Rest Your Head - Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa

TIERRA PATAGONIA HOTEL & SPAPatagonia, Chile

Stretching across Chile and Argentina, Southern Patagonia is chiefly a land of vast, desolate steppes, and has long lured travellers by its spellbinding landscapes and storied peaks carved by age-old glaciers. In the countries’ numerous national parks, snow-capped mountains, cobalt fjords and old-growth forests lend the region an inimitable almost-the-end-of-the-world feel. At the southernmost tip of the Americas, high precipitation and cold air combine to create huge glaciers that spill into numerous fjords, whilst icebergs rupture with dramatic roars from ancient, massive glaciers. Located on the eastern border of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, celebrated Chilean architect Cazú Zegers’ visually stunning Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa makes an immediate and lasting impression, like a prehistoric animal fossil beached on the shore of the lake.

The shape of the building was dictated by the wind, a prominent natural element which is characteristic of the area, and its form seeks to join the metaphysical landscape of the location to the structure. Meanwhile the hotel (lest we forget that it is actually a hotel, rather than a massive art installation) is anchored to the ground with stone embankments and entirely covered with panelling of washed lenga – a native wood which grows in Tierra del Fuego, one of the most southern places on earth – in order to achieve the silver colouration common of water-corroded timber.

Inside, the remarkable building is dominated by immense floor-to-ceiling windows, which proffer extraordinary views across Lago Sarmiento towards the breathtaking granite monoliths of the Cordillera del Paine mountains. It is impossible not to be impressed by the dramatic surrounding Patagonian landscapes the hotel looks out upon. Throughout the building, the playful interplay of wood ceilings, walls constructed from timber boards of differing lengths, and floorboards laid at angles give the overall design an utterly unique feeling of energy and flow.

Whilst the hotel’s great room seamlessly unites a sitting area, bar, dining space and inviting fireplace, the forty guest rooms (including three duplex suites) display largely the same aesthetic but are appointed with simple but smart furnishings that impart an intimate elegance to their interiors. Bathrooms are well lit by natural light, and offer more dramatic views alongside walk-in showers and deep tubs.

Days are spent hiking to spectacular mountain vistas (mostly led by Chilean guides) and returning for a swim or a massage in the spa, and ended with a superb meal accompanied by Chilean wines as the sun sets on the rocky pinnacles in the distance.

Click here for video

Rest Your Head - ARIA HOTEL

ARIA HOTELBudapest, Hungary

Straddling the wide river Danube, which separates hilly Buda from level Pest, the Hungarian capital today offers one of the most striking metropolitan panoramas in Europe. Long hidden behind the Iron Curtain, in recent years Budapest has rightfully regained its reputation as one of the most vibrant capitals of central Europe, not least for its ability to both embrace and champion the past, present and future. Indeed, old frequently meets new during Budapest’s renowned “spa parties”, held in the city’s famed thermal baths. Meanwhile fine cuisine, buzzing cafés, happening nightlife, rich heritage and striking turn-of-the-century buildings juxtaposed with contemporary modern-day architecture fill the city from corner to corner. But, most of all, Budapest is a metropolis of music. From the classics of Bartók and Kodály to the contemporary fusion of folk, klezmer, jazz and gypsy sounds, the Hungarian capital is positively alive with the sound of music.

Opened in 2015 in the footsteps of its sister property in Prague, the 49-room Aria Hotel is quite literally a music-themed property. Whether you’re a music fanatic or simply a connoisseur of boutique city centre hotels, staying at Aria Hotel is one of the funkiest places to rest your head in the Hungarian capital, and its unbeatable location will put you within easy walking distance of the opera house, parliament building and Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Housed within a neoclassical former bank which dates back to the 1880s (note the original spiral staircase), and the brainchild of Henry Kallan, president of New York-based Library Hotel Collection, highlights include quite possibly one of the coolest rooftop bars in the city, boasting killer views of the domes of St. Stephen’s Basilica, pictured. There are also an enticing subterranean spa and swimming pool, and a soaring garden courtyard cum lobby, of which the centrepiece is a space-age piano, designed by the famed Hungarian pianist Gergely Bogányi and one of only two such instruments in the world.

Bedrooms are spacious, modern, elegant, relatively unfussy and split into four wings, each representing a different musical genre. Cream and blue dominate the lodgings in the classical wing, whilst contemporary rooms are much bolder and brighter. All sport lots of marble and are enlivened by striking ornaments. Our favourite is the 66m² Romeo & Juliet suite, with a king bedded room, separate lounge and access to a spacious semi-private balcony overlooking the charming cobblestone street the hotel is situated on.

Rest Your Head - ATLAS HOTEL

An exceptionally well-preserved example of a typical Southeast Asian trading port, dating from the 15th – 19th centuries, the ancient town of Hội An is an enticing destination to spend two or three days, with its lazy river lined with mustard-coloured merchants’ houses, and soft sandy beaches a few kilometres away. Since cars and even motorbikes are banned from the centre of Hội An, and the bicycle is king, the sprawling old town may be a little touristy, but its atmosphere verges on dreamy and it can absorb a number of visitors without losing its relatively authentic Vietnamese feel.

Hội An largely owes its charmingly well-preserved state to the silting-up of the Thu Bồn river in the 19th century. Whilst this put an end to the town’s importance as a trading post, it helped it to escape modern development and US bombing, the cumulative result of which is what travellers enjoy today. But, in recent years, not least since it was officially recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the heart of the Old Town has grown a little too rapidly to capitalise on the burgeoning tourism industry, and sadly many of its ancient houses have been converted into shops and restaurants. The neighbourhood once well known for its beautiful tiled roofs and internal courtyards – which provided a layered, spatial quality between inner and outer spaces – has slowly been eroded. Some would argue that the Old Town has lost a great deal of its original charm, calmness and peaceful way of life.

Positioned on an irregular plot of land which its designers have used to give the 48-room property a unique character, building Atlas hotel above the site completely freed-up the ground floor to create an inter-connected network of internal courtyards. Whilst this spatial quality reflects the dynamism of the new linear Hội An, it also nods to the charm of the Old Town and has been constructed so as not to further diminish the town’s original feel. And by installing more than 100 cantilevering concrete planters, lush greenery tumbles from all of the façades’ sandstone balconies, as well as along the hotel’s narrow corridors and rooftop. The overall effect is a unique place to rest your head which gently yet effectively reconnects guests with nature, whilst offering all the modern-day amenities a 21st century city break vacationer demands, including a restaurant, healthcare centre and spa, gym and swimming pool.

Rest Your Head - LAS VENTANAS AL PARAÍSO

A destination full of tremendous contrasts, from seas to deserts and mountains to lush countryside, Los Cabos is also known as “Land’s End” for being situated at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. There is literally something here for every type of holidaymaker, including unparalleled natural beauty, biodiversity and a range of amenities to appeal to all personalities.

Consisting primarily of two towns – San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas – linked by a 20-mile corridor lined with world-class resorts, championship golf courses and luxury hotels, to many travellers in the know, San José del Cabo is the less energetic and slightly more sophisticated twin sister of Cabo San Lucas. Whilst Cabo San Lucas is the party-loving Mexican wild child, her more sensible and elegant sibling, San José del Cabo, with art galleries, colourful homes, delightful Plaza Mijares and charming shops, dotted throughout with beautiful jacaranda trees, is the chosen locale for discerning holidaymakers dining at some of the best restaurants in the region.

In between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, deluxe 83-room Rosewood resort property, Las Ventanas Al Paraíso, occupies a generous swathe of oceanfront land, a vast proportion of which is dedicated to the art of pampering its lucky guests. There is no reception at Las Ventanas. Instead, your affable personal butler greets you on arrival with a margarita, your bags disappear and your vacation is underway. 

A meandering network of terraces, suites, pools, eateries and bars, combined with such intense attention to detail the like of which most will never have experienced before, make this Mexican-cum-Mediterranean resort one of the most exquisite locations on the Pacific. Furnished with the works of local artisans, from tapestries and murals to hand-carved cedar doors and terracotta fireplaces, every inch of Las Ventanas connects the property with its surroundings and local culture, everything skilfully evoking the essence of Mexico’s Baja region. Dishes at the Sea Grill are served raw or cooked using a wood-burning grill or oven. The incredible spa has a hydro-thermal system. The service is attentive in a way that only a mind-reader could possibly provide. In short, Las Ventanas is a dream Mexican vacation destination.

Rest Your Head - ATHENSWAS HOTEL

The Greek capital is a city where ancient history lies side by side with modern society, fashion, culture, food, art and music. At every turn, ancient ruins form part of Athens’ unique urban landscape. Whether dining atop the iconic Hotel Grande Bretagne on eye level with the Acropolis, or looking at ruins of the partially excavated ancient city adjacent to a modern built-up area, Athens is awash with culture and history.

Plaka is like a village within the city, located in the shadow of the Acropolis, and exudes a somewhat cutesy island feel for those who don’t have the time to visit the stunning Greek Islands. AthensWas is located on the edge of Plaka, on cobbled pedestrianised Dionysiou Areopagitou, lined by plane trees and just two blocks from the Acropolis Museum. Part of the so-called “archaeological promenade” which leads from the Temple of Olympian Zeus to the Acropolis, the hotel is in the perfect location for those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of this characterful part of the city, and are happy to revel in its lively nightlife and vibrant restaurants before retiring to relative calmness.

Having apparently taken its main cue from the urban landscape that surrounds it, the hotel’s decor is slick, contemporary and unpretentious, with a touch of classical modernism. There are nods to Greece’s heritage throughout the property by way of a permanent exhibition featuring photographs from the nearby archaeological museum. Lovers of 20th century designer furniture are also catered for in the marble and walnut interior which showcases retro-chic furniture by Modernists such as Le Corbusier and Eileen Gray.

All 21 rooms and suites have balconies, large comfy beds (with pillow menus), a desk area and a designer armchair to collapse into after a busy day of sightseeing. Bathrooms stocked with Korres toiletries are spacious and marble-lined with big walk-in showers. Super Deluxe rooms have Acropolis views. The best accommodation in the building, the 110m² Hellenic Grande Suite, occupies the hotel’s entire 6th floor, and comprises two bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a large veranda furnished with sofas and dining table for al fresco soirées in the shadow of the dramatically illuminated Acropolis by night.

Rest Your Head - VENTANA BIG SUR

When the winter storms caused a landslide in the Big Sur Valley, seriously damaging the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and forcing the closure of Highway One, things came to a grinding halt in Big Sur, one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. And when most travellers were prevented from visiting this treasured 90-mile stretch of redwood and fog-trimmed Californian waterfront – between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Hearst Castle – most campgrounds, hotels and splurge-worthy resorts had to temporarily shutter as a result. These included the 19th century award-winning cliff-hugging homestead, Post Ranch Inn, and the luxurious 160-acre Ventana Big Sur, formerly the Ventana Inn & Spa, which boasts an enchanting backdrop of verdant woodlands and sparkling blue waters, creating the most picturesque ambiance imaginable. But the beloved adults-only Ventana used the enforced break to undergo an extensive renovation and refurbishment program, and will re-open on 20th October as Alila’s debut North American property, to coincide with the opening of a newly constructed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, reconnecting Big Sur to the rest of the world.

Built more than four decades ago, Ventana’s multimillion-dollar reimagination of its 59 guest rooms and suites has enhanced rather than changed the hotel’s already plush and much-loved rustic design aesthetic. All guest rooms include a private balcony or patio, where breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains or Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed and savoured. The liberal addition of rich leathers, high quality timber furnishings, macramé wall hangings and handcrafted accessories has elevated guest accommodations to new luxurious standards.

Other updates include the revamping of Social House lounge as an enclave designed for socialising with other guests, complete with a collection of vinyl, pool table, board games and an intimate bar. Meanwhile, Sur House restaurant, with its famed 10,000-bottle cellar, features an expanded terrace so that more people can dine al fresco.

For those looking for a special break, luxe resort experiences include two, private outdoor Spa Alila cabanas overlooking the redwood forest, for an even more serene experience. And a standalone Cottage House – the property’s largest and most luxurious guest accommodation at 722ft² – boasts an outdoor hot tub, oversized hammock and sprawling stone bathroom complete with an indoor soaking tub for two. Not to mention incredible forest canyon views and complete and utter privacy. Perhaps the collapse of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and the forced closure of Highway One had a silver hospitality lining after all.

Rest Your Head - ONYADO CHIKURINTEI

ONYADO CHIKURINTEITakeo-Onsen, Japan

Nestled between the more popular Fukuoka and Nagasaki prefectures, the historic Japanese prefecture of Saga, in the north of Kyushu, is often underrated and overlooked. But with more than 10% of Saga dedicated to parks its natural beauty is hard to ignore, and is well worth a visit for those travelling around Japan. Saga is one of the few prefectures where surf meets ski. Karatsu offers some of the best surfing in Kyushu, while Tenzan Ski Resort offers an altogether more alpine experience. From the top of Mount Sefuri – the largest in the Sefuri Mountain Range – the views of this stunning region are breathtaking, and the climb is a mere 3 hours to the peak.

Set within the lush Mifuneyama Rakuen Garden, which dates from the latter Edo Period, in Takeo-Onsen hot spring town with a 1,300-year history, the serene and extraordinarily exquisite Onyado Chikurintei inn features just 11 elegant and exquisitely fashioned guest rooms surrounded by dense wild forest and 495,000m² of landscaped gardens, including a number of rare cherry blossom trees. Each guest room has been lovingly designed with its own unique personality, to seamlessly integrate the architecture into the tranquil natural environment that surrounds Onyado Chikurintei, and take full advantage of its unique setting and historic location.

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed into an intimate entrance area, where they remove their shoes before stepping onto the tatami floor. Vast, window-lined hallways lead visitors to their private rooms, with transparent glazing seemingly bringing the outdoors in, and the walk itself feeling much like a peaceful transition into the beautiful nature that surrounds the site. Room layouts have been designed to maximise the scenic views of the surrounding gardens and tune guests into Mifuneyama Rakuen garden’s hundreds of thousands of trees and flowering plants which provide a kaleidoscope of differing colours in each of the four seasons.

Onyado Chikurintei‘s largest and most exclusive accommodation is the VIP ‘SHUHO’ room, a spacious and serene space that once hosted Japan’s Imperial family, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

Click here for video

Rest Your Head - MADE HOTEL

MADE HOTELNew York City, USA

Named for the neighbourhood’s acronym (NOrth of MADison Square Park), whilst many New Yorkers cite the NoMad district as quintessential New York, considering its position in the heart of Manhattan – pretty much as central as it gets – it’s a bit odd that the area between 26th and 30th Streets, Park Avenue and Broadway didn’t, until relatively recently, even have a name. Formerly home to the late 19th century and early 20th century music publishing mecca known as Tin Pan Alley, today the area oozes a high-energy buzz from the daytime hustle of its creative and enthusiastic residents always looking for better ways to live, work and play. Plentiful restaurants serve cuisine as diverse as the clientele who dine in them. There are a plethora of niche amenities, the like of which one would only ever find in Manhattan, such as the New York Dog Spa and Hotel and even a Museum of Sex. And now there are more than a few design-led hotels in on the hospitality action.

The first to open was Ace Hotel in 2009, whose restaurants and lobby bar soon began to lure trendy downtowners to its obscure patch of Broadway. Other hotels soon followed, including the 168-room NoMad, occupying a stunning 1903 Beaux-Arts tower on Broadway at 28th Street, and the 254-room Redbury New York, sibling of its famous sister properties in Hollywood and South Beach. Everything in NoMad is but a short jaunt from the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, the Theatre District, Fashion District and Museum Row, making the location uber convenient for all.

108-room MADE Hotel debuted in New York’s burgeoning NoMad district last month, spread across 18 storeys and meticulously conceptualised by Los Angeles-based design firm Studio MAI as a sustainable urban hospitality concept, based on an ecoconscious material palette without sacrificing luxury.

Elements of global simplicity feature strongly within MADE’s rooms and suites, simultaneously humbling and adding raw elegance to their interiors, whilst also showcasing a number of bespoke fixtures and fittings, such as a custom raw bronze shelving system that connects the closet and desk, and allows guests to have some fun and games getting the space just the way they want it to function. Rich handwoven fabrics, polished stainless-steel mirrors and hand-carved benches contrast solid white oak walls and flumed white oak flooring. The overall effect is one of subdued yet well-designed and restrained sophistication, which is something New Yorkers are generally not used to seeing in their hotels. Perhaps this new minimal yet natural feel, laden with special design touches, is made for the new New York.

Rest Your Head - THE HOXTON, PARIS

Located directly north of the 1st arrondissement, the smallest of all the arrondissements, the unassuming 2eme is known for its banking and business presence, particularly for housing the Bourse – the historic HQ of the Paris stock exchange. The 2nd arrondissement is also a haven of fashion and food, lined with covered commercial passageways, trendy boutiques and vibrant open-air markets, some of which date back to 19th century. Most notable are the circular Place des Victoires, one of the oldest royal squares in Paris, and La Gallerie Vivienne, a gorgeous 19th century covered arcade that’s simply perfect for an afternoon of coffee and shopping. The open-air market on pedestrianised Rue Motorgueil is one of the city’s oldest, and a host of speciality food shops sell everything from bread, wine and cheese to fresh fish and cut flowers. The 2nd arrondissement is also home to the textile district, known as the Sentier. It is in the epicentre of this cool part of the French capital – in an enviable position on Rue du Sentier – that supremely funky hospitality brand Hoxton recently opened its hot new Paris hotel.

The fourth outpost from what one of the world’s most exciting hotel groups, Hoxton Paris is the largest to date in the brand’s portfolio, with 172 guestrooms complemented by a brasserie, cocktail bar, two courtyards, seven meeting rooms and a communal pantry-style kitchen. Housed within an imposing 18th century townhouse originally designed by architect Nicolas d’Orbay for Etienne Rivié, a courtier to King Louis XV, the building sat empty for more than a decade and was last used as a clothing factory. Taking inspiration from the diversity and originality of the streets and scenes that surround it, a trio of design firms spent four years carefully renovating the ‘monument historique’ – a title it shares with the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame. Parisian studio Humbert & Poyet created the bedrooms, Soho House the public spaces, and Ennismore Creative Studio oversaw the project. As a result, the space has been skilfully reimagined and the history of the property beautifully captured through cornicing, panels and reclaimed oak chevron flooring, juxtaposed with contemporary feature walls and laminates to create an ultra-edgy urban haven of contemporary chic in a historic setting.

Rest Your Head - THE MACAU ROOSEVELT

Whilst Macau has worked hard to forge its reputation as the Las Vegas of Asia, Taipa Village, with its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, is one of the few areas where you can seemingly step back in time and enjoy quiet strolls along pedestrianised streets and hidden, characterful alleys, thus offering a welcome respite to the high octane Cotai casino area. The best-preserved area of historical Taipa Island, and home to Portuguese architecture and Mediterranean influences alongside Chinese architectural features, Taipa Village offers rich cultural heritage and a host of authentic local delights, including museums, colonial churches and Chinese temples. It is against this colourful backdrop – tucked away in its own corner of Taipa yet set well away from the area’s other hotels – that The Macau Roosevelt recently opened its glamorous doors, looking onto Macau’s racecourse and over the Hengqin River towards China.

Pairing a modernist design and the glamorous golden age of Hollywood with champagne-popping views, Roosevelt’s first outpost outside the States was fashioned by talented yet fierce Iceland-born Los Angeles-based female architect Gulla Jónsdóttir, and has added a noticeable dash of exclusivity to Taipa and indeed Macau overall.

Given the Roosevelt brand’s colourful past (including hosting the first Academy Awards in 1929), there was a lot of pressure to get things right for its first overseas property. But, in the very capable hands of Jónsdóttir, local Chinese owner Yoho Group need not have worried about the outcome of its debut hotel. The Macau Roosevelt has literally overnight become the insider address for music makers, fashionistas and adventurous socialites alike, tapping into a Tinseltown design aesthetic, stylistically dated back to when Southern California epitomised glamour like nowhere else.

The hotel’s 368 rooms are sumptuous yet not overpowering, with white oak flooring and a lavish use of materials such as bronze and stone in creative ways. In corner suites, a built-in wood and marble window seat doubles as a desk. Large timber dividers in bathrooms are set against bronze doors and black and white marble feature walls carved with an organic pattern akin to inkblots. At the top of the building, the hotel’s duplex suites – named after Hollywood Roosevelt regular Marilyn Monroe – are akin to glamorous penthouse playgrounds, and boast rooftop hot tubs and multiple beds, creating some of the most decadent yet fun lodgings to rest one’s head in Macau.

Rest Your Head - THE BROADVIEW HOTEL

With Niagara Falls just two hours away, a super-efficient transportation system and the welcoming Torontonians always smiling and ready to help, there are many reasons to visit North America’s fourth-largest city. Buzzing during term time with a few hundred thousand students and a population representing a couple of hundred nations, all frequenting the city’s excellent restaurants, theatres, museums and art galleries, there is plenty to see and do in Toronto.

When it comes to trendy neighbourhoods, Toronto’s east side traditionally lagged behind more westerly hot spots such as College Street’s Little Italy. But nowadays Queen St. East is the new Queen St. West, and the formerly industrial stretch known as Leslieville has emerged as one of the city’s hippest places to eat, drink, shop and live. Over the past decade, the east side has attracted an influx of young homebuyers who have changed the dynamic and like to dine out and spend their cash in cool places close to home, with much of the excitement now centred on Gerrard Street.

The Broadview Hotel on Queen St. East opened in July 2017 after a three-year renovation and restoration process, represents one of Toronto’s most enormous transformations, and is another fine example of fresh buzz again being injected into the city’s east side. Officially named Dingman’s Hall and erected by a soap maker in 1891, who thought that the neighbourhood could use a community hub, what was once a bicycle club, residential complex and latterly a rooming-house and notorious strip club, has been transformed from a structurally unsound wreck into a lovingly realised boutique hotel, complete with a funky café-bar on street level and a seventh-floor rooftop bar and deck surrounding a preserved tower, which was the tallest structure in the area until recently. Indeed, Broadview’s rooftop was one of the summer’s most happening hang outs for miles around.

A building with such character and multiple layers of history gave the hotel’s designers – DesignAgency – lots of freedom to play off different eras and genres. This playfulness is obvious in every party of the property, not least the 58 rooms and suites which feel a little like boudoirs, decorated with rich velvet curtains, patterned textiles, and the occasional utility pole that functions as the support for bedside tables or mirrors while also resembling a brass pole. Every room has a record player and selection of vinyl hand-picked by the hotel’s east-end neighbour, Tiny Record Shop, mini bars are stocked with goods from local purveyors, and marble-lined uber retro bathrooms are stocked with toiletries from another east-end company, Graydon Skincare. When it comes to Toronto’s east side, it’s all about keeping it real and keeping it in the family.

Rest Your Head - LANSERHOF LANS

LANSERHOF LANSLans, Austria

The picture postcard homely Austrian village of Lans, about 8km from Innsbruck, is renowned throughout Tyrol for its lake of glacial origin. Despite being situated at a height of 980m, in high summer the water temperature can rise to 25 degrees making it perfect for bathing. Whilst in the winter months, Lake Lans transforms into an ice skating rink. Being at the foot of 2,246m-high Patscherkofel mountain, Lans also offers direct access to a bijou resort boasting a very acceptable 18km of ski slopes and 8 lifts. Whilst it is here that Austrian alpine skier Franz Klammer won his gold medal in the 1986 Winter Olympics, the area is also famous for being the site of Lanserhof Group’s first medical spa.

Opened more than thirty years ago amidst a scenic setting of meadows, expansive forests and the dramatic Alpine backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Lanserhof Lans combines the best of a luxury health retreat and a medical resort in one location, the famous LANS Med concept being universally recognised as one of the world’s leading detox regimes.

Previously a serious clinic with very few frills, with treatments more medicinal rather than pampering, Lanserhof Lans has just put the finishing touches to an eight-month US$ 26 million renovation, sensitively designed by Düsseldorf-based architect Christoph Ingenhoven. The substantial makeover, including the addition of a new five-storey curvilinear building, has elevated Lanserhof Lans to a luxury all singing all dancing mega-retreat, complete with a sublime spa incorporating a saltwater pool and gym. Treatments are tailored to individuals’ needs, and doctors and specialists are on hand to encourage guests to live a more vital life once they leave.

The new guest room structure houses a collection of 67 light and airy contemporary suites, all dressed in a soothing mineral-based palette, and filled with sensory materials such as wood, stone, linen and loden, the latter being a thick, water-resistant short-piled woollen fabric, first produced by Austrian peasants. Residents are treated to views of soaring mountains to the north and bucolic forests to the south. At the top of the building, the 65m² open-plan Grand Penthouse Suite, complete with private roof terrace, provides incredible mountain views via a curved bank of floor-to-ceiling windows (from EUR 1,750/night).

A minimum of seven days is required to get rid of the rubbish, unblock the pipes, start to regenerate one’s body and let the energy flow unimpeded. If you’re going to totally clear your mind and learn to understand the importance of taking time out to properly reboot and recharge, Lanserhof Lans is surely the place to do it.

Rest Your Head - OBEROI SUKHVILAS

250 km from New Delhi, heading northwards towards fresh mountain air and a more conventional seasonal climate, lies an Indian city of just over a million people which was planned by world renowned Swiss-French architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier. Originally dreamed-up by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Chandigarh is located in the foothills of the Sivalik Hills, a mountain range of the outer Himalayas. Renowned and admired countrywide, Chandigarh is one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in India. Streets are straight, clean and organised in a grid system, with different districts marking out neighbourhoods. The city is well kept, tidy and ordered. A large proportion of its residents are affluent, proud and generally well-to-do. Basically, Chandigarh is an organised revelation in a country where organised chaos is so very often the norm.

More than twenty years ago, the Oberoi Group reimagined India’s princely tradition of grandiose country retreats and made it relevant for the modern hospitality industry. Late last year, the premium Indian hotel chain arrived in the Punjab with a major opening and one of the country’s most talked-about new spa resorts: Oberoi Sukhvilas, situated thirty minutes outside Chandigarh’s centre, surrounded by more than 8,000 acres of protected forest.

Entered via a sequence of landscaped courtyards, surrounded by arches and colonnaded verandas, Oberoi Sukhvilas really is a hotel of divine splendour. Gilded finials gleam above domed rooftops. Towering brass-framed doors rise from floors of red sandstone. Fountains, streams and reflection pools are all around. Tranquillity and class abound as if one had stepped into another mystical, frescoed world.

Whilst some sixty bedrooms, villas, tents and suites artfully combine Northern Indian features and motifs with chandeliers, four-poster beds, acres of teak, and throws and cushions in Punjabi reds and greens, it is the resort’s show-stopping 12,000ft2 spa which is Oberoi Sukhvilas’s pièce de résistance.

Offering a custom-designed menu of Ayurvedic therapies, spa facilities include a steam sauna, an infrared sauna, a vitality pool, a Turkish hammam and a Roman tepidarium. It also offers courses of Ayurvedic treatments masterminded by Ram Kumar, an eminence among India’s Ayurvedic doctors, and a veritable coup for a hotel chain which only twenty years ago opened its first game-changing Indian country retreat, Rajvilas. In Oberoi Sukhvilas, the purpose-built palace hotel, combining traditional Indian design and contemporary Western facilities, has been brought glamorously up to date.

Rest Your Head - CHABLÉ

Half an hour from the Yucatán state’s capital of Mérida, conceptualised more than a decade ago and making its hospitality début last year, the aim with Chablé was always to go beyond just another hacienda-style resort to create a calm and peaceful place for wellness and complete relaxation, and not only restore the traditional XIX-century buildings, but also reignite the prosperity the property enjoyed centuries ago and to tie it back to the community.

The result is a resort which blends five-star hospitality, superior cuisine, the world’s largest tequila collection and an enviable location within a mystical natural environment, anchored by a spa and spread across 750 acres in the heart of the steamy Mayan jungle, providing the utmost in privacy, intimacy and tranquillity. Basically, right now Chablé is the coolest spot in Latin America’s to kick off your shoes, disconnect and relax.

Chablé is very much a hotel of two halves: a stunning modern spa and painstakingly restored 19th century hacienda. Yet at the heart of Chablé is a traditional Mayan garden – consisting of raised beds made from local woods and constructed without using man-made elements – recreating 17th century harvesting techniques that had not been used for many generations.

Chablé’s world-class spa has been built alongside a private and natural cenote – a natural limestone swimming hole celebrated by Mayans as the entrance into the sacred underworld – and the spa’s philosophy draws from this ancient culture to offer a wide range of Mayan-inspired treatments, harnessing the powers of the area’s most ancient techniques and ingredients mixed with modern amenities. Each treatment room has been placed within the lush gardens where nature can be enjoyed to its fullest.

Gourmands are amply catered for by consultant chef Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil in Mexico City (one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants), and his right-hand man, Luis Ronzon who helms all three of Chablé’s restaurants. As well as using the hotel’s own organic herbs and veggies, Ronzon sources the best ingredients from around Mexico and keeps menus light and inventive. After dinner rest your head in one of the resort’s forty villas, each with its own pool, hammock and outdoor shower.

The modern touches incorporated with Maya architecture, warm woods and original 19th century walls of the working hacienda are what make Chablé a veritable work of art. Every room has a view and every view is a living part of Chablé.

Rest Your Head - AVATON

Consisting of twenty monasteries and home to approximately 2,000 monks, Mount Athos is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world, the monastic center of the Greek Orthodox Church, a state-within-a-state, a veritable living museum of religion and the spiritual vortex of Greece. Located towards the top of the “third finger” of the Halkidiki prefecture, Mount Athos (or Agio Oros as it is also known) is home to the oldest surviving monastic community on Earth. The monks’ way of life is practically unchanged since they arrived in the 9th century. Most of them live within the walls of their chosen monastery, but others choose to live in complete isolation, away from any distractions. Women are not allowed within 500 metres of the shoreline, and even female animals are prohibited from walking on Mount Athos. This is because the Virgin Mary is said to have visited the peninsula and prayed to have it as her own. It is believed that the presence of women might distract the monks, tempting them away from true celibacy and leading them to sin.

In the shadow of the UNESCO World Heritage Mount and located at the top of Athos Peninsula in Halkidiki, Avaton Luxury Villas Resort (to give the property its full name) is one of the Greek mainland’s hidden hospitality gems, opened in 2015 and family owned and run.

Positioned directly on beautifully unspoilt Komitsa Beach, this boutique hotel offers a range of uber-modern townhouse-like villas which are more than amply equipped. Discerning travellers, holidaying couples and adventurous families alike are accommodated in two-bedroom units, stylishly decorated and laden with every modern-day convenience, including full kitchens for those who wish to self-cater. Many boast their own private plunge pools. A cluster of half a dozen premium split-level units offer direct access – via delightful little private back gardens – to a grassed path which leads across lush Mediterranean lawns towards Avaton’s beachfront champagne bar, perched on a petite hill. Boasting incredible sweeping views of Komitsa Bay, Avaton’s bar is the perfect place for an afternoon cocktail, fresh sushi lunch or evening sundowners, before heading out to the ancient city of Ouranoupoli just 15 mins away by car and filled with bustling tavernas and lively bars.

The beauty of Avaton is really in its unique, undisturbed location. Komitsa is virtually a private beach and Avaton’s team works tirelessly to ensure that it is kept in pristine condition for the resort’s guests to enjoy its full beauty, and bathe in the tranquil crystal-clear waters in peace and quiet every day of their stay.

Guests are waited on hand and foot whether at the beach, the bar or in the privacy of their lodgings, where meals selected from a vast and varied international menu can be served in-room or al fresco for a private dinner party-like experience. In-room spa treatments, private transfers via helicopter or limousine from Thessaloniki (Greece’s second city) and memorable cruises around nearby picturesque islands and breathtaking coastlines complete the ultimate deluxe Greek summer seaside experience.