Going beyond the lobby with Amazing Hotels
We’re very excited by the latest series of the BBC’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby, which previously featured some of our favourite and quirkiest spots including Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland and Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge.
This series looks set to be no exception, with its insightful behind-the-scenes look at a mix of luxurious properties guaranteed to reignite your wanderlust.
The Brando in French Polynesia is an idyllic sanctuary of 35 villas with impressive eco credentials, situated on French Polynesia’s private island of Tetiaroa. The five-star resort was the vision of Hollywood star Marlon Brando himself who fell in love with the region when filming Mutiny on the Bounty in the early 1960s. The actor wanted to preserve Polynesian culture and biodiversity, with his legacy continuing today through his granddaughter, Tumi’s commitment to the environmental ethos. For example, the electricity comes from a coconut oil power station while the air-conditioning uses sea water.
The unique, luxury hideaway is surrounded by an awe-inspiring coral reef with an abundance of marine life – offering truly breathtaking views from each villa’s floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious deck and private infinity pool. Explore the 12 islands on foot or by water, home to a myriad of nesting land and sea birds. Snorkelling or diving off the reef will reveal turtle, shark, ray and tropical fish.
Away from the beauty of the natural world, the islands’ Varua Polynesian spa offer come relaxation, while the fine dining options showcase Polynesian-inspired cuisine including vegan options overseen by Michelin-starred chef, Guy Martin.
Now a favourite celebrity castaway destination for the rich and famous, guests arrive by private plane from Tahiti and are rumoured to have included Pippa Middleton, Leonardo di Caprio and Barack Obama.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
The Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort in Oman is the highest five-star hotel in the Middle East, positioned 2,000m above sea level on Oman’s illustrious Green Mountain.
The opulent rooms are all designed to reflect Oman’s artistic culture with their own rain shower and grand walk-in dressing room. Upgrade to a private villa and hide away in secluded luxury with a temperature-controlled pool and personalised butler service.
Take your senses on a culinary journey from exotic Arabic dishes to Italian delicacies in one of the resort’s five restaurants. Pure indulgence awaits on a personalised private dining experience on the canyon-edge platform ‘Diana’s Point’ - once graced by Diana Princess of Wales and HRH Prince Charles.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is perfectly positioned for immersing yourself in Omani culture – explore the stunning terrain by mountain bike or trek to one of the many historic villages to take a glimpse into rural life and the Damask rose water traditions. The region is home to towering forts and ancient souks in the city of Nizwa - renowned for centuries as the ‘Pearl of Islam’.
The hotel has recently made the most of its canyon-top location by constructing a thrilling via ferrata and zip-wire rope course along the cliff edge, which features in the BBC programme. But if the thought of the 30m drop doesn’t appeal, you can of course enjoy a slower pace in the resort’s spa with private Hammam suite. The world-class facilities specialise in range of signature Arabian cleansing rituals to rejuvenate mind and body and enhance your wellbeing.
Also featuring on the program is The Silo, one of our favourite South African hotels. Situated on the V&A waterfront, it sits directly above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. This 1920s build has been completely restored and redesigned, with each of the 28 rooms styled individually by Liz Biden while the façade was remodelled by Thomas Heatherwick.
Enjoy sea views or far-reaching vistas over the city of Cape Town and the looming Table Mountain. The top floor is perfectly kitted out for relaxing in style, complete with a bar, restaurant and infinity pool.
They’re serious about the food here too, preparing locally sourced meats, cheeses and other South African delights. The pillared-glass windows are one of the most distinctive features, presenting a unique look from the outside while adding to the interior’s delightful design.
Indulge in retail therapy at the famous V&A shopping mall, visit the Zeitz MOCAA or take a boat trip to Robben Island.
When it comes to luxury hospitality, South Africa is clearly one of the big hitters since La Residence in Franschhoek also features on Amazing Hotels. Like The Silo, this is also one of the Royal Portfolio and the same care is paid to style and visitor experience.
>Each of the 16 rooms is bold and stylish, and the views are simply sublime. La Residence is found nestled among the hillside vineyards, olive groves and plum orchards of the picturesque Franschhoek Valley. This location explodes with colour every spring and autumn – first with the wildflowers and then with the crimson leaves.
The high-quality service is noted by all who stay here, while the cuisine rarely passes without a mention. La Residence specialises in preparing local produce, and with homely designs throughout the interior you can enjoy your meals in the perfect setting.
The local area is full of beautiful walks, quaint villages and must-try restaurants which the hotel staff are happy to recommend. You also mustn’t leave Franschhoek without visit the many vineyards here and a taste of the local grape.