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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.
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.
Fogo Island Inn likes to challenge preconceptions, so when it describes itself as a “public house”, one can be sure it is like no other – replacing traditional “pub” dark corners, this is a light-filled, transparent architectural and cultural ensemble. Nevertheless, its spirit owes something to its antecedents, so the island community is heartily invited to enjoy the library, art gallery and fine-dining restaurant. Located in Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island Inn presents a multitude of opportunities: how about a day with a chef or learning to paint? Ocean fishing and cross-country skiing are other fitting activities. Of course, this all depends on which of the island’s “seven seasons” are happening during your stay.
Its reputation stretches far beyond the shores of the Inner Alster Lake, over which it has a fine view, and indeed beyond the northern powerhouse of Hamburg: at Restaurant Haerlin, the creative French cuisine of classically trained Executive Chef Christoph Rüffer has won awards aplenty, including a pair of coveted Michelin stars. Served against an elegant backdrop – think cream and pale green, with Chinese silk tapestries, gold embossing and a 20,000-crystal chandelier – the culinary offering is technically perfect, intense with occasionally unexpected flavor combinations, and employing top-quality seasonal ingredients. There’s also a built-in wine closet and excellent wine list, as well as an eight-seat Chef’s Table one floor below, where gourmets have a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen team at work. The sophistication and refined luxury carry over into the restaurant’s ‘home’, the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, the epitome of grand European hospitality, its 156 rooms and suites set in a 19th-century mansion between the opera house, smart boutiques and the lakeside.
Cradled by the Austrian Alps, and with panoramic lake views that appeared in the Bond film Spectre, the natural setting of VIVAMAYR Altaussee would be enough to induce a feeling of wellbeing in most weary guests. However, the full VIVAMAYR experience – a medical and detox program based on findings developed by Dr F. X. Mayr nearly a century ago – offers an approach to healthy living that leaves exponents’ habits altered forever. Recognized as best spa for targeted healing by CNTraveler, the Altaussee outpost opened its doors in 2015, sculpted from wood sourced from the surrounding forests and with an elegant pine, light and pastel-filled interior. Located in a region known for its salt sources, this “white gold” plays a major role in the VIVAMAYR spa area – with its sole steam bath, indoor swimming pool with salt water pool, Watsu treatment in a highly concentrated salt tub and sauna with rock salt wall – highlighting again the natural connection to a healthier life.