Promoting a ‘tropical state of mind’, Amani Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar offers life through a lens of lush technicolour. The bright white of Paje Beach, ranked one of the top 30 island beaches in the world, the intense blues of the Indian Ocean and the fresh greens of the graceful palms are contrasted with cream and pale wood tones in the guest rooms. ‘Amani’ in Swahili means peace and the adagio tempo here allows guests to relax and regenerate – flitting between pool and ocean, ocean and pool by day and spending evenings sampling Zanzibari cuisine to the sound of the waves. Kick things up a notch, with perfect conditions for kitesurfing, scuba diving and dolphin spotting.
SLH Insider Tip: Explore Omani architecture, spice markets and labyrinth alleys with beautiful carved doorways in Zanzibar’s atmospheric and UNESCO-listed capital Stone Town.
Arctic Bath is in the village of Harads, a micro-destination for luxury travellers in an area often referred to as northern Europe’s ‘last wilderness’. The 12-room hotel floats during the summer and freezes into ice during the winter, and centres around a giant open-air ice bath ringed by three saunas, a spa treatment room and hot baths. Six individual ‘water’ cabins sleep two with overwater decks providing a perfect Northern Lights lookout in the winter and a place to take in the novelty of the midnight sun in the summer. Six larger ‘land’ cabins have been built on the shore, all with glass walls also offering first-class seats for these natural phenomena. The spa focuses around the benefits of a traditional Swedish wellness experience (sauna, hydrotherapy and cold bath), incorporating natural products from botanically-based Swedish skincare brand Kerstin Florian and honest nutrition that brings together nature and the elements.
SLH Insider Tip: Embrace the destination by indulging in a signature ‘Spa Ritual’, a socially distanced treatment that guests can enjoy at their own pace, a ‘Sauna Gauss’ where a spa therapist guides guests in the ice bath with breathing exercises, or venture outdoors on a moose-calling safari led by local guide Mikael Suorra.
Tucked away in the monastic village of Certosa on the Italian-Austrian border, Hotel Zur Goldenen Rose’s location surrounded by mountains, glaciers and larch forests creates a real sense of serenity and harmony with the great outdoors. The free-spirited owners, Stefania and Paul Gruner, have created an inviting and informal hotel that encourages guests to bring everyday life ‘to a screeching halt’ – something that they do unobtrusively and on each guest’s terms. Local Tyrolean materials have been used to create a naturally-inspired environment, private terraces allow guests to enjoy the surrounding sights and sounds with seclusion, and food sourced almost entirely from the Val Senales is there to be savoured.
Outdoors explore the Senales Glacier (the film set for the movie Everest), climb the 3580m to the top of Hohe Wilde and visit Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s new art installation on nearby glacier Hochjochferner which invites visitors to see manmade climate change from wider planetary and glacial perspectives. Guests can also make the most of 40km of ski slopes, some on the glacier itself, accessed by 17 lifts. On return to the hotel, relax in the open-air sauna reached via a treetop walkway, reflect in Gloriette, a glass pavilion with an open fireplace, chill in the ice grotto hollowed out of Martell granite or indulge in a soothing GLACISSE treatment.
SLH Insider Tip: Book the new Penthouse Rose Suite to take advantage of a kitchenette, lounge area and large terrace complete with its own Finnish sauna. Junior Suites also have their own private saunas.
Since 1954 the Nagoya TV Tower has been a symbol of this Japanese city and now it has been reimagined as a cutting-edge hotel. Nagoya itself is known as an industrial and creative hub (from traditional ceramics to being the HQ of Toyota) and The Tower Hotel Nagoya has fashioned a calm, collaborative space with art at its soul. Living-gallery interiors showcase Tokai pottery and modern Japanese craftsmanship, and guestrooms are individually decorated with paintings, photographs, videos and textiles from local artists alongside unusual structural steel components.
A different culinary experience is available on each floor – from open-air Farm& serving coffee and craft beers to Lily which overlooks neighbouring Central Park and Glycine (meaning wisteria) on the fourth floor which puts a modern spin on local specialities, produce and flavours. Outside the hotel explore the city’s history – is it said to be the home of both samurai and ninja culture and is home to many beautiful temples. Flip the switch and go futuristic at the Science Museum with the world’s largest planetarium dome (Brother Earth), Tornado Lab and -30° Deep Freeze Lab.
SLH Insider Tip: Located in the heart of Japan, Nagoya is superbly linked by the Shinkansen bullet train so makes an ideal stop-off between Toyko (1 hour 40 minutes) and Kyoto (35 minutes). Plan your hop-on hop-off Japanese itinerary here.