From private islands to New York cityscape views
We all dream of the perfect getaway, perhaps more vividly at this moment in time than any other. But the coronavirus pandemic is showing signs of subsiding, and that’ll mean countries easing their strict travel measures, with flights in and out of Dubai once again. As soon as lockdown is lifted, these are the destinations we need:
The New York skyline view
Centrally located on Fifth Avenue, the award-winning Langham, New York has always been one of the city’s favourite hotels, with 234 rooms and suites known for their generous sizes. Last summer, the hotel introduced its redesigned terrace rooms, with three located on the fifth floor, and another two, plus one junior suite, on the 11th floor. These rooms now feature gorgeous outdoor spaces designed by Blondie’s Treehouse Inc, a city-based landscape design company, with comfy furniture and lush greenery, and those on the 11th floor in particular offering great cityscape views. Elsewhere, the hotel has a multi-million-dollar permanent art collection, the Chuan Body + Soul fitness centre, and the Michelin-starred Ai Fiori restaurant. The terraces are an upgrade option when you book the attached room, but one that’s surely worth it.
The French chateau
Originally a family home, built in 1731, today Chateau d’Estoublon remains privately-owned. Located in Provence, about an hour’s drive north of Marseille, and set among 500 acres of vines, olive groves, woods and parkland, the main building houses 10 rooms of varying size over three floors, sleeping up to 20 people for a minimum of three nights. Facilities include living and dining areas, a lounge bar, a library and games room, a private cinema, and a fitness suite with a gym, massage room and hammam. Outdoors, you’ll find eating spots, a heated swimming pool, a boules court and a private chapel. There’s a public restaurant and a shop onsite, but your chef, housekeeper or butler will happily direct you to somewhere more private. Book the whole place for yourself, or split the cost by getting a group together. You can also arrange a stay via Airbnb.
The celebrity home
So which celebrity lived at the GoldenEye Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? None other than author Ian Fleming, who wrote all 13 of his James Bond novels here during the 1950s and 1960s. You can stay at his actual home, Fleming Villa, which sleeps up to 10 people across its three bedrooms and two standalone guest cottages. It also has its own private beach, pool, outdoor bathtub and hammock, with the resort that was built from the 1970s onwards, and the villas, huts, cottages, restaurants and activities that came with it, all just a short walk away. The next Bond movie, No Time To Die, was partially filmed in Jamaica, with Daniel Craig and the cast announcing their arrival with a live stream from Fleming Villa. This is definitely the place to be if you fancy churning out a novel or two. Also available to book via Airbnb.
The private island
North Island is a tiny corner of the Seychelles, roughly 30km from the mainland, and accessible by helicopter or a one-hour boat ride. Located here are 11 private guest and family villas, with each created using local materials for a haute-couture Robinson Crusoe aesthetic. The island was once a coconut plantation, but is now a sanctuary for endangered species, with its beaches welcoming sea turtles, and the Palm forests home to the giant Aldabra tortoise and the rare Seychelles white-eyed birds. Spend your time exploring the island’s granite peaks, or try snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. The North Island Spa will help you relax, while the Piazza at North Island, an ocean-front dining concept from Korean Michelin chef Akira Back, who also has a restaurant in Dubai, provides the eats. A calming refuge from the modern world.
The desert oasis
Just on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa opened last year. The resort itself is designed to look like a historic village, with rooms, villas and meandering courtyards, surrounded by sand dunes. Relax in the swimming pool, check out the birds of prey demonstration, or trek across the desert by horseback or on a customised fatbike. There are a number of restaurants and lounges, including a lantern-lit rooftop bar, with Al Mabeet offering a remote desert dining experience. Another clear highlight is the Al Wathba Spa, with its 13 treatment rooms, including couple’s suites and private terraces, steam rooms, a snow room, crystal salt saunas and plunge pools – you may also want to try the unique cryo experience, treatments using Margy’s Monte Carlo and local Hammami products, and the traditional Turkish hammam. Complete your experience at the open-air yoga pavilion.