Small Luxury Hotels of the World announced five new hotels joining its luxury collection in February. From a Buddhist sanctuary to a secluded Greek getaway, these hotels offer the independently minded traveller the perfect motivation for a future voyage.
Ayard of Ch’an – Leshan, China
Two magnificent courtyards play host to 47 elegantly appointed guestrooms at this ideally situated hotel in Leshan, an ancient and culturally rich city 120km from Chengdu. The first courtyard, “Xing Shen”, can loosely be translated to mean practice, while the other, “Jing Ly,” means meditation. Both terms are at home in this peaceful haven where the four room varieties also follow the phases of meditative practice. The hotel hosts a private meditation arbour, surrounded by great pine trees which provides a uniquely relaxing environment for true reflection. Guests can also take advantage of local tradition by visiting the teahouse to sample the customary Gongfu style of tea making or visit the onsite vegetarian restaurant that brings Sichuan flavors to the forefront of their master fare.
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale – Phuket, Thailand
Phuket in Thailand is well known for its party atmosphere and beautiful sandy beaches, however, Mom Tri’s Villa Royale has something completely different to offer visitors to this tropical island. Peace, tranquillity and natural beauty combine, beginning with the saltwater pool carved into the rocks, that greets guests on arrival. For those that seek culinary memories, the restaurant which hangs over the Andaman Sea provides much more than spectacular views, it also has over 750 different bottles of wine on offer and only uses local produce from the hotel’s own farm. With local culture and design in mind the hotel takes its name from renowned architect and artist Mom Luang Tridosyuth Devalus – aka Mom Tri. All rooms have balconies to make the most of the views, many with Jacuzzi tubs and sun loungers.
Domaine de Fontenille – Provence, France
In Provence food is an all-encompassing passion, a self-evident fact for any guest visiting this sprawling country retreat in the picturesque French countryside. The home once belonged to the Savornin family and the renovations have preserved the charm of an 18th-century grand estate, while an intriguing blend of historical character and modern furnishings brings the hotel gracefully into the 21st century. Seventeen rooms and suites take in views of the gardens, cedar Park and the Luberon hills and encourage guests to embrace the French art de vivre in which time stands still. Guests are encouraged to wander the estate in its entirety to discover separate gardens for quiet rest, relaxation or reading, dive into the outdoor pool, enjoy a massage at the spa or explore the trails that run through the family’s vineyard. Le Champs des Lunes – the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant also provides an exhaustive workout for the tastebuds courtesy of Chef Jérome Faure, with organic ingredients and handpicked wines from the Rhone.
Galle Fort Hotel – Galle, Sri Lanka
With a rich history dating back over three centuries, this Dutch mansion is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been meticulously restored, retaining the original 18th-century doors and windows in the building’s façade that are some of the best examples of their kind. Its colourful past as a gem merchant’s mansion, bakery, RAF barrack, post office and even a cricket ground only increases its intrigue. The restaurant serves the freshest seafood and vegetables with an exotic twist as the chefs take their inspiration from a voyage along the Spice Route. Each of the 14 rooms reflects the hotel’s philosophy, balancing history and luxury, and has its own personality. Garden Rooms open out on the frangipani-scented courtyard while the Mews Suite has a private garden and separate entrance.
Sesa Boutique Hotel – Preveza, Greece
With only seven rooms, Sesa Boutique hotel is an enticing private getaway. Opened seasonally (May to October) the hotel is in Preveza, a location yet to be discovered by the majority of tourists and therefore offering calm and authenticity in northwestern Greece. As its names spells out the hotel is based around the natural elements – Sea, Earth, Sand and Air – offering modern design that reflects the Ionian seascape and a deck that leads directly onto the white sand beach. Guests can take advantage of private loungers during the day or enjoy a cool drink and classic Mediterranean dishes given a contemporary makeover in SESA Restaurant, the best in the region, by night. Guests with children are also welcome – there are triple rooms with the option of additional cots or beds, and plenty to explore within the area, including boat trips to the tiny Paxoi Islands.
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