Beautiful Hotels Around the World You Won’t Want to Leave
You know a vacation is one for the books when you start contemplating permanent residence. Hotels that make exceptional use of their natural surroundings—by way of inside/outside guestrooms, open-air baths, and otherworldly views—are particularly well equipped to inspire that “When can I move in?” feeling. Below, impossible-to-part-with spots that span every corner of the world, from Newfoundland to French Polynesia.
Located in Ise-Shima National Park, just above Ago Bay (home to some of the most unreal pearls in the world), a stay at Amanemu feels a little bit out of this world. The property, just three hours by train from Kyoto, is dotted with hot springs and its minimalist rooms are done up ryokan-style, including soaking tubs (with separate faucets for cold, hot, or mineral hot springs water). The surroundings are just as tranquil—wood, bamboo, and stone structures marked by low-hanging tiled roofs and sliding screens. There’s an outdoor infinity pool, which you’ll be hard-pressed to actually get out of (it’s incredible for stargazing), and a 22,000-square-foot spa with outdoor onsen baths, a yoga studio, and four treatment rooms tucked right into the forest. Meals are taken at the simply named Restaurant, where a team of twelve chefs trained by Masanobu Inaba of Conrad Tokyo spotlight the region’s izakaya-style seafood and bento boxes of sashimi and tempura come lunch.
With unobstructed views of Umbria’s rolling hillside and access to chefs, drivers, stables, and tennis courts, Castello di Reschio is the epitome of secluded luxury. Count Antonio Bolza and his architecturally inclined family spent decades restoring this 2,700-acre estate to its former glory (the main castle and about 50 farmhouses date all the way back to 1202). The rentable cottages, palazzos, and for-sale villas are meticulously furnished with modern pieces and artful details designed by Italy’s top artisans. As far as amenities go, no detail was spared: The infinity pool overlooks ancient mulberry tree groves and fragrant lavender fields, while each home’s bath quarters are stocked with fresh linens and Ortigia Sicilia apothecary items. The Reschio vineyard is famous for producing tantalizing rosés which, along with expertly-prepared, locally sourced meals, you can sample at the property’s private restaurant, Osteria.
Located in the remote canyonlands of Utah, Amangiri has some of the best sunsets we’ve seen anywhere—and for good reason: The sky constantly changes as the sun shifts across the desert, bathing the already-dramatic buttes and mesas in pink and purple light. The resort itself is built into the landscape, and though the architecture is sleek and modern (the corresponding interiors are classic examples of the Aman’s brand of neutral, pared-down luxury), it all essentially blends into the rock. The surrounding desert offers plenty of activities, from rafting to horseback riding to hiking—even private plane rides over Lake Powell.
Housed in a renovated lodge on a 123,500-acre reserve, you’re in close reach of all of the activities that Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe have to offer. Made up of two camps, each nine-rooms strong, the stone-and-thatch facades dot the riverfront and feature all the requisite safari creature comforts: a four-poster bed, indoor-outdoor shower, and a private plunge pool. The team can arrange everything from game drives (there are incredible elephant sightings), birdwatching, canoeing, and boat excursions.
Photo: Courtesy of andBeyond
With an emphasis on holistic wellness, this stunning retreat calls upon certified specialists in yoga, Pilates, and qigong to personalize mountain biking, hiking, and circuit training excursions. In addition to the standard rooms and suites (all decorated with beds made from rich local wood and subtle florals), there are villas with several bedrooms that make great escapes for a larger group. In the Estate’s main kitchen, you can design your own three-course menu (go for an authentically Indonesian dish) to cook with chef. During your stay, you’ll likely live at Glow, an all-day restaurant/café serving pressed juice, organic salads, and fresh Mediterranean fish.
Nestled alongside the Maldonado River, the 20 bungalows and 10 suites were designed by architect Isay Weinfeld into sleek, square shapes that are high-design and a completely refreshing aesthetic for a beach vacation. The interiors match the modernist exterior without feeling cold—rooms are done in soft, cozy neutrals with pristine marble and limestone bathrooms, and porches that look out over the landscape. Of course, the main attraction here is the beach, accessed through Fasano’s high-touch beach club, but there’s also a very cool on-site pool (carved into a naturally occurring rock formation). The concierge can arrange tennis, golf, horseback riding, and reservations for restaurants in town.
The relationship between the Fogo Island Inn and the beautiful community and physical landscape in which it exists is pretty incredible. Conceived as a social enterprise to support the tiny, yet sturdy outport community on the island, it provides jobs, celebrates local cuisine, and donates all of its proceeds to community programming. The inn itself is a gorgeous, simple, modern building that juts out in juxtaposition to, yet somehow at harmony with, the rocky outcroppings of the landscape. For visitors, the quaint quality of the place inspires plenty of hand holding: In the summer and fall, you can hike the idyllic trails in search of wild berries and local wildlife, like caribou, foxes, puffins, and migrating whales—in the winter, you’ll find ice fishing, picturesque snowfall, and plenty of cozy fires. The décor (not surprisingly, all of the furniture was built by the locals) is modern but cozy, with Scandinavian-feeling wooden shapes and warm, hand-made quilts. As you might expect, the views out of the wide, modern windows are nothing less than jaw-dropping.
Just six miles from oft-visited St.-Tropez, La Réserve Ramatuelle offers a dose of something more serene. Set on 25 acres of cypress trees and parasol pines, this secluded retreat was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, whose most notable commissions include LVMH’s Paris headquarters and galleries in the Louvre. Relying on a quiet palette of terracotta tiles, white walls, and linen-upholstered furnishings by Poltrona Frau, much of the property’s design is meant to bring the outdoors in. South-facing rooms have views of the Mediterranean coastline and Bay of Pampelonne in the distance. There are nineteen suites and nine rooms—all with their own terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows; for those looking for something a bit grander, they’ve recently added two new villas to their roster, each of which comes with a chef, butler, housekeeper, and heated swimming pool. The 10,000 square-foot spa is a real draw, with eleven treatment rooms (the spa menu uses La Mer for all its services), full gym, and a multi-day wellness program through Nescens. Chef Eric Canino’s menu of health-conscious dishes is inspired by the fruits and vegetables grown on-site in his garden.
Malcolm Forbes purchased this Fijian island back in 1972 as a personal retreat, and for many years it was exactly that. It’s actually Dietrich Mateschitz (most famous as the billionaire inventor of Red Bull) who had the vision to turn the island into the exclusive resort it is today. The entire experience here is really intimate, with only 25 residences, each its own little Fijian tiki hut looking out over the ocean, scattered across the property’s beaches and hills. Each one is more luxurious than the last, with four-poster beds draped in mosquito netting, nest-like reading chairs, plush shag carpets (trust us, it works), and amenities like personal butlers and private swimming pools.
Perhaps one of Mexico’s most interesting hotel openings of 2016, this 205-room property designed by local architect Miguel Angel Aragonés has a hypermodern aesthetic that stands out from everything else in the region. The overall experience here is totally customizable—from the personalized indoor/outdoor lighting concept. to room service, which is available at the touch of a tablet. The design is marked by sharp lines, cream marble, Italian-made Poliform furnishings, and a stately infinity pool. As for the guest rooms? With their floor-to-ceiling windows and private outdoor spaces, each one appears to float on water. While the hotel has five restaurants on property, it’s worth leaving the campus one afternoon to head to nearby Flora’s Farm, an area staple, known for its farm-to-table dishes and laid-back vibe.
This spectacular retreat is one of our favorite destinations in the US. The rooms are straightforward but the treatments, thanks to incredible practitioners, are anything but. The menu offers everything from psychic massage to a Sedona clay wrap, to reiki and lymphatic drainage. Meanwhile, spiritual treatments include meditation, hypnosis, and past life regression. When you’re not in a treatment room, park yourself in a plush lounge chair overlooking the serene pool, with a backdrop of Sedona’s rich red hills. It’s like three years of therapy in three days.
While Malibu has long had a shortage of places to stay, that’s all changing now as a prime stretch of PCH is getting a modern update with the arrival of the Nobu Ryokan (a new hotel concept for the brand), just a few yards up the street from its namesake restaurant on Carbon Beach. The intimate 16-room hotel is done up in a minimalist Ryokan-style. This translates to wraparound terraces, floor-to-ceiling windows meant to maximize ocean views, and teak, bronze, and limestone detailing. The generously sized rooms are a nod to both California and Japanese design with clean lines, tatami mats, and outdoor soaking tubs. Guests naturally have priority booking at the restaurant next door, but there’s also a special in-room dining menu for those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their kimono robe.
If the words Cabo San Lucas conjure visions of Sammy Hagar doing tequila shots, let the words One & Only Palmilla replace them with dreams of tropical paradise. Originally built in 1956 as a 15-room luxury escape for the President of Mexico, it’s been transformed over the years into a 115-room resort with lush gardens, a pristine beachfront, and top notch service, food, spa, and amenities (think welcome tequila and pillow menus for everyone; personalized robes and an iPhone to communicate directly with the butler when you check into a villa). Rooms are a refreshing break from the white-and-tan beach aesthetic, with colorful fabrics in the style of the region, and daybeds overlooking the ocean.
360-degree coastal views and the wild mountain terrain of Big Sur provide a fitting backdrop for Post Ranch Inn (the property is powered by sun panels year-round and guests are chauffeured in Lexus hybrid vehicles). Though the area faced devastating flooding and mudslides earlier this year, as of October 2017, the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge on Highway 1, just north of the property, reopened to cars and the area is excitedly ushering in travelers once again. As picturesque as ever, Post Ranch is situated on jagged cliffs—it’s a 1,200-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean—and shrouded in semi-permanent fog. Also, of note: the dining experience at Sierra Mar, an ingredient-driven restaurant which is open to the public for a prix-fixe lunch and dinner. The beautifully plated dishes are matched only by the killer views. Fair warning: Securing one of the 39 rooms requires quite a bit of patience and planning ahead. (Kiddos aren’t allowed.)
Everything about this safari camp is achingly chic (to the extent that it’s Michael Kors’ favorite vacation destination), from the leather and canvas washed interiors, to the stretch pool. Of course, that’s just a side note to the fact that it’s in the middle of South Africa’s Kreuger National Park, meaning that you get to take your laps in the morning to the sound of giraffes tussling nearby. Accordingly, rooms feature long glass windows that face incredible views of the N’wanetsi river (ask about their new villas, which come with two bedrooms and private pools).
This newly opened, modern, 38-room hotel overlooking the port is the perfect home base from which to explore during the day and party at night. The free-spirited vibe harks back to the bygone days of Ibiza. Design-wise, look for vintage photographs, whitewashed cubic architecture, plus steel wall panels that reflect the light in wave-like patterns. Outside, the swimming pool cabanas are enveloped by vertical gardens and waterfalls. Don’t miss the Butcher, one of two on-site restaurants, best for quelling burger-and-fries cravings.
Much like Marlon Brando fell in love with Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty (he purchased the land for him and his wife Tarita in 1967), guests are instantly charmed by the island’s coconut palm groves and white-sand beaches. To further his commitment to sustainability, Brando enlisted the help of hotelier Richard Bailey to build the world’s first ever post-carbon resort. Though by no means cheap (the all-inclusive rates start at $2,700 per night) The Brando’s lengthy list of activities (snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding) and indoor/outdoor accommodations—complete with sleek decor, plunge pools, and outdoor bathtubs—mean the price tag makes sense. The island’s restaurants serve dishes comprised of ingredients plucked from the resort’s own organic fruit orchard and veggie garden.
Tucked into the heart of Chilean wine country, Viña Vik is a hideaway just two hours south of Santiago. The ultra-modern design, which offers wholly uninterrupted views of your surroundings—amidst some 11,000 acres of unspoiled land—is reminiscent of Frank Gehry. Winemaking is the primary focus here, while the Vik family (which has Estancia Vik and Playa Vik in Uruguay), also cultivates more than 250 different varieties of fruits and vegetables (kale, mint, lavender, peaches, and avocados, among them). There’s a dedicated culinary education program for guests around harvesting and cooking the produce. Come December, well-known Argentinean pastry chef Osvaldo Gross will host a series of classes for guests, too.