When it comes to wonderful places to stay during your holiday, location is everything. We bring to you luxury hotels tucked away in the most unimaginable places. Caves, lakes, deserts, meadows, mountains – you name it, we cover it. But their location does not reduce their luxury quotient. You can have a good time in the lap of opulence while you enjoy the locales with child-like curiosity.
1 Taj Lake Palace Udaipur India
Nothing will make you feel more connected to the erstwhile Indian princely royalty, than the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Also known as the Venice of the East, the Lake Palace is situated on Jag Niwas Island, amidst Lake Pichola. Speed boats ferry the guests and if you are lucky you can even join the descendents of the royal family for a spread of high tea. The Lake Palace is cited as one of the most romantic hotels in the world. It has always been a favourite with foreigners. Locals still recall the shooting of James Bond’s Odyssey in its precincts in the 1980’s. You can sit around the Lily Pond or have a nice brunch with a beautiful view of the lake. Clearly, if you want to experience India’s regal past with an element of luxury thrown in, this should be your hotel of choice.
2 Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Turkey
We can’t think of a better way to visualise the life of the royals than stay in a hotel which was once an Ottoman Palace. Ciragan Palace is situated on the stunning shores of the strait of Bosphorus. You can soak in the view of the tranquil waters and lush palms as you watch a caravan of ships go by. Hotel’s Sultan’s Suite, which is billed at over US$15,000 a night gives a new meaning to the phrase “live like a king”..If reading is your forte you may want to flip through the pages of Istanbul by internationally acclaimed local author, Orhan Pamuk.
3 Jade Mountain St Lucia
If mountains have a language of their own, rest assured here you will be able to “talk them”. Indeed, for a marvellous view of Piti Gros Piton mountains, there is no other place like Jade Mountain in St Lucia. This hotel is just off the scenic Caribbean beaches famous for snorkelling and exploring of coral reefs. Enjoy a perfect sunset and indulge in star-gazing from the Celestial Terrace that is positioned just above the Jade Mountain Club. Whether you step out and meander along or choose to sit on the terrace, you can be rest assured, you will get a good sighting of the magnificent St. Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site, from the very comfort of the hotel.
4 Six Senses Yao Noi Phuket Thailand
If there is an Oriental paradise, this is it. The hotel overlooks the Phang Nga Bay and is located on the island of Phuket. Sustainability with luxury is what Six Senses Yao Noi embodies in a most discreet and understated way. Here, you don’t merely have to marvel at tall trees in tropical islands. You can actually reach out, touch them, smell them and live right under their canopy. Comfortably ensconced in your private haven, allow yourself to be pampered by a butler deputed specially for you. Enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the sunset. And if you are a foodie, it might just be worth your while to take some Thai cooking lessons. The luxury villa provides a taste of the tropics like none other.
5 Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Luxury in rugged surroundings? This abode in the middle of the desert is lodged right in the midst of the Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range. It’s indoors blend seamlessly with its outdoors and as you lounge around looking at the mountains, you can experience a soulful purity that comes with being close to nature in its most intimate form. Explore the wild that surrounds the lodge where you are never away from the luxury of the spa or the tantalising aromas of local cuisine.
6 St. Regis Punta Mita Mexico
A beach holiday does not get better than this. The place has a festive look and is inviting in its service. Tucked away on one of the most picturesque beaches of the world, it beckons you to explore and unravel the folk legends and stories aplenty, which the locals most happily share. Explore the villages nearby and revel in the clear waters and lush flora. Choose from a plethora of sporting and leisure options. Go swimming with dolphins, snorkelling, whale watching, hiking, jungle excursions, canopy and even sailing. The white sands and tropical jungles have a pull few can resist and the comfort of a luxurious bed at the end of the day make your adventure travails all the more tempting.
7 The Caves Negril, Jamaica
If you are looking for a “green” holiday, this Cliffside Caribbean hotel may well prove to be your best bet. The hotel has ten thatch-roofed and wood cottages that are said to be hand crafted. The Caves brings together haunting sea caves and two acres of lush vegetation to give you a jungle book experience right there in the luxurious confines of your private abode. If you are a stickler for privacy, you can go check in to a villa with a private pool. Make sure to sip some Jamaican coffee with a slice of homemade banana cake. If you want some activity, listen to local music and engage in friendly chatter with the locals who are generous and fun loving.
8 St. Regis Aspen USA
It’s true that Aspen is one of the best ski places in the world and St Regis makes the experience even more magical for ski enthusiasts. Its signature slopes have seen the world’s best skiers hone their skills, take lessons and motivate a new generation of skiing enthusiasts. The resort has worked to ensure it has a year-round appeal. In winter there is snowshoe or winter fly fish as your choice of sporting activity and in summer there is white water rafting and tennis. To this, throw in some luxuriant spa activity and be sure to come back a whole new person.
9 Llao Llao Resort Patagonia, Argentina
The undulating mountain trails take you to the Llao Llao Resort that nestles in the foothills of the mighty Andes of South America. Sitting proud on a well nuanced hilltop, it provides the perfect view of the Moreno Lake. Experience the different look and feel of the rugged mountains, the soft grasses and the beautiful lake, all at once as you enjoy your luxurious stay in this resort. You can make a choice and opt for any of the 200 rooms on offer.
10 The Fancourt, South Africa
This hotel is Africa’s leading golf resort and houses the famed Fancourt Links. Not surprinsingly, playing on its greens, is something that is on every golfer’s bucket list. The hotel is spread out in an area of 613 hectares and lies close to the Outeniqua mountain range. Fancourt hotel also has a holistic spa and several leisure facilities that promise to make the resort a world-class hotel. Whether you are a golfer or not, you can be rest assured that this will be a memorable stay for you. Shopping at the exclusive women’s boutique and jewellery store is an added bonus.