Small luxury HotelS of tHe Worldâ„˘
INTO THE BLUE Sailing in the Caribbean, diving in Tahiti, weddings in Sri Lanka
CHIC WEEKENDS Where to stay, spa and shop
THE GREAT OUTDOORS Gourmet picnics, sun-kissed vineyards, family safaris
TAILOR-MADE TRAVEL Luxury leather goods and accessories hand crafted in the United Kingdom
Canvas and Leather Bags for the Elegant Traveller www.ettinger.co.uk Tel: +44 (0)20 8877 1616
welcome to Be Inspired As Be Inspired went to press, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ was delighted to welcome its first hotels in Cambodia and Tunisia, as well as additional properties in increasingly well-represented destinations such as Japan. At the same time, existing hotels in SLH’s core destinations announced upgraded facilities, renovation programmes and new packages, continuing to improve the service they offer to you. What this all amounts to is a greater choice for our guests. 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. Quality is just as important as quantity, of course. But because the hotels in our group are small, they are able to offer an intimate experience, without impacting excessively on the local environment. As the champion of independent hotels, we are pleased to say that each one has its own distinct personality, determined by the owner, who is often on hand to contribute to the authentic personalised service and an insider appreciation of the local culture. We felt this tremendous quantity and quality of experiences deserved flagging up, which is why we launched Be Inspired magazine. We hope you enjoy the features and, if you are a Club member (it’s easy to join, just visit www.slh.com/club), we look forward to treating you to room upgrades and other benefits on your next trip. Booking couldn’t be easier, whether through slh.com, on your iPhone or iPad, Facebook, or your favourite travel agent. Our dedicated Call Centres would also be delighted to suggest a personalised itinerary for you. 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: Lisa Johnson Production Editor: Anna Wood, SLH Email: email@example.com Design & Production: Strattons (strattons.com) Front cover image: Baros Maldives © 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™.
To book visit www.slh.com 1
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Make it a Date From the London Olympics to dragon boat racing in China, SLH hotels around the world take you right to the heart of the action
10-11 Love Match SLH has the perfect hotel for every romantic occasion
12-15 THE New beds on the Block SLH’s hottest new hotels range from a modern hideaway in the Argentine wine region of Mendoza to a clubby London hotel for gents that has gone all women-friendly. Plus, stress-free travel
To book visit www.slh.com
16-19 Close Encounters of an Aquatic Kind Tim Ecott can’t recall how many times he has dived the waters of the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. But he hasn’t forgotten the unique creatures he met there
20-21 Thrill Me What gives a hotel the ‘it’ factor?
22-23 Costa to Costa From the Caribbean to the Pacific via the volcanic interior, Harriet O’Brien extols the extraordinary natural treasures of Costa Rica
34 24-27 ALL TOGETHER NOW With a little help from the hotel staff, a happy family holiday can create magical memories to last a lifetime
28-29 Neighbourhood Watch Weekending in Paris is all about experiencing the city like a local, which means spending the weekend in and around a particular neighbourhood
30-33 INTO THE BLUE Soak up the views of sea and sky on sailing tours in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, stopping off at some of SLH’s most glorious properties en route
38 44 50 34-37 BACK TO THE SOURCE The days of old-fashioned restaurant dining are numbered. Now, it’s all about discussing where your food comes from with the chef, helping to prepare your own supper, and feasting in the great outdoors. Plus, ‘Chocolattes’ and in-flight treats
38-40 Global Healing 10 native spa traditions and where to experience them
42-43 GAME ON John Gibb rises to the challenge of playing some of SLH’s best golf courses for experienced and moderately skilled players
44-45 Follow the Snow
52-53 HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
From the Austrian Alps to a US cowboy town, Felice Hardy picks SLH hotels that are perfectly placed to keep skiers and snowboarders busy year round
Posts from the Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™
54-59 HOTEL LISTINGS
46-49 HEADY STUFF
60 ON THE ROAD WITH SLH
Sublime scenery, incredible wines – don’t blame us if you never see life in quite the same way again. Plus, where to taste world-class whisky and what SLH can do for you
Q&A with Honoured Club Member Sue Bennett
50-51 SHOP AHOY! Insider tips on where to look and what to buy in some of the world’s great shopping cities
Download digital versions by visiting www.slh.com/beinspired
To book visit www.slh.com 3
SL H aro un d the wo rld
Eastern and S
Caribbean COSTA RICA
To book visit www.slh.com
astern Europe Scandinavia
australia South Africa NEW ZEALAND
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DIARY The Inn at Irving Place
TO AY G M AU
MAKE IT A DATE
Fashion NYC With Australian director Baz Luhrmann on board as creative consultant, New Yorkâ€™s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art looks set to have another hit on its hands with Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion (10 May to 19 August). Stay at The Inn at Irving Place in the Gramercy Park area, near Union Square, or at the elegant Iroquois New York off Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
From the London Olympics to dragon boat racing in China, SLH hotels around the world take you right to the heart of the action
Iroquois New York
To book visit www.slh.com
POLAND & UKRAINE
TO AY LY M JU
TO JUN JU E LY
The Ampersand Hotel
Golf USA Both of the US’s major summer golf tournaments take place on ocean courses: the US Open (11 to 17 June) at The Olympic Club in Daily City, California, and the US PGA (9 to 12 August) at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. For the US Open book into the Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa, with its knockout views over San Francisco from the top of Nob Hill. For the US PGA stay at the elegant period property Wentworth Mansion in Charleston’s historic district.
White Nights ST PETERSBURG At its brightest from 11 June to 2 July, Russia’s midnight sun ushers in a series of classical ballet, opera and music performances from Russian and international stars at the Mariinsky Theatre and Concert Hall. The White Nights festival runs 25 May to 15 July and includes the Scarlet Sails water show and firework spectacular on 23 June. Stay at the Alexander House Boutique Hotel, overlooking the Kryukov Canal in the city centre.
Following Djokovic’s epic defeat of Nadal at the Australian Open, the scene is set for an exciting Grand Slam, with the French Open (Paris, 27 May to 10 June) followed by Wimbledon (London, 25 June to 8 July) and the US Open (Queens, New York City, 27 August to 9 September). For Wimbledon, try The Ampersand Hotel in Kensington, No 11 Cadogan Gardens in the Chelsea/ Belgravia area or St.James's Hotel & Club in Mayfair, London. For Queens, stay at the tranquil Viana Hotel & Spa on Long Island, New York. For Paris hotels, see page 29.
World and European champions Spain are the favourites at this year’s UEFA European Football Championship (AKA Euro 2012), hosted by Poland and Ukraine (8 June to 1 July). Matches take place in eight cities; stay at The Granary – La Suite Hotel, a converted 16th-century brewery in historic Wroclaw.
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Fifty years after her death, a stunning blackand-white photograph of Marilyn Monroe by Otto L Bettmann graces the poster for the 65th Cannes Film Festival (16 to 27 May). Book at Le Grand Hôtel, Cannes on La Croisette. President of the jury is former Palme d’Or winner Nani Moretti. Italy’s own Venice Film Festival runs 29 August to 8 September at Venice Lido. Stay at the Centurion Palace on the Grand Canal, at Hotel Londra Palace just steps from St Mark’s Square, Ca’Sagredo Hotel between Ca’ d’Oro and the Rialto Bridge, Liassadi Palace in the restored gothic palace of 'Zorzi dalle Colonne Storte' or Palazzo Sant’Angelo sul Canal Grande between the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square.
PARIS, LONDON & NEW YORK TO M A SE Y PT
CANNES & VENICE
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St. James's Hotel & Club
D I A RY
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DIARY E N JU
Royal fun & games
There are several stories behind this national celebration of rice dumplings and dragon boat racing, the most popular being the suicide of the poet Qu Yuan, of the ancient state of Chu, who drowned himself on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in an act of political protest. His followers are said to have paddled out on to the river and dropped bamboo-wrapped rice cakes into the river to feed him. This year’s national holiday falls on 23 June; stay at The Emperor in Beijing, an ultracontemporary hotel near the Forbidden City.
JU SE LY T PT O
JU N AU E T G O
Hold your breath (and ears) as Australian Casey Stoner defends his title at this year’s Moto GP (13 to 15 July). The ninth of 18 rounds will be held at the Mugello circuit outside Florence; stay at the Villa Le Maschere just north of Florence in Barberino di Mugello, a restored 16th-century villa set in expansive parkland.
An impressive 10,500 athletes will compete in London’s third Olympic Games (27 July to 12 August), preceded by an opening ceremony masterminded by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. Before then, there are Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee bankholiday celebrations to look forward to (2 to 5 June), including a procession of 1,000 boats down the River Thames. Stay at the elegant Arch London near Marble Arch or Flemings Hotel Mayfair, near Green Park to be in the heart of the action. Alternatively escape from the mayhem to a country retreat such as Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa north of London, or Stoke Park near Windsor to the west.
Villa Le Maschere
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Hermanus Whale Festival
MONGOLIA Mongolia’s midsummer games (11 to 13 July) focus on wrestling (a knockout tournament for 512 or 1024 men), horse racing (cross-country for boys and girls aged 5 to 13) and archery (contested by teams of 10 men and/or women). The biggest event is in the capital, Ulaanbaatar; stay at the Terelj Hotel, surrounded by pinecovered mountains on the borders of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.
To book visit www.slh.com
Still in Italy, the 13th of 20 Grand Prix races in this year’s Formula One season – the longest in history – takes place at the Monza racetrack on 7 to 9 September. Book at the grand 19th-century Hotel de La Ville in Monza, 15km from Milan, which has played host to a wealth of F1 drivers.
Hotel de La Ville
Thousands descend on the Western Cape to join in this environmental and arts festival, marking the annual return of the Southern Right Whale to Walker Bay (30 September to 4 October). Base yourself at the Grande Roche Hotel, housed in an 18th-century Cape Dutch homestead in Paarl, in the Winelands.
D I A RY
INTRODUCING THE EXCLUSIVE DOM PÉRIGNON WEDDING This luxurious set includes twelve bottles of Dom Pérignon 2000 Blanc (naked), plus one bottle of Dom Pérignon Wedding, in a white lacquered giftbox, whose striking label can be engraved.
R OM A N CE
L â™Ľ V E M at c h S L H h as t h e p e r f e ct h ot el fo r eve ry r o m a n t i c o cc as i o n Velassaru Maldives
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Proposal With its cobbled streets, lattice of canals and Minnewater (‘Lake of Love’), the Belgian city of Bruges epitomises old-school romance. Hotel de Tuilerieën – four-poster beds and chandeliers behind a 15th-century façade – offers a two-night For Your Pleasure package including breakfast, Champagne, dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Le Menu Belge, a second dinner at a typical Bruges restaurant, a boat trip, museum tickets (don’t miss the Groeninge) and use of the hotel’s spa. Visit slh.com/tuilerieën
The Fortress Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka, on a white-sand beach in Koggala, Galle, offers Beach Splash rooms with private plunge pools and four detailed wedding packages. Top of the range is the Serendib Sapphire, which includes traditional drummers and dancers, a saxophonist, guitarist or violinist, a garden dinner and a Champagne breakfast, spa and beauty treatments and a wedding video, with an elephant ride as an optional extra. Previous wedding couples have waxed lyrical about the experience, and the care lavished on them by the entire staff. Visit slh.com/fortress
An intoxicating mix of sea and sand, chic bars and a glamorous clientele make Mykonos the ideal backdrop for couples in the first throes of love. Seal the deal with an Art of Romance package at the Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort in Greece: three nights B&B in a pool suite plus Moët & Chandon on arrival, a poolside barbecue with private chef, a Kamasutra seduction box, a table at the hotel's White Bar, a picnic basket for the beach and an outdoor couples’ olive oil massage opposite the sacred isle of Delos. Visit slh.com/mykonos
Honeymoon First Anniversary Renewal of Vows The Maldives is the quintessential honeymoon destination and the private-island resort of Velassaru in the South Malé Atoll ticks all the boxes: powder-white sand, turquoise sea, lush vegetation, and contemporary, minimalist style bungalows, villas and suites. The Honeymoon package includes a bottle of Champagne, candlelit beach dinner, and massages in the spa’s overwater treatment pavilions. Visit slh.com/velassaru
As beautiful as it is fashionable, the island of Capri in the Gulf of Naples is on many a traveller’s hit list and the Hotel Punta Tragara – a private villa designed by Le Corbusier – is bewitchingly located above the sea and limestone sea stacks known as the Faraglioni. Celebrate your first year with the Royal Honeymoon package: strawberries and Champagne on arrival, dinner à deux with a violin to serenade you, a private boat tour to the famous Blue Grotto, a couple’s massage, linen shirts from the 100% Capri boutique and a private photographer for a day. Visit slh.com/puntatragara
If you secretly longed to get married in a tropical paradise first time round, now’s your chance to make amends. Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel in the Dominican Republic – the home of fast-paced merengue music – is a tranquil retreat with a private beach, couples treatments and kayaking, sailing, and snorkelling on tap, so you’re guaranteed to look and feel your best when you say ‘I do’, again. The Renewal of Vows package includes flowers for the bride, a boutonnière for the groom, a centrepiece for the table, a bottle of sparkling wine for a toast and a cake for 10 – old friends, or new. Visit slh.com/sivory
To book visit www.slh.com 11
T HE N E W BED S ON T H E B LOCK SLH’s hottest new hotels range from a modern hideaway in the Argentine wine region of Mendoza to a clubby London hotel for gents that has gone all women-friendly
To book visit www.slh.com
SLH is opening up exciting NEW DESTINATIONS to Club members all the time. In Argentina, Entre Cielos in Mendoza is housed in a starkly modern building with stunning views of the Andes. Most visitors, however, will be there for the Malbec wines; the resort grows its own grapes as well as producing its own house rosé, Marantal. Wine tastings and tours are offered alongside vinotherapy and horse riding through the vineyards – or just gaze at them from your futuristic pod with terrace bathtub. Further north in Mexico, Hotel Habita Monterrey is another strong design statement: a white, circular tower in the business district of San Pedro García with minimalist, monochrome rooms. Retire to the lounge bar between the hotel’s two rooftop infinity pools, and lap up the views of the city and Sierra Madre mountains. There are more infinity pools and magical views – this time of the Aeolian archipelago in southern Italy – at the Therasia Resort Sea and Spa on the volcanic island of Vulcano. After islandhopping, exploring the island’s underwater fumaroles and over-ground hot springs, return to the cool hotel for a spa treatment and superb Sicilian food. The Art Nouveau spa town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic is also known for its hot springs – 12, to be precise – as well the herbal liqueur Becherovka and Bohemian glass.
The stress-free approach “Ask for a window seat for your 30-minute flight over the Andes from Santiago – it’s beautiful. Once in Mendoza, you’ll sense the change in atmosphere – clean, dry air and a slower pace of life – immediately. Our chauffeur will drive you along the tree-lined wine route to the Zen garden at the entrance to the resort, where you will be invited to walk the last stage, and take in the scenery. You will then be handed a glass of our Marantal rosé and given the opportunity to relax in our hammam.” Cecile Adam, Owner, Entre Cielos, Argentina “The Niyama lounge at Malé airport has aromatherapy burners, chilled eye pads, hot and cold compresses and a therapist to refresh you between your international flight and transfer to the resort. When you arrive at Niyama, choose an energising, balancing or sleep-inducing treatment at Lime spa to create the right mood.” Jason Sloan, Group Director of Spa, Niyama Maldives
Discover all three from the Quisisana Palace, a magnificent late 19th-century building with stucco ceilings and etched windows, now restored with contemporary bedrooms. The Bella Luce Hotel on Guernsey in the Channel Islands is even older – it dates back to the 12th century. The original features are now complemented by contemporary rooms in chocolate and cream, a restaurant focusing on local, seasonal produce, and a spa. St Peter Port and its harbour are 15 minutes away. In Kenya, Watamu beach is fantastic for winter sun and water sports. Stay at Hemingways Watamu and, from August, combine it with a foray into the bush. Sister property Hemingways Nairobi in the garden suburb of Karen is handy for both the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and Nairobi National Park. Left: Hotel Habita Monterrey Middle top: Therasia Resort Sea and Spa Middle bottom: Bella Luce Hotel Right: Entre Cielos
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NEWS What women want? St James' in London’s Mayfair used to be a bastion of gentlemen’s clubs, grooming and luxury cigars, but times have changed. The wonderful 90-room Dukes London still has the legendary Martini bar once frequented by Ian Fleming, but now has much to appeal to women travellers, too, including a ‘Duchess Room’ service complete with female room attendant and female-friendly accessories in the rooms, and a fresh and fragrant Perrier-Jouët Champagne lounge. • In the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, the retro-chic Hotel Marrol’s offers three elegant rooms with queensize beds, old pink wallpapers and flowers on the sills • In the Canadian city of Vancouver, the Georgian Court Hotel has an Orchard Floor dedicated to women travellers, with straightening irons and curling tongs in the bathrooms, yoga mats and fashion magazines in the bedrooms. • Slick and stylish Naumi, a sophisticated oasis in the business district of Singapore, also offers ladies a floor to themselves for that extra level of privacy with lots of feminine touches. With the Luxe-Lovin Ladies package, you can throw the ultimate slumber party with manicures, facials and spa treatments.
To book visit www.slh.com
Elsewhere, the past year has seen some exciting NEW ADDITIONS to destinations that are already represented on the SLH network. BEACH LOVERS will be intrigued by Niyama Maldives, the new sister resort to Huvafen Fushi. Billing itself as the nation’s new showstopper, the private-island resort is located in the southwestern atoll of Dhaalu, with an underwater nightclub, ‘floating’ restaurant, overwater and beach pavilions and a 24-hour spa. Or in Europe, try the Aqua Blu Boutique Hotel & Spa, SLH’s first property on the island of Kos in Greece. After shaping up and beautifying in the gym and spa, guests can divide their days between the pool and beach, their nights between nearby Kos town and the hotel’s own cocktail bar and Mediterranean restaurant – and watch the sun set over the Aegean from their balcony in between.
For fans of the CITY BREAK, there is the new Hotel Éclat Beijing, in a striking glass pyramid in the Chaoyang business district, offering pool suites, butler service, innovative dining, contemporary art and easy access to boutiques and restaurants. In Stockholm, the Lydmar Hotel in central Stockholm is classically modern, delightfully informal, and ideally located for taking a boat round the archipelago, then winding down with live music in the bar. Or, opt for a home-from-home feel at the elegant Ett Hem near the shops and nightlife of Stureplan; guests are invited to open a bottle of wine, take the dog for a walk, even borrow the car. And 10km south of Marrakech, Fellah Hotel is a magical retreat, with 69 clean-lined contemporary rooms in six tranquil hectares, an outdoor pool, soothing Thai spa treatments, a library stocked with 20,000 books, and gorgeous views of the Atlas mountains. Finally for SKIERS, SLH has two exceptional new additions in The Austrian Alps: the Jagdgut Wachtelhof surrounded by mountains in the car-free village of Hinterthal, and Bentleys House in the exclusive Alpine resort of Zürs near Lech. While the former combines supremely stylish suites (think cow hide and antlers) in a traditional hunting chalet with ski-in, skiout access to 150km of runs and a spa, the latter is super-private and exclusive, with just three chalets, butler service, a full spa, wine tastings in its own cellar and fine cuisine.
Left: Hotel Éclat Beijing Middle: Niyama Maldives Right: Bentleys House
To book visit www.slh.com 15
Close encounters of an aquatic kind Tim Ecott canâ€™t recall how many times he has dived the waters of the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. But he hasnâ€™t forgotten the unique creatures he met there.
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‘Every dive is interesting, no matter how much or how little you see. The secret is to try to remember three things that stand out from every dive.’ Baros Maldives
Blue. It’s the colour of the sea when it reflects a cloudless sky. Flying over a tropical ocean, I always try to imagine what might be swimming below the surface, inhabiting that secret liquid world that divers discover when they slip beneath the waves. The glittering Indian Ocean first captivated me this way, and I have explored its reefs from the east coast of Africa all the way to the Seychelles, the Maldives and Indonesia, where it starts to blend with the fringes of the Pacific. I discovered the Caribbean later, but have often returned to its plunging coral walls, drawn by the mystery of what lies in the darkening depths. The highest concentration of fish and corals live in these warm seas, with the greatest biodiversity of all found in the ‘coral
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triangle’ between Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines. But after many hundreds of dives I remember individual destinations because of the encounters I have had there with particular creatures. In the Caribbean, especially on the deep reef walls of the Cayman Islands, there were barrel sponges as tall as a man, turtles and elegant stingrays. Cayman waters are the clearest in the world thanks to deepwater canyons surrounding the three small islands, and the Cotton Tree is well placed for accessing the diving centres along the Cobalt Coast and at Lighthouse Point. Other extraordinary sponges and corals, including azure vase sponges and orange ball corallimorphs, can be seen right off the beach at the Harbour Village Beach Club on Bonaire. In the Maldives it was
the peaceful giants, manta rays and the whale sharks, gentle plankton-feeders that are remarkably tolerant of human company underwater. Baros Maldives has a good house reef and some of the classic North Malé dive sites are within a short boat ride of the island. In Tahiti I remember dolphins singing underwater and triggerfish darting through the shallows, and surfacing from a dive with views of magical islands on the horizon. Vahine Island is an excellent location for exploring the Tahaa lagoon with its healthy reefs and vibrant soft corals, as well as several channels through the reef into the open ocean. In Indonesia I saw my first bamboo shark, and was mesmerised by pygmy seahorses, perfectly camouflaged as they hid among the fronds of soft corals.
Cotton Tree, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Exclusive beachside resort with four boutique luxury cottages • Top dive spot: Cobalt Coast and Lighthouse Point. Cotton Tree does not have its own dive centre, but can arrange diving and snorkelling excursions • What else is there to do: Relax in the lush gardens, freshwater pool, on the 400ft private beach, or with a spa treatment; ask your private chef to cook dinner in your villa; take a Cayman cooking class; go on a tailored sightseeing tour Harbour Village Beach Club, Bonaire Residential-feel retreat on a private, white-sand beach • Top dive spot: Right off the beach, or take a boat from the resort’s dive centre to one of 85 sites around the island. The Dive Into Luxury package includes seven nights B&B, six dives and airport transfers • What else is there to do: Enjoy the spa, play tennis, take advantage of the supervised children’s programme Baros Maldives Understatedly elegant private-island resort in the North Malé Atoll • Top dive spot: Two Manta Points (where Manta rays are cleaned by cleaner wrasse); Nassimo Thila (coral overhangs packed with blue hanging soft corals, plus whitetip sharks, bigeye trevallies, tuna, turtles, and schools of fusiliers); Rameez Place (stingrays, nurse sharks, eagle rays and more) • What else is there to do: Enjoy a sunset cruise on a traditional Maldivian dhoni, dinner à deux on a secluded sandbank, supper at the overwater Lighthouse Restaurant, or a session with the resident Yogi Vahine Island, Society Islands, French Polynesia Nine bungalows on a private island near Bora Bora • Top dive spot: The Nordby wreck; the North Reef (blue jacks, barracudas and black- and whitetip sharks in up to 40m visibility); the Octopus Hole (a 55m cave awash with legends) • What else is there to do: Visit Tahaa island, with its vanilla plantation and pearl farm; fish for your own supper; cruise the lagoon on a catamaran
Vahine Island, French Polnesia
This is a rich region, and Lombok – the location of The Oberoi, Lombok – is a good place from which to explore the dive sites of the magical Gili islands. And in Thailand there were dainty butterflyfish, cunning scorpionfish lurking in the coral crevices and majestic eagle rays. Zeavola Resort is handy for the dive sites at Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked to name my favourite diving location. My answer is always the same: every dive is interesting, no matter how much or how little you see. The secret is to try to remember three things that stand out from every dive. If it’s a fish make a mental note of its exact size, colour, shape and behaviour. Draw it in your logbook and for years afterwards that little sketch and the notes
you make after you surface will transport you back into the magic of the blue.
The Oberoi, Lombok, Indonesia Thatched villas and pavilions on the tropical island of Lombok • Top dive spot: Shark Point (whitetip reef sharks) and Sunset Reef (hawksbill turtles and a giant clam with a blue mantle). The Unforgettable Dive package includes five nights B&B, five dives and airport transfers • What else is there to do: Trek from one waterfall to another, adopt a coral to help restore the reefs, participate in a baby turtle release programme, visit a local pearl farm
Tim Ecott is the author of the international bestseller Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World (Penguin £9.99)
Zeavola, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand Understated resort on Phi Phi Don • Top dive spot: Phi Phi Don (nudibranchs, scorpionfish and, in season, seahorses); Phi Phi Leh (lobster, octopus, barrel sponges and wire corals); Bida Islands (batfish, turtles, reef sharks and eagle rays). The five-night, full-board Zaan Zanook Dive package includes eight dives, use of the dive photo computer station and transfers from Phuket • What else is there to do: island hop, kayak and snorkel, relax in the spa
Cotton Tree, Caribbean
To book visit www.slh.com 19
I N TERIOR S
What gives a hotel the ‘it’ factor?
Impeccable service and state-of-the-art facilities come as standard at luxury hotels, as do beautifully finished interiors in high-quality materials. But good design doesn’t necessarily make a hotel the only place you want to stay in. The same goes for trendy design. It may be more relevant to a young, media-friendly market. But trends change: a minimalist, modern aesthetic has been muted by a renewed respect for history and tradition, a love of glitz superseded by a preference for authentic and sustainable. What makes a hotel interior exciting is an energy. It might surprise, inspire or soothe you, or it might evoke memories. But it makes you feel something – or several things at once. Getting it right can be a delicate balancing act. For owner Tamie Adaya, the landmark Art Deco Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica is ‘imbued with the excitement of the inter-war years, a time in which Western society was embarking on an adventure into modernity against a backdrop of prohibition and the Roaring Twenties.’ When Adaya embarked on a renovation of the hotel, however, she wanted to draw on the era without getting stuck in it. ‘No one wants to spend the night in a museum,’ she says. Nor was she interested in creating a ‘modern’ hotel. ‘The aesthetic is a reflection of a particular personality, not whatever happens to be in vogue,’ she says. What she was aiming at was a ‘timeless’ reconciliation: she describes the penthouse Rock ’n’ Roll suite – voted ‘sexiest Room in Los Angeles’ by California Home + Design – as ‘Deco meets Sex Pistols meet Zen ocean view.’ The brand-new Downtown in Mexico City – the 13th property from the ever-stylish Habita group – also achieves a harmonious balance between past and present. Housed in a 17th-century viceregal palace notable for its magnificent patios and stone-forge staircase, it has 17 suites by local architectural firm Cherem-Serrano that combine original wooden beams and vaulted ceilings with new basalt floor and red-brick lattice partitions, and a contemporary rooftop terrace bar and pool overlooking the nearby Zócalo. The hotel won the award for ‘Best fixerupper hotel’ (renovation) in this year’s Wallpaper* Design Awards. On the Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, meanwhile, architect Michele Bönan has designed one of the world’s most compelling townhouse hotel interiors in J.K. Place Firenze. According to Italian Architectural Digest, the classic-contemporary interiors are ‘as far from opulent, useless historical recreations as [they are] from the de rigueur, one way “penitence” of a sterile and excessive minimalism.’ The overlying tone is smart and masculine in black, cream and grey, but other details – 18th-century etchings, zebra-print tables – create the multilayered feel of an aristocratic gentleman who has travelled widely and collected judiciously. And in the J.K. Lounge, references to the 1950s and 1970s conjure up glamorous images of Audrey Hepburn and Truman Capote, the Warhol factory, Halston and Bianca Jagger.
To book visit www.slh.com
Main: J.K. Place Firenze Middle top: Downtown, Mexico City Top left: Hotel Shangri-La, Santa Monica Bottom: Hotel Éclat, Taipei
ARTFUL THINKING Another way to make a visual impact is through art, as at the Hotel Éclat Taipei, which houses the impressive art collection of owner George Wong, chairman of The Hong Kong Parkview Group. Guests are greeted in the lobby by a sultry sfumato Salome by 19th-century French artist JeanJacques Henner, while in the Éclat Lounge, two original gold Salvador Dali sculptures and the symbolic Your Night Is More Beautiful Than My Day by Chinese artist Jia Gang are displayed alongside Bubbles in Space – a dramatic lighting installation by Czech glass artist Jitka Skuhravá, partly inspired by the process of ice melting in the spring.
To book visit www.slh.com 21
D E S TI N ATIO N
Costa to costa The ‘Rich Coast’ is a jewel box of a country, its abundant green studded with toucans, vibrant frogs, crested lizards and endearing-looking sloths. About twothirds the size of Scotland, it embraces a spectacular landscape of rainforest, cloud forest and volcanoes and not one but two sandy coasts. A pioneering approach to eco-tourism has won this tiny nation a reputation for preserving its natural wealth, too. Take a trail from one side to the other – the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean – and you’ll enjoy a stunning range of scenery and activities. For water-bound adventures head to sleek beach retreat Le Caméléon near the Caribbean seaside town of Puerto Viejo. There’s a charmingly laid-back vibe here, while the waves off Cocles Beach provide some of the best surfing in the country. Then move northwest to the majestic Arenal volcano, still active and on most days sporting a dramatic plume of smoke and ash. You may be lucky enough to see pyrotechnics from a distance, or just enjoy the terrific views from the luxurious and environmentally friendly Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden. Hummingbirds, sloths and other creatures frequent the gardens here, and the area offers many other sights and adventures, from canopy tours and zip wiring in the outlying rainforest to days out at the nearby Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge.
To book visit www.slh.com
From the Caribbean to the Pacific via the volcanic interior, Harriet O’Brien extols the extraordinary natural treasures of Costa Rica
Further south, idyllic white sands fringe the Pacific coast. This being Costa Rica, you’re also never far from rainforest. A stay, for example, at Hotel Punta Islita, in glorious isolation on the Nicoya Peninsula, presents you with a remarkable variety of activities from hikes to see howler monkeys to kayaking and sunset cruises – all strictly monitored for sustainability. Finally, head for the empty stretch of the Costa Ballena, the ‘Whale Coast’, where primary rainforest gives way to the sandy shores of the south Pacific. Here, on a strikingly beautiful hillside overlooking the Osa Peninsula, Rancho Pacifico hotel offers three environments in one setting – lush rainforest, misty cloud forest, and a long and lovely beach. Harriet O’Brien writes for Condé Nast Traveller and The Independent
Reserva Conchal Hotel Punta Islita
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden
Costa Rica Gaia Hotel & Reserve
Le Caméléon, Puerto Viejo Rancho Pacifico
A laid-back, boutique hotel on a golden Caribbean beach. Good for flora and fauna (of the jungle and beach), visiting animal rescue centres, indigenous cultural tours, surfing, snorkelling Le Caméléon
Hotel Punta Islita, Guanacaste A fabulous beach-cove resort on the open-ocean Nicoya Peninsula. Good for canopy zip lining, kayaking, horseback riding on the sand, insights into local cultures, turtle watching, spa treatments
Gaia Hotel & Reserve, Puntarenas A romantic luxury rainforest resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Good for visiting Manuel Antonio National Park (home to mammals, birds and dolphins), canopy zip lining, kayaking through the mangroves, spa treatments
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden
Rancho Pacifico, Puntarenas
Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden, La Fortuna de San Carlos A beautiful retreat overlooking the Arenal Volcano. Good for volcano hikes, zip lining, white-water rafting along the Sarapiqui river, horseback riding to La Fortuna waterfall, spa treatments with volcanic mud and chocolate
Reserva Conchal, Guanacaste
An adult-only, exclusive hideaway, including treehouse accommodation, near the fabled ‘Whale Coast’ on the southern Pacific. Good for ocean views, rainforest hiking, National Geographic wildlife tours, jungle spa treatments
Hotel Punta Islita
A sublime beach resort overlooking the Catalina Islands on the northern Pacific. Good for golf (on a Robert Trent Jones II-designed course), surfing, fishing Rancho Pacifico
To book visit www.slh.com 23
FA M I LY
All together now
With a little help from the hotel staff, a happy family holiday can create magical memories to last a lifetime
To book visit www.slh.com
Hoteldorf Grüner Baum, Bad Gastein, Austria
Hoteldorf Grüner Baum
Hoteldorf Grüner Baum near Salzburg in Austria is brilliantly set up for families. It has a ski kindergarten and access to 250km of ski slopes in the winter, and offers Western-style horseback riding, Segway tours, a high-ropes course and raft building in the summer, as well as a petting zoo with rabbits, guinea pigs and goats. "I love this hotel! My family and I have been coming here for Christmas for 10 years and I never get tired of it. The Blumscheins who own it are like old friends and I feel really at home here. Every year we take a magical sleigh ride into the valley, wrapped up in about five layers of blankets. The trees look like they have been dipped in sugar and the horses’ bells make me feel I am on Santa’s sleigh. We’re surrounded by the forest and sometimes see a deer or mountain goat. On Christmas Eve, I love walking with the other children holding a candle before the tree is lit and on New Year’s Eve there is live music and dancing until midnight. My favourite part is when the chimney sweep brings round his little pig that everyone pets for good luck.” Phoebe Dunn, 11, London
To book visit www.slh.com 25
FA M I LY
Discovery Shores Borocay, Philippines
Discovery Shores Borocay overlooks a beautiful, white-sand beach in the Philippines, with a pampering spa, beach and pool butlers, and sunset cocktails. “We stayed here for a week in February and loved every minute of it. We had booked a one-bedroom suite and connecting junior suite for my husband and myself, our two young kids and my parents, and arrived to find our living room filled with toys, cookies with our kids’ names on them, and other thoughtful items such as kids’ bug spray. The kids had great fun in the pool, building sandcastles on the beach, joining in scavenger hunts and making friendship bracelets with other children. The cable TV was great if it was too hot outside, and every night, we found different local treats, quotes from poems or stories, and animal origami fashioned from towels on our pillows. The pool butlers made sure the children were comfortable, and Rex, the beach butler, reserved our loungers every morning. I was happy to just read and watch the kids, my mom had a different spa treatment every day, and my husband and dad didn’t let a day pass without a Mojito under the coconut trees.” A Griffith, Hong Kong
Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp is in the Masai Mara North Conservancy, Kenya, on the route of the Great Migration. The tents have private decks and there’s a swimming pool and a spa for relaxation. “I went to Kenya last summer. The plane ride from Nairobi was amazing and we were picked up in a really cool open jeep. I loved the tent, particularly when a Masai brought us hot chocolate at sunrise. Mum had hers in bed but Dad and I sat outside on our deck. We saw loads on the game drive – giraffe, zebra, hyenas, even a massive crocodile by the river. Back at camp we sat round the fire watching hippos climbing out of the river to graze and the next day the camp’s naturalist, David, took me and the other children on a scavenger hunt. He gave us notebooks so we could write down all the prints and bones and things we found. I really liked the trees that the Masai use for toothbrushes. On our last day we went on a hot-air balloon ride and floated over a herd of elephant. That was the best thing – and hearing lions hunting on the night drive.” Alex Johnson, 9, San Francisco
To book visit www.slh.com
Explorean Mara Rinata Camp, Kenya
Mirimar Boutique Hotel, Corsica
Miramar Boutique Hotel is an elegant property overlooking Corsica’s beautiful Gulf of Valinco. Facilities include an outdoor heated pool and an area for guests on a nearby beach.
The Chesterfield Hotel is a historic hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, built in 1926 and newly renovated with a redesigned Leopard Lounge bar and restaurant. Younger children get everything from special menus to pool floats, while older children can go kayaking and sailing (the beach and Atlantic Ocean are only three blocks away). “We’ve been married for 58 years and spend two months here every year with our four children and their families, not forgetting Sunny, our Jack Russell Terrier. We book an executive suite so the grandchildren can sleep over on the sofa bed – our children come when they can. We’ll start the day with breakfast al fresco around a lovely long table at The Courtyard, then head to the pool, to lounge, sunbathe and read while the kids frolic about. Then I might take Sunny off for a walk, or go shopping with one of my daughters or daughters-in-law on Worth Avenue, while the guys catch a game in Churchill’s cigar room. In the evening, we get together again for a family dinner at The Courtyard. We just make ourselves at home here, really – the staff make that very easy.”
“We went to Corsica last summer. We chose the Miramar for its stunning sea views, proximity to Campomoro beach and watchtower, and all the little luxuries it offers, from massages in an outdoor gazebo to a children’s menu of ‘VIP Kids’ bathrobes, slippers, toiletries and welcome treats. Our all-white, two-bedroom villa suite was spacious, bright and stylish, with handcrafted mouldings and an enclosed garden, and everyone loved the pool, where we were able to organise swimming lessons for our daughter. Outside the hotel, we enjoyed kayaking in Portigliolo bay, and spent an unforgettable day on a chartered sailboat, looking at fish through the glass bottom, and stopping off at a beach for a swim. On the concierge’s advice, my wife also took the children to Aqualoisir, where they bounced around on buoys and generally got as wet as possible, and to Baracci Natura park, for an afternoon of zip lining. I, meanwhile, sneaked off to see the prehistoric menhirs at Filitosa and wander round the medieval streets of Sartène.” P Dubois, Paris
The Chesterfield Hotel, Florida
J Lowe, Illinois
To book visit www.slh.com 27
neighbourhood watch W EE K E N D I N P ARI S
weekending IN PARIS is all about experiencing THE city like a local, which means spending the weekend in and around a particular neighbourhood. Parisâ€™s quartiers are based around its 20 arrondissements, which spiral out from the Louvre like the shell of a snail. Each has its own identity and hot spots; if you donâ€™t have a Parisian insider to point you in the right direction, your hotel will happily do the honours
Photograph by Tatiana Stratton
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L ITT L E B L AC K B OO K Hôtel de Vendôme, 1 Place Vendôme, 1st arrondissement
Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa, 28 Place des Vosges, 3rd arrondissement
Hôtel Le Bellechasse, 8 rue de Bellechasse, 7th arrondissement
A five-star hotel in a restored 18th-century palace, with breathtaking views from its penthouse terrace and a glamorous bar and restaurant
A family-owned hotel in an elegant 17th century townhouse, draped in greenery on one of Europe’s most captivating squares
A flamboyant hotel designed by Christian Lacroix, housed in a 19th-century townhouse steps from the Musée d’Orsay
NEIGHBOURHOOD Louvre, Saint Honoré ID Haute couture Paris VISIT Place Vendôme (jewellery), Musée du Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries, Rue Saint Honoré (designer shopping) SHOP Colette, Hermès, Chloé, Didier Ludot (vintage haute couture) SPA At nearby After the Rain, where Hôtel de Vendôme guests have complimentary access to the swimming pool, spa, hammam and gym. Or have a Carita treatment in your room WALK Jardin des Tuileries DRINK Coffee on the first floor of the hotel (courtesy of Parisian coffee-makers-of-the-moment, Coutume Café’s Antoine Netien and Tom Clark). Served with chocolates from Avignon-based La Chocolaterie de l’Opéra, and pastries created with the expertise of Luc Debove of Hôtel de Vendôme’s sister property. EAT Bistrot Volnay (classic), Costes (for fashionistas), 1 Place Vendôme (new chef Vincent Marangone) SPECIAL OFFER B&B, flowers, Champagne and a treatment for two at the nearby After the Rain spa
NEIGHBOURHOOD Le Marais ID A former marshland, now one of Paris’s most charming neighbourhoods, with modish boutiques, bars and restaurants, interesting museums and art galleries VISIT Centre Pompidou (National museum of modern art), Musée Carnavalet (the history of Paris) SHOP Merci (charitable fashion and lifestyle store from the creators of Bonpoint), the boutiques on rue des Francs Bourgeois, Mariage Frères (tea) SPA A steam bath and reflexology in the hotel’s Spa de la Reine WALK Hôtel de Sully or Rue des Rosiers DRINK Café Hugo (classic), Les Philosophes or Les Etages (trendy) EAT Robert et Louise (classic), Glou (trendy) SPECIAL OFFER B&B, bottle of wine, private tour of Le Marais, complimentary access to spa and parking
NEIGHBOURHOOD Saint-Germain ID The 7th is Paris’s smartest, most discreet neighbourhood, home to government ministries and foreign embassies. Le Bellechasse is on the border with the 6th, a former haunt of intellectuals, now known for its high-end boutiques VISIT Musée d’Orsay, Musée National Rodin, Tour Eiffel, Musée du Louvre SHOP Debauve & Gallais (chocolate), Le Bon Marché (department store) SPA Les Bains de Grenelle WALK Jardin des Invalides, Jardin des Tuileries DRINK Les Deux Magots or Café Flore (two historic philosophes cafés in the 6th) EAT L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, La Ferme Saint-Simon SPECIAL OFFER B&B and complimentary access to the Musée d’Orsay
OTHER SLH HOTELS IN PARIS: HÔtel Banke • L'HÔtel • Les Jardins de la Villa • Le Pavillon des Let tr es • R el a is Chr istine • HÔtel Sa n R egis • HÔtel Squar e • HÔtel V ernet
To book visit www.slh.com 29
S AI L I N G
Into the blue
Soak up the views of sea and sky on sailing tours in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, stopping off at some of SLHâ€™s most glorious properties en route 30
To book visit www.slh.com
Caribbean Dominican Republic to the British Virgin Islands via Puerto Rico After landing at El Catey International Airport in the Dominican Republic, get your bearings on the spectacular Samana Peninsula in the northeast of the island â€“ at either The Bannister Hotel, which has its own marina on Samana Bay, or the Sublime Samana Hotel & Residence, a collection of architect-designed villas and apartments on Coson Bay. Enjoy the spas, pools and palm-fringed beaches and, from January to March, the antics of the humpback whales that come here
Take in the boutiques, then sail for the British Virgin Islands and Katitche Point Greathouse, built by British architect Michael Helm in the rocks on Virgin Gorda, with knockout views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel. You can either rent all four suites, or just take one and share the open-plan kitchen, galleried living room and crowâ€™s nest. Explore the deserted white-sand beaches nearby, then return for a spa treatment and dinner.
to breed. Then sail around the island to Casa Bonita, in the southwest, with its gorgeous infinity pool and views of lush Bahoruco National Park. The beach has some of the best surfing waves in the area, and the tiny fishing village supplies the restaurant with a daily catch. After a couple of nights here, head east to Puerto Rico, dropping anchor at Hotel El Convento, a 350-year-old former Carmelite convent in the capital, San Juan. Combining period details with state-of-the-art technology, the hotel has a rooftop plunge pool and beach club.
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YOU ARE NOW PRECISELY ONE MILLION MILES AWAY FROM ROUTINE.
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 worldâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org
SAIL | BROKERAGE | CHARTER | REFIT
www.oystermarine.com To book visit www.slh.com
Europe Greece to Turkey Start your trip on the Athens Riviera at The Margi, a chic, boutique hotel within reach of the capital’s historic sites, but more notable for its relaxing atmosphere and lovely pool area with day beds, floaty curtains and low-lit lanterns. It’s right next to a sandy beach and marina, from where you will sail to unspoilt Kythnos and anchor up for some peace and quiet, before joining the party on Mykonos. Check in at the fabulously chic Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge, with its sunset views from its infinity pool and cocktail lounge, or the sophisticated Petasos Beach Resort & Spa, overlooking Psarou Bay with a thalassotherapy pool and pampering spa.
Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge
Thailand to Malaysia Your first port of call is Twinpalms Phuket – with its cool, minimalist rooms set in tropical water gardens, Thai massages, and private beach club on the white sands and turquoise waters of Surin Beach, it’s the perfect antidote to jetlag. The Margi
Your next stops are the Yria Resort, an enchanting Cycladic village in miniature with a romantic piano bar on the island of Paros, followed by the romantic island of Santorini. This 80km2 island has 10 intimate and stylish SLH properties to choose from, including the Chromata, carved into the cliffs with a dramatic infinity pool and views over the caldera, and Notos Therme & Spa, overlooking Vlychada Beach and the marina in the south, with a spring water pool and volcanic spa treatments. After winding down here, sail on to Bodrum, a favourite summer haunt of the Istanbul elite on the east coast of Turkey, and stay at The Marmara Bodrum, a rough-stone construction on a hilltop with incredible views across its pool to the city and bay below.
Pangkor Laut Resort
When you’ve recovered your balance, set sail for Krabi and the Nakamanda Resort & Spa, which combines traditional-style villas with breathtaking views over the Andaman Sea. Take time to dive below the limestone cliffs, kayak through mangroves, and hike in the jungle, before moving on to Pimalai Resort & Spa, a peaceful, beachfront retreat in 100 acres of tropical forest on Koh Lanta. The focus is on water sports here – kayaking, snorkelling and diving as well as sailing – plus spa treatments in thatched jungle salas to help you recover your energy.
After a few nights here, it’s time to leave for your final destination: the tranquil and sophisticated privateisland Pangkor Laut Resort, surrounded by sandy beaches and wild rainforest off the west coast of Malaysia. From your Sea Villa, set on stilts over the emerald water, or one of the new Estate homes, which come with private infinity pools and butler service, you can explore the two-million-year-old rainforest with the resort’s resident naturalist, looking out for macaque monkeys, monitor lizards and hornbills. Note: Depending on your boat, skipper and the prevailing conditions, you may need to anchor up overnight on some of these longer stretches.
Pimalai Resort & Spa
To book visit www.slh.com 33
G OU r M ET
BACK TO THE SOURCE The days of old-fashioned restaurant dining are numbered. Now, itâ€™s all about discussing where your food comes from with the chef, helping to prepare your own supper, and feasting in the great outdoors
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More and more hotels, including the genteel Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant in Vermont, USA, are encouraging a hands-on approach to appreciating food. Alongside tours to local farms that produce the artisanal cheeses for which the area is known, the Panther has teamed up with author Ellen Ogden to host tasting sessions and tips on wine pairing in the hotel’s library or outdoor patio area, and seasonal cooking classes on pickling, bread- and jam-making in Ogden’s beautiful kitchen. Some hotels have even come up with packages for mini foodies: in Ireland’s food-obsessed County Cork, for instance, Hayfield Manor offers a family class focusing on cakes and other treats at the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School. Afterwards, children are given dinner in the hotel’s garden bistro, before sipping hot chocolate by the fire and listening to tales of Irish folklore with concierge Bart, while mum and dad savour a five-course dinner at Orchard’s Restaurant.
Adam Simmonds, Danesfield House Hotel and Spa, outside London
Artisanal cheeses at the Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant, Vermont USA
But the prize for most theatrical interactive package has to go to the Aleenta Resort and Spa Hua Hin: the Thai hotel’s threeday Gourmet Retreat includes cooking lunch for the chef, a three-hour display of fruit-carving and wok juggling, a flair cocktail show, challenging the chef to prepare European-Thai fusion food, and a demonstration of the resort’s Twisted Thai concept – how local ingredients can be prepared in an ultra-modern manner, using liquid nitrogen, freeze drying and herbal smoking while at the same time embracing a low-carbon footprint. Alternatively, guests can experience the resort’s ‘Table of Life’, sitting among the flora and fauna of the organic garden as the chefs pick, prepare and cook the food growing around them.
Fruit carving, Aleenta Resort and Spa Hua Hin
Time was, you’d never see a chef in a hotel restaurant. Today, you’d be surprised if you didn’t. Take Danesfield House Hotel and Spa outside London, which offers a seven-course tasting menu (think poached fillet of brill with oysters, cucumber relish and nasturtium meringue), and where Michelin-starred chef Adam Simmonds is happy to chat to guests about the preparation, cooking and presentation of his modern European cuisine, as well as the provenance of his ingredients. Provenance is key these days, with the focus firmly on local and seasonal; increasingly, you can watch your food growing in front of you. At The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club outside the English city of Bath this summer, Richard Davies will be selecting vegetables, salads and herbs from the hotel’s kitchen garden, as well as eggs from the paddock, which the chickens share with six Gloucester Old Spot pigs and a dozen quails. Davies holds a Michelin star at the hotel’s Bybrook restaurant; you can also take a hamper down to the Italian gardens and wild meadow orchards.
To book visit www.slh.com 35
Picnic at The Chester Grosvenor, England
Eichardt's Private Hotel, New Zealand
Château d’Esclimont, Paris Gold panning in the Shotover River, New Zealand
Outdoor Dining Everyone loves a picnic, especially when the sun is shining: The Chester Grosvenor in Chester, northwest England has a lovely one for two, in which guests are chauffeur-driven to an English country garden, and served Krug Grande Cuvée by their private butler, accompanied by a selection of bites prepared by Michelin-starred Simon Radley and his team. Other hotels are more adventurous: at the Château d’Esclimont outside Paris – a slate-roofed, conical-turreted construction that was the family home 36
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of the 17th-century moralist François de La Rochefoucauld – you can enjoy a three-course Champagne dinner, kicking off with salmon and crayfish cannelloni, while floating over the magnificent castle, moat and parkland in a hot-air balloon. On New Zealand’s South Island, Eichardt’s Private Hotel proposes a Central Otago Adventure including a gourmet picnic tea (featuring finger sandwiches of South Island salmon, cream cheese and fresh dill), a half-day’s walk through sublime scenery, and a gold-panning session in the Shotover
river. (There are still fortunes to be made, apparently – the second largest nugget of gold ever discovered in New Zealand was found in Central Otago in March). Guests can take to the water at The Dylan Amsterdam, a slick city bolthole behind an 18th-century façade on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht, by experiencing Vinkeles on the Water, a seven-course menu showcasing the delicate French cuisine of Michelinstarred chef Dennis Kuipers (think langoustine with knuckle of veal, marinated tomatoes, Granny Smith jelly and a Vadouvan mayonnaise). It’s all
Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Maldives
Alternatively, abscond to a Robinson Crusoe island for a day and night of sunbathing, snorkelling and stargazing from Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu in the Maldives. The Island of Your Own package includes a Champagne BBQ on the sand featuring grilled lobster served with truffle and brandy mayonnaise, plus one night’s accommodation in a rustic-chic palm-frond hut, with just a pair of terns for company.
Hot chocolate Vinkeles on the Water, Amsterdam
Diamond Mills Hotel, Hudson Valley, New York
Guests at The Chester Grosvenor in northwest England are used to culinary treats: chef Simon Radley has had a Michelin star for more than two decades. This spring, however, the hotel indulged them further by introducing Rococo chocolate bars to its mini bars and ‘Chocolattes’ and ‘Chocolate shots’ to its menu at La Brasserie. The additions coincided with the opening of a Chester branch of London-based Rococo Chocolates, featuring a popular mini steam train that tells the story of chocolate as it trundles round a circular track suspended from the ceiling.
Tears of Joy, Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Swiss special prepared in front of you on the hotel’s beautifully renovated 19th-century boat, and served as the boat roams the canals. And at Diamond Mills Hotel in the Hudson Valley outside New York, the Rail & Sail package combines a classic train ride into Rhinebeck with a private Hudson River sailboat cruise, complete with Champagne cocktail, hors d'oeuvres and a three-course dinner courtesy of executive chef Giuseppe Napoli. For the ultimate picnic, however, you need a white-sand island beach – as
at Pacific Resort Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, overlooking a turquoise lagoon and swaying palms in the South Pacific. Guests can book a fivecourse gourmet dining experience in a Bedouin tent on the water’s edge and lounge on cushions as they savour the chef’s Tears of Joy special (chocolate terrine, papaya soaked in brandy, nutty ice cream, almond macaroon, orange parfait and balsamic chocolate) in the light of sunken candles and flaming torches.
There are treats in store, too, for First and Business-Class passengers travelling on SWISS this spring: the in-flight menu features specialities from the Swiss canton of Ticino, prepared by Michelinstarred chef Frank Oerthle. If you’re not planning to fly SWISS out of Switzerland or in to Zurich before the end of May, head to the family-owned Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola au Lac in Lugano, where Oerthle has been making magic at the hotel’s lakeside Restaurant Gallery Arté al Lago for 10 years.
To book visit www.slh.com 37
global healing 10 native spa traditions and where to experience them
1. MEXICO In pre-Hispanic times, the indigenous Mesoamericans used temascales to purify the body after battle and give birth. Heated by volcanic stones, the domed sweat lodges now serve to cleanse body and soul, with a little help from aromatic herbs and chants. Try one at the Aroma Spa at Esencia, a beachside retreat on the Mayan Riviera with rooms that open onto gardens filled with lemons, aloe vera and fragrant herbs.
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2. TURKEY The hammam or Turkish bath is a cleansing ritual that the Ottomans inherited from the Romans and Byzantines, and made their own. Today, luxury hotels offer a more private update on the communal soap-ups and rub-downs on heated marble. Try the experience on your own, à deux, or with family or friends at The Marmara Bodrum, which also offers vinotherapy and honey treatments, and has breathtaking views across the city and bay.
3. INDIA Ayurveda (‘the science of life’) is all about bringing body, mind and spirit back into balance. Analysis of an individual’s doshas (body type) determines a programme of cuisine, yoga and treatments such as the profoundly relaxing Shirodhara, in which hot oil is poured onto the ‘third eye’. Choose from six goal-oriented packages at the Kumarakom Lake Resort on Kerala’s backwaters.
Brilliant Resort & Spa Chongqing
4. THAILAND Thai massages – a mix of stretching and acupressure – have become a staple of spa menus worldwide. At the Anumba Spa at The Racha, an exclusive collection of eco-villas near Phuket, they are offered in a pristine, tropical island setting, alongside hot herbal compresses, tamarind scrubs and white mud body masks.
The Javanese Lulur originated in the palaces of central Java and was traditionally enjoyed by future royal brides every day for 40 days before their wedding. Spa Village Resort, Tembok, a destination spa on Bali’s northeast coast, offers a similar body cleansing ritual, comprising a traditional Balinese (long-stroke) massage, Boreh body scrub (made from ground rice and spices such as ginger and tumeric), an application of fresh milk, and a flower bath.
Natural hot springs, shiatsu and meditation are at the heart of the Japanese spa experience. At Hoshinoya Karuizawa, a mountain hideaway one hour by bullet train from Tokyo, guests can bask in two beautiful natural hot spring baths – an indoor/outdoor bath with spectacular views and a dark/ light bath to aid meditation – then relieve tension further with a shiatsu pressure-point massage.
To book visit www.slh.com 39
7. NORDIC-BALTIC The key ingredients of the traditional Nordic spa experience are the sauna – either smoke (without a chimney) or birch-wood, using stones to retain the heat – followed by an ice-old bucket shower, dip in a freezing lake or roll in the snow. At Pädaste Manor, an elegant estate on Muhu Island in Estonia, a fantastic log-cabin sauna with outdoor plunge tub is complemented by detoxifying mud wraps, hay baths and a wood-fired hot tub on the bay – bottle of Ruinart Champagne optional. Pädaste Manor
8. CHINA Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a contemporary version of China’s ancient medical system, including meridian (acupressure) massages to restore the flow of qi, acupuncture and esoteric practices such as moxibustion (the burning of mugwort to aid healing). At the Brilliant Resort & Spa, a lakeside retreat in Yunnan Province, guests can relax in 25 themed hot spring pools, as well as trying a t’ai chi class or massage using oils selected according to five elements principles. Brilliant Resort & Spa
9. AUSTRALIA Australia is blessed by nature, with an abundance of native plants, oils and muds that have been used in Aboriginal healing treatments for centuries. At Bloomfield Lodge, a hideaway in the North Queensland’s Daintree Forest, sea salt scrubs, organic clay wraps and aromatherapy massages are the perfect treat after a walk or cruise through the jungle.
10. SOUTHERN EUROPE Bloomfield Lodge Vilalara Thalassa Resort
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The thinking behind thalassotherapy (seawater baths or showers, marine mud and algae wraps) is that beneficial trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium and iodide are absorbed through the skin. Particularly popular in the 19th century, it is still widely available throughout southern Europe; try it at the beachfront Blue & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort in Portugal, which has 40 treatment rooms, and four seawater pools.
We go to the ends of the earth to find the most fragrant, effective and unusual ingredients. Then we blend them in London, our home. We invite you to discover our colourful bath and body hotel amenities in Small Luxury Hotels of the Worldâ„˘ around the world.
The short, pleasant parkland course at Schlosshotel Kronberg outside Frankfurt in Germany, is distinguished by a wonderful selection of international trees planted in 1889 as part of an arboretum. Originally nine holes, it was redesigned as an 18-hole course by local architect Ernst Kothe in the 1950s. It’s a par 68 at 4,938 metres from the front tees and 4,436 from the back. It often closes in midwinter because of snow.
The imposing Mar Hall Hotel & Aveda Spa on Scotland’s River Clyde is surrounded by a beautifully presented 6,500-yard par 70 course designed by Dave Thomas. The fairways are lined with mature beech and chestnut trees and, while it’s tricky from the back tees, it’s forgiving from the front.
Game John Gibb rises to the challenge of playing some of SLH’s best golf courses for experienced and moderately skilled players
The Lodge at Doonbeg lies within one of the finest courses in Ireland. Designed by Greg Norman, this classic par 72 links runs for 6,800 yards along Doughmore Bay in County Clare.
The Château des Vigiers Golf & Country Club in France’s Dordogne region has 27 holes designed by Donald Steel. You can choose from three sets of nine, all surrounded by vineyards. Try Les Vignes: you’ll love it.
The Palácio Estoril Hotel, Golf & Spa in Portugal is a historic hotel with a par 69 golf course designed by Mackenzie Ross. It is short at 5,300 metres but it’s mature and the trees and thick rough make it a serious test. 42
To book visit www.slh.com
Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
The Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket in Thailand is only a few minutes from the Blue Canyon Country Club. The course is 7,179 yards but a shorter 5,900 yards off the red tees. There are lakes on 10 of the holes and the jungly rough makes it a challenge. The watery 17th is one of the finest short holes in world golf.
On the south coast of Mauritius, the Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort has a beautifully landscaped 18-hole course. The 6,500-metre par 72 ‘Heritage’ was laid out by Peter Matkovich, and has plenty of water and sand, plus stunning views across the Indian Ocean. There’s also a nine-hole course for beginners.
John Gibb writes on golf for the FT How To Spend It magazine and Golf Quarterly
The Jardin d’Inès is a stunning Moorish hotel in the leafy Palmeraie area of Marrakech, Morocco. Robert Trent Jones designed the golf course next door – a 6,800-yard par 72 masterpiece with seven lakes, thousands of palm trees and views of the Atlas Mountains.
02 03 01 10 04 05
The ‘Berkshire’ at the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in The Berkshires, Massachusetts, USA is a nifty 6,000-yard, par 69 parkland course that snakes through woodland and a lake. Designed by Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek, it opened in 1926 and is a joy to play in the fall when the leaves are turning.
The luxurious old Belle Epoque in the heart of Baden-Baden in Germany is a few minutes’ drive from the Baden-Baden golf club, with its short, tree-lined, hilly and immaculate gem of a course. It’s par 64, 4,500-yards, and best in midsummer.
To book visit www.slh.com 43
S K II N G
From the Austrian Alps to a US cowboy town, Felice Hardy picks SLH hotels that are perfectly placed to keep skiers and snowboarders busy year round Felice Hardy is co-editor of the ski information website welove2ski.com
Follow th e
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E A STER It’s wise to aim high to ensure plenty of snow at Easter and Obergurgl in Austria is at a heady 1950m. As well as a long ski season, the typically Tyrolean village has magnificent scenery and lively après-ski. Stay at the ski-in ski-out Art and Relax Hotel Bergwelt. Or try St Moritz, at 1856m on the shores of a beautiful lake in Switzerland’s Engadine valley. Late-season snow is reliable and for non-skiers there is a lot more to do than go designer shopping. Cricket, golf, polo, horse-and greyhound-racing all take place on the frozen lake. Crystal Hotel is at the heart of the village. SUM M ER If you can’t wait for the European winter, go south. Blanket Bay is at the north end of Lake Wakatipu on New Zealand's South Island and offers luxury packages in the Southern Alps with Harris Mountains Heli-ski, plus a lakeside spa for soothing aching muscles on your return.. Queenstown and the ski resorts of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are all nearby.
Heli-skiing from Blanket Bay
CHR ISTM A S Entering the car-free village of Wengen in Switzerland feels like taking a step back in time. The focal point of the ancient chalets and historic hotels is a cog railway that takes you up to the ski area. Stay in Heidi-style comfort at Hotel Caprice. One of the most picturesque resorts in the Alps, however, is probably Kitzbühel in Austria. Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel stands at the edge of the colourful medieval town with a ski shop, ski-school booking office, and restaurant that provides a children’s buffet. You can even bring your dog for €25 per night – including food.
Grand Tirolia Kitzbühel
St Moritz, overlooking the Crystal Hotel
Le Pleta Hotel & Spa
Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa
Alternatively, head to Mont Blanc Hotel Village, designed as a small mountain hamlet 10km from the popular Italian resort of Courmayeur. The hotel has views of Mont Blanc and is well located for skiing La Thuile 17km down the road, Pila 28km, and Chamonix 35km away. VALENTINE ' S DAY The sophisticated Spanish resort of Baqueira-Beret is one of Europe’s best-kept ski secrets. But first you have to get the hang of the timetable. The Spanish don’t ski before 10.30am. Lunch is from 2pm and can easily last the whole afternoon, followed by a final run to the base area. Rioja and tapas will occupy your time until 7pm when everyone heads off for a siesta. Dinner (children included) is from 10pm and the nightclubs warm up around 2am. Rest your head in La Pleta Hotel & Spa, which is much loved by the Spanish royal family. The pistes are across the road. The remote US town of Jackson, Wyoming has boardwalks and cowboy bars, while the more modern mountain base area is a 20-minute bus ride away. Together they offer a ski holiday unlike any other, with rugged slopes, and wickedly deep powder bowls providing the most exhilarating terrain in North America. The Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa is a great place to stay for both town and mountain.
To book visit www.slh.com 45
H E ADY S T U FF Sublime scenery, incredible wines – don’t blame us if you never see life in quite the same way again
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Wine tasting at The Louise, Australia
Vineyard at The Schwarzer Adler Estate, Germany
Restaurant at Hotel Viura, Spain
BAROSSA VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
“The Louise is a very private luxury hideaway with a destination restaurant, Appellation, and breathtaking views over the vineyards. The area is celebrated for its Shiraz and Riesling from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, Grenache and Grenache blends are also outstanding and the region's upand-coming winemakers are experimenting with new and alternate varietals with great success. Every evening, the chefs at Appellation and I select four wines that they then create dishes around to form our daily changing Chef’s Tasting Menu. A white wine that has impressed us all is a bright, fresh 2011 vintage Riesling from Seppeltsfield Wines, and I am also enjoying the 2009 Irvine ‘Baroness’ red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc that is soft yet generous with its bright fruit and silky finish. As well as tasting these wines, and enjoying the scenery on a hot air balloon or cycle ride, guests can visit up to 100 wineries and artisanal winemakers. My favourite tasting room at the moment is Taste Eden Valley in Angaston.”
“The Schwarzer Adler Estate Hotel is a family-run wine estate in the Kaiserstuhl region of southern Germany, which has a specific terroir of volcanic and loess soil that produces dry wines – most of them from Pinot grape varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The estate produces its own sparkling wine and digestifs as well as stocking prestigious wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux and elsewhere in its mountain cellar. Old Kaiserstuhl caves were our inspiration for drilling this cellar 112m deep into the rocks, and the conditions for storing and maturing the wines are fantastic. Guests can experience all this on a fabulous new package that includes a five-course and a seven-course dinner with matching wines in our restaurant, where chef Anibal Strubinger has a Michelin star. Then there is the option of an additional two days at another SLH property the Parkhotel Adler: driving through the Black Forest in a Wiesmann Roadster, dining at the Marie Antoinette restaurant and relaxing in the spa pavilion in four hectares of parkland.”
“Hotel Viura is an avant-garde hotel in a traditional village in the Rioja Alavesa, where wines have been produced since medieval times. We have just launched a fantastic new package with the Villa Soro in San Sebastián, which combines a tour of the area's outstanding wineries with a tapas crawl of San Sebastián’s best pintxos bars. Guests will visit traditional and modern wineries known mainly for red wines made from the Tempranillo grape, and discover the secrets of winemaking from the owners as well as the excellent local cuisine at a wine-tasting dinner in Viura restaurant. In San Sebastián, they will sample delicious pintxos such as cod with green pepper, all paired with Spanish wines, including Txakoli, in up to six bars. Alternatively, they can go La Bretxa market with the well-known chef Alex Barcenilla, then on to a Basque cooking class, before returning to Villa Soro.”
Cassaly Fitzgerald, Sommelier, Appellation at The Louise
Melanie Wagner, Sommelier, Schwarzer Adler Estate Hotel
Pedro García, Maître and Sommelier, Viura Hotel
To book visit www.slh.com 47
Im Weissen Rössl, Austria
Napa Valley, USA
NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, USA
“Im Weissen Rössl is a historic hotel on Lake Wolfgang with a fabulous lakeside pool, lovely spa and romantic restaurant. Every October we host a unique four-day wine tasting experience, in which guests try wines that are hard to find elsewhere – autochthonous Austrian wines including Schilcher and Uhudler – and discover new things such as the unconventional winemaking methods used in the production of Samos wine and vermouth in Austria’s thermal region around the monastery of Klosterneuberg. While sommeliers spoil guests with the delights of our 300-year-old rock cellar, hotel chef Peter Dengg conjures up delicious tasting menus to go with them. Guests also get to take home a bottle of wine adorned with a label designed by me – as well as being a sommelier, I have been creating labels for the hotel’s special wine editions since 2005.”
“Southbridge Napa Valley is an exclusive retreat next to the luxurious Health Spa in St Helena, a vibrant town at the heart of the Napa Valley. World-class dining, gourmet markets, art galleries, boutiques, and a historic cinema are all within walking distance. Our concierge services can help tailor your day, securing an introductory wine experience, or finding something for more seasoned tastes – from sampling dusty Cabernets and taking in views of the valley at Hall Rutherford to walking among the vines at Crocker & Starr with owner and winemaker Pam Starr. During the summer and at the height of harvest season, you are also invited to savour the latest releases from local vintners at complimentary, informal tastings in our lobby. Favourite neighbouring wineries include Chappellet, Tamber Bey, Alpha Omega, Round Pond and Merryvale, to name just a few.”
Thomas Selinger, Sommelier, Im Weissen Rössl
Marcelle Adderley, Hotel Manager, Southbridge Napa Valley
To book visit www.slh.com
just a wee dram then
Want to know more about whisky, too? Head to the Art Deco Hotel Montana on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, a renovated palace hotel with breathtaking views of the city, lake and mountains. Following a four-course dinner at the hotel’s Scala restaurant, guests are handed a ‘Whisky Pass’ that entitles them to try single malts from four different Scottish distilleries in the hotel’s atmospheric jazz and whisky bar, a bottle of the hotel’s house Glen Montana from the Glenfarclas Distillery, and a copy of Whisky Time magazine. Book an Art Deco suite, or upgrade to one of the hotel’s new rooftop Penthouse suites. Alternatively, join a Master Class at the Capital Hotel and Apartments, tucked away behind Harrods in the exclusive London district of Knightsbridge. Led by Cesar, the hotel’s head barman and UK’s youngest ‘Keeper of the Quaich’, it revolves around a pairing menu in which a range of whiskies are expertly matched with a selection of British and French cheeses – a special release ‘Kilchoman’ from Islay, for example, with a nice Tomme de Savoie. You won’t be able to leave without trying the Capital’s Levin wine, produced at the French vineyard of the hotel’s owner, David Levin.
Whisky at the Capital Hotel and Apartments, UK
L et SLH
do the work
If you’re passionate about a particular type of wine (or food), ask SLH to tailor an itinerary for you. A love of Burgundy whites was the starting point for a wonderful trip through France, organised recently for members by Kavita Gujadhur in SLH’s dedicated Call Centre. From the 17th-century Château d’Esclimont outside Versailles (see page 55) and peaceful Les Etangs de Corot in the artists’ hamlet of Ville d’Avray nearby, it moves south to the 16th-century Château de Fère, set against the stunning backdrop of 13th-century castle ruins in the Champagne wine region, then east to Hôtel Le Cep, a historic hostelry in Beaune with a Michelin-starred restaurant offering more than 70 Burgundy wines by the glass.
To book visit www.slh.com 49
SHOPPING BANGKOK, THAILAND STAY At the Hansar Bangkok, a sophisticated, urban retreat in the business and shopping district of Ratchaprasong. PACK Your running shoes: the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness centre has double-height windows overlooking the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. SHOP At the wholesale Platinum Mall (within walking distance) or Siam Square with its unique, local fashion shops such as Issue, 8 1/2 or It Happened to be a Closet (one stop on the BTS Skytrain). BRING BACK Chemical-free soaps made with unusual ingredients such as charcoal, mangosteen or rice flour – a great-value reminder of the tropics.
SHOP AHOY! Insider tips on where to look and what to buy in some of the world’s great shopping cities
Suzanne Vetillart Chayavichitsilp, Associate Creative Director, Hansar Hotels MILAN, ITALY STAY At The Gray, a sleek gem of a hotel between the Duomo and La Scala opera house. PACK High heels for the girls, a dark jacket for the boys. Black kimonos are provided for relaxing in your room. SHOP At the Excelsior, a new department store designed by Jean Nouvel. And DAAD Dantone, a shop for fashonistas on the lookout for new designers in the quadrilatero della moda (the fashion district around Via Montenapoleone). BRING BACK Hotel CDs The Gray vols I and II. And vintage and antique finds from the boho-chic Brera district. Lorenzo Caroni, Front Desk, The Gray BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA STAY At CasaSur Art Hotel, a contemporary retreat in the Recoleta district, with in-suite wine tasting and an impressive art collection. PACK Swimwear for the spa, dancing shoes for tango lessons. SHOP At the new Recoleta Mall, and in the fashionable Palermo neighbourhood. Look out for national brands Peter Kent (leather items including women’s shoes), Rapsodia and Kosiuko (women’s designer clothing) and Giesso (formal and casual menswear). BRING BACK Mate, a traditional infusion beloved of the Pampas Gauchos – and the gourd and silver straw used to drink it. Matías Santillán, Front Desk and Verónica Bianchi, Guest Relations, CasaSur Art Hotel Hansar, Bangkok, Thailand
To book visit www.slh.com
La Sultana Marrakech, Morocco
TORONTO, CANADA STAY At the Windsor Arms Hotel, a haven of tranquillity in upmarket Yorkville. PACK A guitar pick or sheet music (rooms come with a guitar, harp or baby grand piano), swimwear for the spa pool, comfortable shoes for exploring. SHOP At Pink Tartan (the brand of Canadian designer Kim Newport-Mimran), Harry Rosen (made-to-measure suits for men) and department store Holt Renfrew. BRING BACK A Hudson’s Bay blanket or scarf. Canada’s first retail store dates from 1670 and is known for its cashmere blankets with a yellow, red, green and black stripe. Maeve Cashin, Director, Sales & Marketing, Windsor Arms Hotel AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS STAY At Canal House: a 17th-century house on Keizersgracht with contemporary rooms and modern interpretations of Dutch paintings on the walls. PACK Comfortable shoes: for hopping on and off canal boats and treading cobbled streets. SHOP On the 17th-century ‘Negen straatjes’ (for designer goods, art and jewellery) and quaint Utrechtsestraat (for interiors, fashion and gourmet delicacies). And ask the hotel to direct you to The Frozen Fountain (interiors), Mendo Book Store, and Rika (designer clothes). BRING BACK Relaxing Shower & Bath Foam with chamomile, lavender and comfrey from in-house brand Green & Spring. Kristel Dom, Deputy General Manager, Canal House MARRAKECH, MOROCCO STAY At La Sultana Marrakech, five historic riads with palm-shaded courtyards and a terrace overlooking the city's minarets. PACK Swimwear and a cover-up for relaxing in the pool and palm-shaded courtyard. SHOP The Medina is right on your doorstep: look out for lanterns, kilims, tribal jewellery, hand-painted tea glasses, swan-necked teapots and understated kaftans by Moroccan designers. Don’t miss Aya’s Marrakech. BRING BACK The hotel’s signature argan massage oil and, after taking a cooking class at La Sultana, a tagine and spices for recreating the traditional dishes of Morocco at home. The Gray, Milan, Italy
Saida Loutou, Front Desk Manager, La Sultana Marrakech
To book visit www.slh.com 51
C L U B T e s t i m o n i a ls
How was it for you? Posts from the Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™
The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Lindos Blu Luxury Hotel and Suites
Rooms with a view “En route to Madeira recently, we decided to stop over at the Internacional Design Hotel in Lisbon. The staff were friendly, the interiors unique and, thanks to an upgrade, we were able to start the day with a Nespresso on our balcony overlooking the central square, which was bathed in sunshine – in January. Breakfast included cupcakes and delicious pasteis de nata (custard tarts), giving us more than enough energy for exploring. Take Tram 28, which goes to all the main sights and viewpoints while simultaneously introducing you to the city’s narrow alleyways and street life.” Norman Wick, Loved member, Hungary “As an architect, I had always wanted to visit Arcosanti and Taliesin West in Arizona. Arcosanti was the vision of Paolo Soleri and, with its focus on minimal impact, the first green-oriented community development project, built in a crevasse in the Sonoran Desert.
To book visit www.slh.com
Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright’s teaching studio. Visiting both was wonderful – as was relaxing at the end of the day at The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, with its beautiful views from the casitas and iconic pool area.” Samuel J Herpin, Loved member, Baton Rouge, USA "In 2011, my wife and I stayed at the Lindos Blu Luxury Hotel and Suites on the Greek island of Rhodes. It turned out to be our best holiday ever: having booked a beautiful superior double room, we found ourselves upgraded, for our final three nights, to a suite with private pool, in-room Jacuzzi and magnificent terrace with a spectacular view over the gulf. It was an incredibly kind gesture, and all the more welcome for being unexpected." Loredana and Silvano Cibien, Loved members, Limana, Italy
Le Pavillon des Lettres
S31 Sukhumvit Hotel
A fine romance "A few weeks ago, I took my girlfriend to Le Pavillon des Lettres in Paris to propose. I had told the hotel of my plans, but what happened exceeded my expectations. After breakfast in the magnificent lobby area, we were escorted to our room, which was the nicest in the entire hotel. Five windows opened onto a balcony that looked over the rooftops to the Eiffel Tower and all of it was flooded in sunlight. I proposed that night, and we returned to find a bottle of Champagne in our room, left as a gift by the concierge.” Jeremy Fiederer, Loved member, Amsterdam, Netherlands "Last Christmas and New Year, my fiancée and I decided to get married and spend our honeymoon in Thailand. The trip got off to a fantastic start at the S31 Sukhumvit Hotel in Bangkok: the service was second to none, the eight-foot bed magical and, after venturing out to the BKK shopping centre on the Skytrain, we returned for cocktails by the glass-sided pool. The wedding itself was at the Tongsai Grand Villas on Koh Samui, and we cannot praise the managers and their staff enough for their attention to detail. Finally, the team from
the Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa appeared, to whisk us away by speedboat for our honeymoon. All in all, it was four weeks of absolute bliss." Garry Aldred, Loved member, Cheam, UK "Last May, my boyfriend and I took ourselves off to Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club south of London for a relaxing weekend. Arriving early, we went for a walk in the nearby forest, which was full of bluebells, then spent the afternoon at the wonderful spa. When we finally checked in we found we had been upgraded to an enormous, beautifully decorated suite, with deer grazing outside the window. The next day the concierge recommended we visit the nearby market town of Lewes where I immediately spotted the local jeweller and fell in love with a purple sapphire ring. That’s not unusual for me, however, so I didn’t give it another moment’s thought until we were sitting at the local pub and my boyfriend suddenly said: ‘Why don’t we go and buy that ring?’ The whole pub cheered. We ended the weekend with high tea at the hotel and will be celebrating our wedding this August with an English-themed garden party." Charlotta Ranert, Loved member, Skanör, Sweden
Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa
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
To book visit www.slh.com 53
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Brandenburger Hof, Hotel Die Sonne Frankenberg Gut Klostermuehle Heidelberg Suites Hotel Hirschgasse Heidelberg, Die Im Wasserturm, Hotel Ketschauer Hof Parkhotel Adler Schlosshotel Kronberg Schwarzer Adler Suitess an der Frauenkirche Villa am Ruhrufer Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Aegean Suites Hotel Aqua Blu Boutique Hotel & Spa BabyGrand Hotel Belvedere Hotel Bill & Coo Canaves Oia Carpe Diem Chromata Cosmopolitan Suites Eagles Palace Hotel & Spa Elounda Gulf Villas Excelsior Hotel, The Finikas Naxos Hotel Gold Suites Lindos Blu Liostasi Hotel & Spa Margi, The Melenos Lindos Hotel Minos Beach Art Hotel Mykonos Grand Hotel and Resort Nikopolis Thessaloniki, Hotel Notos Therme & Spa On the Rocks Santorini 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 Theoxenia Palace Yria Resort Spice Island Bella Luce Hotel and Spa Lodge at Pico Bonito The Hotel Pravo Hong Kong Lanson Place Hotel Luxe Manor, The Chrome Hotel Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resort Ganga Kutir Resort & Spa Kumarakom Lake Resort Oberoi Amarvilas, The Oberoi Rajvilas, The Oberoi Udaivilas, The Oberoi Vanyavilas, The Old Harbour Hotel Orange County Coorg Orange County Kabini Paul Bangalore, The Raj Palace, The Serai Chikmagalur Bale The Oberoi Bali, The Oberoi Lombok, The Spa Village Tembok Bali Viceroy Bali Brooks Hotel Dunraven Arms Hotel Hayfield Manor Lodge at Doonbeg, The Mount Juliet Park Hotel Kenmare Stampa Hotel & Spa, La Albergo al Sole Albergo Pietrasanta Albergo San Montano Resort and Spa
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Alpin Royal Aquapetra Resort & Spa Bernini Bristol, Hotel Borgobianco Resort & Spa Ca' Sagredo Casa Angelina Lifestyle Castello di Velona Centurion Palace Eight Hotel Portofino Escalus Luxury Suites Grand Hotel Cocumella Grand Hotel Majestic Grand Hotel Parker's Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte Gray, The Grotta Giusti Resort, Golf & Spa Tuscany Hotel D’Inghilterra Hotel de la Ville Hotel Lungarno Inn at the Roman Forum, The Inn at the Spanish Steps, The 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 & Spa Park Hotel Villa Grazioli Petit Palais Hôtel de Charme Portici Hotel di Bologna, I Punta Tragara, Al Relais dell'Orologio Relais Histo Relais La Suvera Relais Villa d'Amelia Residenza del Moro Seiser Alm Urthaler Splendide Royal, Hotel Therasia Resort Sea and Spa Town House 31 Town House Suite 70 View at The Spanish Steps, The Villa Athena, Hotel Villa Carlotta Villa Crespi Villa di Monte Solare Villa Ducale Villa Le Maschere Resort Villa Mangiacane Villa Spalletti Trivelli Hoshinoya Karuizawa Hoshinoya Kyoto Hotel Il Palazzo La Suite Kobe Harborland Noborioji Hotel Unzen Kanko Hotel Atlantic Hotel, The Diamonds Dream of Africa Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp Hemingways Nairobi Hemingways Watamu Larsens Camp Luang Say Residence, The Bergs, Hotel Albert Premier, Hotel-Restaurant Cameron Highlands Resort Gaya Island Resort Majestic Malacca, The Pangkor Laut Resort Tanjong Jara Resort Baros Maldives Coco Palm Bodu Hithi Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Coco Palm Kuda Hithi Huvafen Fushi Island Hideaway Spa Resort & Marina at Dhonakulhi Maldives Naladhu Maldives Niyama Velassaru Maldives
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Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Spa Resort Oberoi Mauritius, The Anticavilla Hotel Casa Que Canta La Downtown Esencia Hotel Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa Habita Hotel MTY Hacienda de San Antonio Villa Rolandi Thalasso Spa Gourmet & Beach Club Port Palace Hotel Terelj Hotel Fellah Hotel Jardin D'Ines Kasbah Agafay Hotel and Spa Sultana Marrakech, La Sultana Oualidia, La Beukenhof, De Hotel Restaurant Canal House Chateau St Gerlach Dylan Amsterdam, The Blanket Bay Eichardts Private Hotel George The Grasmere Lodge Solitaire Lodge Panamonte Inn & Spa Royal Park Hotel Discovery Shores Boracay Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa Misibis Bay Blow Up Hall Granary, The Aquapura Douro Valley Carmo’s Boutique Hotel Hotel da Estrela Infante Sagres Internacional Design Hotel L'AND Vineyards Resort Palacio Estoril Quinta Da Casa Branca Vilalara Thalassa Resort, Blue and Green El Convento Alexander House Mar Hall Hotel & Aveda Spa Marcliffe Hotel & Spa, The Nira Caledonia Fregate Island Naumi Scarlet, The Sentosa Resort & Spa; The Marrol's, Hotel Grand Hotel Toplice Grande Roche Hotel ABaC Restaurant Hotel Bagues, Hotel Cap Rocat Claris, Hotel Club Maritimo de Sotogrande El Lodge Gran Derby Hotel Gran Hotel Son Net Hacienda Zorita Palacio Guendulain Plantacion, La Pleta Hotel & Spa, La Rodat Hotel, El Tres, Hotel Villa Real, Hotel Villa Soro Viura Fortress, The Jetwing Beach Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel & Spa Jetwing Vil Uyana Serene Pavilions Ulagalla Resort Collector's Victory Hotel Ett Hem Lydmar Art Deco Hotel Montana Caprice, Hotel Chateau d'Ouchy Crystal Hotel, The Eastwest Hotel
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Eden au Lac, Hotel Grand Hotel Bellevue Post Weggis Hotel Royal Park Hotel Villa Castagnola au Lac, Grand Hotel Crystal The, Sun Moon Lake Eclat Taipei, Hotel Hotel Royal Chiao Hsi QUOTE, HOTEL Taipei San Want Residences Taipei Diamonds Star of the East Kirawira Camp Zanzibar Serena Inn 137 Pillars House AKA Resort Guti Hua Hin Akaryn Samui Akatsuki Resort Aleenta Resort & Spa Hua Hin Aleenta Resort & Spa Phuket Anantara Bophut, Koh Samui Resort & Spa Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa Hansar Bangkok Hotel La Flora Resort Patong Maduzi Hotel Nakamanda Resort & Spa Pimalai Bay Resort and Spa Racha, The S31 Sukhumvit Hotel Santhiya Resort and Spa Siam, The Tongsai Grand Villas Twinpalms Phuket Yaiya Hua Hin Zeavola Villas at Stonehaven, The Dar Said Marmara Bodrum, The Ottomans, Les TomTom Suites - The Old Franciscan House Desert Palm Bellevue, Hotel Betsy, The Castle Hill Resort & Spa Castle on the Hudson, The Chesterfield Hotel Cranwell Resort Spa and Golf Club Delamar Greenwich Harbor Diamond Mills Hotel Huntington and Nob Hill Spa, The Inn at Great Neck Inn at Irving Place, The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa, The Iroquois, The Manor on Golden Pond Mill Street Inn Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa Peacock Inn Pillars Hotel, The Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant, The Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa Santa Maria Suites Shangri-La, Hotel Soniat House Sorrel River Ranch & Spa Southbridge Napa Valley Talbott, The Viana Hotel and Spa Wentworth Mansion Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa
50 57 45 28 83 20 62 198 64 81 11 25 51 30 19 50 5 21 30 106 77 94 67 40 39 80 71 90 78 39 15 97 40 52 42 24 95 10 20 28 67 62 20 31 53 98 83 30 135 85 15 28 114 19 23 128 124 16 18 20 31 105 35 70 33 52 21 149 116 21 90
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On the road with SLH
Q&A with Honoured Club Member Sue Bennett
How long have you been a SLH member? Three years, although we stayed at SLH hotels before joining. In total, we have probably stayed at about 25 SLH hotels. How many do you stay at per year? Up to five. What for you is the principal benefit of membership? The complimentary upgrades, excellent inclusive breakfasts and welcome drinks. Which SLH hotel did you stay at most recently? La Chartreuse du Val Saint Esprit in northern France. It’s only 45 minutes from the Eurotunnel, so we can have an extra night in France, yet still be home by lunchtime. What’s your overall favourite SLH hotel? That would be a toss-up between The Goring in London and The Sandpiper in Barbados. Both are perfectly set up for relaxation with an atmosphere that really makes you feel at home.
Do you stay at any one SLH hotel regularly? The Sandpiper. We wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Barbados. It’s a small, friendly, family-run hotel and sister property to the nearby Coral Reef Club & Spa, where you can go for beauty treatments. We’ve been there with our son and his girlfriend (who got engaged there) and our daughter and her family. It is the atmosphere that is so special. Our other regular is the Hôtel Le Cep in Beaune, where we usually stay on our way to or from the South of France or Italy. Beaune is interesting to wander around and you are close to the vineyards of Beaune, Montrachet and Meursault. The staff are always friendly and the masseuse is excellent. What do you look for in a hotel? Friendly staff, good service, excellent food and wine, and an instantly relaxing atmosphere. Where were you most impressed by the staff? At The Goring. Nothing is too much trouble.
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What’s the most exciting city you’ve visited through SLH? Probably Monte Carlo. We arrived by car from Italy and the initial view, down over buildings clinging to the mountainside, was breathtaking. We stayed at the Port Palace in a third-floor room overlooking the super yachts. The restaurant and terrace are on the top floor with wonderful views of the harbour and after enjoying your meal you are already a good way up the hill on the way to the Casino. The main square looks magical at night and there are plenty of super cars to look at when you tire of the yachts. What’s the most exciting country you’ve visited through SLH? Barbados is very special to us, although it’s more developed now than it was when we first visited. More recently I would say Italy. We love the wines, especially Amarone, which we were introduced to at a family-run Italian restaurant near our home. So we drive through France and into Italy, stay in hotels in the wine regions and visit the vineyards. Amarone is produced in the hills north of Verona (where you could stay at the Escalus Luxury Suites, although we just passed through). That was a wonderful holiday and we had the wines of Barolo, Gattinara and Amarone to remind us of it when we got back home.
Coral Reef Club & Spa
RE S ERVATIO N S
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