1. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL BANGKOK AT CHAO PHRAYA RIVER
Blurring the boundary between the urban environment and the natural world, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River is a tranquil hideaway set along 200 metres of landscaped riverfront. Inspired by the eternal flow of the river, legendary designer Jean-Michel Gathy has created a collection of indoor-outdoor spaces that transport guests to the Thai countryside via a series of pools and water features. A dedicated ART Space features works curated by Gathy in partnership with the Bangkok Museum of Contemporary Art, and guests can meet the artisans and craftsmen who designed and built the furniture used in the 299 guestrooms and suites during a bespoke Old Bangkok walking tour.
Talks, art and local experiences celebrate the youthfulness of modern Bangkok and the vibrant Charoenkrung neighbourhood where the hotel is situated; a vibe that will be echoed in Buenos Aires-inspired BKK Social Club, where one can sup on South America and Thai-inspired cocktails. The hotel is part of the Chao Phraya Estate, a 14-acre waterfront development by Malaysia and Singapore-based architects Hamiltons International, which will also feature 366 Four Seasons Private Residences.
The emerald-coloured rice paddies of southwest Bali form a patchwork of green, stitched together by life-giving rivers stretching from the volcanic interior to the Indian Ocean at its fringes. In this midst is Nirjhara, a sustainable hideaway near the beaches of Canggu and the island temple of Tanah Lot, where 25 suites and villas provide a tranquil escape.
The word Nirjhara means waterfall in Sanskrit, a tribute to the rushing waters that flow past the tropical resort, pool and jungle villas made from reclaimed havea wood, traditional sirap roofing and natural stone, blend into the natural environment. Seven treehouse Canopy Suites each have their own rooftop lounge, with spectacular views of the surroundings, as well as furniture made using traditional weaving techniques, coconut panelling and contemporary Balinese art.
Almost all ingredients used at Ambu restaurant come from local farms and suppliers, while natural products used at The Retreat spa are sourced from across Bali. Local experiences allow guests to make connections with the island and its people, from surfing lessons and horse rides on the beach, to a market tour with a local or a day of spiritual healing.
3. THE ADDRESS DUBAI BEACH RESORT
Towering high above the residential buildings of Jumeirah Beach – giants in any other setting – the zero-shaped outline of Address Beach Resort is the new focal point of this bustling corner of Dubai. A collection of 217 guestrooms and suites occupy one of the glass-fronted towers, while its twin, connected by a dizzying multi-storey sky bridge, is home to 443 fully-furnished serviced apartments and 478 unfurnished residential apartments. Guests and residents have access to a 100-metre beach, adults-only and family friendly swimming pools, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities at The Spa at Address.
Crowned by a spectacular infinity pool on the 77th floor and the ZETA Seventy Seven rooftop lounge, where tantalising Asian-inspired dishes are accompanied by breath-taking views across Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, the hotel is destined to become an essential spot for sundowners and glamorous afternoons by the pool. Downstairs, there’s Lebanese-Brazilian fusion at Li Brasil, flame-grilled flavours at The Beach Grill and all-day dining at The Restaurant, a signature across the Address Hotels + Resorts family.
4. XIGERA SAFARI LODGE
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Deep in the floodplains of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Xigera Safari Lodge is one of a kind: a remote hideaway with sustainability at its core, a beautifully curated homage to African art and design, and a safari experience that allows guests to dictate how their adventure unfolds. The lodge’s torched timber roofs and 12 stilted suites – designed by South African architect Anton de Kock to resemble the outstretched wings of the native Pel’s Fishing Owl – emerge from a patch of woodland on two adjoining islands in the Moremi Game Reserve. Staying here means embarking on game drives whenever the urge arises, exploring the waterways in traditional canoes or glass-bottomed boats and indulging in Tata Harper therapies in the waterfront spa, before returning to swap stories and feast around the lodge’s firepit and its totemic sculpture by blacksmith Conrad Hicks.
Pronounced Kee-Jera, Xigera is the passion project of Toni Tollman – daughter of Red Carnation Hotels founder Beatrice Tollman – who has worked with designer Philip Fourie and Cape Town gallery Southern Guild to fill every space with art, furnishings and décor created by artists and craftsmen from all over Africa. And the promise of sustainability is no joke: the entire lodge is powered by a 400kW Tesla solar hybrid power plant that supplies 95 per cent of its energy needs, and hot water comes from thermodynamic geysers deep below the Delta.