We’re celebrating 16 years of Outlook Traveller with a bunch of great travel ideas for you. These include Destinations, Drives, Adventures, Cruises, Food, Festivals and Hotels.
In this list, we bring you some of the wildest and luxury hotel experiences from around the world. Whether you're looking for a luxurious stay in the middle of a lush rain forest in Bali; a sojourn in a glass igloo somewhere beyond the Arctic circle; a check-in at a spectacular fort in Rajasthan; or a stay amongst 1,000-year-old trees in Shanghai, we have it all laid out for you. So sit back and start dreaming about these 6 amazing hotels!
Aman Resorts have long been known for their unusual luxury properties, usually distinguished by spectacular settings. But their latest promises to outdo them all. The making of Amanyangyun is itself an astonishing story: when the construction of a reservoir in Jiangxi province threatened to submerge an ancient camphor tree forest as well as about 50 Ming and Qing dynasty houses, a team of botanists, engineers, architects and craftsmen relocated the trees and homes to Shanghai. A decade-long conservation effort has resulted in this stunning resort, featuring millenarian trees, ornamental lakes and painstakingly reconstructed villas and suites. All with the signature Aman touch, of course. Opening autumn 2017. See aman.com/resorts/amanyangyu
Alila Fort Bishangarh, Rajasthan
Just when you thought you were done and dusted with the Golden Triangle and the attendant Rajput ‘heritage hotels’, Rajasthan throws a surprise at you. Next time you’re on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, veer off before Jaipur and drive a few kilometres into an undiscovered world. The Alila Fort Bishangarh looms atop a granite hill, but could fool you into thinking it is sculpted from the hill itself. The superbly renovated ‘warrior fort’ will welcome guests from this July, offering a range of luxurious but not OTT accommodations, fine foods, a spa and an altogether dreamy escape. Introductory package ₹12,000 for 2N for two; alilahotels.com/fortbishangarh.
Hanging Gardens of Bali
High luxury in a deep forest? Treat yourself at this stunning resort in the heart of Ubud, Bali. Overlooking the Ayung river, rice terraces and lush rainforests, the award-winning resort continues to wow guests. Of special note is the pool, lauded for its unique multi-level design which offers an experience akin to swimming in the clouds above the forests. All 44 villas feature roofs thatched with alang-alang, private terraces and pools, and are set amid gardens bursting with cocoa, coffee, bamboo and orchid trees. Naturally, in the land of the world’s best masseurs, the spa is another treat. From $437 doubles; hanginggardensofbali.com
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
Some 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, in the heart of Finnish Lapland, is an astonishingly beautiful place that’s surprisingly easy to get to. A half-hour drive away from Ivalo airport, itself connected to Helsinki, Kakslauttenen is where you can watch a magical winter wonderland come alive. A couple will want to stay in a glass igloo—lie on beds and gaze up at the Northern Lights (August to April). A family should opt for the new kelo-glass igloo, which features a glass igloo attached to a traditional log hut (sleeps up to six). True adventuristas will visit in the dead of winter and stay in a snow igloo, snug in a sleeping bag while it’s -40°C outside. From €328 for two; kakslauttanen.fi/en/
Book and Bed, Tokyo
Now this is a pod a bookworm could happily burrow into. A novel hostel in Tokyo (and Kyoto and Fukuoka) offers pod-style bunk beds with a difference: the beds are tucked behind shelves groaning with some 1,700 books. The website says “the perfect setting for a good night’s sleep you will not find here”, but they’re not being inhospitable, discourtesy not being a Japanese thing. It’s a way of saying: fall asleep in the comfort of a book. The books are not for sale but many are, thankfully, in English. Located next to Ikebukoro station and a few minutes’ ride from other major stations and sightseeing spots. From ¥3,800 (credit cards only); bookandbedtokyo.com
Waterfront Granary, Kochi, Kerala
Next time you’re in Fort Kochi, don’t stay in Fort Kochi. How? By staying in adjacent Mattanchery. And why? Because there’s now a fabulous hotel, converted from a 19th-century granary and offering a stylish, peaceful retreat just a threshold away from the bustling centre of spices trade. Owned by a Kutchi Memoni family that migrated to Cochin from Gujarat in the early 1800s, the Waterfront Granary hotel features splendid rooms with bright furnishings and Athangudi tiles, a ‘museum’ with artefacts,
yoga, massages and all the usual luxe offerings. And then some unusual ones, such as traditional Kutchi food. A bonus: views of the backwater from the terrace and deck. From approx. ₹6,000; thewaterfrontgranary.com.