New gems in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection: 5 new hospitality heavens to visit.
Enjoy private Jacuzzi’s in Thailand, meditation classes in China, organic Michelin-starred dining in Provence, feel like a local in Greece or explore a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka. From a Buddhist sanctuary to a secluded Greek getaway, these hotels offer the independently-minded traveller the perfect motivation for a future voyage.
Galle Fort Hotel: Galle, Sri Lanka
This Dutch mansion is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been meticulously restored, retaining the original 18th century doors and windows in the building’s façade that are some of the best examples of their kind. The restaurant serves the freshest seafood and vegetables with an exotic twist as the chefs take their inspiration from a voyage along the Spice Route. Each of the 14 rooms reflects the hotel’s philosophy, balancing history and luxury, and has its own personality – Garden Rooms open out on the frangipani-scented courtyard while the Mews Suite has a private garden and separate entrance.
Make sure you visit a local eatery to experience a mouthwatering blend of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Arab, Indian and Malay influences.
Domaine de Fontenille: Provence, France
The home once belonged to the Savornin family and the renovations have preserved the charm of an 18th century grand estate, while an intriguing blend of historical character and modern furnishings brings the hotel gracefully into the 21st century. 17 rooms and suites take in views of the gardens, cedar Park and the Luberon hills and encourage guests to embrace the ‘French Art of Living’ in which time stands still.
No stay is complete without a visit to the wine tasting shop which opens onto Fontenille‘s vineyards and cedars. Guests can learn firsthand about grape growing and wine making. Later in 2016 the shop will also offer Tasting and Oenology Courses.
Ayard of Ch’an: Leshan, China
The hotel hosts a private meditation arbour, surrounded by great pine trees which provides a uniquely relaxing environment for true reflection. Guests can also take advantage of local tradition by visiting the teahouse to sample the customary Gonfu style of tea making or visit the on-site vegetarian restaurant that brings Sichuan flavors to the forefront of their master fare.
Don’t miss the Leshan Giant Buddha, just a short walk from the hotel – carved over 1,000 years ago into the side of a cliff – this is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world.
Sesa Boutique Hotel: Preveza, Greece
With only seven rooms Sesa Boutique hotel is an enticing private getaway. Opened seasonally (May to October) the hotel is in Preveza, a location yet to be discovered by the majority of tourists and therefore offering calm and authenticity in northwestern Greece.
Visit the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis (the ‘City of Victory’) which is only a short drive north of the hotel, or the Springs of Acheron which the Greeks believed to be the passage to the Underworl
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale: Phuket, Thailand
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale has something completely different to offer visitors to this tropical island. Peace, tranquilty and natural beauty combine here beginning with the salt water pool, carved into the rocks, that greets guests on arrival. For those that seek culinary memories, the restaurant which hangs over the Andaman Sea provides much more than spectacular views, it also has over 750 different bottles of wine on offer and only uses local produce from the hotel’s own farm.
Book the Kata Suite – not only will it provide guests with ample room for a lengthy stay but they will also enjoy direct pool access.