Top Resorts to Choose for Luxury Travel to Latin America

Luxury Travel in Latin America is given a boost by three top tier resorts in four very different destinations. If you are considering a Latin America vacation and care to turn it into an experience worthy of bragging rights you will want these top landing spots to be on your list: Villa Manzu in Costa Rica; Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa in Nicaragua; and Vik Retreats in Uruguay and Chile.

Luxury Travel in Central America: Villa Manzu for Celebrity Stays

An easy getaway into the pristine tropics and cascading shorelines of the Pacific, just four hours flight time from the U.S., is Villa Manzu in the Papagayo Gulf of northern Costa Rica, in the northwest province of Guanacaste. Magnificent enough for the family of Kardashians, smooth enough for Beyoncé (who stayed in the La Lora Suite) and suave enough for Justin Bieber, this eight-bedroom manse is big enough to throw a sensational party, private enough to keep a secret, near enough to the U.S. to spark spontaneity, all-inclusive enough to satisfy the most demanding of guests. And it is wild enough to make a luxury vacation to Latin America into an adventure.

The 30,000-square-foot spread offers eight master suites that can sleep up to 22 guests, along with plenty of lounging space and pool-focused comforts presenting 180-degree pans of the Gulf and Pacific – the beach is just steps away. Villa Manzu has two swimming pools (including an infinity salt pool), a spa, a movie theater, party rooms, a gym, yoga platform, dedicated executive and sous chefs, butlers, a full on-property staff. But guests looking beyond the manse will find a Range Rover, a Ford Explorer SUV, and a Jeep Wrangler in the garage,  all available with private drivers to take guests wherever their curiosity leads.

Recommended: an afternoon of zip lining, especially the Witch’s Rock Canopy Tour just 10 minutes from Villa Manzu. The ropes here have supported the weights of Bill Gates, Steven Tyler, Beyoncé, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Cindy Crawford, and others choosing to cross the forest from on high.

A wine cava and humidor is on hand for relaxation lifts. The en suite bathrooms of onyx and marble are as intriguing as the bedroom décor as the large villa is stocked with discussion pieces acquired in Africa, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Sleep with a cast of whale vertebra or walls of woven sugar cane fibers under beaded chandeliers.

Guests can avail themselves of the amazing golf course/zoological sanctuary nearby. The Four Seasons Resort and several other marquis brands share an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, where 14 holes have dramatic ocean backdrops, abutted by forests of ceiba trees housing howler monkeys and white-faced capuchins.

The Villa Manzu is reachable by a 40-minute drive from the Liberia, Costa Rica International Airport (LIR) where guests will be met by villa staff and whisked to their vacation castle on the ocean.

Villa Manzu
Peninsula Papagayo
Costa Rica
(+011 949) 200 8086
reserve@villamanzu.com
www.VillaManzu.com

 

Luxury Travel in Latin America: Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa

Luxury travel in Central America can now be found in Nicaragua, considered to be the next must-go spot for luxury travelers with such resorts as Mukul to attract this set. The resort’s location on the Emerald Coast, a 20-minute flight or 120-minute car ride from Managua, attracts honeymooners, families, golfers, surfers and gal pals for pampering, nature and adventure.

As Mukul translates to “secret” in Mayan, the 1,670-acre Guacalito de la Isla private resort remains a best-kept secret to sun seekers who love the secluded beachfront and exclusive amenities in an otherwise wild land known more for volcanoes, lakes and rum than for exquisite Latin American luxury resorts.

The 37 thatched-roof villas that surround the resort’s open-air Beach Club area are all private and opulent in their own right with views from terraces overlooking the Pacific. Décor is distinctly Nicaraguan, showcased in hand-crafted furnishings and creative folk art touches seen in the use of carvings of local, sustainable and fallen trees.

Stay in a 621-square-foot bohios or expansive beach villa (measuring 2,000 to 3,000 square feet). Enjoy outdoor showers gardens shaped in lava rock; dip in a private infinity-edge swimming pool, dine and lounge in specially purposed rooms and spaces as personal butlers go in and out delivering morning coffee or evening cocktails.

The Spa Mukul provides its own reward with six private sanctuaries, each offering its own themed journey. Wellness retreats he championship, David McLay Kidd–designed, 18-hole course set along a coastal forest. There are snorkeling trips, turtle hatchling releases, and scenic hikes to be taken at Mukul. Would-be surfers head to the Tres Ceibas Beach Club for surf lessons or try stand-up paddle boarding.

Sojourns beyond Mukul might call for exploration of top surfing spots in Nicaragua. But a visit to the colonial city of Granada offers some unexpected time travel. The city is the oldest preserved colonial city in the Americas with its narrow streets and 17th-century houses, crumbling courtyards and ornate churches. The Parque Colón buzzes with artisans and street food sellers.

A visit to Lake Nicaragua should also be on the list, with a day spent kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming in the company of spider monkeys, sloths and tropical birds.

Volcanoes provide worthy hiking destinations, but the cloud forests of Nicaragua make the experience heavenly. Tropical forests cover the terrain around the country’s tallest volcanoes and they keep a persistent low-level cloud cover that makes walking through these virgin forests about as close to heaven as it gets on earth.

Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
Guacalito, Nicaragua
(+011 505) 25 63 71 00
reservations@mukulresort.com
www.mukulresort.com

 

Luxury Travel in Latin America: Art, Design & Wine on a Vik Retreat

Vik Retreats is practically synonymous in these parts for luxury living at the edge of an explosive movement in regional art, up-and -coming legends in local cuisine, emerging labels in wine and a certain brashness in the way architecture mixes with nature.

Vik Retreats, the work of innovators Alexander and Carrie Vik, brings four bold boutique retreats: three of them in the bohemian chic José Ignacio, Uruguay and one of them in Chile’s Millahue Valley, which offers views out across the vineyard and surrounding nature, with the Andes Mountains in the distance.

Cool came to the sleepy fishing village of José Ignacio over the past decade and the A-list crowd discovered that the Vik Retreats destinations, which include Playa Vik, Estancia Vik, and most recently Bahia Vik answered the call quite perfectly.

Estancia Vik lies slightly inland from the water as a Spanish colonial hacienda in the rolling hills, where polo takes precedent over the surf and sun.

Twelve suites adorn this retreat, and guests get to play gaucho for a day, riding horses around the verdant acreage, or even indulge in a game of polo, the sport of kings.

Just down the road, find Playa Vik, where three stunning suites are located in the central sculpture building, and six small houses, or casas, which surround the main structure.

Each guest room, as well as the retreat itself, is a celebration of Uruguay’s vibrant culture. A central masterpiece is the cantilevered pool that extends 32 feet over the beach, with a fiber-optic light celestial map of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky.

Bahia Vik is a true beach retreat with 10 suites in the main building and 11 bungalows spread on the sand dunes. The property offers a library, a game room, a spa and gym as well as four swimming pools, a restaurant, and personal concierge. The busy beach town of José Ignacio is just a five-minute walk and La Susana, Vik Retreats’ buzzing restaurant and beach club is just steps down the beach.

Then there is Viña Vik in Chilean wine country of the Millahue Valley, just two hours from Santiago by car. Viña Vik, too, swells with stunning modern art and unique, cutting-edge furnishings among 22 suites in a destination that feels as private and special as it is.

Floor-to-ceiling windows create a background of natural surroundings in all the guestrooms and the works of local and international artists fill the rest of the interior spaces. Chilean wines take a front seat at this retreat, and the vineyard produces its own wines on site. Cuisine is fresh and seasonal, fusing Chilean culinary traditions with gourmet finesse.

Vik Retreats
reservations@vinavik.com
www.vikretreats.com

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Arakur Ushuaia Special Offer

Cool down in the Southern Hemisphere and take advantage of a luxury escape to Arakur Ushuaia with ski packages and bonus nights. This August and September Pay 5, Stay 7 or Pay 4 and Stay 5. Offers include transfers, breakfast, downtown shuttle, snowshoeing, transfers to Cerro Castor ski area, Wi-Fi and more. Contact lucas.paracha@arakur.com.

Arakur Ushuaia Information >>

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Armani Hotel Milano Special Offer until August 31

As summer approaches, let yourself be tempted by a luxury escape and a cocooning break in the purest Armani style, at a special discounted rate. In the very heart of the world famous fashion district known as “Quadrilatero della Moda” stay three nights in an Armani Deluxe Room or two nights in an Armani Suite and receive 20% off the Best Available Rate, breakfast and more until August 31.

Learn more >>

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Suján: The Best Luxury Resorts in India Play to the Five Senses

Suján Luxury Camps and Palaces, as with the best resorts in India, have a way of staying true to the essence of India. That is the India of so many layers: the brilliant colors popping from the tapestries; the glint of jewels from the eyes of sculpted peacocks and ornate room décor; the spicy cooking scents and curling smokes of sandalwood; the sounds of melodious conversation, mixed with street sounds and somewhere a tabla or sitar. The fantastical builds in pale stones and marbles remind wanderers of India’s great emperors and heady days of the ruling rajas.

Suján Luxury Camps and Palaces reside amid the best resorts in India and take this concept to other levels with four distinctly different properties in India, each offering an immersive experience of place that expresses to the soul of the land.

Resort in Jaipur: Suján Rajmahal Palace

To know luxury in India, you need to look to the tradition of royalty, through the Mughal empires of the Middle Ages and onto the Rajah ages that governed through India’s independence.

The Palace is an original hold over from the 18th century. Built in 1729 as a second palace in Jaipur and used more recently as a guesthouse for royal family guests (think Queen Elizabeth II and Lord Mountbatten and even Jackie Kennedy).

It was turned into a hotel in 1979 run as part of the Taj collection and only in 2015, became a Suján, as part of a very small collection of precious properties in India and now, also Kenya. The Rajmahal, considered one of the best hotels in India, is still owned by the descendants of the royal family of Jaipur.

The property keeps much of what is royal and historic about it alive and well in the ornate wallpapers and textiles, classic architecture old world art items amid 14 grand suites, each one an original. Then, there are the quiet flourishes: the dripping glass chandeliers, the palm court terraces, the impeccable service delivered in Old World style. To stay at the Rajmahal palace is to immerse in a style of life that, until recently, could not be bought but only born into. Today it remains a living museum where guests can explore and take mini journeys, through an antique lamp, an heirloom chair or a palatial guest room, into the past.

VIPs will want to stay in the royal apartments fit for a maharaja and maharani with multiple bedrooms, a large private terrace and a private plunge pool. These quarters are often used by the owner’s family — Princess Diya Kumari, whose teenage son is the future maharaja of Jaipur.

Jaipur, India’s sparkling city of gems, is all around and the Rajmahal is an easy 15-minute walk from the old walled city gates. There are still plenty of jewels to be browsed in Jaipur, known for its commerce in rubies, emeralds, topaz and moonstone. The medieval, rose-hued sandstone walls crowd with young stone polishers, sophisticated jewelry designers and wallas passing tea through the busy streets.

As a destination in India, Jaipur is a must and an easy add-on to any stop in Delhi or Mumbai, and a stay at one of the best resort hotels in India makes it shine.

 

Resort in Ranthambhore: Sher Bagh Luxury Camp

For the best resort to consider when seeing tigers is a priority, Sher Bagh in India’s Ranthambhore National Park allows a glimpse of another side of India: its wild side. Guests are met with a dozen hand-stitched tents sheltering super luxurious double-bedroom spaces with magnificent en-suite bathrooms and private verandahs. It all takes on the character of an early 20th century tiger hunt, complete with sunset G&Ts.

Guests set out in jeeps by day searching for the few elusive tigers still living in the reserve. By night the stars come out, arboreal lanterns show the way to exquisite candlelit dinners cooked in clay ovens and using handpicked ingredients from the Sher Bagh farm. Then it’s time to settle by the campfire for tall tales of tigers that got away. Mornings are met with a full English breakfast, followed by a light and usually Italian lunch. If it does not feel like a tiger day, guests can take a horse or camel safari, or visit the 8th century Ranthambhore Fort in the heart of the park.

Although this is a camping and soft adventure experience the property is not without its urban amenities. There is Wi-Fi throughout the camp, medical services on demand, a library, laundry and bar, a swimming pool and even a Jungle Spa. As with all the Suján properties, Sher Bagh is a member of the Relais & Châteaux collection that seals in its status as one of the best resorts in India.

Sher Bagh runs seasonally from October to April, easily accessed by an airfield in Sawai Madhopur, around 10 miles from Sher Bagh or a helipad some two miles away from the Camp. The nearest commercial airport is Jaipur, 130 miles away. Guests can take a train from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Jodhpur and other cities to Sawai Madhopur Junction eight miles away in excursions running three (Jaipur) to seven hours (Jodhpur).

 

Resort in Jaisalmer: Glamping at the Suján Serai

The Serai is a desert camp near exotic Jaisalmer. Fourteen tent suites, six luxury suites and a royal tented suite dot the rocky landscape, each a vision of Victorian luxury safari life within through large king beds, plush rugs and places to put those oversized steamer trunks. Some 21st century luxuries here include air-conditioning for those guests who want it, heating as well, hairdryer, Wi-Fi and stocked mini-fridge.

Guests come for the calm and the quiet and while they won’t spend days chasing tigers they may get to see a Great Indian Bustard or a family of gazelles. The golden citadel at Jaisalmer, too, is a great take-in as it was created in 1156 AD and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site guarding the old trade routes of the Great Thar Desert.

The landscapes of The Serai shift with the dunes that can be watched during amazing sunsets from verandahs or the pool. The main pavilion tent offers reception, sitting areas and a cocktail lounge, all accented with candle alcoves.

Guests can have meals in the dining tent or alfresco wherever they wish. Breakfast can be healthy continental, full English, or traditional Indian (try a delicious Masala omelet). Lunch can be traditional vegetarian thali or a light European selection. The dinner menu is a mix of carefully chosen chef surprises that fuse familiar western dishes with the ingredients and spice of Rajasthan.

The Serai’s location is less than an hour outside of Jaisalmer, a once thriving trading metropolis that is now a relic on these roads, but still very much kept up with intricately carved stone structures, ancient trading houses and step wells, temples and stone palaces and narrow, winding streets where visitors can browse and shop for silks and crafts.

The Serai is open from the beginning of September to the end of March. There is little in the way of convenient rail service. However, guests can fly to Jodhpur Airport (160 miles) and arrange transport to the camp through The Serai. There is also a small airstrip some 30 miles away.


Nature Resort in Rajasthan: Jawai Leopard Camp

For guests looking leopards, this camp near the Jawai Dam is the place to go. While leopard sightings are, perhaps, a secondary benefit, Jawai, between Udaipur and Jodhpur, provides plenty of incentive without the spots.

The camp offers ten spacious, creamy colored, hand-stitched tents with red and saffron-accented interiors, plenty of leather and chrome appointments and luxury amenities one would find at any five-star retreat. As a Relais & Chateaux property, Jawai keeps the standards as one of the best resorts in India but prides itself on presenting an exquisitely local experience in the Thar Desert, although completely saturated in luxury.

The 100-acre private estate offers a heated pool, a spa, a private walled garden and views of the dramatic rocky landscapes all around. Guests can dine under the stars on local tribal dishes while listening to their hypnotic strums and chants in private performance. Those in search of the elusive Indian leopard will rise before dawn and track these solo predators with the help of a knowing guide. Unlike Africa, an absence of lions here allows leopards to wander the paths and bush rather than hide in the high branches.

The leopards roaming the area are revered by the local villagers, who see the big cats as guardians of the hills. There are rarely attacks on humans, perhaps one in memory that may have happened 160 years ago.

 

While a stay at one of the best resorts in India is enough reason to go, there is much to see in Jawai. Jawai Bandh Lake is great for spotting birds, crocodiles and flamingos from the rim of the reservoir. Ranakpur Temple, a mysterious Jain temple is a marvel of 1,444 intricately carved white stone pillars, built 1496. Then there is Kumbhalgarh Fort, a 15th-century fortress that is a UNESCO World Heritage site and sits at the end of what is reputed to be the world’s second-longest wall.

Getting to Jawai is easiest through Udaipur, located 93 miles away. Jodhpur is 99 miles away. The train station at Jawai Bandh connects by a day train with Ahmedabad and Jaipur.

For reservations or more information, contact reservations@sujanluxury.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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KAA News Roundup

Mukul Resort in Nicaragua is a hot spot for surfing, and now new flights make it easier than ever to get there. Jess from Choosing Chia writes on her Nicaragua trip including a stop at Mukul, and Dallas News writes on Mukul, Tour this swoon-worthy luxury resort on Nicaragua’s breezy southern coast.

To find one of the 10 best infinity pools in the world head to The Resort at Pedregal, also named one of Mexico’s most romantic.

Nestled in the heart of the Mayan forest, Chablé Resort & Spa is now considered the world’s best-designed hotel.

Read about the family friendly Vik Retreats in Uruguay & Chile in The Observer.

To the Galapagos, where Pikaia Lodge is featured in The Wall Street Journal’s article, “The Galápagos Islands: An Upscale Traveler’s Guide.”

For a dose of wellness, head to Ananda Spa in the Himalayas, featured in Kiwi Collection.

Martha Stewart Weddings calls Lake Austin Spa a great pick for a weekend bachelorette party, or stay longer and enjoy all the water therapy benefits as detailed in Goop.

The new Faena Miami Beach is a must visit. Get inspired by this article from Apartment Therapy or this Q & A from Forbes with Alan Faena, the visionary behind the hotel.

Eight Best Countryside Getaways in the US from Jetsetter features Wyoming’s Brush Creek Ranch and Vermont’s Twin Farms.

Twin Farms is also featured in Town & Country as one of 17 Ridiculously Luxurious All-Inclusive Resorts along with The Brando and Gili Lankanfushi.

The Brando is also featured in The Robb Report as one of Three Far-Flung Resorts That Are Worth the 15-Hour Trek. Song Saa in Cambodia also makes the list.

Another far flung location is Africa, and if you love photography, check out the 3-night photography workshops from Great Plains Conservation Nov. ’17 – Mar. ’18 at select camps in Botswana & Kenya.

News from Six Senses Resorts includes the much anticipated Six Senses Bhutan, featured in Architectural Digest, “The Most Unexpected New Luxury Adventure Travel.”

In The Seychelles, Six Senses Zil Pasyon wins The Editor’s Award for Best New Hotel at Telegraph Luxury Ultratravel Awards.

And in The Maldives, Six Senses Laamu to partner with leading surf pioneer Tropicsurf this August.

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Looking for the Best Beach Hotel in Los Angeles? Malibu Beach Inn

If you’re in pursuit of the perfect coastal retreat, then head straight to California’s famous seaside haven – Malibu. There, in the heart of the small town is the illustrious boutique hotel, Malibu Beach Inn. Hands down the best beach hotel in Los Angeles.

The property itself sits directly on the sands of sunny Carbon Beach, aptly nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach,” and each of the 47 well-appointed guestrooms display uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. They’re also outfitted with a private balcony and fireplace, guaranteeing maximum restoration right there in your room.
Malibu Activities

Malibu itself lies just north of Santa Monica, but in an enclave that facilitates a ten degree temperature difference and very little wind chill. Which means, the plethora of Malibu beaches are always perfect for sunning, swimming, and surfing.

But while surfing may be the most famous Malibu pastime, what with Surfrider Beach, Little Dume, and Zuma Beach all located in the city’s stretch, it’s not the only way to enjoy the sun and sea. There’s also a handful of locals ready to take Malibu Beach Inn guests to a number of prestigious paddle boarding and kayaking locations.

And if watersports aren’t your thing, head to the hills where horseback riding, hiking, and biking are prevalent. Or skip physical exertion altogether, throw on a dress, a hat, maybe a bow tie, and grab a glass of vino at any of the local wineries.

In fact, Malibu Beach Inn has partnered with Malibu Wines to create the perfect day trip experience. The Malibu Winery Excursion package includes champagne, picnic lunch, and transportation. And by booking with Malibu Beach Inn’s expert reservations team, you’ll be able to skip the entrance line for immediate leisure among an excess of sun, wine, and live music.

No matter which activity you choose, just know that with the Santa Monica Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, there’s almost a guarantee you’ll spot some form of wildlife – whether it be a deer, a pod of dolphins, or a family of whales.

 

Local Charms

Part of the Malibu charm derives directly from the innate small town affluence. Local shopping is just down the street with well-loved brands such as Alice + Olivia, Intermix, James Perse, and lululemon; but rest assured that within each store is a personalized experience and a stylist ready to help you find the perfect outfit.

Malibu Beach Inn’s very own CBC (Carbon Beach Club Restaurant) is no different, as Chef Cody Dickey designs his menus around what’s seasonally available. Specifically, Chef Cody ventures to Malibu’s very own One Gun Ranch, where he chats with the farmers about what’s growing and then crafts his dishes accordingly.

CBC’s expert Bar Director, Josh Curtis, mixes up his own concoctions with similar mindset. At the start of each season comes a new cocktail menu, each drink mixed with local produce and homemade provisions. Curtis’s expertise comes from utilizing natural sugars instead of syrup, enabling the patron to fully enjoy the unique flavors of each produce and spirit.

The onsite spa within Malibu Beach Inn is run by leading skin care expert, Veronica Barton-Schwartz, Malibu’s designated skincare queen whose own home spa is located just up the road from the hotel. But her award-winning practices and skincare line are conveniently available inside Malibu Beach Inn’s tranquil, oceanfront spa suite.

Redesign by Waldo Fernandez

When the Mani Brothers purchased the property in 2015 they immediately implemented a soft renovation. They went through and escalated the guest experience by exchanging skincare amenities, private bar items, mattresses, and linens.

However, the bigger project was in syndicate with acclaimed designer Waldo Fernandez. Waldo walked the property and quickly realized that the surrounding sea needed to be the main focal point at all times. So he scrapped the dark wood and heavy furniture, relocated the front desk, built a bar for CBC, and implemented a blue-gray color scheme.

He then took his blues and grays to the guest rooms, where he designed custom pieces of chic white oak furniture and textural rugs. And with that, Waldo Fernandez successfully transformed the feel of the entire property.

With assistance from their expert General Manager, Gregory Day, the Mani Brothers integrated a number of additional amenities such as Smeg tea kettles, Nespresso coffee brewers, Italian Bellino Linen, delicious Bamford hair and skin products, remote controlled Toto bidets, dual HD televisions, and extensive digital in-room entertainment systems.

They also constructed an expansive in-room private bar, featuring Dean and Deluca snacks, an assortment of spirits, and an exclusive selection of wine hand-picked by the onsite sommelier. But of course, if you can’t find what you’re yearning for in the private bar, just call down to Private Dining and Chef Cody will concoct any number of delicious items that are sure to satiate your craving.

Small Touches

Throughout the property, it’s ultimately the immense attention to detail that solidifies an incredible Malibu experience. From moment of arrival, when you first encounter the thoughtful reception agents, ready to assist with whatever you need; to moment of turndown with delectably chosen Vosges chocolates.

Down on Malibu Beach Inn’s private stretch of sand you’ll find imported Italian loungers and lululemon clad beach attendants, ready to bring you any item off the full menu. And if you choose to dine on the terrace instead of the sand, skilled servers outfitted in the fitting johnnie-o blue laid are ready to assist.

And then there’s the Mani Brothers’ carefully curated art collection, expertly placed around the property; the brother’s lithographs and originals transform hallways and dining rooms.

Throughout the entire property, you’ll notice that every detail – big and small – has been carefully thought out. Combined with Malibu Beach Inn’s expert service and close proximity to the sea, it’s no wonder the boutique property is Los Angeles’ best beach hotel.

Malibu Beach Inn
22878 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 651 7777
Email: reservations@malibubeachinn.com
Website: www.malibubeachinn.com

 

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.

Sign up up for our Wellness Travel Updates and our monthy newsletter for the latest exclusive offers and news from around the globe, follow us on twitter, like us on facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

www.kurtzahlers.com

Three Exotic Island Getaways for Revving Romance

Every romance can use the heated boost of an exotic island getaway. Some islands escapes, however, can leave a couple cold while other exotic island getaways simply will take their breath away.

Three exotic island getaways that will prime the heart pump with pinch-me dream settings in remote locations are The Brando in the Society Islands of Tahiti, Song Saa, off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, and Gili Lankanfushi in Indian Ocean amid the islands of the Maldives. The islands all present perfect places for what every couple requires: to disappear, to delight, to discover, to rediscover and to remember.

The Brando: Royalty, Celebrity, Sustainability

Disappearing is easy when your exotic island getaway is deep into the Pacific on an atoll so remote that mutineers of the Bounty tried to hide there. The Brando is an island unto itself on Tetiaro in French Polynesia – an island you might never find except for the glitterati that keep popping in for a weekend or a prolonged stay. Most recently those names included Johnny Depp, Barack Obama, who found the setting calm and evocative for writing his White House memoires; and Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Kate Middleton, honeymooned there recently with new husband in one of the resort’s 35 lavish villas.

While remote as the crow flies, the island is easily accessible by private plane in a tranquil atoll 30 miles north of the island of Tahiti. The resort proudly shows its LEED platinum certification in its cleanliness, operations and focus on the surrounding environment. Beaches are made of delicious white sand and guests share their spaces with sea turtles, manta rays, colorful sea life and rare birds.

The island does come with more celebrity lore, of course. It is not hard to squint and see a thin, tanned and barefoot Marlon Brando walking the beaches with his new Tahitian bride met during the filming of the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. He bought the 193-acre island, composed of 12 motus, for around $200,000. It was a favored place for Tahitian royalty at the time and now offers one- to three-bedroom villas on spacious private beaches, each with its own secluded plunge pools and all designed around clean, renewable energy sources.

Villas range from 1,033 square feet to 2,648 square feet with cozy sitting areas in some, living rooms in others, private terraces or decks, lavish bathrooms, dining areas and kitchens in some, palatial closets, even an outdoor tub. Unplugged does not mean disconnected. Villas have rooms furnished with TV and DVD entertainment, with Wi-Fi throughout.

Dining is exquisitely French with the award-winning cuisine of Guy Martin of the Michelin two-star restaurant Le Grand Véfour in Paris. Venues range from the casual Beachcomber Café beachfront restaurant, to the fine dining Les Mutinés by Guy Martin restaurant, to the Te Manu Bar and Bob’s Bar, and in-room service.

Heavenly holistic body treatments happen at the Varua Te Ora Polynesian Spa. At the Explorer’s Center, guests can enjoy lectures from on-site scientists, and a library. Fitness fans can keep up their regimen at a fully equipped cadio and strength training gym – but the activities available may prove more interesting: bicycling, snorkeling, and bird watching, paddle boarding and scuba diving. Guests can explore the lagoon by Polynesian outrigger canoe, take a guided tour of the atoll’s motus, go out stargazing with a naturalist, swim in clear calm waters at Mermaid Bay or relax at the beach or pool.

Indulge in island chic black pearl jewelry or spend the afternoon with marine biologists at the Tetiaroa Society NGO’s laboratory located near the resort. Days are full of discovery in both science and romance.

The Brando is owned and operated by Pacific Beachcomber, which also owns and operates award winning resorts on Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, as well as the luxury cruise ship m/s Paul Gauguin. Published rates start at $3,381 per couple per night.

Contact:

The Brando
Tetiaroa Private Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia
(+689) 40 866 366
Email: reservation@thebrando.com
www.thebrando.com


Gili Lankanfushi: Where the sea sings and breezes whisper

As the world gets smaller, the Maldives, once as remote as you could utter and still be on this planet, just gets closer and closer. The Maldives is really some 1,900 islands in 26 atolls spread over 56,000 square miles in a scattered archipelago below the nadir of Sri Lanka. Only 200 of those islands are inhabited and find Gili Lankanfushi among them in what seems to be a one island/one resort tradition.

Total flight duration from New York to Malé, the capital of the Maldives, is usually a little more than 18 hours – more if that flight is from Los Angeles. No flights are non-stop from the U.S. and that gives couples more time to enjoy the anticipation of staying in what has been tabbed as one of the top resorts in the world by TripAdvisor.


As romantic island getaway, Gili Lankanfushi could be considered a tempting model of aspiration. The Guests find 45 spacious overwater villas following a 20-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport on Malé. Wooden villas rise from the shallow ocean on stilts. It’s a quiet island, less than 2,000 feet long where guest move from one corner of the island to another on bicycles or barefoot in the soft sands. Privacy is the mantra with dedicated 24-hour butler service for each villa, terrace to beach access for each villa (make that six steps and counting), large living areas, expansive bathrooms, outdoor shower, even a roof loft on some villas so you can sleep under the stars.


Each villa offers private over water sundeck or rooftop sundeck with daybeds and dining, an open-air private bathroom with separate glass walled shower area, a king bed, and 2,250 square feet of aromatic hardwood interiors. The Private Reserve takes it to a whole new level with15,069 square feet of space on two floors, adding a second master suite with floor to ceiling windows on three sides, a guest room suite, lavish bath areas, a gym, his and her 24-hour butlers, a  gourmet kitchen, customized wine cellar, personal motorized water vehicles, waterslide, pool, and entertainment room.

There are three restaurants specializing in dishes from Japan, Asia and the subcontinent, often with live cooking stations and always seafood. If nothing else, couples can share the joys of exploring new flavors in the homemade ice creams. Although an island in the middle of nowhere, Gili Lankanfushi is famous for its wine cave and its collection of prized labels that pour at these tables. A favorite Gili Lankanfushi experience is the wine tastings (with chocolate and cheese to complement) put together by the sommelier as well as several unique Tasting Journeys with Sake, wine, whiskey, Champagne and others paired with delectable food.

Remote as it is, there is much to do on this remote romantic island escape. The Meera Spa offers detoxifying couples treatments using seaweed as a central ingredient. Guests can listen to the song of the waves and watch glowing fish below the spa’s overwater location as they are massaged.

Snorkeling and diving in the surrounding clear warm waters is a divine but the resort is also gaining traction as a place to surf. The resort recently opened a dedicated surf center and now offers lessons in all seasons for beginners to pros.

Island fever is rare but should it strike it is easily quelled by a visit to, well, another island. As the capital of the Maldives is only minutes away, guests make day trips for shopping, dining and explorations. Nights offer movies under the stars – with popcorn and chocolate fondue.

Published starting rates run about $1,224 (subject to taxes) per villa per night, not including meals.

Contact:

Gili Lankanfushi
Lankanfushi Island, North Malé Atoll
Republic of Maldives
(+011 960) 664 0304
Email: info@gili-lankanfushi.com
www.gili-lankanfushi.com

 

Song Saa: Floating to Cambodia

The two tiny heart shaped islands forming the remote resort of Song Saa is a mere 45-minute speedboat ride from Cambodia’s southwest coast has been a work of love for Rory and Melita Hunter who discovered the paradise Song Saa in 2006 and went about bringing its magic to life.

As scuba enthusiasts, Song Saa was never intended to exist as a resort paradise alone but always a work in progress – that work being the surrounding island habitats in what became Cambodia’s first marine reserve. Song Saa is the Khmer phrase for “The Sweethearts,” which describes the two side-by-side islands now connected by a bridge across the marine reserve. Island water is treated here and reused for growth of native vegetation. Driftwood and timber are recycled from old fishing boats to build furniture and construction for the resort’s 27 open and airy villas.

While these islands cover a 17 acres there are plenty of beaches, coves, walks, hidden snorkeling and diving sites and nooks and crannies around the resort itself to have privacy and the peace one seeks from a remote exotic island getaway.

Active guests can visit the watersports center for morning snorkels in search of seahorses around coral reefs –a must–, or afternoon kayaking through shady mangroves with the resident marine biologist, or finding out the best places around the island for night-time dips in bioluminescent waters.

All villas have ocean views – some are on the beach and some are over the water. Built with one or two bedrooms, each has its own deck with plunge pool and stunning views. Villas have thatched roofs and cooling stonewalls, huge four-poster fantasy beds wrapped in soft muslin and plenty of other amenities – stocked mini-bar, Wi-Fi, perfumed toiletries. All is part of the tariff, whether for one night or several.

Dining is a treat with Khmer fusion classics mixed with fresh local seafood and locally grown produce. Menus changed seasonally, if not daily, as diners enjoy the panoramas and the creatively repurposed driftwood décor. Guests, too, can get creative – about where on Song Saa to dine. Impeccable private meals can be presented just about anywhere one can sit and take in the beauty.

While spending some island time at Song Saa, a romantic island getaway should also contain some spa time and on Song Saa those moments are built into highly transformative experiences. Many of the treatments and themes have been inspired by the Khmer people and their use of natural herbs, plants and ancient relaxation practices to support the body’s natural healing.

Song Saa Private Island is accessible via private boat or yacht from Sihanoukville, a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia.  Private yachts of all sizes can be moored there with a day rate inclusive of resort facilities, pool, restaurant and bar access, and some non-motorized sports. Helicopter transfers are also available from nearby cities, including Siem Reap.

Nightly rates run around $1,300 per night, inclusive.

Song Saa Private Island
#108e1, Street 19
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: +011 855 23 686 0361
Email: reservations@songsaa.com
Website: www.songsaa.com

 

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Enjoy some more time in London at The Beaumont

Take advantage of The Beaumont’s Four Nights for Three offer to spend some more time exploring London and Mayfair.

Rates:
Rooms from £480/night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary
Studios from £760 /night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary
Suites from £1,295/night for 3 nights, plus one night complimentary

The ‘4 for 3’ rate is available for stays from 21st July to 3rd September and 7th October to 29th October 2017.


With this package you will be treated to a number of complimentary amenities:

A ‘Help Yourself’ morning coffee, tea, juices, home-made Viennoiseries and preserves in The Cub Room
A private in-room bar with soft drinks and snacks
Wifi throughout the hotel
Use of the hotel’s vintage Daimler for local trips (subject to availability)
Use of the Spa and Gymnasium throughout your stay.

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Chable Resort in The Yucatan Wins Prix Versailles Design Award

Nestled in the heart of the Mayan forest, the five-star Chablé Resort & Spa is now considered the world’s best-designed hotel. The property is the winner of this year’s Prix Versailles award, a designation presented by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects to the structures that have the most remarkable interior and exterior architecture.

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