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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.
Continuing over a century of wellness-focused hospitality, the third and fourth generations of the Bolland-Anton family – whose surnames combine in the resort’s own moniker – are now at the helm of the BollAnts Spa im Park, established 110 years ago as the Felke Jungborn Kurhaus Dhonau. Located around an hour from Germany’s business capital Frankfurt, the current-day reincarnation offers top-class luxury, qualified medical wellness and evocative touches of the past. For example, accommodation is in buildings ranging in style from Jugendstil and Bauhaus to modern, nestled amid an extensive private park. The Michelin-starred Jungborn restaurant – one of three on the property – is set beneath vaulted ceilings, its name recalling that of the original establishment. It was here that the Felke healing method was developed, and this holistic natural medicine practice is still followed at BollAnts today – alongside a raft of outdoor activities, excellent spa facilities and numerous sustainability-focused measures, from organic quality body care to the use of local produce and support for local wines.
In Bali’s verdant heart, on the banks of the mystical Ayung River and close to the island’s artistic centre, the tranquil hillside retreat of Alila Ubud resembles a Balinese village, blending contemporary design and traditional architecture around a stunning 82-foot emerald infinity pool with views of the valley and greenery. Guests can try excellent Balinese dishes in the open, thatch-roofed restaurant as well as locally inspired treatments with organic products at the spa, and enjoy sunrise from lofty perches above the jungle canopy in the Terrace Tree Villas. With the property offering authentic trips to mountain villages, rice terraces and natural springs, as well as participating in numerous community projects, full immersion in an authentic Balinese environment awaits.
It is not an overstatement to say that The Peninsula Hotels are a byword for the ultimate personal service. The original Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong has been the benchmark for that Chinese hospitality since opening in 1928 – but that’s not to say that the luxury hotel group is stuck in its ways. Over the years, The Peninsula brand has been able to translate their values without obstacle from Los Angeles to Paris, from Shanghai to Manila. For those looking for a bespoke experience, The Pen offers a series of unique programs in its Peninsula Academy – a Broadway experience with a post-show artist Meet & Greet in New York, the art of lantern making in with Master Chan, Hong Kong’s leading lantern artisan, or a two-hour karate lesson for young and old in Tokyo – just to name a few. While each of the ten Peninsula Hotels has its own individual style, there are important qualities that they all have in common: impeccable service, prime urban locations and the best afternoon tea anywhere.
Far Eastern hospitality meets Midwestern warmth: in the Windy City, The Peninsula Chicago’s unique chemistry has earned it recognition as one of the best luxury hotels in North America. Located on Chicago’s coveted Magnificent Mile, within minutes of upscale shopping and the city’s landmark Chicago Water Tower, the hotel offers 339 comfortable, plush rooms featuring state-of-the-art technology, including bedside tablets controlling in-room lighting, temperature and entertainment option, as well as a 19-inch television mounted above the deep-soaking tubs in the marble bathrooms. For the best views over the city, head to the 19th floor for a swim in the half-Olympic length indoor pool or enjoy Instagram-worthy vistas at the new rooftop Z Bar, named after the first-ever female General Manager of The Peninsula Hotels, Maria Zec.
After a tumultuous history, the grand old building on Fifth Avenue that houses The Peninsula New York has finally found its purpose. First opened as the Gotham Hotel in 1905, the strong Italian Renaissance style property exchanged countless hands for decades without success, though at one point in the 1960s it housed New York City’s first public discotheque with a tiny dance floor in its basement. Everything came together when the hotel reopened as The Peninsula New York, with new modern interiors complete with flat-screen TVs installed over the marble bathtubs. Today The Peninsula New York is considered one of the best hotels in the world – your home base in the middle of Manhattan.