Openings, Revamps and the Latest Travel News
SAPI EXPLORERS CAMP, ZIMBABWE
In a country known for its outstanding lodges, this property on the bend of the Sand River sets itself apart with its environmentally-conscious design and spectacular views of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Crafted with sustainable materials and nestled in the riverine forest, nine thatched suites (complete with private lap pools and decks) reflect the natural beauty of their surrounds. Open, interactive spaces boast locally-sourced patterned fabrics, art and furniture.
THE MOTSE, SOUTH AFRICA
Your journey to the Kalahari is about to get even better. A little facelift of this camp at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains has elevated the standard. Just like the majestic black-maned lions seek shade in the afternoon sun, so too will you in your cool redesigned suite to a bed oriented to take in the wonderful views. Thank your lucky stars as you shower alfresco with the African night sky blanketing you from above.
ANDERSSON’S AT ONGAVA, NAMIBIA
It’s always a warm and fuzzy feeling to stay at a camp that does heaps of good for the Earth. Pick scientists’ brains about insider information at the on-property research center. Kick back in one of seven suites with private viewing decks of the 180-degree panorama. Or, just bask in a moment of peaceful reflection by the infinity pool overlooking the waterhole.
MARA NYIKA, KENYA
Succumb to the romance of East Africa’s vast open plains. A lion’s roar thunders across the sky as dark clouds rumble in the distance. A hot-air balloon ride reveals a magnificent real-life painting below. Mara Nyika will take you on a time-traveling trip to when explorers braved this remote world. You won’t be roughing it when staying in one of eight comfortable tents. Days are spent exploring the private, wild expanse of the Naboisho Conservancy, home to 500 Masai families. At dinner clink your glasses in toast to the unbelievable wilderness surrounding you.
MAGASHI CAMP, RWANDA
Akagera National Park's new camp is just the place to holiday for a few days amid some of East Africa's most scenic savannah. Six spacious tents pay homage to Rwandan culture and just outside your abode, find a region home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, big crocodiles, and healthy lion and leopard numbers. Gather around the firepit for sundowners with Lake Rwanyakazinga sparkling like a flute of champagne in the background.
THE PEECH VILLA, SOUTH AFRICA
The award-winning hotel has added a luxury two-bedroom villa with modern en suites. Slide your glass door open to a central outdoor area — a private haven for guests with a shaded pergola. Call on the butler to order up some tasty culinary treats. This newest addition to the property is perfect for families in need of a little extra space and the feeling of home within Johannesburg’s coveted Melrose neighborhood.
SANCTUARY NILE ADVENTURER, EGYPT
A sail down the Nile is always an epic adventure, hopping off to wander through ancient temples, but treasures await you on board this revamped ship too. The 32-cabin vessel’s caravanserai lamps add a patterned glow to the golden ambiance. Rugs, antiques, tiles, and textiles provide a nod to Egypt’s rich culture. Private balconies are your front-row seat to the riverbank’s goings on, while private cooking classes give you a taste of Egypt’s tongue-tickling flavors.
ARRIVALS AROUND THE WORLD
FOUR SEASONS MADRID, SPAIN
Careful recovery work has lovingly restored the handsome façades and interiors of a series of 1887 buildings in the center of the city to create the stunning Four Seasons Madrid. Some of the 39 suites will be outfitted with outdoor terraces giving you a bird’s-eye view of the city streets. With the Four Seasons in charge (this is their first project in Spain), expect a lot of high-end experiences like the attached three-level Galeria de Canalejas — a shopping center with prestigious fashion and jewelry outposts and local culinary hot spots sure to lure the city’s style setters.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL JUMEIRA DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
There’s no shortage of tony hotel options in Dubai, but the debut of this beachfront resort is bringing a new wave of luxury to town. For starters it has an enviable address in a prestigious neighborhood. Oodles of natural light flood spacious sea-facing rooms and suites. Pull up a black lacquer mother-of-pearl inlay chair and relish in the view of Dubai’s glittering skyline. Take your pick between six restaurants. Fancy some Portuguese cuisine or decadent cakes? The choice is yours to make.
Recharge and refresh at this revival of the original parador, the latest Arequipa offering from the geniuses behind Titilaka. What was once part of the San Agustin church now houses 11 rooms where you will experience the ambience and authentic architecture of the 16th century all centered around two charming patios. Go on a gastronomic journey of spices and organic produce on the rooftop eatery where you will also eat up the lofty views of the cathedral and snow-capped Misti volcano.
AQUA BLU, INDONESIA
Aqua Expeditions expanded its fleet in East Indonesia with this coastal ship that sails around the heart of the aquatic treasure trove of the Coral Triangle year-round. See flourishing underwater life and a lot of history too — spice trade routes of days gone by passed along these waters. Each of the 15 suites are sea-facing in this refurbished former British naval ship. Over seven to 12 nights, you will visit the exotic paradises of Raja Ampat, Spice Islands, and Komodo National Park — each sure to leave you dreaming of being a permanent castaway.
CORINTHIA GRAND HOTEL DU BOULEVARD BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
Despite its charm, this 19th century building sat empty for a decade. Thankfully Corinthia Hotels swooped in restoring the 50 rooms and suites and a grand ballroom, which are slated to be revealed in the coming months. This isn’t the first do-over for the Corinthia — they restored historic properties in Budapest, Malta, and London too — so this Bucharest outpost is undoubtedly in good hands.
THE NEWT, ENGLAND
Step into a Jane Austen novel at this Georgian-era country home. You can just imagine the author frolicking in the bucolic countryside which inspires the restaurant’s menu and the garden-scented spa treatments. Heritage combines with contemporary design in the only 23 rooms spread out between the main house and the Stable Yard. And what’s a British experience without an elegant afternoon tea with delightful cakes and pastries served in the library.
PARK HYATT AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
The long jaunt to New Zealand is well worth it when you sink into your comfy bed at this sophisticated, waterfront property. The Park Hyatt Auckland pays homage to its Maori roots, basing the design of the hotel around the idea of a traditional Maori house where families and tribes once gathered. Cozy up around the open kitchen at the Onemata restaurant and watch the chefs whip up locally sourced goodies.
SIX SENSES BHUTAN
The "happy kingdom" will be even more cheery with the finishing touches on the completed lodges in Bumthang and Gangtey. Even though there’s a lot of outdoor enjoyment (breathing in fresh glacial valley air, strolls through little villages, and meeting with temple monks), there’s also a whole lot of relaxing to be had. An afternoon spa treatment will leave you feeling content in the best of ways and so too will the soothing rhythm of a river current meandering through Bhutan’s breathtakingly beautiful land.
RAFFLES HOTEL, SINGAPORE
There’s an awful lot of glittering glass and steel in Singapore, but that’s what makes Raffles’ colonial architecture even more attractive. With this legendary property’s August reopening after two years of extensive renovations, expect the classics like verandahs opening to lush gardens, but with a few more courtyards, social areas, restaurants, and bars. The Long Bar has shifted back to its original spot where the iconic Singapore Sling is still the drink of choice. A little brush up has not taken away the heritage of this 1800s-era property: it exudes the same glitz and glamor that attracted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie Chaplin.
THE TREND: To the Rivers ... and Beyond
By Elizabeth Frels
Clean water sources. Avenues of transport and trade. Cornerstones of civilization.
Rivers have historically represented a key ingredient in a city’s journey to prosperity. Today, they act as a preferred mode of travel as more and more sojourners seek a luxurious and laid-back way to see as much of the world as possible.
While multicountry journeys are certainly possible in one single cruise, land extensions on either end of a river cruise offer the best of both worlds: easygoing sightseeing by water and more in-depth exploration on land.
Here are a few of Ker & Downey’s most inspiring pre- and postcruise extensions around the world.
The mighty Amazon knows no match. Rich wildlife interactions, luxurious riverboat accommodations, and local villages untouched by outside influence make it a must-do on any visit to South America. The northern Amazon reaches of Peru are particularly attractive as they allow you to easily pair its natural wonders with so many nearby landmarks, Machu Picchu included. Definitely take time for this pre-Incan citadel, but don’t forget to fit in a stop to Lake Titicaca where you can further your water journey along this beautiful lake and its many islands, which share a border with Bolivia.
A journey along the Lower Danube River offers the opportunity to step foot in five different countries. We recommend pairing the historical and natural wonders of Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria with a slow and steady dive into the Transylvania landscape of Romania. Admire the view of the Piatra Craiului Mountains from a countryside inn, go stargazing where the light pollution is nonexistent, spot the brown bears of the Carpathian Mountains, set out on a hike in Piatra Craiului National Park, and take a horse-drawn cart to the village blacksmith in Viscri to watch him work. The wonders of Eastern Europe will undoubtedly unfold before you every step of the way.
A cruise along the Moselle River represents the path less traveled, taking you from the Netherlands through Germany and into Luxembourg. Consider a continuation of the experience with a personalized extension into beautiful Belgium next door. Between the medieval cobblestone streets and brilliant breweries of Bruges, and the ancient traditions and outlying towns of Brussels — including unforgettable Ghent and tiny Durbuy — you’re bound to appreciate where the path less traveled can often lead.
With Germany on one side and France on the other, the fabled Rhine River captivates all who sail her waters. There is not much that can compare to the classic canals of Amsterdam, the half-timbered houses of Germany, the vine-covered hills of France, or the many churches and castle in between, but the stunning scenery of Switzerland is definitely up for the challenge. An extension by way of two of Switzerland’s most renowned lakes — Lake Lucerne and Lake Geneva — promises glacial adventures, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and enough chateaux, vineyards, cheese, chocolate, and scenic splendor to leave you wholly satisfied.
Catch sight of an elephant drinking from the river while lounging in the comfort of your own floating bedroom — a luxury safari along the Chobe River in Africa is an altogether different experience. While you are guaranteed to witness a plethora of wildlife during your riverboat cruise, we recommend pairing Botswana’s Chobe Area with the gentle waterways of the Okavango Delta and the thundering waterfalls of Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls. Round out the water theme along the captivating coastline of Cape Point in Cape Town. From June through December, you may see the southern right whales as they swim with their pods near the shoreline.
A seven-night cruise along the Nile is the perfect way to explore the wonders of ancient Egypt at your leisure. Add to that some amazing behind-the-scenes sightseeing in Cairo, the capital city, with a private egyptologist guide and you have one of the most memorable excursions of a lifetime.