A VIEW WITH A ROOM
When we travel, we love a view, that view could be of a beautiful beach, a mountain range, or even a forest canopy, here I have picked out my top hotels, and destinations with stunning views. Some are close to home, others the other end of the world, what they all have in common are unique locations, and those stunning views.
THE VIEW HOTEL
OLJATO-MONUMENT VALLEY, ARIZONA, USA
Five-star it's not, but is owned by the Navajo Nation, The View is the only hotel set within the boundaries of Monument Valley. Rooms are clean, spacious and brightly decorated with vibrant Southwestern colours; and though alcohol is forbidden on Navajo land, intoxication can be found right on your balcony – a front-row seat to Monument Valley's mind-blowing red-rock monoliths
ULURU, NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
Combining all the romance of nights spent under canvas with bang-up-to-date gadgetry and top-notch facilities, Longitude 131° is a superb retreat, where a hard day's sightseeing is rounded off with the camp's speciality firelight dinner, served under the star-spangled desert sky. Fifteen individually designed tented sanctuaries recreate the pioneer camps of old, but full of luxe touches. Each raised tent is beautifully styled, and with its huge picture windows and electric blinds that open onto spectacular sunsets, Longitude 131° takes comfort camping to another level.
And while there are stacks to do, from cultural trips to awe-inspiring sunrise hikes or camel rides, there's also plenty to hang around camp for, including a turquoise pool, a cosy library, a restaurant serving up delicious gourmet delicacies, and Table 131° for private dining under the stars.
TIERRA ATACAMA HOTEL & SPA
ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE
High in Chile's northern desert, this boutique beauty encapsulates exquisite architecture: contemporary, natural and light-filled, designed to complement the desert setting; authentic experiences; and an intimate, home-away-from-home atmosphere.
Living spaces showcase locally made trinkets and crafts, fire-pits on the outdoor terrace keep you cosy during starlit evenings, and a modern take on High Andean cuisine will leave you totally satisfied and ready to explore the best of this truly inspiring place. The entire experience is made all the more special through a personalised excursion plan and a vast array of activities, plus soothing sessions in the Uma Spa: its treatment menu influenced by the desert climate, native flora and ancient therapies.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA
Set high on a rocky kopje overlooking a landscape dotted with spiky palms and bulbous baobabs, Jabali is a sophisticated base for exploring Ruaha’s remarkable beauty, diverse flora and fauna and impressive big game. With only a handful of visitors at any one time in an area the size of New Jersey, you simply can’t beat the feeling of having the wilderness all to yourself. Just eight suites are hidden amongst the rocky boulders that cocoon the property, and in-between your expertly guided walking safaris, game- and night drives, there’s an infinity pool, spa, and plenty of lounging space. The result? A truly exceptional safari experience.
THE OBEROI AMARVILAS
Anywhere else in the world, this property would stand out as absolutely stunning. Even just 600 metres from one of the world’s most beautiful buildings it holds its own, especially lit up at night like a pure Arabian Nights fantasy. Built-in a style inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, the hotel is a splendid display of terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions with exquisite fabrics and richly detailed interiors that are perfectly complemented by a choice of international and Indian cuisine.
While the area around the Taj Mahal is surrounded by shops with vendors who can be persistent, Amarvilas makes it extremely easy to relax and recharge yourself with some divine activities (in particular the excellent spa). And for the most romantic view of the shimmering Taj Mahal subtly changing colour at sunset, it’s definitely worth booking a balcony room.
SOUFRIÈRE, ST LUCIA
Embrace the astounding views of the dramatic Piton peaks and the island's stunning natural beauty. Take a dip in your private plunge pool 1000 feet above the shimmering Caribbean Sea, indulge in volcanic- and rainforest-inspired treatments at the spa. Out and about, there are island tours, snorkel trips, sailboat and fishing charters, horse-riding, hiking and rainforest walks to discover, or visit the city of Castries, then head back to Ladera and cherish the exquisite freshness and inventive flavours of Dasheene Restaurant's fresh local cuisine
A warm and welcoming Saint Lucian staff of 135 gives guests a highly personalised experience, while Ladera's distinctive eco-lodge architecture and Caribbean timbers exude the feel of luxury tree-house living, a relaxed, barefoot lifestyle and is a magical experience for anyone seeking out a truly memorable tropical escape.
ALILA JABAL AKHDAR
NEAR NIZWA, OMAN
Set in the heart of the Al Hajar Mountain Range, overlooking a dramatic gorge, with awe-inspiring views all around, Alila Jabal Akhdar’s incredibly unique location means you get a whole lot of adventure, natural beauty and a welcome break from the heat of the desert.
Beautifully appointed contemporary suites and villas are laced with an authentic Omani flavour and generously dotted around the cliff-top to maximise privacy and make the most of those views.
And then of course there are the activities: bespoke interactions with the destination, from trekking, canyon walks and cave explorations to discovering the region’s traditions. Now, what’s more, authentic than that?
CLAYOQUOT WILDERNESS RESORT
CLAYOUQUOT SOUND, VANCOUVER ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
While this is certainly The Great Outdoors, banish any thoughts of roughing it. Here at Clayoquot, you can live out your pioneer dreams exploring First Nations paths, canoeing deep into ancient forests and spotting bears and whales with expert guides. Even relaxing brings you closer to nature, with the wood-fuelled outdoor hot tub and sauna, luxury tents with antique furniture, hand-made beds and Persian rugs; dining tents; games and library tents and much more.
Gourmet meals (served on china) are cooked over an open fire by the resident chef, and horse-riding, kayaking, mountain biking and canoeing are all included if you want them. For a really memorable trip, go ‘flightseeing’ by float plane or helicopter over Clayoquot Sound – it feels like an airborne safari.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GEORGE V
Using the building’s original architecture to its full advantage, each of the 244 rooms is unique in design and detail, with a wealth of exquisite objets d’art, lovingly-restored 17th-century tapestries and luxuriously rich silk damask curtains, many also featuring private terraces overlooking the enchanting City of Lights.
With beautiful views of the hotel’s courtyard, the two-Michelin-star Le Cinq serves exquisite French cuisine using the freshest regional ingredients and draws on classic culinary techniques that embrace a lighter cooking style, all courtesy of Executive Chef, Eric Briffard. The super-luxurious spa offers a true retreat in the vibrant heart of the city with a nine-metre indoor pool and a comprehensive menu of ‘his and hers’ treatments, while the staff will pamper the kids with bathrobes, bedtime milk, cookies and special menus.
BILL & COO SUITES & LOUNGE
MYKONOS TOWN, MYKONOS, GREECE
I defy anyone not to 'bill and coo' over this captivating boutique beauty, built into the hillside above the Aegean and just a short stroll from Mykonos Town (though with no pavements lining the road, we'd recommend taking a taxi).
HACIENDA NA XAMENA
SAN MIGUEL, IBIZA, SPAIN
An ivy-covered clifftop gem with a hefty dose of old-school bohemian-style Ibiza, this adorable family-run property is the island's original five-star hotel (and one of its most romantic).
Rooms and suites come with dreamy views, Jacuzzi tubs, mini-pools or Hammams (some also interconnect); there's a games room, tennis court, pétanque and a couple of mountain-bikes; but La Posidonia Spa by SkinCeuticals and its cascading spa pools are without doubt one of the hotel's biggest draws.