Openings, Revamps and the Latest Travel News
EL CAREYES CLUB & RESIDENCES, MEXICO
On Mexico’s Costa Alegre, Costa Careyes is a verdant swath of land and sea framed by golden beaches and dramatic cliffs topped with lavish, jewel-toned villas. Nestled in a biosphere preserve that is home to iguanas, dolphins and elusive jaguars, the eco resort-meets-eccentric-playground for the rich and famous was founded in the late 1960s by a former Italian banker. It also boasts world-class polo grounds, a turtle sanctuary and every level of accommodation including casitas, bungalows and Ocean Castles. Careyes’ resident hotel has been refashioned into the elegant, contemporary El Careyes Club & Residences, offering new digs from which to launch your hiking, horseback riding, golfing or seafaring fun.
QOROKWE CAMP, BOTSWANA
Wilderness Safaris’ recently-opened Qorokwe Camp sits in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region. Eight elegant suites — complete with indoor and outdoor showers, handmade African furnishings and pops of brass — give way to sprawling woodlands, floodplains, swamps and savannahs. The on-property bar overlooks a large deep-blue lagoon frequented by hippos, elephants and many more frolicking animals in this game-heavy area.
ISLA PALENQUE, PANAMA
This June, look no further than Isla Palenque if you’re in search of paradise. Set on a private Pacific coast island shouldered by lush, monkey-filled jungles, get lost in a six-bedroom villa that offers fresh meals in calm sanctuary awash in neutral colors. Or stay in one of the eight individual casitas with space for four guests. Sustainability is at the forefront of every detail, including reclaimed wood furnishings and meals brimming with local ingredients. Take a stroll in the surf on one of the seven secluded, palm-fringed beaches and visit the national marine park for snorkeling.
THE FINGAL ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
2018 will see the launch of a refurbished 1964 Northern Lighthouse Board ship, making its lavish debut as a floating luxury hotel to be docked in the port of Leith, neighboring Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Yacht Britannia. Take your pick of 23 swanky cabins named after local lighthouses and finished in Art Deco style. Or look out to the horizon: original portholes are maintained to give guests the feeling that the boat is still sailing the seven seas.
BORGO SANTO PIETRO, ITALY
At once a feat of minimalism and exquisitely-layered Italian luxe, Borgo Santo Pietro has added drama to the Tuscan landscape like a de Chirico painting come to life. Since opening in 2008, the lovingly restored medieval village has grown from six villas to 20, all the while remaining an ultra-secluded and exclusive retreat. Just unveiled, four new suites (two with private pools) are tucked into cloistered gardens and draped in sumptuous interior touches like Fortuny silks, bathtubs carved from single slabs of Travertine, hand-hewn bedframes and cozy fireplaces. The property also has a new, floating outpost: Satori, a luxury sailing yacht that is outfitted for ultimate comfort and romance with artisan-made furnishings inspired by Europe’s maritime history, a 200-bottle wine cellar and candles that light the way aboard the vessel at night.
INIALA HARBOUR HOUSE, VALLETA, MALTA
Valleta was recently named the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Soon, the already trending Mediterranean capital will get an opulent harbor-side hideaway that’s sure to make a statement. Designed by Istanbul’s innovative Autoban studio, Iniala Harbour House promises to shine in this UNESCO-listed treasure trove. Historical details are beautifully preserved in the sleek and stylish palazzos, bursting with patterned wallpaper and furnishings. It’s a fresh homebase from which to take in the treasures of the island — whether that’s deep-sea diving with a famed underwater photographer, walking among sun-bleached ruins or soaking up local life over a long café lunch.
On the heels of an exuberant refresh, The Ritz-Carlton’s sophisticated South American outpost delivers updated interiors, furnishings, fixtures, technology and bathrooms. It's the perfect launching point for exploring the affluent El Golf district, known for its towering skyscrapers and wide range of restaurants. Unwind with a facial or massage in the serene, glass-framed spa, which overlooks the city’s rooftops and striking skyline.
SHINTA MANI WILD, CAMBODIA
The wilds of Cambodia will welcome a new luxury camp in September. Surrounded by tropical forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls Shinta Mani promises adventure. Hop onto a private expedition boat in search of elephants, bears and tigers. Sample mouthwatering food and drinks at the bar and restaurant perched next to a crashing waterfall.
TAASA PRIVATE RESERVE, TANZANIA
Coming soon, the TAASA Private Reserve’s luxurious tents boast verandahs that overlook the wide plains and big skys of the Lobo Valley. En-suite baths provide a touch of indulgence with soaking tubs and sumptuous robes. Cool off in the infinity pool after a day of exploring. Enjoy fine dining under the stars by a warm fire after a night drive into the inky darkness in search of the Serengeti’s nocturnal creatures.
Hugging the edge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Dinaka camp offers seven safari tents each with an indoor and outdoor shower, minimalist interiors and plush bedding. Grab a front row seat on the raised wooden decks for beautiful views of the watering hole. Giraffes, lions, leopards, brown hyenas and close to 200 types of birds make up the colorful cast of characters in this ever-changing landscape. Sleep on the outdoor deck, under a blanket of twinkling stars or gather around the fire to share stories of the day.
Landlocked Rwanda might be small in size, but it is big on wildlife, rolling green hills and welcoming people. Add to that the chance to bear witness to history as the country rapidly forges ahead on a new path, while embracing and honoring its painful past. Journeys to Rwanda have even deeper significance.
GO FOR THE GORILLAS
Dubbed the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda's fertile landscape is dotted with farms and soaring jungle-covered mountains that are home to a wide array of primates. Half of the world’s gorillas reside in Volcanoes National Park. Famously, world-renowned researcher Dian Fossey studied these magnificent creatures here, inspiring generations of travelers. Undoubtedly the most popular park in Rwanda, it remains a draw for adventure-seekers wanting to spot baby gorillas around the breathtaking Virunga Volcanoes. Make the trip in the wet season when the gorillas are found on lower elevations, making treks easier. Look up when you can — golden monkeys also live in the park, munching on bamboo and performing leaping air acrobatics from tree to tree.
See it all from Bisate Lodge, located within an extinct volcano valley. Villas are thatch-covered and large windows bring in unrivaled views of the mountain habitat. Emerald green chandeliers mimic the leafy forests and fresh meals are prepared with produce plucked straight from the on-site garden.
FIND MORE GREEN SPACE
On the other side of the country, Akagera National Park is a symbol of successful conservation efforts. The wildlife population was reduced by half after the Rwandan Civil War, but since then, the government has implemented strict laws to preserve this savannah landscape laced with swamps, forests and jagged mountains. And what an achievement it has been. A colorful troupe of characters makes the wildlife viewing top notch. Strolling elephants, herds of buffalo, massive hippos, curious monkeys and baboons are all part of nature's parade.
Still, Rwanda’s shining stars will always be the primates. Travelers will love identifying one of the 14 species — and some 25 percent of Africa’s primate species — found in the mist-laden Nyungwe Forest National Park. Colorful birds fly through the lofty foliage and butterflies flutter, their iridescent wings shimmering in the sunlight. The dense and lush area is one of those rare places that feels incredibly remote and untouched by humans.
Nyungwe House, a partner of One&Only is the perfect outpost for this African adventure. Nestled between a working tea plantation and rainforest, the 22-room and suites property boasts delicious cuisine and awe-inspiring views from private decks. Immaculate interiors are inspired by Rwandan crafts.
In the middle of the country, Lake Kivu shines. Row to the middle and feel embraced by the green, terraced tea plantations rising over its shores. Fisherman sing as the sun sets on the glistening waters. From this vantage, Rwanda is magical.
SEE HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Kigali is considered a safe and clean capital city, far removed from the tragedy of the 1990s. Today its winding boulevards, flowering trees and bustling eateries are a beacon of hope for an evolving nation. A visit to the Genocide Memorial Center pays homage to the nearly one million who lost their lives. It’s a past that is laid bare, so as not to be repeated, and it's solemn, chilling reminder of how far the country has come.
Sip on a cup of local Rwandan coffee grown in the fertile plantations, where the locals demonstrate how the bold and strong flavor is softened by milk and sugar. Rwanda's people want to share their progress and natural treasures with the rest of the world. Get a further sense of this burgeoning generation of openness during a school visit, arranged by Ker & Downey. The enthusiasm of the children echoes the hopeful feeling of modern Africa.