Going beyond the lobby with Amazing Hotels
Hacienda Vira Vira
Hacienda Vira Vira is Chilean’s answer to homestead luxury. Deep in the beautiful Pucón Valley, this traditional residence is replete with comfort and style. Each room and suite is individually decorated with personality and character in keeping with the Chilean traditions. Local rugs and furnishings ensure warmth while wood cladded rooms blend seamlessly with the surroundings.
And these are worth blending in with. The natural parks and breath-taking volcanoes are spectacular and here you can see them close up. The hacienda offers horse riding lessons and experiences Chilean-style, around the landscape and over to the Liucura River. Adventurous guests can enjoy white-water rafting, or for a more leisurely day, fly-fishing is also available. But should you fail to make a catch, the working farm hotel also has cheese and yoghurt making opportunities or the simple choice of enjoying true farmhouse cuisine, gathered from the hacienda’s gardens.
The villa suites have outside Jacuzzis which are well worth splashing out for. Not a lot beats a glass of locally-produced wine with bubbles after a day exploring and experiencing Chile.
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 offers 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.
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The Silo is the latest addition to The Royal Portfolio. It has been created from the iconic grain store that has been in the heart of the waterfront since the mid 1920’s. With only 28 rooms, all styled differently and all offering a balcony with incredible views of the city below or Table Mountain
Nestled within a 30 acre private wine and olive estate in the Franschhoek Valley, La Residence is conveniently located just forty-five minutes drive from Cape Town and offers 11 individually furnished suites and five two bedroomed Vineyard Suites
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