What is it about the summertime air that brings out the thrill seeker in us?
Now that travel is back on the agenda again, it’s only natural that we’re seeking out holidays where we can do more than just lie on the beach with a piña colada in hand. From heli-surfing to jungle treks, we’ve picked out the best hotels around the world for the perfect summer adventure.
THE PACKING EDIT
Miavana by Time + Tide, Madagascar
If you’re in the mood for castaway-chic, then Miavana by Time + Tide is the spot for you. Making the most of Madagascar’s incomparable natural diversity and isolated position in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Miavana creates the ultimate exclusive hideaway for its guests. Gain access to five uninhabited islands and up to 2,500 acres of wild terrain as you scuba dive with humpback whales, heli-surf to some killer swells, or find your zen with forest yoga. Feast on the best local ingredients like juicy mangoes, exquisite vanilla, pink peppercorns, or the sustainably produced Madagascar Rova Caviar as you relax in one of the 14 ocean-front villas.
Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize
Pack your hiking boots because you’ll be putting them to work in the 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest on Belize’s Guatemala border. Give your legs a break at director Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge, the riverside retreat that allows guests to live in harmony with nature. You’ll be safe and sound in your thatch-roofed cabana as the music of the jungle lulls you to sleep. Admire the multi-coloured tropical flowers that grow freely along the trails as you and your guide follow fresh jaguar tracks. Part of the Beyond Green family, Blancaneaux Lodge immerses guests in true Mayan culture with visits to archaeological sites, pyramids, and even treks to forage for medicinal plants used by ancient tribes.
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi, the luxury eco resort situated within the cyan waters of the Maldives, welcomes adventure seekers of all ages to enjoy the best that the Indian Ocean has to offer. This private island escape is ideal for the whole family to reconnect and learn new sports. Hang loose and enjoy the views as you surf the waves of North Malé and perfect your technique with the help of the experts at luxury surfing company Tropicsurf. When you’re not relaxing in one of the chic overwater villas, make friends with your seafaring neighbours with a sunset dolphin cruise or whale shark watching trip from the deck of a 14-metre Riviera yacht.
Little Kulala, Namibia
Jump on a quad bike and drive through the dunes towards the Little Kulala luxury desert camp (preferably, in time to catch the Namibian sunset). Nestled within the 27,000-hectare Kulala Wild Reserve, the solar-powered camp has eleven comfortable suites which are perfect for plunge-pool lovers or stargazers. As part of the Wilderness Safaris group, Little Kulala creates the ultimate desert experience for its guests with the chance to go on nature walks, hop on a fat bike, join a game drive, or float above the dunes in a hot-air balloon. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the wildlife that call the Namib Desert home, including ostriches, springbok, brown hyenas, and black-backed jackals.
La Sultana Marrakech, Morocco
Whilst the nearby Saadian Tombs, Moulay El Yazis Mosque, and Royal Palace may be enough to keep you busy for days, you mustn’t miss out on the chance to dive deep into the smells and flavours of Morocco at luxury riad and Small Luxury Hotels of the World member, La Sultana Marrakech. Aside from gorgeous architecture and stellar views, the hotel is also home to La Table de La Sultana, a fine-dining restaurant celebrating French-Moroccan cuisine – visitors can experience a private musical experience as they dine. With the UNESCO-listed medina on the hotel’s doorstep, you can join a guided tour of the souks and street-food stalls, learn the secrets of an authentic tagine, and take part in a bread-making masterclass too.
Glenapp Castle, Scotland
The land of the tartan may not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks “safari”, but the team at the luxury five-star Relais & Châteaux property, Glenapp Castle is out to change that. Situated on 110 acres of private estate, Glenapp Castle invites guests to choose from bedroom suites adorned with period features or the 4,000 square-foot castle penthouse apartment. Though you may not want to leave the sprawling grounds, the hotel’s Hebridean Sea Safari makes for a tempting excursion. Climb aboard a rib boat and be on the lookout for dolphins, basking sharks, whales, and seals as you cruise down the coastline. A stop at Ailsa Craig, the renowned bird sanctuary, lets you get up close and personal with puffins, razorbills, and gannets. Other historical sites, a stop at a whisky distillery, luxury glamping tents, and seafood feasts are all included.
Armancette Hôtel, France
Whilst more famous for its fabulous ski resorts and numerous runs than summertime escapades, the Haute-Savoie region packs a punch for the warmer months as well. At Armancette Hôtel, the 17-room family owned bakery-turned-hotel in Saint Nicolas de Véroce, guests have the perfect base from which to explore the French Alps by land, water, or even air. Go for a hike or take a mountain bike and venture far and wide with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif. Once you’ve gotten your adrenaline pumping, perhaps rafting, canyoneering, or a hot-air balloon ride may take your fancy? Don’t worry about soothing your sore muscles at the end of the day – the hotel, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has an in-house spa with a steam room, Jacuzzi, and sauna that’ll put you right at ease.
7Pines Resort Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is well-known for its impeccable crystal waters and fabulous beaches, but for those looking for something beyond the sand, the new 7Pines Resort Sardinia has lots of suprises in store. Opening in July 2022, the resort has an ethos of “laid-back luxury”, but that doesn’t stop the team from catering to more adventure-minded guests. See the Sardinian coastline from new heights with a helicopter tour or hop on an e-bike for an eco-adventure through the winding streets of San Pantaleo and Monte Moro. For a true bucket-list experience, embark on a supercar tour and whizz through North Sardinia behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 Spider or Lamborghini Huracan Spyder.
The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, South Africa
Considered one of the most luxurious hotels in Johannesburg, The Saxon Hotel, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, channels a calm oasis throughout its ten acres of indigenous gardens. Discover the colourful history and culture of Johannesburg with a city tour that includes a guided visit to Soweto, a trip to the Apartheid Museum, a chance to shop for souvenirs at the African Craft Market, and a meal at the hotel’s multi-award-winning restaurant, Qunu. As part of the City to Bush Exploration package, you can switch gears at the hotel’s sister property, Shambala Private Game Reserve, for a few days filled with bush walks, game drives, and Big Five spotting.
The Lakes by Yoo, UK
Escape into the wilderness at The Lakes by Yoo. Tucked within 850 acres of Cotswolds splendour, the surrounding lakes, meadows, and woodland make the estate the most idyllic location to reconnect with nature. Whether you’re keen on paddle boarding, fly fishing, or wild swimming, guests are spoilt for choice with nine lakes to explore. Challenge yourself with the Woodland Tree Trop Trail and you’ll be scaling a climbing wall, racing through a rope course, and zooming across the lake on a zip line in no time. In the summer, the property is launching new waterside cabins and apartments, which are perfect for a weekend retreat from city life.
The Setai, Miami Beach, US
Celebrity favourite The Setai is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Miami. The stunning hotel pays homage to local and Asian design influences – both the Art Deco and Ocean Suites feature Asian elements that seamlessly flow with the overall aesthetic. When you’re not enjoying an anti-ageing luxury spa treatment or a delicious pan-Asian meal at one of the hotel’s two high-end restaurants, the in-house concierge will be happy to book you into the city’s hottest spots. Should you be a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, jump on a jet ski and feel your pulse race as you speed through a private section of Miami’s famed South Beach.
Chobe Game Lodge, Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana
Take a walk on the wild side at the Chobe Game Lodge, the ecotourism-certified, five-star luxury property in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. One of the nine lodges within the prestigious Desert & Delta Safaris portfolio, Chobe Game Lodge puts guests right in the middle of the action with the world’s largest elephant population and second-largest zebra migration right at your doorstep. Stay in one of their four premier suites, kitted with a private terrace and infinity plunge pool and take in the sights and sounds of the nearby Chobe River. Cruise down the riverbanks on an electric boat as you watch the herds of game animals that regularly come to quench their thirst.
NIHI Sumba, Indonesia
You’ll be giving Robinson Crusoe a run for his money as you trek through vast rice fields, visit a Sumbalese village, and sip from fresh coconuts whilst on a Spa Safari at the secluded NIHI Sumba. The remote Sumba island is just an hour’s flight from Bali and is packed with activities that energise the body and calm the soul. Stay in one of their thatched-roofed villas where you’ll have your own private veranda – perfect for looking out at the breath-taking Indian Ocean. Whilst world-class surfing, diving, and snorkelling are all on offer, guests also have the chance to meet the hotel’s equine residents for a gallop through the waves.
FEATURE IMAGE: Credit: Tania Araujo