This is a list of ten luxury properties we have visited (some more than once) where the splurge and comfort factor is only intensified by the fact that surrounding it are conditions of natural purity and near isolation.
Conrad Hotel: Knysna, South Africa
This hotel offers beautiful villas with fireplaces, views of the dramatic coastline, excellent golf courses and over the top friendly service. Knysna is the heart of the garden route of South Africa and nearby trail hiking into an elephant preserve and woods is just one of the many ways to indulge in luxury here. Take the tour to the beach house the hotel owns as well for a peek at an historic and isolated getaway.
AL Maha A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa: Dubai, UAE
You are only around 40 minutes from the bustling confines of Dubai, but you might as well be thousands of miles away in this wilderness preserve. The hotel is an oasis of calm surrounded by protected gazelles, birds, pools and traditional style accommodations. No luxury is amiss at this splendid resort, it feels like a pop up spa in the midst of raw nature.
The Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
The quieter side of the Emirates is where mountains and hills start rising from the sand dunes. Al Wadi is a series of villas which stand alone and private so that although in a compound you face out at a national preserve and feel the privacy and isolation the desert provides. Enjoy the many attractive restaurants and amenities and get up early to see the wild animals roam just in front of your porch.
Hacienda Alta Gracia, an Auberge Resort: Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
In a quieter part of Costa Rica, away from the Pacific coast tourism industry and two hours South of San Jose sits a secondary valley which is much more verdant and undeveloped than the Central Valley. This resort is a typical horse and coffee style ranch from the region with world class villas, hiking paths, cycling routes and a foothill location that allows you to be in the lap of nature and luxury simultaneously.
JW Marriott Walnut Grove Resort and Spa: Mussoorie, India
We love this place so much we’ve gone twice. The JW Mussoorie is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and as such offers spectacular views and hikes in nearby national parks. Glaciers, farms, valleys and monasteries are all part of the scenery where this modern hotel brings local culture and panorama into one.
Waldorf Astoria Park City: Utah, USA
Park City has dozens of high end resorts all with their own merits. Ski season is of course one way to enjoy it, but summertime and shoulder seasons bring their own hiking and exploration attractions. We like the Waldorf because of it spacious rooms, kitchens and proximity to mountain hiking trails which begin right behind the property.
Evason Resort and Six Senses Spa: Ma’in, Jordan
Dive deep into this desert canyon in Jordan and you will not only find an oasis, but hot springs bubbling out of rock which makes this Six Senses Spa a unique indulgence of Near Eastern inspired therapies and natural phenomenon. The hotel is lavish, hospitable and inviting.
Hotel Cristallo: Alta Badia, Italy
The Dolomites are the rooftop of Italy. The mountain slopes extreme, jagged and gorgeous. The Cristallo hotel in Cortina D’Ampezzo is an institution of high luxury, from its throwback décor, to views of the mountains and indulgent spa, you are never too far from Italy’s most lavish experiences, from relaxation to challenge.
Kempinski Adriatic: Istria, Croatia
Seekers of a Tuscan style countryside without crowds and costs would do well to flock to Istria. Should you want a luxury accommodation perched between electric blue sea views, bursting vineyards and laden olive groves the Kempinski Adriatic is the place to stay. This world class style hotel seems like it has no business rising out of the farmed countryside, but the situation could not be more perfect and picturesque.
St. Regis Hotel: Langkawi, Malaysia
Beach resorts on islands are a dime a dozen, but there is something truly special about this property. Langkawi is not as overrun as many Asian island destinations and so it is spacious, silent and with a variety of forests, beaches and hills. The hospitality is world class and the balconies so inviting, it’s harder to decide where to spend more time.