1. ONE&ONLY GORILLA’S NEST
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Surrounded by a forest of eucalyptus trees in the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is home to 21 private stilted villas, the ultimate base from which to experience the most thrilling wildlife experience on earth. On the doorstep is Volcanoes National Park, a vast wilderness speckled with five dormant volcanoes that’s home to Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas. As well as trekking into the mountains to visit these majestic animals in their natural rainforest environment, guests can visit a local female-run cooperative coffee farm with the resort’s barista, trek to the tomb of American conservationist and gorilla expert Dian Fossey or track a troop of long-tailed golden monkeys through the forest. Closer to home, visitors can hone their photography skills with a resident pro, practice yoga in the open air or cycle to a nearby community to learn about basket weaving, traditional dance and Rwandan culture and history. Alternatively, sit back and enjoy the views from the luxurious jungle-chic lodges, each infused with local character thanks to earthy colours, traditional Rwandan patterns and private outdoor bathtubs from which to soak in the sounds of the forest.
2. SIX SENSES KOCATAS MANSIONS
Stylishly situated at a northern bend of the Bosphorus in the elegant Sariyer district of Istanbul, Six Senses Kocatas Mansions is the newest pearl on the legendary waterway. The 45 spacious guestrooms and suites are spread across two restored Ottoman-era mansions originally built by Minister of Justice and water magnate Necmettin Molla Kocatas in the 19th-century. Today, sophisticated interiors capture the spirit of this bygone era combined with the pared-back, unfussy style of the Six Senses collection. Original architectural features and antique Ottoman tea sets that lend a flavour of the past are balanced by contemporary art and muted modern furnishings that anchor this hotel firmly in the present. But it’s the Bosphorus views framed by sash windows that steal the show, affording guests a glimpse of the Asian side of the city just across the water. Below, a private boat moored at the hotel jetty is ready to transport guests to the myriad attractions of historic Istanbul.
3. COUR DES VOSGES
Perhaps the most charming square in a city that’s known for its gorgeous outdoor spaces, Place des Vosges is the heart of Le Marais; the Parisian neighbourhood brimming with designer boutiques, independent galleries and dozens of cafes and restaurants. Overlooking the northwest corner of the square and its colonnaded walkways, Cour des Vosges is the latest addition to the EVOK Hotels portfolio. Twelve rooms and suites created by Parisian design firm Lecoadic-Scotto blend original 17th-Century architectural elements such as exposed roof beams and hand-painted ceilings with 1970s-influenced furnishings, creating a collection of unique spaces that look out over the rooftops of the 4th Arrondissement. Formerly the Hôtel de Montbrun, Cour des Vosges has a ground floor tea-room whose terrace spills out onto the covered arcades, overlooking the manicured gardens of Square Louis XIII in its centre.
4. ADDRESS FOUNTAIN VIEW
Downtown Dubai, UAE
Location is everything in Dubai, and it doesn’t get much better than the Address Fountain Views in Downtown, an opulent new hideaway for discerning urban explorers. As the seventh property from Address Hotels + Resorts, the 193-room hotel has big shoes to fill, but promises to please guests thanks to spectacular views of Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa, and a collection of elegantly appointed guestrooms starting from a spacious 50 sqm. Water plays a leading role in the experience here, with three swimming pools including adults-only and kids’ infinity pools and a 98-metre family-friendly pool.
Kids are well looked after at Qix club, where junior jetsetters can enjoy craft sessions and educational games, and the hotel’s location five minutes from Dubai Mall and its range of kids’ activities means families are spoiled for choice when it comes to wholesome entertainment. Adults may wish to wind down at The Spa at Address Fountain Views and its soothing hammam after a long day of shopping, or book in to one of the hotel’s six dining venues for a culinary treat.