nitro sour yoghurt lollipop with Iranian caviar, prepared tableside by theatrically freezing the yoghurt in liquid nitrogen. Cruz’s signature creative style is distilled in to just one neat mouthful that leaves diners hungry for more. Of course, you shouldn’t walk away feeling stuffed, but rather nicely sated, so the best menus give an overview of the restaurant’s style through a series of small, well-chosen dishes. At Copenhagen’s Nimb Hotel, executive chef Allan Poulsen has put together a seasonal nine-course menu that makes the most of the best local produce, retaining the subtle flavours of summer and preserving the intensity of winter. ‘Cold flavours’ like fish and seafood give way to punchier meat dishes, before a palate-cleansing refresher leads you perfectly on to dessert. Prepare to be dazzled by a combination of white chocolate, dill, celeriac, browned butter ice cream and a vinegar granita, described by Poulsen as ‘a dish to break all the rules’. 20

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Ingredients don’t get more local than those selected by Mark Jordan for his sevencourse menu at The Atlantic Hotel on Jersey in the Channel Islands. He cleverly marries langoustine tails with an indulgent oyster mayonnaise, sourcing the seafood from St Ouen’s Bay, the five-mile stretch of sandy bay that sits directly beneath his Michelin-starred Ocean Restaurant. Depending on the time of year, Mark also makes use of the top-notch beef, honey and cheeses to be found on the island. At the Relais Villa d’Amelia near Alba in the Langhe region of Italy, chef Damiano Nigro makes the most of his local larder by incorporating the area’s famous white truffles and first-class veal in to his updated Piedmontese dishes. The Langhe hills are equally well known for outstanding wines, including Barolo and Barbaresco. As part of the hotel’s Ultra Gourmet Package, guests can enjoy a private tour and tasting at one of the finest local wineries.

Rhubarb Dessert, The Atlantic Hotel, Jersey

If you thought the tasting menu trend was newfangled, you’d be wrong. In Japan, kaiseki menus grew out of the tea ceremony rituals that date back to the 16th century. These highly formalised meals balance taste, texture and visual appeal through a series of dishes that follows a very strict order. The best kaiseki cuisine is found in and around Kyoto so head to the riverside Hoshinoya Kyoto in Arashiyama to the west of the city. Here, you’ll find a nine-course kaiseki menu as visually stunning as it is a delight to the tastebuds. Just up the road the Michelin three-star Kitcho Arashiyama is widely regarded as one of the world’s best restaurants for kaiseki cuisine.

Hoshinoya Kyoto, Japan

For those prepared to put themselves firmly in the chef’s hands, surprise menus are an intriguing way to sample the kitchen’s delights. At the Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte in Viareggio, Italy, Giuseppe Mancino offers ‘Twelve dishes…my way’ in the Michelin-starred Il Piccolo Principe. “Some dishes are taken from the à la carte menu and others are more improvised according to what the market offers that day”, says Mancino.

Ketschauer Hof, Germany

At the Ketschauer Hof in Deidesheim, Germany chef Jens Fischer offers a ten-course surprise menu as well as so-called ‘Twenues’ for guests in their twenties. These are especially designed to introduce younger, more hesitant diners to Fisher’s modern, innovative cuisine. The chefs all agree that tasting menus offer an ideal introduction to their food. Allan Poulsen of Nimb likens tasting menus to figure skating, while the à la carte is more like speed skating: “they’re kind of the same but different”, he says. “Whether guests choose from the à la carte or tasting menus, the goal is the same: to serve top quality ingredients cooked to perfection”. Amber Dalton is a food writer specialising in restaurants and wine who contributes to Olive and Sainsbury's magazines, as well as the Good Food Guide and Square Meal

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wine cellars LES SOURCES DE CAUDALIE, BORDEAUX, FRANCE Enjoy a tutored tasting at this luxury hotel based among the vineyards of the renowned Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Sample one of 1200 wines in the tasting tower overlooking the vines.

Les Sources de Caudalie, France

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel and Spa, Spain

HACIENDA ZORITA WINE HOTEL & SPA, SALAMANCA, SPAIN The iconic Durius Magister wine is matured in 1450 oak barrels in the cellar of this former Dominican monastery in the Duero Valley. After a tasting, enjoy a vinotherapy treatment in the hotel’s spa.

SOUTH LODGE HOTEL, WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND The original Victorian cellar at this country house hotel has been transformed in to a hi-tech tasting room where guests can sample one of the 300 wines on offer. Entre Cielos, Argentina


South Lodge Hotel, England

The tasting room of this hotel and winery in the heart of Mendoza is housed in the former wine tanks. Stay in the Vineyard Loft, a futuristic pod above the vines.

THE LOUISE, BAROSSA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA With views across acres of premium Barossa vineyards, and an award-winning wine list, this luxury retreat is a vinophile’s dream. Even better, hotel guests get exclusive access to the region’s best wineries. 22

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The Louise, Australia


dining THE BETSY, MIAMI BEACH, USA For the best views, head to the rooftop restaurant of this handsome hotel, three stories above Miami’s famous Ocean Drive. The modern American menu comes courtesy of the award-winning BLT Steak. Zeavola, Thailand


The Betsy, Miami

SMITHS BEACH RESORT, SOUTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA This luxury resort is home to Lamont’s, an ultra-modern wine bar and deli situated yards from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The Margaret River wine region is on the doorstep so expect some top-notch vinos.

COLUMBIA BEACH RESORT, LIMASSOL, CYPRUS Feast on traditional meze and spankingly fresh fish at the Apollo restaurant overlooking Pissouri Bay with its stunning white cliffs. For romantic indulgence, order the seafood tower for two. Columbia Beach Resort, Cyprus

Smiths Beach Resort, Australia

For the ultimate in barefoot luxury, head to this supremely stylish beachfront resort. Feel the sand between your toes as you tuck in to the authentic Thai cuisine of Baxil restaurant.

Island Hideway Spa Resort & Marina

ISLAND HIDEAWAY SPA RESORT & MARINA, DHONAKULHI, MALDIVES Dangle your feet in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean from the deck of this resort’s Matheefaru restaurant. Local fish and seafood dominate the menu of international and Maldivian dishes.

NATHAN OUTLAW AT THE CAPITAL Just opened at The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, Outlaw’s Seafood & Grill is the first London outpost for seafoodloving chef Nathan Outlaw whose restaurant at the St Enodoc Hotel in Cornwall has held two Michelin stars since 2011. The daily changing menu will focus on simply prepared and sustainably sourced UK seafood

and grilled meats, matched by wines from The Capital’s enviable list. To complement the casual sophistication of Outlaw’s food, designer Nina Campbell has created a relaxed interior with views in to the kitchen, which will be overseen by head chef Pete Biggs who has worked alongside Nathan for ten years.

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STYL E A N D S U B S TANC E That’s what we are demanding from our hotels these days. And there are plenty of properties that can deliver. Emma O’Reilly reports

ON THE CUTTING EDGE Combining different styles and eras, bringing local landmarks inside and creating cocooning spaces – these hotels get it spot on… Mixing old and new with panache is Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa in a pretty, unspoilt region of Portugal. Housed in a former palatial home, its tones are soothing, its clutter minimal. The village was once famous for its marble – it’s used lavishly in bathrooms and the spa is lined with marble shafts from the mine on which the hotel is built.

Value for money is high on most people’s priority lists right now – The Chrome Hotel in Kolkata offers it, alongside edgy interiors with a relaxed vibe. There’s plenty to occupy, including a rooftop pool, nightclub and art exhibitions. ‘Fat’ beds and rain showers ensure a comfortable stay. In a decidedly flashy city, Maduzi Hotel Bangkok provides some quiet luxury. The rooms are sexy and masculine, with lots of wood and leather and equipped with Espresso machines, Bose sound systems and infinity bath tubs. A house party atmosphere is encouraged with free tea or coffee all day at the bar and a complimentary ‘happy hour’ cocktail. Kloster Hornbach, Germany

The Ampersand Hotel, London

Also new to the SLH portfolio is the stunning Ampersand Hotel, a mere hop from some of London’s most illustrious museums – the V&A, the National History and Science Museums – and also the Royal Albert Hall. Reminders are subtly reflected in the décor – with musical notes, botanical prints or maps on walls. 24

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Le Bellechasse hotel in Paris’ trendy Saint-Germain district is an intimate kind of place, with ravishingly eccentric interiors designed by Christian Lacroix. Never one for the understatement, the gilded columns, neo-classical and bohemian designs are mere whimsy, achieved with the use of trompe l’oeil.

The Chrome Hotel, Kolkate

CHIC SUITES Splash out on the best room in the house. All suites at Lake Como’s CastaDiva Resort & Spa have breathtaking lake views. They’re on two levels so you can go upstairs to bed! The Fiordiligi Suite is the pick of the bunch with its private outdoor pool, sundeck and terrace. Also good for panoramas is Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa. This former monastery in Spain’s Duero Valley has suites with serene river views – enjoy them with wine from your own 18 bottle cellar. If that doesn’t unwind you, a treatment in the vinotherapy spa just might…

Le Bellechasse, Paris

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY When you crave the atmosphere of a bygone age, book a stay in one of these exquisite conversions: Imaret, Kavala, Greece The owner has lovingly restored this grand Ottoman house. Features include an orangery, pool with fountains, colonnaded walkways, a hammam and spectacular views. The Efendi Hotel, Acre, Israel With Byzantine walls and cellars dating back to the Crusades, it doesn’t get much older than this. The main part of the hotel, in a town designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been created from two former 19th century palaces. Decoration is tasteful, hospitality courteous.

Equally relaxing is Villa Marie, a retreat from the glamour and glitz of St Tropez, a short drive away, with a pool set amongst the pine trees. Four new vintage suites – the Chanel, Missoni, Matisse and Romeo & Juliet - are particularly lovely and influenced by famous names associated with the area. White…and more white – the huge, sparkling penthouse at Punta Tragara on the island of Capri has a circular bed and egg shaped bath. Lounge on the terrace and watch yachts bob in the indigo seas below. From the serene to the stimulating… Hotel Claris in Barcelona is full of eclectic charm, much like this cosmopolitan city. See Japanese kimonos displayed alongside statuettes of Hindu gods and 17th century English furniture next to Catalan art nouveau pieces. Emma O’Reilly is travel editor at Bella Magazine

CastaDiva Resort & Spa, Italy

Relais La Suvera, Tuscany, Italy Deep in the rolling Tuscan hills, this villa was once gifted to Pope Julius II but has medieval origins. Any austerity has been softened with swanky Renaissance décor – a museum here tells you the story behind this fascinating pile. Kloster Hornbach, Hornbach, Germany In keeping with its humble origins as a monastery in the 8th century, Kloster Hornbach is simply but tastefully styled. Splashes of colour liven up the décor and homely touches include tea and homemade cakes every afternoon, which you can walk off by hiking through the surrounding countryside. Park Hotel Villa Grazioli, nr Rome, Italy You won’t know where to look first! This perfect 16th century villa includes a hanging garden with views towards Rome. Inside are frescoes galore and magnificent works of art. Don’t miss the lavish Pannini Gallery and Sala dei Putti.

The Chrome Hotel, India

Park Hotel Villa Grazioli, Italy

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LUXURY PILGRIMAGES Nicki Grihault takes a look at how the Grand Tour has evolved for the 21st century traveller

From the 17th to 19th century, The Grand Tour of Europe was an essential rite of passage. Travelling with a cicerone or scholarly guide – and perhaps valet and chef – it explored cultural sites from Paris to Vienna. Our 21st century journeys are more epic, sightseeing in style at Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with a soft pillow, gourmet meal and sumptuous surrounds to come back to. Luxury Pilgrimages mean visiting destinations like the stunning 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex, the world's largest religious monument in a forest in northwest Cambodia, staying in a traditional Khmer-style cottage and enjoying a herbal spa massage at Angkor Village Resort.


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Order a gourmet picnic for relaxing among the ruins, or for something different, take an elephant ride to admire carvings on the Bayon temple, before cruising to a stilt village across Tonlé Sap Lake. Award-winning The Raj Palace in a former Maharaja’s palace stuffed with antiques in Jaipur offers chauffeur driven trips to the the Taj Mahal in Agra, a white 17th century marble palace built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. Choose to go to this enduring symbol of love at sunrise or sunset with a meal at a local restaurant, or combine a day's visit with shopping for handicrafts or visiting other UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

You can walk from restful urban hideaway The Inn at the Roman Forum to Rome's imposing Colosseum, the amphitheatre where 55,000 spectators once gathered to watch gladiators fight to the death. Pre-book a private guide for a personalised half-day tour of the iconic ruin – once the largest building in the Roman Empire – before relaxing with an aperitivo on the hotel's stunning rooftop terrace. Stay in one of the newly renovated rooms and suites in Theoxenia Palace & House Suites in a grand neo-classical building in the leafy, stylish suburb of Kifissia, for a taste of modern Athens. Half-day guided tours take in ancient highlights: The Acropolis, with its famous Parthenon temple and new Acropolis Museum. A Night Out in Athens drives by the romantically lit ancient citadel before a stroll through the old town to a Greek Tavern.

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpar

NEW GREAT WONDERS Angkor Village Resort

Pudi Boutique Hotel Fuxing Park

Covered with a romantic 'table cloth' of cloud, the view of flat-topped Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town helped Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island. Take the aerial cable car for a 360o spectacular view from the top and see it from below with lunch at the V&A Waterfront on a private city day tour from Grande Roche Hotel. A restored Dutch homestead with stylish suites and award-winning restaurant in the Cape Winelands, this hotel is just a 45 minute drive away in Paarl. The remarkable Great Barrier Reef off Queensland's coast is the world's largest, with breathtaking marine life, coral cays and tropical islands. An exclusive, elegant, timber retreat in the remote Daintree rainforest, Bloomfield Lodge offers guests a magical day on the Reef aboard its catamaran, the Bloomfield Explorer, with a gourmet lunch on board. Knowledgeable guides are on hand for snorkelling, fishing and bird spotting, and in July and August, guests often see humpback whales. Winding almost a mile along the west bank of Huangpu River, The Bund, is the symbol of Shanghai. The chic Art Deco Pudi Boutique Hotel Fuxing Park in the French quarter arranges private day or evening walking tours to its 'museum of international architecture' – 26 eclectic buildings from Gothic to Classic – now housing fine dining restaurants and lovers wall, the city's ancient romantic rendezvous. Alternatively, see it on a river cruise, with dinner on board.

Made of steel and glass, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur is the tallest twin building on earth. Venture onto the skywalk bridge for a 360° view on a City Day Tour. Take this from The Club Saujana Resort, a stylish secluded hideaway in tropical gardens, close to the city. The colonial-style La Plantación del Sur on the Costa Adeje can arrange a chauffeur for the hour's drive to the avant-garde Auditorio de Tenerife, towering over Tenerife's capital Santa Cruz. Take in matinees of classic opera such as The Magic Flute or book a guided tour. Millennium Park, Chicago is the world's largest rooftop garden with a Frank Gehry designed music pavilion offering free concerts and Cloud Gate sculpture – nicknamed 'Big Bean'. European boutique-style The Talbott Hotel in the 'Gold Coast' shopping and entertainment district, is but a ten minute taxi ride away. Award winning travel writer and guidebook author Nicki Grihault contributes to The Telegraph, Stylist and other leading publications.

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expect more from the world’s leading aircraft charter broker

When you charter a private jet with Chapman Freeborn, our entire focus is on you. For advice or a quote for your next charter arrangement, please call our charter specialists on +65 6542 1316 or email us at 35 offices • 25 countries • 6 continents 28 To book visit

*For our other London hotels, please see pages 23, 24 and 55: The Ampersand, The Capital Hotel & Apartments and The Arch London


St James's Hotel and Club, The Westminster Suite

No.11 Cadogan Gardens, Mews Suite

IN FULL BLOOM Yan Skates, Director, Bespoke Flowers who creates the floral displays at Flemings Hotel Mayfair, London divulges some seasonal floral insights “The flowers we use are seasonal, but no more so than in the spring when we use bulbs planted up with moss and all the lovely spring flowers, like narcissi, tulips, hellebores and hyacinths. We also use a lot of flowering branches collectively called blossom, which is so lovely and simple in tall vases. For Easter we hang eggs and feathers from them and for Chinese New Year we hang the red money envelopes from them. During the summer all kinds of garden varieties are used and during autumn it is all about the strong coloured leaves and berries. When we get to winter, we tend to use exotic imported varieties like orchids and anthuriums arranged in interesting ways on structures made from all kinds of natural material. “I try to create unusual floral displays and something new for every week in the hotel lobby. Being in London it is not hard to find inspiration from everything that goes on. This week we have re-created the Arcelor Mittal orbit from the Olympic stadium. We have done Wimbledon inspired picnics, Chelsea flowershow displays and our Christmas trees and decorations in December always takes extra planning. The year ends with the Christmas extravaganza and then we tend to go quite minimal and simplistic in January.”

London has been on a roll ever since Prince William and Kate said ‘I do’. Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee was followed by a triumphant Olympics, securing London as the city on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list. Now all you have to do is book one of the best suites in the capital fit for a prince. ST JAMES’S HOTEL AND CLUB A superbly stylish retreat with an elegant ambiance, St James’s Hotel and Club is only moments from Mayfair, Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace. The Westminster Suite, served by a private lift and featuring a large award-winning private rooftop with panoramic views of London, is one of London’s most impressive. Handmade silk wallpaper, handcrafted Murano glass chandeliers, bath-side television and legendarily comfortable Hypnos mattresses ensure a luxurious experience. DUKES HOTEL Spacious, well equipped suites create a relaxed and luxurious space. The Duke of Clarence Penthouse Suite is the jewel in the Dukes’ crown, featuring a collection of porcelain and china by Thomas Goode of Mayfair, updated every two months. The Suite has its own private terrace outside overlooking Clarence House and Green Park – a 24 hour butler service is available with the room on request too. Enjoy some of the best martinis in the world in the Dukes Bar then go on to sample modern-traditional food in the new restaurant, 36 by Nigel Mendham. NO.11 CADOGAN GARDENS Rich colours and lavish décor create a decedent ambiance at No. 11 Cadogan Gardens. Behind the classic Victorian façade, No. 11 Cadogan Gardens has an eclectic style with a sophisticated finish. The four sumptuous self-contained One Bedroom Mews Suites offer the height of luxury and boast private access and individual garage. Watch TV whilst soaking in your bath tub, a perfect way to relax after a day of shopping or sightseeing.

FLEMINGS HOTEL MAYFAIR Flemings Hotel Mayfair is tucked away from the hustle and bustle, nestled in a peaceful residential street in the heart of central London’s Mayfair. Converted from 6 Georgian townhouses, today’s hotel was first established in 1851. One of the property’s newest additions is the übercool two double bedroom, two bathroom Aria Suite, designed by Michaela Auert, founder of the Italian Design Group. Furnished with stylish Italian furniture (naturally!), the suite makes clever use of mirrors and has a fully equipped kitchen, high spec audio visual system, soundproofing and all the services you would expect from a central London hotel. DON’T MISS THIS WINTER AND SPRING: • The Cutty Sark Tours in Greenwich • The new Treasures Gallery at the Natural History Museum. • Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour at Somerset House • Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea at National Maritime Museum • A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance, Tate Modern

Dukes Hotel: Penthouse Suite

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WEEKEND There’s something so civilised about a weekend in the English countryside, especially in winter when it’s chilly outside and a bracing walk is in order. Or even better, in early spring when the snowdrops and crocuses begin to burst through. But what really seals the deal is a top-notch English country house to bring you afternoon tea (or a hot toddie) after your stroll, prepare you a sumptuous dinner, pamper you in the spa and envelope you in polite English manners. Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel, Windermere, Lake District It’s the incredible vistas of Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells that make Holbeck Ghyll so memorable. You’ll be musing at daffodils and reaching for your William Wordsworth poetry before you know it. The hotel offers a Michelin Star restaurant, a relaxing spa and armchairs by the inglenook fireplace to read the papers and also free champagne, flowers and chocolates for every suite booked. Top of the list is the fabulous Miss Potter suite where Hollywood star Renée Zellweger lived during filming of the movie about Beatrix Potter’s life. The Arden Hotel, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire It’s all about celebrating the life of William Shakespeare at The Arden Hotel. Sip a glass of bubbly in the champagne bar with its year-round alfresco terrace and views across the River Avon to the refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Spring is a great time to hire a boat on the River Avon and of course, catch a play. There are also the charming Cotswold villages, the bountiful Vale of Evesham and the ancient market town of Warwick with its awe-inspiring castle to explore. Lords of the Manor, Cotswolds In its charming Cotswolds setting, it’s all about getting away from hectic modern life at Lords of the Manor. Award-winning garden designer, Julie Toll has overhauled the planting and installed a new Bog Garden to incorporate the original ice house, adding to the estate’s beauty. During winter, nothing beats tea by a welcoming log fire and on a spring day, sip a Limoncello and Fresh Basil Martini on the lawn. Nearby you’ll find the antique shops of Stow on the Wold or Chipping Campden, Chedworth Roman Villa and Blenheim Palace. Lainston House, Winchester

Lainston House, Winchester, Hampshire This charming 17th century country house with its 12th century chapel ruin sits proudly in an expanse of Hampshire parkland, ready and waiting to envelop visitors in its polite English country manners. Highlights include indulgent afternoon teas and incredible falconry displays by former Hampshire cricketer Billy Taylor. In fact Lainston House has got the perfect wedding proposal. Imagine relaxing in the grounds of the hotel with a champagne picnic when a beautiful barn owl flies over to deliver a little velvet box with an engagement ring inside! Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel & Spa, Yorkshire Dales The Yorkshire Dales are one of England’s wild beauty spots and after a refreshing winter ramble, it’s a treat to return for homemade hot chocolate and cake to Devonshire Arms with its real log fires. There are some great local walks and Eddie Styles, head concierge, has written some insider walking guides for guests. No need to pack cumbersome wellington boots as there are plenty here, and you can also bring your dog. Head chef, Steve Smith, uses game from the Estate during winter to create memorable dishes in his Michelin star restaurant.


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English country manners

Great Fosters, Surrey

Stapleford Park Country House Hotel & Sporting Estate, Leicestershire This magnificent historic house in the heart of England is surrounded by impressive Capability Brown inspired grounds and is THE place to head if you like country pursuits such as shooting, riding and falconry. There’s also an 18-hole championship golf course and of course the Clarins Gold Spa, housed in renovated stables, is just the thing after an active day. English country manners are alive and well here as guests retire to the library after dinner for a nightcap. Hintlesham Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk Imagine acres of beautiful grounds, surrounding a graceful 16th century Grade 1 listed country house. There’s a warm welcome from the staff, showing you through to a sumptuous lounge with a roaring log fire, papers to read while you relax on deep sofas with a traditional afternoon tea. There’s an extensive wine list to accompany a three-course dinner. You can pamper yourself in the spa, play a round of golf or head to nearby antique shops and museums or even the beach for a wintery walk.



Sibton Park Estate, Suffolk This Georgian architectural gem, built in 1827 and set in 350 acres of landscaped parkland and woods, is a beautiful blend of original features that complement the calm, contemporary interior design and ensure this English country house feels like a top London hotel that you have all to yourself. And that you will, as Sibton Park is a private property, meaning you can enjoy its 12 luxurious bedrooms exclusively, along with a wide range of country pursuits, including game shoots, fishing and horse riding. Settle back to watch a film in the private cinema or make use of Sibton Park's fully equipped gym before heading to the dining room for a sumptuous meal, with everything tailored to your requirements by the general manager. U



Great Fosters, Surrey This imposing Grade 1 listed building set in the gardens and parkland of Egham, makes the perfect setting for a traditional English getaway, conveniently close to Heathrow Airport. The four-poster beds, Persian rugs, gilt furnishing and damask walls all add to the sense of history. Don't miss a hot chocolate and toasted crumpets in the drawing room after a stroll through Windsor Great Park or a spot of ice-skating in the shadow of Hampton Court (November to January). For a memorable weekend, charter a helicopter and take to the Surrey skies.



Langshott Manor, Surrey Transport yourselves back in time to Elizabethan England when you spend the weekend at Langshott Manor, a 16th century boutique hotel with its own private gardens and ancient moat. Dine on delights such as wild duck or saddle of venison with spiced red cabbage and celeriac in the recently renovated Mulberry Restaurant before retiring to your sumptuous room with four-poster bed, clawfoot bathtub and Temple Spa toiletries.

All centre images: Sibton Park, Suffolk

Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, Sussex

Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, Sussex This imposing country house hotel is a big hit with families looking for a relaxing weekend away as it’s set in the woodland that inspired author, A.A Milne to write the Winnie The Pooh stories. It also has some of the best mountain bike trails in Sussex, after which you can indulge in the Country Club for a relaxing indoor swim, sauna or spa treatment. There are also tennis courts, indoor golf nets, a practise putting green, croquet and jogging trails to enjoy before a hearty dinner in the Anderida Restaurant.

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Ireland is a fine place to take a springtime driving holiday. April Hutchinson recommends soaking up the best of Dublin before heading across to the rugged west coast and ending your own Irish odyssey in the culinary hub of Cork

This page Main: The Slea Head Drive, Ireland Opposite page Top left: Brooks Hotel, Dublin Bottom left: Park Hotel Kenmare, Co. Kerry Bottom right: Dunraven Arms, Co. Limerick


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An inviting combination of Georgian architecture, literary heritage, leafy squares, cosy pubs and fine fare mixed with events such as St Patrick’s Day in March and the annual Fringe festival every September mean there’s always something to keep you distracted in the Irish capital. Among the city’s lesser-known treasures is the fantastic art and literature collection of the Chester Beatty Library within Dublin Castle, but the obvious choice will always be the elegant campus of Trinity College. If the sun’s out, a campus tour is perfect. If not, hide inside to look at one of Ireland's greatest treasures, the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript glimmering with gold leaf and contrast that with the college’s new Science Gallery which takes a fascinating and unique approach to combining art with science.

Close to Trinity College is Brooks Hotel whose award-winning restaurant, Francesca’s, is a proud member of Good Food Ireland. The hotel’s gourmet package by chef Patrick McLarnon brings with it a real taste of Ireland, from smoked organic Clare Island salmon, to Dublin Bay prawns; McGeough's air-dried Connemara lamb to St Tola Irish goat’s cheese. The hotel is also a member of the Irish Whiskey Trail and can guide you through a tasting evening. While the crowds throng nearby Grafton Street, swerve off to discover lovely boutiques in the Powerscourt Townhouse on elegant South William Street, including Loft Market, a showcase for young designers – a stone’s throw from the charming La Stampa Hotel & Spa, where you can stay in the Moroccan Suite styled by chic

Portuguese architect and designer Miguel Cancio Martins. And after a day pounding the streets, check yourself in for some therapy at La Stampa’s Asian spa, the Mandala Eastern Retreat. Once the car’s loaded up with your new purchases the next day, leave Dublin behind for the twoand-a-half hour drive across country to Limerick – but combine a strategic leg-stretch en route with some designer shopping at Kildare Village, an hour from Dublin. Just outside Limerick is the ridiculously picturesque village of Adare, one of the prettiest in Ireland, thanks to its legion of adorable thatched cottages – amongst these is the Dunraven Arms, a 200-year-old former coach house. It has a phenomenally good range of golf courses nearby and the whole Shannon Region awaits. Later on, tuck into a dinner at awardwinning Maigue Restaurant at Dunraven, before sinking into a four-poster bed surrounded by old-world charm.

A short drive out to the dramatic west coast, County Clare is one of the country’s most beautiful corners providing a wonderful location for the The Lodge At Doonbeg. Sitting on a mile-long Atlantic beach at Doughmore Bay, this is a great spot for surfing and the hotel can organise lessons, or for something more sedate, go dolphin-watching from Carrigaholt just south of the hotel (April-October). And if you prefer to keep dry, you’ll find Doonbeg’s award-winning Greg Norman-designed links course within the hotel’s 400 acres. But don’t leave the area without a drive through the dramatic Burren area and a search for Ballyvaughn, a tearoom whose cakes and treats are loved by film-maker Steven Spielberg. Head down to the south-west coast and you’ll find one of Ireland’s most famous attractions, the Ring of Kerry, a circular 179km route that perfectly captures idyllic Ireland at its best. The little heritage town of Kenmare is home to the familyowned Park Hotel Kenmare in a wonderful building dating back to 1897 – both the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula are on your doorstep. Tap into your creative side on one of the Art Experience stays designed by Art Guild Kenmare exclusively for the hotel, where options include a visit to Charlotte Verbeek in her Dawros Studio to create your own jewellery. Enjoying the escapism of Park Hotel Kenmare’s Samas spa with gorgeous new Sisley treatments might make it hard to drag yourself away, but Cork awaits, an hour’s drive away. Cork is increasingly known for its foodie brilliance and a good way to start experiencing it is a stroll around the English Market, bulging with delicious cheeses, breads and meats – go to the famous Farmgate Café for a classic Cork dish of tripe and drisheen. Sample exquisite pan-seared John Dory at Orchids Restaurant at Hayfield Manor or time your stay at the hotel to fit in with one of its Wine Society’s evenings celebrated with tastings and a five-course dinner. And after a night like that, you’ll appreciate some lung-filling Irish air out at Blarney Castle, a 20-minute drive from Cork, before continuing your culinary crusade down to wonderful Kinsale to sample some of the best seafood in the country. Slainte! April Hutchinson is editor of ttgluxury. She has travelled to more than 60 countries but has a soft spot for Ireland, to which she can trace her ancestry to Cork

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MEXICAN WAVE From the Mayan Riviera to the Baja California Sur, Alex Robinson guides you around the best of Mexico’s ancient and modern attractions

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico assaults the senses. From coral seas to cactus deserts, copper canyons to high cordilleras, landscapes burst with colour. Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya monuments jut through the rainforests and pepper the brightly-painted colonial towns and villages. Festival rhythms as old as the Aztecs echo in the streets, and from Chiapas to Chiahuahua, the scents of vanilla and copal, roasting coffee and huele de noche blossoms perfume the air. It would take a lifetime to see everything the country has to offer and most visitors choose to explore a region on their first visit. For coral reef diving and pepper-fine beaches cooled by a balmy breeze, head to the Yucatán Peninsula. Opt for laid-back luxury at the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya resort set right next to the beach 34

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Downtown, Mexico City

and a stroll from the boutique restaurants and buzzing nightlife of Playa del Carmen village – the Riviera Maya’s low key, cooler alternative to Cancún. Or choose Esencia, set on Xpu-Ha beach, for a honeymoon hideaway in a chic palm-roofed cabana nestled in lush rainforest besides an aquamarine Atlantic. There’s great diving, caving and light wilderness adventure in the rainforest on the doorstep, and both hotels are in easy reach of a string of ruined Mayan cities – including World Heritage listed Chichén Itza. Hacienda hotels, set in magnificent historical mansion houses proliferate in Mexico’s colonial heartland. Hacienda de San Antonio is a former coffee baron mansion lost in rolling tropical countryside below the towering peak of

Colima volcano. Sleepy Cuernavaca village has been inhabited since 1200 BC and is littered with imposing Spanish churches and palaces. Anticavilla Hotel set in a restored mansion house mixes colonial luxury with cool contemporary design. There are vibrant cities too – including the capital Mexico City and Monterrey, a stone’s throw from the U.S border. In Mexico City stay at Downtown in the heart of the old Aztec capital. The hotel is a microcosm of Mexico City itself – perfectly blending 17th century Spanish grandeur with contemporary industrial design. The cobblestone streets and plazas which surround it form the core of a World Heritage site – protected for its dozens of Aztec, Spanish and Mexican colonial landmark buildings, including

Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa, Todos Santos

CHECK OUT & CHECK IN 1 Anticavilla, Morelos A fabulous fusion of classic colonial and contemporary urban, set in historic Cuernavaca village. Good for colourful local culture, traditional Mexican festivals, historical heritage, arts and crafts shopping and spa pampering. 2 Blue Diamond Riviera Maya After undergoing a sparkling $10million facelift, this balmy beach hotel is now the place to stay in buzzing Playa del Carmen. Good for beach R&R, nightlife, restaurants, diving, snorkelling, spa pampering, Mayan monuments and adventure in nature.

Hacienda de San Antonio

3 La Casa Que Canta, Guerrero This romantic hideaway boasts stunning Pacific views, glorious golden sunsets over the ocean and private beach cabins to enjoy them from. Good for romantic breaks, surfing, watersports, diving and snorkelling.

Downtown, Mexico City A classic Spanish era mansion in the historical heart of the capital, decked out with a cool urban design. Good for restaurants, shopping, historical heritage, museums, bars and nightlife. 4

Esencia, Mexico

El Paso


mexico Monterrey

5 La Paz


Victoria Leon-Bajlo


pacific ocean

4 8


Mexico City

Mareanilla Zihuatanejo 3


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the temples of Tenochtitlan. Take time to eat out with the hip high-end crowd at Pujol or Biko, two of just four Latin American eateries to appear on Restaurant Magazine’s list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World. The slick, skyscraper city of Monterrey in Northern Mexico is the gateway to the scintillating Sierra Madre. This rugged range of mountains is cut by craggy canyons and rushing creeks and has some of the most breath-taking scenery in North America. Stay in the Joseph Dirand designed Hotel Habita MTY, whose muted tones and state-ofthe-art in room amenities come with magnificent 360-degree views of the surrounding Sierra Madre. To the west of Monterrey lies Mexico’s

powerful Pacific coast. Surfers and city dwellers looking to get away from it all have been coming to the deserts, mountains and magnificent beaches of Baja California since the Sixties hippy days. You can now enjoy them in comfort with a stay at the Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa in tiny Todos Santos village just a few miles from Cabo San Lucas, the Baja peninsula’s wild southern cape. Magnificent beaches stretch south of Baja along the Mexican mainland. The infinity pool at La Casa Que Canta outside tiny Zihautenejo village merges with the blue of one of Latin America’s most beautiful bays – famous for its clear waters, stunning over-the-ocean sunsets and long silky-soft beaches.

5 Hotel Habita MTY, Monterrey This slick, effortlessly cool urbanite is the only named-designer hotel in northern Mexico. Good for mountain views, spa pampering, in room amenities, great food and adventure in nature.

Esencia, Quintana Roo Get back to nature and to the beach in luxury at this intimate hotel nestled in oceanside rainforest. Good for romantic breaks, beach R&R, spa pampering, diving and snorkelling, Mayan monuments and adventure in nature. 6

7 Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa, Baja California Sur This former art academy set in a pretty oasis village in wild Baja blends luxury with traditional culture and access to pristine wilderness. Good for wildlife, whale watching, turtle nesting, beach R&R, adventure in nature, great food and spa pampering. 8 Hacienda de San Antonio, Colima A gorgeous late colonial country house with an Olympic-sized pool and tennis courts set in a tropical garden estate at the foot of a smoking volcano. Good for great food, spa pampering, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking and tennis coaching.

Alex Robinson writes for Sunday Times Travel, Wanderlust and is the author of Footprint's new Belize guide To book visit



Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

It’s a well known fact of modern life that we’re joined at the hip (or should that be finger tip?) to our iPads, Blackberrys and Kindles. If we’re not Facebooking, we’re tweeting or posting on Pinterest between downloading the latest on-line box set. How did our work, social lives and even holidays get so plugged in? If you fancy switching off from the digital world for a week or two, Small Luxury Hotels of the World has some incredible hideaways to make you forget you ever owned a laptop, all guaranteed to reconnect you to nature’s superhighway. Canada is well known for its wide open spaces and wilderness. Out west the Cariboo region of British Columbia is rich with history of the gold rush and is Canada’s cowboy country. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is located in its own private valley surrounded by the rolling Cariboo Mountains with scented pine


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forests, hidden lakes, craggy peaks, breathtaking canyons and golden grasslands – and not an internet café in sight! Switch off your mobile on the scenic 50-minute flight from Vancouver and leave it in your suitcase for the holiday duration. There are so many activities here that you won’t miss your daily fix of emails. Horseback riding with a picnic in your saddle bag, hiking, gold panning, 4X4 safari, bird watching and fly fishing are all on the agenda. Guests stay in Dove Lodge, Lookout Lodge or private cabins, all in a luxury log cabin style. Or you can soak up a little Eastern Zen when you stay in the Baan Thai Suite with its traditional Thai architecture. Spa treatments are the perfect way to unplug and here guests have a choice of the Western style Cariboo Spa or the Eastern Thai Spa. You can detox inside

and out and explore how to eat for your blood type with Dr. Peter D’Adamo. On the eastern side of Canada, Trout Point Lodge is a glorious ecoboutique hotel, deep in the Nova Scotia wilderness. As National Geographic Traveler reported, it's the perfect idyllic retreat to unwind, power off the iPhone and get back in touch with nature. After the three-hour drive from Halifax, guests who really want to unplug should check into the main lodge made of Eastern Spruce logs and chiselled granite and sandstone where all suites have river views, handcrafted furniture and no TVs or WIFI. Tiffany lamps and oriental rugs add to the luxury lounging in the Great Room and library.

Echo Valley Ranch and Spa

Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge

Ka'ana Boutique Resort & Spa

Ka'ana Boutique Resort & Spa

Huvafen Fushi

The remoteness encourages guests to slow down, stargaze with an astronomer, grab a canoe and go for a paddle, relax in a wood-fired hot tub and savour the gourmet cuisine. If you want more action, there are jeep and mountain bike safaris, guided hikes and fishing with on-staff naturalists. If your notion of unplugging is more tropical, then Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge next to the biosphere reserve of Barahona in the still unspoilt and secluded southwest region of the Dominican Republic will have you wondering why you ever signed up to Facebook. With just 12 cabanas all with private balconies and views of the jungle and the sea, the Tanama Spa using natural elements such as coffee, chocolate and basil in treatments and an alfresco restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine from Pat’s Organic Garden and fish caught by local fishermen, there’s no option but to unwind here.

Trout Point Lodge

Local experiences include nature walks along the river trails, hiking, water sports, tennis, yoga, horseback riding, mountain biking excursions, an organic coffee plantation tour, exploring caves with ancient tribal art and the lodge’s own Canopy Tour which allows you to glide through the trees. If you fancy a path even less well trodden, the Central American country of Belize provides some incredible ways to unplug with its hidden Mayan ruins and worldclass scuba diving. Head to Ka'ana Boutique Resort & Spa, in the heart of pristine jungle and discover its designer suites and lodges with just the right thread count in the white linen bed covers and the chic touches of local art and culture on the walls. There’s the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve to explore, a sacred place of the Maya. Go cave tubing and zip lining to up your adrenaline and calm down with kayak through Barton Creek Cave. Go horseback riding along the bank of the

Mopan River or even Jaguar tracking. The Mayans could teach the world a thing or two about getting back to nature. Guests can visit the San Antonio Village and spend an afternoon with Yucatec Maya women learning clay-pot making. Of course castaway islands are considered the ultimate way to escape the stresses of life. Amongst the Maldives many luxury island resorts, Huvafen Fushi is renowned as one of the most laid back. Guests take their shoes off as soon as they arrive and they don’t go back on until they leave. The most technical thing you will hopefully do here is master your in-room popcorn making machine and cocktail making facilities, marvel at the fibre optics in your plunge pool and work out how your scuba gear operates. And if you really want to shift down a gear, guests can escape on a dhoni (traditional Maldivian boat) for the night. To book visit



Castaway is the new switched on GAYA ISLAND RESORT, MALAYSIA Only accessible by boat, this new resort off the coast of Borneo’s Kota Kinabalu has more to offer than a sweeping stretch of white sand and plush bedrooms. Set in ancient rainforest edged by the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, there are so many interesting things to do you’ll need to check in for a month. It’s a trailblazer because… luxury and local combine. For example, if you want to delve deeper into the island’s heritage, villagers are on-hand for tribal art and handicraft classes (make your own holiday souvenir, how chic), or you can join a cooking class and learn to recreate traditional Borneo dishes back home. Its spa village, a series of contemporary wood and glass villas set amid mangroves, also offers locally-inspired treatments such as a rice body scrub. And Tavajun Bay takes castaway dining to new levels: a boat drops you off at a private strip of sand where your fish is grilling, Champagne chilling and mats laid out for a post-lunch snooze in the sun. 38

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PIKAIA LODGE, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS Hotel locations don’t come much more jaw-dropping than this: the top of an extinct volcano on Santa Cruz Island in the heart of the Galapagos ringed by a marine reserve that’s one of the seven underwater wonders of the world. It’s a trailblazer because… it’s the first carbon neutral accommodation in the archipelago. Forget cramped cruise ship cabins, Pikaia is offering a luxurious new way to discover these amazing islands in an eco-chic, sustainable way. It took the architecture team four years to perfect the design of the contemporary lodge with 28 rooms and suites and the result

is truly beautiful. Naturally, it’s all about the views here, so expect floor-to-ceiling glass everywhere, including Evolution restaurant, where you can dine on Ecuadorian-inspired dishes and catch of the day and the DNA Bar, a top spot to sit and sip as the sun sets behind the infinity pool. From solar panel-warmed water to bamboo flooring and biodegradable bathroom products, this is guilt-free living indeed. As the Galapagos is all about exploring, guests are also invited to hop aboard the hotel’s two luxury yachts to follow in Darwin’s footsteps and visit islands sheltering marine iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed boobys and giant tortoises.

FRÉGATE ISLAND PRIVATE, SEYCHELLES If privacy is the new luxury then Frégate Island Private, a 20-minute flight from Mahé and one of the Indian Ocean’s most sought-after hideaways, is ahead of the field.

Tribal art classes, volcanoview dining and carbon neutral luxury: island resorts are leading the way when it comes to innovative new ways to entice says Amanda Statham

It’s a trailblazer because… its 17 mahogany beach-view villas are scattered amongst trees around the island so you can’t even hear let alone see your neighbour. The sigh-inducing architecture is tropical contemporary: vaulted roofs, large infinity pools and vast terraces that flow into the lounge for an on-trend bringthe-outside-in vibe. Of note is Villa 16, now a spa villa with its own treatment room (which can also be converted into a second bedroom), and outside dining pavilion. Supper in a treehouse, toes-in-the-sand beach barbecue, in-villa candle-lit dining and Creole dishes served in a plantation house are all examples of the refreshing Frégate Island Private, Seychelles

SANKARA HOTEL & SPA, JAPAN Situated off the Osumi Peninsula on Yakushima Island, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can river kayak, climb gorges and trek through forest to Jomon-Sugi, the world’s oldest cedar tree.

Frégate Island Private, Seychelles

It’s a trailblazer because… locally-sourced delicacies like Asahi crab and Nakayama sirloin are crafted into little works of art by head chef Chiharu Takei and his team in the open kitchens of Okas restaurant. But it isn’t just the cuisine that will have you Facebook up-dating non-stop, the interiors of the 29 villas and suites are way above the ordinary, with sleek cedar wood floors and earthy tones complementing the mountain and forest surrounds. The resort’s spa is also the first in Japan to use Asia Herb Association, based on traditional Thai medicine, so you’ll feel great as well as look good.

dine-where-you-desire ethos. As with so many top-class island escapes, great interiors and service are no longer enough, conservation credentials are also key and Frégate has reintroduced thousands of indigenous trees and animals, including the giant tortoise.

Sankara Hotel & Spa, Japan

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MISIBIS BAY, PHILIPPINES Globetrotters are increasingly seeking adventure experiences along with their five-star pampering and Misibis Bay on Cagraray Island has heaps of both. It’s a trailblazer because… ziplines, Segways and dune buggies are all exciting new ways to explore Misibis Bay’s eco energy park and surrounding forests. And if that’s not enough to get your pulse racing, the resort also offers whale shark interaction tours, where you can snorkel alongside the world’s biggest fish, or sightseeing from the Misibis helicopter including whizzing around the top of the Mayon Volcano and peering down at lava fields, Nag-Aso Lake and Legazpi City. One-off dining experiences are off-the-scale cool too, from a private breakfast on top of a hill overlooking the Mayon Volcano to supper in the centre of a candle-lit amphitheatre with views of the Albay Gulf. HOTEL WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII The Pacific islands of Hawaii have long been heralded as the ultimate in castaway chic with their volcanic beaches and top surf. Hotel Wailea is perfectly positioned to explore Maui’s giant crater and waterfalls, surf the swells and relax on its white sand beaches.

Misibis Bay, Philippines

Hotel Wailea, Hawaii

It’s a trailblazer because… sporty guests will be in heaven at Hotel Wailea which offers the ultimate in high adrenaline thrills. Take private kiteboarding lessons at popular Kanaha Beach Park on Maui’s north shore, before returning to the hotel for a much needed massage in the gorgeous spa or outdoor private yoga classes. Families can try out the latest craze for paddleboarding, a sport that is a reincarnation of an ancient Hawaiian form of surfing. All guest rooms include a private lanai, plush suite beds, flat screen TVs, iPod and MP3 player ports and high speed Internet access. NIYAMA, MALDIVES The private island resorts of the Indian Ocean archipelagos are currently world leaders when it comes to desert-island chic with a twist. Niyama has upped the ante. It’s a trailblazer because… it continually ups its game. Just when no one thought a spa with submerged treatment rooms could be topped, Niyama opens: a stunning new resort complete with Subsix, the world’s first underwater nightclub; Tribal, a very cool campfire dining experience and Gadgets and Games, a simulated games station – not what you'd expect in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Amanda Statham is travel editor at Cosmopolitan and co-author of Heaven on Earth Honeymoon Islands. To book visit Niyama, Maldives


ROMANCE You may not be able to fly your loved one to the moon, though Virgin Galactic will soon be able to take you out of earth’s orbit, but there’s plenty of heavenly travel around the globe. According to honeymoon expert, Jane Anderson, the secret is matching your couple type to the right holiday


H E AV E N 42

Weddings abroad

Glamorous roadies

Tying the knot overseas is a growing trend and the Caribbean is one of the easiest places in the world to do it. The 18th century French colonial style at The Villas at Stonehaven on the pretty island of Tobago lends itself to elegant nuptials with the help of in house wedding co-ordinator, Ms. Broomes. With just 14 spacious villas, it’s possible to take over the entire place and everything from photographer to steel band arranged.

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is the ideal destination to experience 'La Dolce Vita', behind the wheel of a vintage car. From the famous Fiat 500 Bambino to a roaring Alfa Romeo Spider, Casa Angelina Lifestyle hotel offers you the chance to spend a day driving 'back to the past' along the so called 'Divine Coast'. With gourmet picnic basket on the back seat and a vintage silk scarf for the ladies (exclusively made for Casa Angelina), there’s a choice of itineraries including food & wine (Furore with visit to the famous vineyards 'Marisa Cuomo’); culture (Ravello to the magnificent 'Villa Rufolo' and 'Villa Cimbrone') or shopping (the glamour of Positano with its typical 'Moda Positano' boutiques, artisanal sandals and hand-painted ceramics). Bellissimo!

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Sensory seekers Morocco is the perfect place to stimulate all your romantic sensibilities. The Moorish fort hotel of La Sultana Oualidia is set right on the Atlantic coast at Oualidia. All 11 rooms are ultra sensuous with stone walls and painted wooden furniture. Celebrate Valentine’s Day all year long with a five-night package including wine or champagne in your room, a bubble bath for two with rose petals and candles, breakfast in your room or on the terraces, a Hammam just for two with an essential oil massage and dining under the stars on a private terrace, tasting and sharing Moroccan specialties.

La Sultana Oualidia

Dreamy castaways The tiny but spiritual island of Bali is another well-known haven for romance. The Viceroy Bali stands spectacularly atop a river ridge near the arty town of Ubud with just 25 thatched villas all with outdoor pools. If the Caribbean is more your style head to The Inn at English Harbour, Antigua with its colonial style white timber clad suites with voile draped four-poster beds, vaulted ceilings and dark wooden floors. Even entry level beach cabanas have canopied beds. The Greek islands offer a plethora of romantic getaways. Aegean Suites Hotel on Skiathos is an exclusive adults only, all-suite hotel overlooking the Aegean Sea where your priorities will be a champagne cocktail in the Jacuzzi or a romantic dinner at Pelagos restaurant.

Wellbeing junkies

At the Royal Mougins Hotel, Golf & Spa on the Cote D’Azur in Southern France, the bright lights of Cannes may be just 6km away but couples are too busy indulging in side by side spa treatments and romantic dinners to care.

Grand Hotel Toplice

Culture vultures With its arty Left Bank cafés and iconic landmarks from The Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, Paris remains the place to bring a lover. Hôtel San Régis just off the ChampsÉlysées in Paris seduces couples with its opulent 19th century town house ambience. Romantic packages include champagne, delicacies and flowers. Relais Christine is a Left Bank hideaway with all the intimacy of the private residence it once was. There’s a Carita Spa in the old stone vaults and a secret garden. A ‘Fall in Love in Paris’ package includes a visit to the Rodin Museum, a glass of champagne at the Pont des Arts and breakfast in bed. The Croatian coastal city of Dubrovnik is a strong contender when it comes to romance. Villa Dubrovnik nestles among the pine, orange and lemon trees overlooking the sparkling Adriatic and the Old Town. Romantic touches include in-room champagne breakfast, a five-course dinner on the terrace and couples spa treatments. Italian cities take some beating. Venice woos couples with its history and intrigue. The Liassidi Palace is set inside a restored gothic palace just off the main canals for maximum intimacy. Or head to majestic Rome for a weekend of romance in Villa Spalletti Trivelli with just 12 sumptuous rooms and Italian garden just minutes from the Trevi Fountain. Head south to the passionate city of Naples where the historic Grand Hotel Parker’s is ready to immerse couples in local art and culture, from its impressive library to night time boat tours of the Bay of Naples.

Viceroy Bali

Hôtel San Régis, Paris

Indulge in the tranquility of the beautiful castle gardens and the Ingendael nature reserve at Château St. Gerlach. With the romantic Cocooning package, you can fully unwind with a champagne breakfast, a culinary dinner in the historic restaurant, a 40-minute massage, free walking routes of the nature reserve and free shuttle service to the city centre of Maastricht. Slovenia’s Lake Bled is the serene setting for the Grand Hotel Toplice, where couples enjoy the thermal pool overlooking the lake, night-time swimming at the Ziva Wellness Centre, a velvety honey massage for two and a candlelit pearl bath with rose oils, strawberries and sparkling wine.

Villa Dubrovnik

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Great holidays don't have to stop when you have children. Scattered around the world are hotels where you are welcomed, rather than punished, for bringing the children along: kid centric environments where children’s mealtimes, equipment hire and copious entertainment are standard; where haute-cuisine and highchairs are a finger click away. These innovations are clearly not just for the benefit of the kids. It’s a chance for you all to do the things you enjoy without ever getting under each other’s feet, sometimes found in the most unlikely places. The Ca' Sagredo Hotel in Venice, Italy is a meticulously renovated 15th century palace set on the spectacular 44

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Grand Canal. Most of the 42 uniquely decorated bedrooms and suites still retain signs of a glorious past, including superb masterpieces by 17th and 18th century Venetian artists. A big draw here is the kids cultural cooking class, where they will learn to bake a cake, followed by scrumptious afternoon tea. The family-owned Finikas Hotel in Naxos, Greece is renowned for its caring and attentive service. Overlooking the Bay of Agali on the island’s stunning south-west coastline, this elegant hotel skirts a huge outdoor pool with pool bar and provides a sauna, hydromassage and gym. On offer is a day’s free bicycle rental for the whole family, with maps and complimentary picnic

basket: a superb way to take a tour and bond at the same time. Solitaire Lodge in Rotorua, New Zealand is the spot for total relaxation. Here stripped back pleasures are key as you perch out on your deck experiencing the splendour of nature. You will get a chance to fish for trout (fishing gear provided); kayaks and dinghies are also freely available to explore the lagoon and local islands. Nearby are natural hot water pools to take a dip in. The hotel offers family admission to Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park where you will have a rare chance to get up close and personal with kiwis in their natural habitat.

Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Spa Resort, Mauritius


Top of the holiday hit list are mini-clubs where weary parents offload their offspring for daily supervised activities ranging from rope skills to nature hikes, boat trips to golf lessons. Be Inspired recommends:

Hoteldorf Grüner Baum

Harbour Village Beach Club Kralendijk, Bonaire One of the Caribbean’s top scuba diving destinations, this intimate, tropical refuge boasts a Kids Great Adventures Program for ages 5-12. It features education about the surrounding reefs plus an introduction to snorkelling, scuba diving, cultural day trips, geo-caching, arts and crafts. Blue & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort, Porches, Portugal Perched on a cliff surrounded by oodles of lush tropical gardens, mini guests here have their own dedicated kids pool as well as an action-packed Koala Kids club (for 3-12 years). Here, in the honey light of a late Algarve afternoon, you can sip cocktails at the beach bar while the kids catch a little rip-curl culture.

The swanky Velassaru Maldives, rests on a private coral island where the glistening waters of a turquoise sea lap the shores of a perfectly white, talcum-powder beach. The resort offers a family beach barbeque, sunset fishing for the whole family, as well as family excursions to nearby Male. Book the nanny service and head to the spa, set on stilts over the sea, offering every kind of pampering possible. The Villa am Ruhrufer Golf & Spa at Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany is a classical late 19thcentury villa, set on the banks of the River Ruhr. Here, this favoured retreat for Europe's golf elite rolls out the red carpet for its junior guests too. An exclusive golf-package for kids (10 years and up) features free green fee, free driving-range, kids-lunch in one of the clubhouses and a free shuttle around the resort.

Hoteldorf Grüner Baum, Bad Gastein, Austria This picturesque, high altitude hideaway offers daily childcare for junior thrill seekers including a rope course in the forest, climbing for beginners, mountain breakfast, raft building, fishing, campfire and a torchlit hike. Plus there is a playground, petting zoo, horseback riding and even a Kids Spa. Eagles Palace Hotel & Spa, Halkidiki, Greece Skirted by a private expanse of sand and overlooking a sparkling blue sea, the monasticstyled Eagles Palace Hotel & Spa is a sanctuary for the senses. Free of "Stop", "Be Quiet" and "Don't touch that", the hotel’s dedicated kidcentric zone is geared to 4-12 year olds. There is a children's pool, daily Mini Club and a playground so you get to spa and sunbathe in peace while the kids are busy. And at bedtime there's even milk and cookies. To book visit




Too often nowadays our families are separated by geography, burgeoning schedules and lifestyles. Blending knowledge, memories and experience from one generation to another is the best part of a family get-together. And there’s no better way to fully embrace the festive spirit than bringing everyone together on a far-flung winter break. This way you get to keep the tinsel and the turkey, but use the break time to actually take a stressfree holiday and still enjoy precious bonding time over one too many glasses of sherry. Far from the madding crowd, the Chateau Mcely is a romantic, 17th-century castle standing high on a hill in the midst of the legendary St George Forest, an hour away from Prague, Czech Republic. A rich Advent program includes performances of folk traditions, carols and church concerts in neighbouring St. Wenceslas church. With rooms specially kitted out for the tiniest prince and princess, junior guests can have their own decorated Christmas tree in the privacy of their room. They’ll discover their own welcoming gift as well as a special Christmas kids programme. It includes decorating hanging bird feeders, gingerbread and the all-important Christmas tree. There is sledging in the hotel’s extensive English park and on Christmas Day you can all stroll through the Jabkenice game preserve with a cup of mulled wine.

Chateau Mcely

Alpenhof Murnau Hotel

Quintessentially Bavarian, the Alpenhof Murnau in Bavaria, Germany is a sleek and modern alpine-style escape with awe-inducing mountain views. Make yourself at home in this elegant country house, settle the family by the fire for mince pies and hot chocolate, and ease into your Christmas break in beautifully landscaped surroundings dusted with crisp winter snow. On offer is local skiing, snowboarding, horse-sleigh rides, ice skating as well as traditional Christmas markets. The hotel is renowned for its festive menus, including a five course Christmas Eve dinner and a three course Christmas Day dinner at the acclaimed Hofmann's restaurant. Once you’ve binned the silly hats and the wrapping paper, kick off the New Year in style by escaping ensemble somewhere sunny. Tucked away in a tranquil, beachfront setting on Curacao's west-end, is the exclusive Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club. At this idyllic hideaway you’ll feel like you are a hundred miles away from the real world. A prime diving destination with daily excursions to the island’s best dive sites, three restaurants, a beautiful pool, a bar, a spa pavilion and fitness centre all add to the indulgence. With plenty of activities to engage the kids while still offering sports, cultural and area activities for the benefit of more sophisticated older travelers, Kura Hulanda ticks all the boxes for the perfect family bonding beach holiday. Helen Truszkowski is author of best selling guidebook series, ‘Take The Kids’ for Cadogan Guides. She recently circumnavigated the globe in 30 days with her two sons for The Times

Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club

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Pamper me Whether you’re a well-being junkie or a spa sceptic, there’s no denying that spas are upping the ante on design, treatments and pampering. Small Luxury Hotels of the World have some of the best in the world to complement whatever type of holiday you have planned. Jane Anderson gives you the low down (or should that be rub down?)


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When wellness is the only thing on your mind During the three-hour drive southwest from Perth to the Margaret River Wine Region, in Australia, there’s plenty of time to downshift to the relaxed pace of one of Australia’s most lauded spa sanctuaries. Injidup Spa Retreat has just 10 villas and the beautiful ‘My Spa’ overlooking a rugged stretch of pristine coastline. Visits begin with a private consultation and a tailormade spa experience using 100% natural Sodashi products. From a Himalayan Crystal Salt Glow to a Herbal Infusion Massage, you’re in safe hands.

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda

Or how about: Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy: Experience the rejuvenating ‘Lefay Spa Method’ beside stunning Lake Garda, with pools, saunas, grottoes and small lakes. Cape Sounio Exclusive Resort, Sounio, Greece: With sea views to Poseidon's Temple, this Elixir Spa Retreat is set in landscaped gardens with open air treatment rooms, luxurious massage suites and three outdoor pools. Cameron Highlands Resort, Pahang, Malaysia: Find spa heaven at this majestic tea plantation hotel on the largest hill retreat in Malaysia. Top treatments are inspired by the healing properties of tea.

Injidup Spa Retreat

Ski & Spa Alpin Royal, St Johann, Italy is set in the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Ahrntal in South Tyrol. This alpine lodge gently curves into the mountainside with each individually designed room holding its own balcony, but it's the spa that you won't be able to resist with its own spectacular views, Beauty Farm and sauna area with Tyrolean Stubensauna, herbal grotto, infra red cabin, ice fountain and spectacular indoor pool. Or how about: Bentleys House, Zürs am Arlberg, Austria: This sophisticated alpine bolthole has its own private spa with Finnish sauna, ice room, rain showers and glorious mountain views. Art & Relax Hotel Bergwelt, Tirol, Austria: The highest outdoor pool in the Alps with salt water heated to a cosy 36 degrees C, indoor steams bath, Ayurveda treatments and Babor facials. Castle Hill Resort and Spa, Cavendish, USA: Set in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, this elegant mansion holds a full- service Aveda concept spa offering a wide range of treatments including Reiki, herbal wraps and Swedish massages.

Golf & Hotel Spa Art & Relax Bergwelt To book visit


Old school golfers might have dismissed spa going as a novelty or something for the ladies, but whatever gender golfer you are, it’s time to treat the spa as the 19th hole once in a while. Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington, northeast England has an 18-hole championship course (the longest in Europe) and an award-winning spa with signature treatments just made to ease away those bad swings. Book a two-hour Sacred Moments treatment which includes a smoothing body scrub and hot poultice massage and facial. Guys might like the Sportsman’s Massage before they hit the hydro-pool, soundwave therapy beds and thermal bathing suite, all with spa butlers on hand to provide refreshments. Or how about: Château des Vigiers Golf & Country Club, Dordogne Perigord, SW France: An impressive château hotel, home to a Donald Steel designed 27-hole golf course and the Maria Galland Wellness & Beauty Spa. Palácio Estoril Hotel, Golf & Spa, Portugal: A testament to understated 1930s’ elegance, this hotel is located in Estoril, just 20 minutes from the heart of Lisbon.Follow up a round of golf on Portugal’s oldest course with some holistic pampering at the Asian inspired Banyan Tree Spa. Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, Germany: This former hunting lodge once hosted guests of the noble Hohenlohe family, now it offers 66 rooms, a 27-hole golf course with golf academy and an award-winning spa. The hotel owns cosmetic line SanVino made of grape seeds and essences of the regional red wine.

Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa

Walking & Spa A scenic walk or a challenging hike plus a soothing spa treatment is a winning recipe for wellbeing. Aquapetra Resort & Spa was once a neglected mid-19th century village, near Telese Terme in Campania, Italy. Walking tours are a highlight of any stay combined with a trip to the Aqua Spa, originally an old barn, and now an holistic temple made of water, stone, glass and light. Treatments range from collagen facials to massages and body scrubs, plus there’s an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath, Kneipp course, Emotional Crome therapy showers and relaxation area. Or how about: Hotel Toriba, Campos do Jordão, Brazil: This Swiss chalet style hotel at an altitude of 1700m offers woodland walks or more challenging mountain treks. Toriba Spa offers treatments developed by Provence brand, L’Occitane. Park Hotel ai Cappuccini, Umbria, Italy: This converted 17th century monastery is the perfect base for exploring Umbria. The spa is dedicated to mind and body care with Aveda therapies. The panoramic pool and hydrotherapy suites are newly redesigned by architect Simone Micheli.

Sun bathing, Sightseeing & Spa The sensory rich Indonesian island of Bali is a spa lovers haven. A holistic approach to life is inherent in the Hindu culture. The Balé in Nusa Dua is a 29-pavilion retreat dedicated to revitalising your body and mind between chilling out by the pool and exploring Bali’s abundant rice fields, spectacular temples and artisanal towns like Ubud. Indulge in some serious spa pampering with a glass of lime and lemongrass ice tea and a foot bath to begin every treatment. As well as yoga, there are wellness Pilates, craniosacral therapies and martial arts as well as visiting holistic practitioners offering life-changing seminars and workshops. The Balé

Rockcliffe Hall

Or how about: Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa, Patagonia, Argentina: As the world’s southernmost spa (next stop Antarctica), there’s plenty of wow factor with views of snow-clad Andes from the Jacuzzi and grape extract and champagne bubbles treatments. Nakamanda Resort & Spa, Krabi, Thailand: This resort is the perfect setting for a lazy sun bathing holiday with a spot of exploring and a healthy dose of pampering with everything from traditional Thai massages to a dill based moisturising treatment. Rodos Park Suites & Spa, Rhodes, Greece: With the intriguing Medieval city of Rhodes on the doorstep, sunny skies and holistic Asian inspired therapies in the Wellness Spa, you can’t go wrong.


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Girls just want to have spa fun Spa resorts are a hot favourite for girls getaways, be that a mother and daughter indulgence weekend, a hen party or a pre-holiday bootcamp

Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa, East Sussex, England:

This beautiful manor house hotel in the heart of Sussex is just the place for a girls’ spa getaway. An overnight ‘Perfectly Pampered’ package includes full use of the spa from 3pm to 3pm the following day. Popular treatments include side by side manicures and pedicures in the sociable Hair & Nail Salon as well as massages and facials in the couples treatment room. Don't miss the Totally Quenched and Drenched 85-minute facial with Temple Spa products. Pennyhill Park Hotel and The Spa, Surrey, England: Set in rolling Surrey parkland, Pennyhill Park Luxury Hotel & Spa is lauded by women in search of wellbeing. A stress-free 45 minutes from London, this is a fabulous hen do choice. The Sheer Sanctuary Spa Break overnight package includes full use of the spa and a choice of one hour treatment such as a Signature Chakra Facial, Aromatherapy Massage or a Champagne and Mandarin Manicure or Pedicure.

Create SLH Style at Home: Spa Delphine Duffours, Spa Manager, Les Sources de Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, Bordeaux, France

Pennyhill Park Hotel and The Spa

Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa

“Relaxation is a question of atmosphere. Even in the most ordinary bathroom you can create the feel of a luxury spa. Firstly put scented candles around your bath. A soft light and fragrance create a sensation of wellbeing. Put on some soothing music. Classical, background music or natural sounds. Then take your time. Be sure you won’t be interrupted. Prepare yourself a cup of green tea and a plate of fresh fruits high in potassium like banana, kiwi and avocado to relieve stress. Finally choose new beauty products with soft textures and delicate fragrances. Take care of your body with a scrub, take time for a facial mask, massage and moisturise your body and your face.” Jane Anderson writes for Elle’s spa roundup and Spa Secrets Magazine

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STAY At Hotel Chandler, in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, just blocks from the Empire State Building, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue shopping. PACK A great book or Kindle and enjoy some quiet time in Hotel Chandler’s comfortable Library with its cosy fire, free WiFi and complimentary fresh coffee and herbal teas. SHOP Head to Madison Avenue. This haute strip has 15 blocks of celebrity designer shops (Calvin Klein, Jean-Paul and Armani) and flagship fashion house boutiques (Prada, Hermés and Chanel). Kick things off at Fratelli Rossetti on 58th Street for Italian shoes and be sure to leave some time for the grand finale at the stately Polo Store on 72nd Street. Otherwise head to Fifth Avenue where you’ll find the high-end department stores (Bergdorf’s, Bendel’s and Saks) and the iconic Tiffany’s. Plus a few designer stores you won’t find on Madison (Versace, Fendi and Ferregamo). BRING BACK Take home the quintessential Hotel Chandler collectible – a luxurious bathrobe by Frette and a signature turquoise box from Tiffany’s of course!


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STAY At Hotel Haven, one of Helsinki's most sumptuous boutique hotels centrally located in Market Square. PACK For a winter stay in Helsinki you definitely need to pack cold weather gear and a cocktail dress or sharp shirt for the nightlife. SHOP It’s just a short walk to Helsinki's main shopping area for the department store Stockmann, shops like Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Mulberry, Finnish Marimekko, IVANA Helsinki and Minna Parikka. Close by is Kämp gallery and Kluuvi shopping centre. BRING BACK A pair of handmade shoes by Minna Parikka and jewellery, ceramics, leather or art from Design District Helsinki.


STAY At The Luxe Manor, a stylishly surrealist-inspired boutique hotel. Welcoming staff ensure a memorable experience within Hong Kong’s urban jungle. PACK A good camera as there are many excellent photo spots at The Luxe Manor. For example, the lobby is inspired by master Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi. SHOP Guests are just minutes away from the brand name shops in Canton Road, Nathan Road, and the popular shopping malls like The One and K11. ‘Chinese Art and Crafts’ in Nathan Road is full of traditional Chinese specialties. For designer inspiration and local humour, head to ‘GOD (Goods of Desire) on Canton Road for some lovely mementos. BRING BACK As Chinese food is so popular worldwide, a pair of nicely designed chopsticks are practical and a great reminder of Hong Kong.




STAY At Desert Palm, a boutique retreat with just 38 suites and private pool villas surrounded by polo fields. This is the ideal base to come back to at the end of a long day of shopping for an intuitive massage in the spa, followed by Champagne in the new Polo Bar overlooking the Dubai skyline.

STAY At Hotel Splendide Royal, a 19th century baroque palace overlooking the Villa Borghese gardens, close to the Spanish Steps and the boutiques of Via dei Condotti. Dine at one of the best restaurant's of the city, The Mirabelle, with fantastic views over Rome.

STAY At Tomtom Suites – The Old Franciscan House, a hotel that anticipates guests needs with an in-room spa treatment first thing in the morning to energise your shopping day and a cocktail on the rooftop terrace in the evening followed by dinner at La Mouette Restaurant.

PACK Jodhpurs or long trousers if you would like to book a horse riding or polo lesson.

PACK Comfy walking shoes for sightseeing, something smart for cocktails and dinner in the rooftop restaurant and a swimsuit for the Wellness Centre.

PACK Bring your iPod or iPhone as there are docking stations in all 22 suites.

SHOP Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls, is just 15 minutes away, while 10 minutes away you will find Mirdif City Centre. Desert Palm is also only 15 minutes away from Dubai Creek where you can experience the old Dubai with the gold and spice souks with water taxis taking people back and forth across the creek. BRING BACK Local spices from the spice souk or a tailor-made piece of jewellery from the Gold and Diamond park. Some Anne Semonin spa products from Desert Palm boutique.

SHOP From Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezi, the shopping is top notch with famous streets including Via Borgognona and Via Frattina. Head to Condotti Street for big names such as Prada, Armani, Gucci and Bulgari. BRING BACK The latest Fendi bag or locally crafted leather gloves for the winter months. An original painting of Piazza Barberini or an old map of Rome.

SHOP The Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar are close by. Visit Nuruosmaniye Street for handmade antiques shops. The most fashionable shopping district is Nisantasi, a 10-minute taxi ride away. You can find the world's biggest names such as Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Prada, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Burberry, and also local luxury shops like Vakko, Beymen and Armaggan. BRING BACK Turkish handmade iznik ceramics, part of Turkish handcraft culture for many centuries.


VIENNA, AUSTRIA 17 November to 24 December In the run-up to the festive season, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets.

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY 1-24 December Heidelberg’s Christmas market covers five squares with an open-air ice rink in Karlsplatz. The castle also features market stalls up for two long weekends in December.

Check in: Chic Hotel Altstadt Vienna or Hotel Das Tyrol, an arty boutique haven.

Check in: Stay at Hotel Die Hirschgasse Heidelberg, the oldest hotel in Heidelberg or Heidelberg Suites Hotel, overlooking the Neckar River. TALLINN, ESTONIA November 26 to January 8 The snow clad Medieval city of Tallinn was home to the first publically displayed Christmas tree. The city still comes alive at Christmas with its picture-postcard market.

Hotel Altstadt, Vienna

Check in: the welcoming Park Hotel Mignon and Spa in Merano. DRESDEN, GERMANY 1-24 December Germany’s oldest Christmas market, known as Striezelmarkt, is located between the recently rebuilt Frauenkirche and the culinary renowned street of Munzgasse. Look out for the world’s biggest nutcracker!

Check in: Hotel Telegraaf in Tallinn’s historic Old Town. RIGA, LATVIA 2 December to 10 January The Old Riga Christmas Market has all the positive hallmarks of a traditional German market with festive food, hand-made decorations, burning Yule log and ‘Black Russian’, Latvia’s herbal tipple. Check in: Hotel Bergs in the charming shopping promenade of Bergs Bazaar and just a short walk from the Old Town.

SOUTH TYROL, ITALY 30 November to 6 January Shop for gifts and nibble on local delicacies at the Merano Christmas Market set against breathtaking mountain scenery.

Check in: Suitess an der Frauenkirche in the heart of Dresden’s Old City. Hotel Telegraaf, Estonia

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A craftsmanship of care Luxury travel has exploded over the last two decades. Affordable air travel and growing affluence in Asia and South America, as well as in Europe and the US, has transformed the sector from the province of the privileged few to the global playground of well-heeled millions. Steve Tooze asked five SLH hotel general managers to explain how they deal with the hopes, demands and expectations of the New Wave luxury travel crowd… Steve Tooze is journalist and trend analyst for The Future Laboratory


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"The days are gone when guests wanted hotel staff to be distant and formal. People today want a luxury hotel experience that invokes strong emotions and a sense of intimacy and friendship with the staff that look after them. Recently, a lady who had stayed with us for a week invited me to come and stay with her at her home in Brazil. Her husband was almost in tears as he told me what a wonderful time they had enjoyed with us. I think that degree of connection – the feeling that both sides have formed a real and lasting relationship – is what guests increasingly want. You need to look after them with your heart to get this special positive reaction. Guests today are much more aware and experienced. They can spot a fake from a mile away. Positive body language is a must, and an in-built understanding by your staff of when physical contact – a reassuring touch on the arm, a shake of the hand – is appropriate or whether it crosses a particular guest’s need for personal space." Paulo Teixeira de Carvalho, Director, Hotel Infante De Sagres, Porto, Portugal

"Intuitive luxury is at the heart of our approach to customer service. It’s about recruiting emotionally intelligent staff and training them to have a level of empathy and a lightness of touch that makes them practically invisible until the moment that a guest needs them. Travellers understanding of luxury has shifted enormously in the past 20 years. Once luxury meant having 50 people hovering around you very noticeably for every second of the day. Now guests travel to find peace, quiet and tranquillity – and definitely not to have staff approaching them every two minutes, bombarding them with questions. Our beach pampering service is a perfect example of our ethos. You might go for a swim to return to find your sunglasses and iPad have been cleaned and a chilled drink and snack are waiting for you. But you won’t necessarily have had to interact with one of our staff for all that to have happened. Coming here should be like coming home, with the added benefit that your needs are catered for without fuss – almost like magic." Alex Castaldi, General Manager, Akaryn Samui Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

The Arch London

The Pillars Hotel, Florida

"Our most important job is to create magical moments for our guests. Beautiful rooms, wonderful food and great service are all vital. But creating memories that will last in someone’s mind for the rest of their life is where we can make the biggest impact, and where we concentrate our energies. We have a special training programme for our staff to ensure that they know how to do this. We teach them to research and understand each guest’s individual needs and desires in order to provide the personalised touches that guarantee we always provide a memorable ‘Wow!’ factor. The other key ingredient to modern luxury is to provide a solution to any problem. An airline lost one guest’s luggage leaving her with no clothes to wear to an important job interview.

"I can tell the first time that someone smiles whether I’m going to hire them or not. They might be a genius with a computer system or brilliant with accounts, but I’m looking for people that are happy in their lives and can communicate that sense of joy to our clients. In a small boutique hotel like ours, that is so important. There is every chance that the member of staff who checks a client in on Monday will be the same one who asks them each morning ‘Did you sleep well?’, and who checks them out on Wednesday. So their smile will set the tone for that client’s entire stay.

We sourced clothes in her style and size and made sure she had everything that she needed for her big moment. She got the job and she’s now not only a loyal guest, but a personal friend."

I bring back an object that encapsulates the customs and culture of every country I visit and stage a show-and-tell session about it with my staff. It's my way of teaching them that our customer care needs to include some element of a client's normal home life and background to make them feel truly at home with us."

Grant Powell, General Manager, The Arch London, UK

Marc-Antoine Nissille, General Manager, Eastwest Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland

"Guests arrive as residents, they leave as friends and return as family. It is just the perfect sentence to describe The Pillars Hotel. I have been working here for 10 years and so many of our guests have become friends throughout the years. It’s one of the things I’m most grateful for. Being kind and being genuine are two of my top tips for modern customer service. One of my pet dislikes is members of staff who sound like they’re reading from a script. Each person who walks through our doors is unique and special, but there are definitely two main types of guest. One loves constant attention, regular checks-ups and small talk with staff several times a day. The other wants quiet attention only when they request it. We choose staff who instinctively recognise which type of guest they are dealing with and so can understand and predict their needs. It’s a talent that is hard, if not impossible, to teach." Caroline Bonnell, Managing Director, The Pillars Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

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How was it for you? Posts from The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™

Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

At one with nature “Our stay at Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia was a pleasure for all five senses. The floral decoration, especially the frangipani made the vision rejoice! Jungle trekking in the rainforest, our sense of smell was stimulated by the wonderful flora and fauna. I remember feeling for the first time the smell of cinnamon in its natural habit. The silence of the morning is interrupted only by the arrival of the boat with the friendly staff. Breakfast is the most delicious I've tried so far. The beach is a haven for guests who enjoy the crystal clear water and like to feel fine sand on the feet. The SLH brand was also felt in the upgrade of our standard room to a spectacular sea villa.”

Hotel Chandler, New York


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New Year travel resolutions “In 2013 I have a special wish to go to the city where everything happens... New York! Hotel Chandler seems calm and cozy even though it is located in the heart of NYC. We would love to walk along the streets of the city and mingle with pedestrians in the confusion of Times Square, see the new fashion trends, visit

the iconic Empire State Building, MoMA, Morgan Museum and then have a relaxed tea time moment at the hotel before diving into the nightlife. We always have awesome experiences with SLH!” Paula e Miguel Cacoilo, Loved member, from Oporto, Portugal

Will you marry me? “It was back in 2010 that I booked a stay at Singapore’s Naumi Hotel for my then-girlfriend and me. We love the impeccable service provided by the Naumi Aides, the spacious rooms and the wonderful healthy breakfast. Its central location also allows easy access to all the top attractions in Singapore. I intended to propose to her during the stay. We checked in one late morning in April and spent the afternoon at the infinity pool with amazing views of the Singapore skyline. We had a delicious three-course dinner delivered to our room and afterwards we went on board the Singapore Flyer. Upon our return to the hotel, I left my girlfriend at the rooftop infinity pool while I prepared the room for my proposal. I laid out some origami flowers folded

Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands

in the shape of a heart, and placed the ring in a champagne flute right in the centre. Obviously, the next few minutes were the most nerve-racking moments of my life. I brought her back to our room where I popped the question. We married one year later and Naumi Hotel will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

would definitely be the Pacific Resort Aitutaki.”

New Year travel resolutions “In 2013 we would love to travel to Kyoto, Japan and stay in Hoshinoya Kyoto. Within the same country you can see the result of modernisation and rapid development in the megalopolis that is Tokyo, and yet just one hour away, you can be in a quiet village of fishermen, meditating in their Shinto shrine.”

“As we live in Eastern Europe, my family and I like visiting sunny, adventurous places. Our best trip was to Thailand and Cambodia. We stayed in Bangkok for New Year’s Eve and then headed to Koh Samui where were travelled by speed boat to Koh Phangan to stay at the hidden paradise of Santhiya Resort & Spa which was amazing. Since I was born on 12 January I celebrated my birthday there. At breakfast the staff brought me a surprise birthday cake and sang me a traditional Happy Birthday song. We were meant to fly home that day, but my mother and I wanted some more adventure, and we both wanted to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Thanks to SLH reservations, we caught the plane to Siem Reap that very day and went straight to our resort. In the evening they gave me another birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday. And that’s how I celebrated two birthdays in one day!"

Yuyi Yeow, Loved member, from Singapore

Once in a lifetime “My husband Darren and I had the best honeymoon anyone could ask for. We stayed in the Maldives – there are so many SLH hotels to choose from there! The views, weather and people were breathtaking, and a refreshing change from the hectic city life we live. A particularly interesting experience was our swim with the local reef sharks and fish as big as me. We were terrified at first, but relaxed after a day or two and realised this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I could send you a million photographs but none could compare to the real-life experience. New Year travel resolutions “We would love to travel to Rarotonga in 2013, it would give us a chance to catch up with family that live in New Zealand and have a joint holiday. I have heard so many wonderful things about Rarotonga and our ultimate SLH dream place to stay

Kylie Walsh, Loved member, from Albany Creek, Brisbane, Australia

Many, many happy returns

New Year travel resolutions For 2013 we are taking a family holiday in Hawaii but if I could choose I'd probably go to Maldives. I’d like to stay at Naladhu Maldives to be somewhere far from urban civilization, enjoying pure nature. Martin Turek aged 15, travelling with his mother who is a Loved member from Novy Bydzov, Czech Republic

Santhiya Resort & Spa, Koh Phangan, Thailand

Hoshinoya Kyoto, Japan


Membership of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM is free and offers instant benefits. On signing up you become a Special member, which gives you access to our Club exclusive rates and a complimentary room upgrade* on your first stay at an SLH hotel. On your second stay, you automatically become a Loved member, which entitles you to the additional benefits of complimentary breakfasts and late checkouts*. After a further five stays, you become an Honoured member, which means even more privileges, including early check-ins* and a free reward night** after every five stays. Joining couldn't be easier – just visit

*Subject to availability. **Terms and conditions apply

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Inn at English Harbour Bo Bo Hotel & Restaurant CasaSur Art Hotel Correntoso Lake & River Hotel Entre Cielos Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa Bloomfield Lodge Injidup Retreat Kims Beach Hideaway Smiths Beach Resort The Louise Thorngrove Manor Woodbridge on the Derwent Altstadt Vienna Art and Relax Hotel Bergwelt Das Tyrol Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel Bentleys House Hoteldorf Grüner Baum Im Weissen Rössl Jadgut Wachtelhof Kristiania Lech Coral Reef Club The Sandpiper De Witte Lelie Die Swaene Hotel de Orangerie Hotel de Tuilerieën Montgomery The Pand Hotel Ka'ana Boutique Resort and Spa Haras Larissa Hotel Toriba Katitche Point Greathouse Premier Luxury Mountain Resort Angkor Village Resort Echo Valley Ranch & Spa Georgian Court Hotel The Windsor Arms Hotel Trout Point Lodge Cotton Tree Brilliant Resort and Spa Brilliant Resort and Spa Chongqing Han's Royal Garden Hotel Beijing Hotel Éclat Beijing Pingjiangfu Suzhou Hotel Pudi Boutique Hotel Shanghai Regalia Resort & Spa (Nanjing Qinhuai River) Sheng He Club Tengchong Hot Spring Spa Villas Resort The Emperor Wuzhen Clubhouse Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias Pacific Resort Aitutaki Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens Punta Islita Rancho Pacifico Vestibul Palace Villa Dubrovnik Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club Columbia Beach Resort Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa Chateau Mcely Quisisana Palace Nimb Hotel Casa Bonita Casa Colonial Beach & Spa Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences The Bannister Hotel Harbour Village Beach Club Pikaia Lodge Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club Cotswold House Hotel Cowley Manor Danesfield House Hotel & Spa Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel & Spa Dukes London Flemings Hotel Mayfair Grand Hotel Eastbourne Great Fosters Hintlesham Hall Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel

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St John's Buenos Aires Buenos Aires Villa la Angostura Mendoza Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego Cairns Injidup Toowoon Bay Yallingup Barossa Valley Adelaide New Norfolk Vienna Tirol Vienna Kitzbühel Zürs am Arlberg Bad Gastein St Wolfgang Hinterthal Lech Am Arlberg St James St. James Antwerp Bruges Bruges Bruges Brussels Bruges Cayo Monte Mor Campos do Jordao Virgin Gorda Bansko Siam Reap Jesmond Vancouver Toronto East Kemptville Grand Cayman Kunming City Chongqing Beijing Beijing Jiangsu Province Shanghai Nanjing Jiangsu Baoshan City Beijing Tongxiang City Cartagena Aitutaki La Fortuna de San Carlos Guanacaste Uvita de Osa Split Dubrovnik Willemstad Westpunt Limassol Paphos Mcely Carlsbad Copenhagen Barahona Puerto Plata Punta Cana Santo Domingo Santo Domingo Bonaire Galapagos Islands Turners Hill (East Sussex) Forest Row (East Sussex) Chipping Campden (Gloucestershire) Cowley (Gloucestershire) Nr Windsor (Buckinghamshire) Skipton (North Yorkshire) London London Eastbourne (East Sussex) Egham (Surrey) Nr Ipswich (Suffolk) Windermere (Lake District)









Top: Baros Maldives Middle: YTL Hotels, Malaysia Bottom: San Antonio, Santorini


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Lainston House Langshott Manor Leopold Hotel Lords of The Manor Hotel Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa No.11 Cadogan Gardens Pennyhill Park Hotel & The Spa Rockliffe Hall South Lodge Hotel St. James’s Hotel and Club London Stapleford Park Country House Hotel & Sporting Estate Stoke Park The Ampersand Hotel The Arch London The Arden Hotel The Capital Hotel & Apartments The Chester Grosvenor The Goring The Levin The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club Tylney Hall Pädaste Manor Telegraaf Hotel Hotel Haven Auberge de Cassagne Auberge Ostapé Banke Hotel Château d'Artigny Château d'Esclimont Château d'Isenbourg Château de Divonne Château de Fere Château de Gilly Château de l'Ile Chateau des Vigiers Golf and Country Club Château Eza Château-Hôtel La Vignette Haute Château la Chenevière Cour des Loges Domaine de Beauvois Grand Barrail Château Hotel & Spa Hostellerie Le Maréchal Hôtel Belles Rives Hôtel De Vendôme Hôtel Le Cep Hôtel Juana Hôtel Jules César Hotel La Pérouse Hôtel San Régis Hôtel Square Hôtel & Spa des Pêcheurs Hôtel Vernet Hôtellerie du Bas-Bréau Jiva Hill Park Hotel L'Agapa Hotel & Spa L'Hôtel La Bastide de Marie La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit Le Bellechasse Le Choiseul Le Grand Hotel Cannes Le Pavillon de la Reine Le Pavillon des Lettres Hôtel Le Pigonnet Le Prieuré Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa Les Bories Les Etangs de Corot Les Jardins de la Villa Les Sources de Caudalie Miramar Boutique Hotel Relais Christine Royal Mougins Golf Club & Spa Villa Marie Villa Regalido Vahine Island Alpenhof Murnau Belle Epoque Brandenburger Hof Berlin Die Sonne Frankenberg Gut Klostermühle Heidelberg Suites Hotel Hotel Die Hirschgasse Heidelberg Hotel im Wasserturm Ketschauer Hof

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Winchester (Hampshire) Horley (Surrey) Sheffield (Yorkshire) Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) Luton (Bedfordshire) London Bagshot (Surrey) Darlington (Durham) Nr Horsham (West Sussex) London Nr Melton Mowbray (Leicestershire) Stoke Poges (Buckinghamshire) London London Stratford-Upon-Avon (Warwickshire) London Chester (Cheshire) London London Castle Combe, Nr Bath (Wiltshire) Hook (Hampshire) Muhu Island Tallinn Helsinki Avignon Bidarray, Pyrenees Paris Montbazon St-Symphorien-le-Chateau Rouffach Divonne-les-Bains Fere-en-Tardenois Vougeot Ostwald Monestier | Bergerac Eze Village Auribeau sur Siagne, Nr Cannes Port-En-Bessin Lyon Luynes Saint-Emilion Colmar Juan Les Pins Paris Beaune Juan-Les-Pins Arles Cedex Nice Paris Paris Bonifacio Corsica Paris Barbizon Crozet, Nr Geneva Perros-Guirec Paris Menerbes Gosnay, Bethune Paris Amboise Cannes Paris Paris Aix-en-Provence Chenehutte-les-Tuffeaux Saint-Remy-de-Provence Gordes-en-Provence Avray Paris Bordeaux-Martillac Propriano Paris Mougins Ramatuelle – St Tropez Fontvieille Tahaa Murnau am Staffelsee Baden Baden Berlin Frankenberg Madlitz Wilmersdorf Heidelberg Heidelberg Cologne Deidesheim

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Kloster Hornbach Parkhotel Adler Schlosshotel Kronberg Schwarzer Adler Suitess an der Frauenkirche Villa am Ruhrufer Golf & Spa Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Aegean Suites Hotel Aqua Blu Boutique Hotel & Spa Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites Belvedere Hotel Bill & Coo Canaves Oia Cape Sounio Exclusive Resort Carpe Diem Chromata Cosmopolitan Suites Eagles Palace Hotel & Spa Elounda Gulf Villas Finikas Naxos Hotel Gold Suites Imaret Hotel La Maltese Estate Lindos Blu Liostasi Hotel & Spa Melenos Lindos Hotel Minos Beach Art Hotel Mykonos Grand Hotel and Resort Hotel Nikopolis Thessaloniki Notos Therme & Spa On The Rocks Ostraco Suites Petasos Beach Resort & Spa Petra Hotel & Suites Pietra e Mare Beach Hotel Mykonos Rimondi Boutique Hotel Rodos Park Suites Hotel San Antonio Santorini Kastelli Resort Skiathos Princess St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas Sun Rocks Thalatta Seaside Hotel The Excelsior Hotel The Margi Theoxenia Palace Yria Resort Spice Island Bella Luce Hotel and Spa The Lodge at Pico Bonito Hotel Pravo Hong Kong Lanson Place Hotel The Luxe Manor Chrome Hotel Fragrant Nature Retreat and Resorts Pvt. Ltd. Ganga Kutir Resort & Spa Kumarakom Lake Resort Old Harbour Hotel Orange County Orange County Coorg The Oberoi Amarvilas The Oberoi Rajvilas The Oberoi Udaivilas The Oberoi Vanyavilas The Paul Bangalore The Raj Palace Serai Chikmagalur L Hotel Seminyak Bali Spa Village Tembok Bali The Balé The Oberoi, Bali The Oberoi, Lombok The Sanchaya Viceroy Bali Brooks Hotel Dunraven Arms Hotel Hayfield Manor La Stampa Hotel & Spa Mount Juliet Park Hotel Kenmare The Lodge at Doonbeg The Efendi Hotel Albergo al Sole Albergo Pietrasanta Alpin Royal

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Hornbach Hinterzarten Kronberg Vogtsburg – Oberbergen Dresden Mülheim a.d. Ruhr Zweiflingen-Friedrichsruhe Skiathos Lambi – Kos Fira-Santorini Mykonos Mykonos Oia – Santorini Sounio Santorini Imerovigli – Santorini Fira – Santorini Halkidiki Crete Pyrgaki – Naxos Imerovigli – Santorini Kavala Imerovigli – Santorini Lindos – Rhodes Ios Rhodes Aghios Nikolaos – Crete Mykonos Thessaloniki Vlychada – Santorini Imerovigli – Santorini Drafaki – Mykonos Mykonos Grikos, Patmos Island Mykonos Rethymno – Crete Rhodes Imerovigli – Santorini Kamari – Santorini Skiathos Island Aghios Nikolaos Firostefani – Santorini North Evia Thessaloniki Athens Athens Paros St. George's St Martins La Ceiba Kowloon Hong Kong Kowloon Kolkata Kollam District South 24 Parganas Kottayam Fort Cochin Karnataka Coorg Agra Rajasthan Udaipur Rajasthan Bangalore Jaipur Bangalore Bali Buleleng Bali Bali West Lombok Bintan Bali Dublin Adare Cork Dublin Thomastown Co Kerry Doonbeg, Kilrush Acre Asolo (Treviso) Pietrasanta (Lucca) Ahrntal (Bolzano)

Top: Chateau Mcely, Czech Republic Middle: Skiing in Vermont Bottom: French Vineyards


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Aquapetra Resort & Spa Borgobianco Resort & Spa Ca'Sagredo Casa Angelina Lifestyle CastaDiva Resort & Spa Castello di Velona Centurion Palace Eight Hotel Portofino Escalus Luxury Suites Verona Grand Hotel Cocumella Grand Hotel Majestic Grand Hotel Parker's Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort Hotel Bernini Bristol Hotel D'Inghilterra Hotel De La Ville Hotel Lungarno Hotel Punta Tragara Hotel Relais dell'Orologio Hotel Splendide Royal Hotel Villa Athena I Portici Hotel di Bologna J.K. Place Capri J.K. Place Firenze Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda Liassidi Palace Londra Palace Hotel Lungarno Suites Mont Blanc Hotel Village Palazzo Righini Palazzo Sant'Angelo sul Canal Grande Park Hotel ai Cappuccini Park Hotel Mignon Park Hotel Villa Grazioli Petit Palais H么tel de Charme Relais Hist貌 Relais La Suvera Relais Villa d'Amelia Residenza del Moro San Montano Resort & Spa Seiser Alm Urthaler The Gray The Inn at the Spanish Steps The Inn at the Roman Forum Therasia Resort Sea and Spa Town House 31 Town House Suite 70 Villa Carlotta Villa di Monte Solare Villa Ducale Villa Le Maschere Resort Villa Mangiacane Villa Spalletti Trivelli Hoshinoya Karuizawa Hoshinoya Kyoto Hotel Il Palazzo Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland L'Hotel du Lac Noborioji Hotel Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima Unzen Kanko Hotel The Atlantic Hotel Diamonds Dream of Africa Exploreans Mara Rianta Luxury Camp Hemingways Nairobi Hemingways Watamu Larsens Camp The Luang Say Residence Hotel Bergs IDW Esperanza Resort Albert Premier Hotel Restaurant Cameron Highlands Resort Gaya Island Resort Pangkor Laut Resort Tanjong Jara Resort The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur The Majestic Malacca Baros Maldives Coco Palm Bodu Hithi Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Huvafen Fushi Island Hideaway Resort and Spa Naladhu Maldives

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Telese Terme (Naples) Polignano a Mare (Bari) Venice Praiano (Amalfi Coast) Blevio (Lake Como) Montalcino Venice Portofino Verona Sorrento (Naples) Verbania (Lake Maggiore) Naples Poltu Quatu, Arzachena (Sardinia) Viareggio (Lucca) Monsummano Terme (Pistoia) Rome Rome Monza Florence Capri Pisa Rome Agrigento (Sicily) Bologna Capri Florence Gargnano (Lake Garda) Venice Venice Florence La Salle (Aosta) Fossano (Cuneo) Venice Gubbio (Perugia) Merano Frascati (Rome) Milan Taranto Pievescola (Siena) Benevello (Cuneo) Florence Lacco Ameno (Ischia) Seiser Alm (Alpe di Siusi) Milan Rome Rome Vulcano (Aeolian Islands) Milan Turin Taormina Tavernelle di Panicale (Perugia) Taormina Florence San Casciano Val di Pesa (Florence) Rome Nagano Kyoto City Fukuoka Kobe Nagahama Shiga Nara Yakushima Unzen City St Brelade Malindi Masai Mara Nairobi Watamu Samburu District Luang Prabang Riga Kozelkiskiu Village, Trakai District Luxembourg Ville Pahang Kota Kinabalu Pangkor Laut Terengganu Kuala Lumpur Malacca North Male Atoll Male Baa Atoli North Male Atoll Male Male

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Niyama Velassaru Maldives French Coco Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort The Oberoi, Mauritius Anticavilla Hotel Blue Diamond Rivieira Maya Downtown Esencia Hotel Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa Hacienda de San Antonio Hotel Habita MTY La Casa Que Canta Port Palace Boutique Hotel Terelj Hotel Fellah Hotel Jardin D'Inès Kasbah Agafay Hotel and Spa La Sultana Marrakech La Sultana Oualidia Canal House Château St Gerlach The Dylan Amsterdam Blanket Bay Eichardt's Private Hotel Grasmere Lodge Solitaire Lodge The George Mukul Resort Panamonte Inn & Spa Royal Park Hotel Discovery Shores Boracay Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa Misibis Bay The Granary – La Suite Hotel Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa Aquapura Douro Valley Blue & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort Carmo’s Boutique Hotel Hotel da Estrela Infante Sagres Internacional Design Hotel L'AND Vineyards Resort Palácio Estoril – Hotel, Spa and Golf Quinta Da Casa Branca Quinta das Lagrimas Vila Monte El Convento O:live Boutique Hotel Royal Isabela Alexander House Mar Hall Hotel & Aveda Spa Nira Caledonia The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa Frégate Island Private Naumi The Scarlet Hotel Marrol's Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa Grand Hotel Toplice Grande Roche Hotel ABaC Restaurant Hotel Cap Rocat Club Marítimo de Sotogrande El Lodge Ski and Spa Resort Gran Derby Hotel Gran Hotel Son Net Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa Hotel Bagués Hotel Claris Hotel Tres Hotel Villa Real La Plantación del Sur La Pleta Hotel & Spa Palacio Guendulain Villa Soro Viura Jetwing Beach Jetwing Lighthouse Jetwing Vil Uyana Serene Pavilions The Fortress Ulagalla Resort Ett Hem Lydmar

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Male Male Tartane Bel Ombre Pointe aux Piments Cuernavaca Playa del Carmen Mexico DF Playa del Carmen Todos Santos Colima Monterrey, Nuevo León Zihuatanejo Monte Carlo Ulaanbaatar Marrakech Marrakech Marrakech Marrakech Oualidia Amsterdam Valkenburg aan de Geul Amsterdam Otago Queenstown Canterbury Rotorua Christchurch Tola-Rivas Boquete Lima Boracay Island Panglao Island Cagraray Island Albay Wroclaw Alentejo Lamego (Douro Valley) Porches (Lagoa) Ponte de Lima Lisbon Porto Lisbon Montemor-o-Novo Estoril Funchal – Madeira Coimbra Moncarapacho – Algarve San Juan Condado Isabela St.Petersburg Glasgow Edinburgh Aberdeen Mahe Singapore Singapore Bratislava Ljubljana Bled Paarl Barcelona Cala Blava, Mallorca Sotogrande Sierra Nevada (Granada) Barcelona Puigpunyent (Mallorca) Salamanca Barcelona Barcelona Palma (Mallorca) Madrid Adeje (Sta. Cruz de Tenerife) Baqueira Pamplona San Sebastian Rioja Alavesa Negombo Galle Sigiriya Wadduwa Galle Anuradhapura Stockholm Stockholm

Top: Grasmere Lodge, New Zealand Middle: Sun Rocks, Santorini Bottom: Huvafen Fushi, Maldives


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Art Deco Hotel Montana Château D'Ouchy Cordée des Alpes Crystal Hotel Eastwest Hotel Hotel Caprice Hotel Eden au Lac Grand Hotel Bellevue Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola au Lac Post Weggis Hotel Royal Park Hotel Hotel Éclat Taipei Hotel Quote Taipei Hotel Royal Chiao hsi San Want Residences Taipei The Crystal Resort Sun Moon Lake Diamonds Star of the East Kirawira Camp Zanzibar Serena Inn 137 Pillars House AKA Resort Guti Hua Hin Akaryn Samui Akatsuki Resort Aleenta Resort and Spa Hua Hin Aleenta Resort & Spa Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa Hansar Bangkok Hotel La Flora Resort Patong Maduzi Hotel Nakamanda Resort & Spa Pimalai Bay Resort and Spa S31 Sukhumvit Hotel Santhiya Resort and Spa Tha Racha The Siam Tongsai Grand Villas Twinpalms Phuket Yaiya Hua Hin Zeavola The Villas at Stonehaven Dar Said Les Ottomans The Marmara Bodrum Tomtom Suites – The Old Franciscan House Desert Palm Cranwell Resort Spa and Golf Club Diamond Mills Hotel Hotel Chandler Hotel Shangri-La Hotel Wailea Inn at Great Neck Mill Street Inn Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Santa Maria Suites Soniat House Southbridge Napa Valley The Betsy The Castle Hill Resort & Spa The Castle on the Hudson The Chesterfield Hotel The Huntington and Nob Hill Spa The Inn at Irving Place The Inn at Montchanin Village The Iroquois The Manor on Golden Pond The Peacock Inn The Pillars Hotel The Quin Hotel The Refinery Hotel The Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant The Talbott Viana Hotel and Spa Wentworth Mansion Princess D'Annam Resort and Spa Vinpearl Luxury Nha Trang

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Lucerne Lausanne Verbier St Moritz Geneva Wengen Zurich Gstaad Lugano Weggis Kandersteg Taipei Taipei City Chiao Hsi Taipei Nantou Country Zanzibar Arusha Zanzibar Chiang Mai Hua Hin Koh Samui Koh Samui Pranburi Phuket Chiang Saen Bangkok Phuket Bangkok Krabi Lanta Island Bangkok Koh Phangan Phuket Bangkok Koh Samui Phuket Petchburi Ao Nang Bon Accord Sidi Bou Said Istanbul Bodrum Istanbul Dubai Lenox Saugerties New York Santa Monica Maui, Hawaii Great Neck Newport Lake Placid Jackson Paradise Valley Key West New Orleans St. Helena Miami Beach Ludlow Tarrytown Palm Beach Nob Hill, San Francisco New York Wilmington New York Holderness Princeton Fort Lauderdale New York New York Manchester Village Chicago Westbury Charleston Ham Thuan District Nha Trang







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WHAT DID YOU FEEL LIKE WHEN YOU KNEW YOU HAD WON THE SLH PRIZE? Thrilled! I couldn't quite believe that we had won a 14-night luxury holiday with £8,000 towards our travel expenses. To think that out of all the thousands of entries, my entry had stood out, was really quite amazing. The trip ended up being the catalyst for us to quit our jobs (my wife was an Account Director at one of Perth's leading advertising agencies, and I was the State Sales Manager for Shock Entertainment, one of Australia's biggest music and movies distributors) and set out on a five month, five continent journey. We have SLH to thank for getting the ball rolling.


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Baros Maldives was the perfect resort. It's possibly the only place that has exceeded our postcard perfect expectations. We loved snorkelling amongst the reef sharks, giant turtles and stingrays. We also have fondness for Twinpalms on Surin Beach in Phuket.


Q&A with PETE BEOR, 39 from Perth, Australia, winner of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ Dream Itinerary Competition

My dream itinerary included La Sultana Marrakech, Baros Maldives and Villa Marie in St Tropez. These are three places that my wife, Sharyn wanted to visit on our honeymoon. We married five years ago in Thailand and honeymooned in Phuket, Koh Lak and Krabi.


We will be returning to work but we’ll also definitely start planning our next trip. We’d love to take a whole year off and visit as many places as possible. Our stays at SLH hotels have certainly been the material of dreams and I've most definitely a cache of brownie points to draw upon for years to come!

Gold Suites, Santorini

La Sultana, Marrakech

WHERE DID YOU VISIT ON YOUR PRIZEWINNING TRAVELS? We made it to California, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Morocco, Spain, Maldives and Singapore. We finished up our dream itinerary in Turkey and the Greek Islands at Liostasi Ios Hotel & Spa followed by Gold Suites in Santorini, which is just beautiful. One of the most stunning views in the world.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP? There are way too many to list! But definitely one of the highlights was the four-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu and the Iguassu Falls in both Brazil and Argentina. Stunning! Snorkelling off the deck of our over the water villa at Baros Maldives would be another close favourite. Returning to the luxury of our room at La Sultana Marrakech after a chaotic day in the old town's medina was very special.

Baros Maldives


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How to make a reservation The Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ reservations network spans the globe. Whether you have access to the internet, a telephone or prefer to speak to a travel agent, Small Luxury Hotels of the World gives you choice: See rooms, view rates, check availability and join The Club. Toll Free We also offer a worldwide telephone reservation service. Phone from many countries toll-free as listed below. TOLL FREE RESERVATIONS United States United Kingdom Australia Belgium Brazil Canada China Denmark Finland France Germany Holland Hong Kong India Italy Japan Malaysia Mexico New Zealand Norway Russia (within Moscow) Russia (outside Moscow) Singapore South Korea Spain Sweden Switzerland Thailand

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Please note: The numbers listed above may not be accessible by mobile phone. If you are in any other country, please call the number in the region nearest to you. Remember, they are NOT toll free. EUROPE +44 (0) 203 285 8911 THE AMERICAS +1 631 891 4300 ASIA/PACIFIC + 65 6232 5060 Email If you would prefer to email us, please send us your enquiry to and we will endeavour to respond within 24 hours (Monday – Friday). LX for LuXury If you have a travel partner, they will know about our unique LX (for LuXury) GDS code. They will be able to make your reservation and issue you with a written confirmation. Small Luxury Hotels of the World is pleased to offer our travel partners instant confirmation through the airline GDS systems under the LX code for LuXury. You can locate the LX code in the following systems: • Sabre (Abacus) • Amadeus • Apollo/Galileo • Worldspan GDS Helpdesk: United States 1-800 554 5713 Visit our Travel Agents website:

The Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM Brand Commitment When you book a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property using one of the reservation channels outlined above: • You will be provided with the most accurate details available about the hotel • The very best room available will be reserved for you in the category and style you select • You will receive the highest standards of personal service that all our hotels are committed to provide • And as a member of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, your personal preferences will be noted in advance and special benefits will make your stay even better. Visit to join. We guarantee the best rates at all our hotels. If you find one of our hotels at a lower rate within 24 hours, we will refund the difference. See

Why not save money and pay in advance? SLH Prepaid Rates on are at least 10% lower than the hotel’s Best Available Rate. Look for the SLH Prepaid Rate when you make your reservation at a selection of properties on (certain conditions apply)

GIFT CERTIFICATES Choose from a variety of Experience Gift Certificates including gourmet, spa, honeymoon or 1, 2, 3 night stays. Alternatively purchase monetary value Gift Certificates and give the gift of choice the world over!

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