Keemala

Shaded by an enchanted canopy of rainforest and connected together by a network of jungle walkways, our villas are complete with a private pool and are designed for guests wishing to experience a rustic, yet lavish, escape. The designs of the villas have been inspired by the stories, cultures, traditions, and lifestyles of four groups of fictitious ancient Phuket settlers. Their characteristics are reflected in all elements of the villas and cottages, including the architecture, furnishings, decorative pieces, and even textiles. Keemala’s 38 pool villas are available as one-bedroom, two-bedroom, single-storey, as well as duplex styles.

The 16 ‘Clay Pool Cottages’ reflect the earthiness of the ‘Pa-ta-Pea’ clan who believed in a strong connection to the earth and were leaders in agriculture at the time. The villas include a spacious bathroom with monsoon shower, outside shower and a stand-alone bathtub. The villa size is from 126m² including pool and outdoor terrace. There are also two 2-bedroom Clay Pool Cottages with one large shared bathroom available for those travelling with family or friends.

The ‘Khon-Jorn’ was a tribe of wanderers who excelled in hunting and trading, and inspired the design of the seven Tent Pool Villas. Their nomadic lifestyle is exhibited in the tent-like structures through the soft furnishings and style. The villa features a lovely bathroom with stand-alone bathtub and monsoon shower and outdoor shower. The size is 140m² including outdoor living space and pool.

The seven ‘Tree Pool Houses’ are built to represent the ‘We-ha’ people who worshipped the universe and chose to live suspended from the trees to be nearer to the sky. This quirky villa design offers two floors of sleeping and living space. The villa size is 169m² including outdoor terrace and pool.

The ‘Rung-Nok’ community inspired the design of the eight ‘Bird’s Nest Pool Villas’. This group enjoyed an opulent way of life compared to other clans. Their craving for exclusivity resulted in the woven tangle of a birds nest design. This sumptuous villa design offers the largest villa in Keemala with a total space of 185m² including outdoor terrace and pool.

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Monteverdi Tuscany

American lawyer Michael Cioffi’s medieval toy town in the heart of the Val d’Orcia is pretty as a picture. The 900-year-old hamlet of Castiglioncello del Trinoro, off a winding gravel road that snakes across the hillside, was largely in ruins when Cioffi stumbled upon it over a decade ago. Since then, he’s lavished it with love, attention and plenty of money, and the results are stunning. Now it’s home to a handful of year-round residents and Monteverdi, a grown-up hideaway.

Eleven bedrooms and suites, as well as three villas, are dotted throughout the quiet streets. All are a short potter across the cobblestones to the remains of the ancient castle or to the infinity pool, with its sweeping views of hills studded with cypress trees and faraway rooftops. In the autumn, mornings can start with a hunt for white truffles in the nearby forest with the help of a local forager and his dog. The gourmet swag will later be put to good use in a cooking lesson with in-house chef Giancarla Bodoni, making fresh pasta by hand while accompanied by endlessly refilled glasses of smooth, plummy wine from nearby Montepulciano. The class turns into lunch and it’s particularly satisfying to eat your own homemade tagliatelle and matriciana sauce with morsels of crispy pork fat. Walk it all off with a gentle hike through the surrounding fields or take a much quicker stroll to the hotel’s new spa.

Set in a thick-walled rustic villa, once the village granary, treatment rooms are simple, with the pink cast of raw plaster or bare stone on the walls and low exposed beams on the ceilings. They feel calm, austere, spiritual even. Which may have something to do with the fact that treatments use cult brand Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the Florentine apothecary where potions were first created by Dominican monks in the 13th century. Staff, who are mostly local, use time-tested Italian ways of healing, combining those products with all sorts of natural ingredients from the kit­chen gardens – sage, burdock, lemon balm and sweet orange. The signature candle-wax massage is evocative and grounding, using the molten oil to melt away aches and ailments in a room that is both humble and beautiful. Outside are steaming-hot private stone baths on a terrace with views over the valley.

This is a place to properly recharge your batteries – practise yoga in the lavender gardens, or try an Etruscan mud wrap. For the bedrooms, interior designer Ilaria Miani has used colour palettes of washed stone and muted green to complement rustic fireplaces, free-standing tubs and four-poster beds. Giant shutters open up to panor­amas of the countryside. The restaurant, Oreade, has an incredible commitment to sourcing organic produce, even overseeing each step in the farming process. A rib-eye steak on the bone is typically Tuscan, and ricotta ravioli in butter and sage sauce is rich and satisfying. As you make your way back to your room afterwards, the evening air fragrant with chopped wood, the only interruption may be a chat with a villager or a gorgeous sunset.

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Singita Sweni

The Lebombo Mountains are a 500-mile-long narrow range in Southern Africa, falling under the wilderness protection of Greater Kruger. Within this area a remote concession of 37,000 acres was exclusively granted to Singita for a unique eco-luxury model in low-impact, private safaris. This highly-prolific wilderness region named Lebombo Concession is hihgly regarded amongst rangers for its phenomenal numbers of game and rare sightings of rhino. Over the past years, Lebombo has been established as one of the most game rich areas in Africa and a fantastic place to spot varied wildlife in just a handful of days.

Enjoy the intimate excusivity of the 6-suite Singita Sweni Lodge, amidst the lush banks of Sweni river. The mountainous desert ecology of the reserve offers diverse wildlife and plentiful birds. All six suites at lodge as well as the scattered lounge areas and dining deck at main lodge offer the perfect spot from which to observe antelope and birds drawn to the Sweni River. Full lodge kitchen comes with a Head chef and famed Singita wine cellar.

Perfect setting for private use of an entire safari lodge, specially-designed for family safaris or couples travelling together. Get even closer to nature with Guided safari walks and biking trails, or take a fun archery lesson.

All suites overlook the Sweni River and wilderness. Built of glass and wood the suites surround you with the beauty, light and sounds of the riverine forest full of shy antelope, and the antics of hippo and crocs in their water habitat. A prolific birder’s paradise, common as well as rare resident species are frequently sighted from the step-out viewing deck of your suite. The master bedrooms have a writing desk with glass doors opening to the balcony and lush wilderness outside. In addition to a full indoor bathroom with his and her vanity, deep soaking tub and a glass-walled shower, the suites also feature a romantic outdoor nature shower built with wooden floor and an extra powder room at the entrance to the suite. A full mini bar is stocked with your favorites and is complimentary along with in-room wifi.

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