1. VILLA IGIEA, ROCCO FORTE
Originally built as a residential villa by the influential Florio family in 1900, Villa Igiea is a Mediterranean retreat that once welcomed dignitaries and visiting royalty: vital connections for the Florio family’s trade empire. After an extensive renovation and redesign under the watchful eye of design director Olga Polizzi, in collaboration with architects Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Studios, the Art Nouveau palazzo has reopened as the latest addition to the Rocco Forte Hotels family. A grand mirrored ballroom captures the glamour of the original villa, where heads of state and visiting royalty once danced their way through long evenings before spilling out onto the terrace of what is now the Igiea Terrazza Bar.
Overlooking the waters of the Med, Florio Restaurant celebrates the finest Sicilian flavours, with fresh seasonal ingredients grown nearby or brought in from the vegetable garden at nearby Verdura Resort, the first Rocco Forte property on the island. Just 10 minutes from Palermo and its eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and a short boat ride to Mondello Beach, Villa Igiea is destined to regain its reputation as the most exclusive waterfront address in Sicily.
2. BILLIONAIRE RESORT & RETREAT
Created by the team behind Billionaire clubs in Dubai, Riyadh, Sardinia and Mykonos, this laid-back hideaway presents a new take on luxury living on the north Kenyan coast. Situated on the edge of Malindi Marine National Park and a short drive from Tsavo East National Park, Billionaire Resort & Retreat offers an attractive blend of sleek accommodation, unforgettable dining and access to some of the most spectacular land and seascapes in East Africa.
The property is divided into two distinct sections: Billionaire Resort, home to 24 seafront apartments and an infinity pool set in tropical gardens; and The Billionaire Retreat – Lion in the Sun, with 16 rooms and suites and four saltwater swimming pools surrounded by fragrant frangipani trees.
Both are anchored by The Billionaire Grill & Bar, an Italian fusion restaurant by day and a lively nightspot when the sun goes down, helmed by chef Batuhan Piatti Zeynioglu. Guests will find an abundance of experiences on the doorstep, from snorkelling excursions in Malindi Marine National Park to game drives in Tsavo East National Park - home to elephant, rhino and hippo, as well as big cats and myriad bird life.
3. ALILA KOTHAIFARU MALDIVES
Raa Atoll, Maldives
The deep waters of the northern Maldives are home to myriad wonders, from the bioluminescent plankton that turns the beaches of Vaadhoo Island into a ‘Sea of Stars’, to the kaleidoscopic marine life of UNESCO World Heritage site Hanifaru Bay. In the midst of all this magic, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives has opened its doors on an 11.2-hectare private island in the Raa Atoll. Singapore-based Studiogoto is responsible for the resort’s minimalist architecture, which is carefully integrated into the landscape.
The 44 beach villas and 36 overwater villas, each with private pool and sun deck, are finished in a subtle palette of neutral colours, allowing the vibrant hues of nature to take centre stage. Nestled in the canopy, treetop Spa Alila offers a modern take on ancient healing techniques, while the Water Sports and Dive Centre provides a gateway to the underwater world of the Indian Ocean, from the house reef to adventures further afield in Hanifaru Bay. Mediterranean cuisine with Middle Eastern influences is the flavour of the day at Seasalt, the beachfront all-day dining restaurant, while Japanese dishes steal the scene at Umami and adjoining Yakitori Bar.
4. GLENEAGLES TOWNHOUSE
The former headquarters of the Bank of Scotland is set to emerge from a complete transformation this month as Gleneagles Townhouse, a hotel, private members’ club and restaurant in the heart of the Scottish capital. Think of it as the Edinburgh pied-à-terre to Gleneagles’ original Perthshire country estate: an urban bolthole where visitors might spend a night or two en route to the countryside golf resort, or simply check-in for a long weekend exploring Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and delectable dining scene. Home to 33 unique rooms designed for discerning globe-trotters, the hotel also aims to become a hub for the local community via a private members’ club offering access to an exclusive lounge and snug, rooftop Lamplighters bar and a calendar of cultural events and experiences.
At the heart of the hotel is The Spence, helmed by head chef Jonny Wright, with a menu that celebrates Scottish ingredients and classic dishes with a modern twist: think wild mushroom tart with goats’ curd and hazelnuts or classic desserts like Scotch Baba with praline sauce and mascarpone. Down in what was once the bank vault, guests and members will find spaces dedicated to health and wellness, with a cryotherapy chamber, infrared sauna, gym and wellness studios, the perfect warm-up before a week on the golf course.