The Olive Exclusive is an intimate boutique hotel in a tranquil corner of Windhoek, Namibia, embodying the very essence of chic comfort. This ultra-luxurious sanctuary is cool, contemporary and stylish but with a warm heart and authentic African soul. Its sleek, modern lines are complemented by organic textures, natural furnishings, an eco-friendly approach and dedicated personal service. Simple elegance is key, from the organic rough-hewn wooden benches and side tables, through the sculpted chunk of granite that serves as a coffee table in the guest lounge, to walls clad in abstract Namibian landscapes by well-known South African designer and photographer Micky Hoyle.
The seven suites are individually decorated so each reflects a different region in Namibia, and each has its own lounge area with fireplace and dining room, for private dining. Wide glass doors open onto spacious decks where you can relax on a shady daybed, enjoy al fresco lunches or, if yours is a premium suite, take a dip in your own private plunge pool. The Olive Exclusive boasts a quality restaurant featuring a seasonal menu, with inventive signature dishes. The fully stocked bar also features a classic selection of fine whisky.
To stay at this incredible retreat, rates range from $200 – $311, from here.
Casa Zinc has been designed by Antique dealer Aaron Hojman, nestled on Uruguay’s coastal village of La Barra, which is at the head of stretches of golden beaches and low headlands. The six-room, two-storey hotel is a “posada bohemia” with five-meters high factory gates and a facade clad in vintage railway bricks, reclaimed windows and corrugated zinc siding. Like staying at a private home of someone with exquisite design taste, Casa Zinc has a welcoming, lived-in ambiance with its shabby-chic interiors and eclectic mix of vintage furniture.
Hojman has designed the interiors with bookshelves stacked with apothecary jars, valve radios and soda bottles, framed windows with wood lifted from a long-shuttered Montevideo railway station, and scattered distressed leather-and-wood sofas in the dining room and sitting room. The bedrooms have been named for the objects that lay within, Esudio Arquitecto, Estudio Diseno, Mirador, Back to School, Biblioteca and Patio. Hojman has a penchant for the unadorned and untreated, so prevalent that mortise joints still bear the carpenter’s penciled notations. Bathrooms offers porcelain sinks, long-levered taps and free-standing tubs that give the austerity of a glammed-up hospice.
To stay at Casa Zinc, rates range from $140 – $740, from here.
Segera Retreat is the new Wilderness Safari’s property set in a wildlife sanctuary on the Laikipia Plateau, Kenya, East Africa. The retreat consists of eight villas, five of which are raised on wooden decks comprising one bedroom with en-suite bathroom and have an outside deck. Beneath each Villa lies an outside lounge and comfortable swing-bed. As the name suggests, the property is a place to relax and unwind; there is a gym here, wellness center and a theater. There is also the largest private collection of African art in the world.
Six timber and thatch villas are raised above a carpet of botanical life in the Segera “Oasis” with its sculpture garden. Each has an elevated wooden platform, which looks out onto the surrounding savannah and swing beds below providing the perfect shaded place for some midday relaxation as well as for a night out under the stars, surrounded by the sounds of Africa. The gracious Segera House and perfectly positioned Villa Segera boast similarly spectacular views and even greater privacy and luxury. They run on solar energy and water is sustainably harvested and recycled. The villas gaze out over the Laikipia Plateau towards the spectacular Mount Kenya.
Within the privacy of the villas, a large bedroom and en-suite bathroom fill the upstairs space under timber trusses. A private sun deck in the garden offers comfortable sun loungers for soaking up the African sun, while a Jacuzzi bath, sunk into the deck outside the bedroom, offers a unique vantage point. Each villa includes in its décor original, individually selected paintings and other art from a range of Africa’s most inspiring artists.
Photos: Courtesy of Segera
Kilindi Zanzibar is a romantic hideaway surrounded by lush tropical gardens, enjoying a gorgeous secluded setting on the northern tip of Zanzibar, in East Africa. Designed by Neil Rocher in conjunction with some long-serving Tanzanian specialists, the luxurious open-plan design allows cool sea breezes to flow through the spacious summerhouse-style pavilions. Each stunning villa boasts an intimate domed bedchamber with stained glass skylight, two plunge pools linked by patio areas and a waterfall, and an excellent all-day butler service.
Each of the pavilions has been designed with careful thought, crafted to maximize the light and space, drawing the eye towards the impeccable views, rather than the knick-knacks inside. The domes have been designed to collect rainwater, the sleeping areas straddle its storage, and the pools circulate it. The retreat also uses solar power, a state-of-the-art water treatment plant that recycles waste water for re-use in the toilets and gardens. The resort also uses fresh locally grown produce and operates a profit share initiative with local community partners.
Rates from $585 per night, from here.
Relax on the quiet sandy beach or beside the infinity swimming pool and enjoy breathtaking views of Tumbatu Island and traditional wooden dhows bobbing in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Diving, snorkelling and dolphin-spotting trips can be arranged, as can excursions to the national parks and to Stonetown, around an hour’s drive away.
Restored with ultimate respect to local tradition, Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, situated in the Sassi area of Matera, a town in Southern Italy is a 9,000-year-old Italian cave dwelling. Literally cut into the volcanic tufa of the Matera hillside, the caves of Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita were originally a stronghold for Italian peasants. Forcibly removed in the 1950s, many of the peasants came back against the government’s wishes. Today, the area has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is attracting curious travelers to its snaking rooftop streets, craggy hillside drop offs, and stone cathedrals.
At Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, great care was put into restoring the 18-room hotel. They were very clever in keeping the integrity of the caves intact by using the original architectural materials from the area, disguising the use of modern technology and maintaining the new design to a minimum. The decor of the rooms is very basic using plain furniture built out of recycled materials, yet keeping the rural historic tradition through colors, textures, scents and even candles identified with the area. Where elements needed to be added to bring in modern amenities, like freestanding Stark baths, were chosen based on their unobtrusive design. Their philosophy was not to betray the ‘soul’ of the building, but to preserve the caves’ rural heritage. Stunning perspectives, original hand-hewn church building blocks, and some dramatic illumination make for magical moments at this extraordinary hotel.
To stay at this sensational boutique hotel, rates start at $131 per night, from here.
Singita Boulders Lodge overlooks South Africa’s shallow Sand River in the middle of a 33,000 acre territory that boasts the highest concentration of wildlife in all of Kruger National Park. The luxury lodge offers twelve sumptuous, authentic and refined suites offer stunning views of the banks of the river Sand. Each boasts its own pool and private terrace, guaranteeing you total harmony with nature. You will quickly find that midday hours are best reserved for relaxing by the pool to beat the heat.
The Singita Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to high concentrations of lions, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and leopard. You’ll get the chance to track them with knowledgeable guides in the mornings and evenings, when they’re most active. When you get back from your safari, you will find a delicious African inspired gourmet meal waiting for you to enjoy in the shade of centuries-old trees. The lodge also boasts Africa’s finest bush cellar where you can enjoy an exclusive wine tasting. The lodge even offers a fully equipped gym (with a full view of the savanna) and a diverse menu of spa treatments, including traditional African treatments and hot stone massages.
Nightly rates for this exclusive luxury lodge starting from USD $2,867, from here.
Morukuru Lodge tucked away in the heart of the Madikwe reserve and, one of the largest reserves in South Africa, is named after the lofty trees which lend it their shade. Enfolding guests in peace and comfort, three superb villas accommodates families and groups of friends who wish to spend some special time together, far from everything, on an exclusive-use basis. The stone and timber villas are meticulously decorated, and open out onto immaculately preserved luxuriant nature: the perfect place if you want to observe wildlife and the numerous “Big Five” animals on the reserve. Airy bedrooms feature a fireplace for chilly nights and large, insect-screened sliding doors opening on to tree-shaded private balconies.
Spacious bathrooms have deep baths with a view of the bush, and both inside and outside, monkey’s eye-view private showers for an unforgettable bush experience. An additional four junior guests can be comfortably accommodated in the kid’s room, where they have access to recreational facilities. The superbly appointed living area offers fine dining for a complete party of ten, with cuisine prepared to your taste and requirements by your personal chef. Guests can also have breakfast in the morning sunshine to the accompaniment of cackling Wood Hoopoes, lunch ‘al fresco’ in the shaded garden, or dinner by starlight and candles on the broad pool deck overlooking the fast-flowing Marico River.
To stay at this spectacular lodge, prices range from $1,908 – $2,857.81 per night for four guests and $5,618.57 per night with a four night minimum for peak season for six adults and four children, from here.
The heated infinity pool is surrounded by comfortable loungers for relaxing, bush-view siestas after a dip in the cool water. A wooden veranda surrounds the lodge perimeter, providing quiet nooks for the private bush showers, leading to a romantic riverside raised walkway. On moonlit nights, dine around a crackling bonfire in the boma and on chilly nights or lazy days, savor the welcoming peace of the luxurious indoor lounge area, with its deep, comfortable couches, night-time crackling fire and panoramic daytime view of the bush and passing wildlife.
Dolphin Island Hotel is a private island retreat situated on the tip of Viti Levu, Fiji, nestled like a precious jewel, surrounded by crystal-clear waters. With tropical modern interiors by stylist Virginia Fisher, it boasts just four elegant rooms, a gorgeous entertaining bure, a romantic sleep-out boudoir and a 13-acre playground of gardens and beaches. Offshore, aquatic adventures beckon, including top-notch diving, snorkeling and sailing.
The main bure is the hub of rest, relaxation and fun with a series of poolside areas perfectly designated for time spent lying on day beds (either pre or post a dip in the infinity pool), or for alfresco dining. Casual groups of plantation-style chairs and soft feather-filled sofas beckon, as one day draws seamlessly into the next. As the last rays of the sun catch on the tips of the palm trees and sink into the ocean, the open veranda, with its banks of bi-fold doors offers the perfect venue for a tropical cocktail or a glass or two of chilled wine.
The guest bure suites are perfect for a tropical lifestyle – featuring heart timber floors, plaster walls, stone tiles, wooden shutters, high ceilings and the latest in air conditioned comfort. Fine pure cotton bed linen and soft feather pillows are perfectly suited to the climate and The Huka Retreats famed attention to detail is strongly evident within this haven of relaxation and romance.
The dressing rooms are large and generous and these are further complemented by well-appointed bathrooms, twin hand basins, shower, sculptural free-standing bath and outdoor shower, within a private garden courtyard.
For total romance, guests can take an easy stroll to the top of the island where the hilltop sleep-out bure awaits. This utterly divine, thatched open-air bedroom is rustic and refined, perfect for an overnight stay!
The ultimate barefoot beach paradise destination, Vamizi’s Private Villa Collection has been designed by South African architects who have are renowned for their commitment to creative design, sustainable development and responsible tourism, creating a unique style of architecture that draws on the multi-cultural influences of Mozambique. The Vamizi Villas are two brand new private villas, each with five en-suite bedrooms, a sweeping private deck for utter relaxation, and direct beach access for those wishing to dip their toes – and more – in the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
As with Vamizi Island lodge the service is impeccable, the food is surf-fresh and delicious and your days are your own to choose what you wish to do. Each villa has its personal hospitality team, on hand to talk you through all your options – from exciting and adventurous scuba diving and big game fishing to the more relaxing beach picnics, dhow excursions and whale watching (at certain times of the year). Other activities on offer include snorkelling, salt-water fly-fishing, mountain bike trails and bird walks. The local guides are very happy to lead fascinating walks to explore the island and find monkeys or birds.
Exclusive to the Vamizi Private Villa Collection is the Vamizi Retreats. On selected dates through the year, a four night retreat is offered, led by yoga instructor Claire Finlay. These are the ultimate in get-away-from-it-all relaxation, and are designed to rejuvenate both body and soul. In addition to morning and afternoon yoga sessions guests will enjoy a diving trip, a fishing trip and a luxurious massage during their stay. The perfect option for those wishing to retreat from everyday life, and spend a luxurious few days – guests are guaranteed to leave reinvigorated!
Book your luxury vacation getaway from here.
Dusit Thani Maldives blends graceful Thai hospitality with the unparalleled luxury setting of the beautiful Maldives. Encircled by white sandy beaches, a rich house reef and turquoise lagoon, the resort on Mudhdhoo Island hosts 100 villas and residences. The resort features Beach Villas, Beach Villas with Pool, Lagoon Villas with Pool, Ocean Villas with Pool, and the exclusive Ocean Pavilions and Beach Residences, all offering a haven of modern sophistication with luxurious amenities and technology.
Dusit Thani Maldives fuses a fine selection of restaurants with uncompromising service and spectacular views. Retreat from the midday heat to enjoy poolside snacks. The Sala Bar is perfect for watching the sunset or star gazing. Elevated in a grove of coconut palm trees, Dusit’s signature Devarana Spa is one of a kind in the Maldives. Devarana Spa features six tree-top treatment pods nestled in to enhance the spa journey.
Located near Hanifaru Huraa, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve renowned as a feeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks, Dusit Thani Maldives offers guests diving and snorkeling; a 750 square meter swimming pool – the largest in the Maldives; fully-equipped fitness studio with personal trainer and yoga instructor; resident marine biologist; children’s play area and club facility; library with internet stations; and island boutiques.