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It’s a statement of sophistication for the northern Italian powerhouse of Milan, where culture, fashion and a buzzing nightlife come together. Park Hyatt Milan, set in a 19th-century palazzo, effuses elegance, with a soaring nine-meter-high glass dome floating above the overstuffed chairs of La Cupola Lounge, a brightly lit central meeting space just beyond the discreet entrance. La Cupola is just one dining option, the most renowned being the excellent, two Michelin-starred restaurant VUN, helmed by Neapolitan chef Andrea Aprea, and diners can also stop for a pre- or post-prandial cocktail in the classic Mio Lab bar. Step further into the cocoon of cream travertine, Venetian stucco and hand-blown Murano lamps in the 106 rooms and suites (with large marble-filled bathrooms) or indulge in a moment of relax at The Spa by Sisley – and don’t forget that you’re in the heart of Milan, steps from the vibrancy of the Piazza del Duomo.
It may be in the kind of olive and cypress tree-clad setting that graced antiquity and located between two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but Six Senses Kaplankaya is certainly not looking towards the past. Since coming under the wellbeing-focused operator’s umbrella, the resort has undergone a transformation, updating its interior style and exterior landscaping. Staying true to Six Senses’ integrated approach to wellness, the resort not only features a 100,000 sq ft Spa, Fitness and Health + Healing Center – where nutritionists, exercise physiologists and certified fitness instructors are on hand – but also serves up fresh, locally sourced and nutritionally balanced cuisine with Turkish flavors at its three restaurants. If the available activities, or even the spa treatments, require too much energy, guests can simply gaze out onto the eternal Aegean Sea from all rooms and suites.
A high-flying design executive in Tokyo in a former life, Toru Iwasa believes that there is beauty to be found in a more minimalistic, simple existence. In order to expose people to the benefits of this simple, organic lifestyle, he created Satoyama Jujo Hotel. He found the perfect place in a mountainous village in the Niigata prefecture. The hotel combines a traditional Japanese inn with a stylish, eco-conscious boutique property: the 150-year-old main building is joined by a modern extension where a hot spring spa is located. Minimalistic yet cozy, the hotel fuses old-fashioned Japanese style with modern Western design elements, creating a sense of calm and respite. Tokyo is only two hours away via high-speed train – but once you come here, it will feel like a million miles.
The Temple House in Chengdu is literally interlaced with tradition. The area’s long history of brocade production has inspired the three-dimensional ‘woven’ façade, while a restored courtyard building from the Qing Dynasty serves as an entrance. But UK-based architects Make have succeeded in effortlessly making the traditional coexist with the modern furnishings and airy spaces. Don’t expect bold statements or over-the-top grandeur – The Temple House will win you over subtly, gently – but completely.
Most Maldivian resorts are located on their own private island, but Six Senses Laamu goes one better: it’s got an entire atoll to itself, a mere five degrees north of the Equator. This means guests inherit a vast house reef for snorkeling and diving, as well as several deserted islands to explore – not to mention the country’s most famous surfing wave, Yin Yang, that breaks just offshore of the resort. Meanwhile for adventurous palates, there’s the alfresco ice cream parlor peddling more than 40 weird and wonderful flavors like wasabi and sour cream, or black pepper strawberry.
If the don’t-lift-a-finger luxury of a cliffside villa with its own pool, meditation sala and personal 24-hour butler isn’t relaxing enough, the Six Senses resort on Thailand’s Yao Noi island has a back-up plan. Their signature spa village features a selection of thoughtfully designed suites, like the Long House inspired by local architecture, where guests can indulge in traditional Thai treatments using natural, ethically sourced ingredients. While the gap year crowd raves on at the more accessible beaches, why not have a Full Moon massage overlooking the tranquil Phang Nga Bay.
The mellow red-brick, blue-shuttered Villa Fontelunga peeks through landscaped gardens on an estate of 200 olive trees, conjuring up the archetypal Tuscan image. Indeed, it is located close to the town of Cortona, the setting for the film Under the Tuscan Sun, and the main nine-room villa – plus two separate self-catering villas nearby – have views across rolling hills, fields and a secluded valley. Inside there is an assured mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, including pieces from Philippe Starck and Arne Jacobsen alongside terracotta-tiled floors and oversized headboards in subtly colorful Italian prints. For those who want to enjoy their own moments under the Tuscan sun, the property offers an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, tennis court and mountain bikes, while further activities can be arranged. With communal dinner parties organized twice a week, a welcome hamper for the self-catering villas and the team’s local knowledge informing their guest recommendations, staying at Villa Fontelunga feels like returning to the country abode of old friends with excellent taste.
The restoration of the 19th-century Victorian mansion that houses Oddfellows On The Park took the approach of letting the original Gothic Revival architecture shine through – and touches of the historical stories behind this old hall can be found in the property’s modern quirky style. There’s the Galloping Major Restaurant – serving seasonal British produce with a twist – named after the hall’s second owner, who extended it into the grand home it is today. Or the Pigsty beauty salon (with a mud treatment room!), whose moniker recalls the appearance of the now smart space when the owners bought the property. The interiors contrast original Victorian features, such as exposed beams and fireplaces in the bedrooms, with playful modern design features – for example the Gothic-style chandelier made from bicycle chains in the reception area. This nods to the hotel’s setting: the 100-acre Bruntwood Park, a public recreation space with woodland, ornamental gardens and sports facilities (including a BMX bike track), that provides beautiful views from the rooms and a sense of idyllic English charm.
Wood is at the heart of the AROSEA Life Balance Hotel – not simply in the clean, calming Swiss pine-filled interiors, but also in the sustainable philosophy that originally inspired its owners to build this South Tyrolean property. For up in the off-the-beaten-path Ulten Valley, where forests cover mountain slopes, the district’s biomass heating plant, which warms the hotel, is partly supplied by local farmers who can earn additional income by selling their wood to the plant. This local-first, environmentally committed thinking informs the AROSEA experience, from the use of pine, slate and sheep wool in the interior design to the wellness offering – natural Alpine products and an outdoor pond for swimming, for example – to the “zero-kilometer” food approach (food that is produced in the direct vicinity of the property). While guests can savor this in the modern, light-filled main dining room with lake views, they can also enjoy the cosy atmosphere of the wood-paneled 18th-century “Stube” – smaller dining rooms found in surrounding farms and rebuilt at the property. Named after valleys and villages in the area, they embody the mix of tradition and modernity, nature and sustainability that runs through this eco-resort.
Built in the style of a traditional Tyrolean castle, complete with turrets, thatched roofs and red-and-white shuttered windows, A-ROSA Kitzbühel resort may outwardly resemble a scene from a time gone by – but once inside, the warm colors and accent on such materials as wood, marble and tile paint a much more contemporary picture. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel like royalty staying here: a visit to the enormous 3,000 sq m spa, offering both indoor and outdoor pools, eight saunas and more than 20 treatment rooms with a magnificent view over the majestic Alpine landscape, will leave you feeling perfectly pampered. The grounds surrounding the hotel accommodate one of Austria’s most stunning nine-hole golf courses, while several others can be reached within minutes. Whether you opt for complete relaxation or an active time out, this Alpine fairy tale has got you covered.