As the year draws to an end we look back at some of the highlights of 2015 and the best of our luxury portfolio. There’s a luxury safari lodge in Botswana that redefines the safari experience with it’s stunning suites on stilts, through to an intimate boutique hotel set amid the vast desert landscapes of the Atacama… here is our crème de la crème for this year.
2015 has seen many incredible new additions to the Scott Dunn portfolio. Our number one is Amandira, a traditional Phinsi sailing ship, Amandira transports guests to remote parts of Indonesia including the idyllic volcanic isles of Komodo National Park and the pristine beauty of the Raja Ampat Archipelago and of course Aman’s superlative service comes as standard. Other noteworthy newcomers are the converted hunting lodges of Rajasthan’s Lakshman Sagar, Hwange National Park’s most luxurious newcomer, Linkwasha Camp set amongst the most spectacular Zimbabwean scenery, perfect for unforgettable game viewing and the chic beachfront retreat of Cape Los Cabos in recently launched Baja California, Mexico.
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge in Botswana with a curving, shingle-clad structure designed to pay homage to the elusive pangolin has reinvented the typical safari camp. Open-fronted at the side and built in and around the trees, it perfectly combines modern design and truly beautiful craftsmanship throughout. Close to the top spot, Saffire’s flowing shapes and tactile materials including stone, timber and leather reflect the beauty of its surroundings in Tasmania, whilst Annandale in New Zealand boasts four beautiful private houses on a coastal farm including the Grand Designs-worthy Seascape, a current favorite amongst the team.
Vil Uyana is our favorite for best Eco-Luxury, fostering a unique eco-living approach supported by a sustainable ethos, rooms are dotted amongst picturesque wetland reed beds, paddy fields and forest, offering a place to unwind and be close to nature. Our other finalists were California’s greenest hotel Bardessono in the heart of the Napa Valley where high-tech luxury living is combined with a sustainable and seasonal ethos. Ever since we discovered Island Lodge, it has been a team favorite. An incredible luxury tented camp hidden in the Stockholm Archipelago on its own private island, the lodge’s aim was to develop an authentic sustainable and out-door experience with gastronomy, Scandinavian style and exclusive service at its heart, it does not disappoint.
BY THE WATER
A real crowd-pleaser in the Maldives, Six Senses Laamu has been designed to make the most of its location on the unspoiled Laamu atoll, with over-water restaurants and glass-bottomed bath tubs in the luxurious water villas. In Cyprus, Anassa deserves a mention for its wild coastal location, seawater spa therapies and swim-up bar, and on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the gorgeous Monastero Santa Rosa perched high on the cliffs is an unforgettable property, with four levels of gardens, infinity pool and endless ocean views. However if it’s adventure you seek, it doesn’t get much more thrilling than a journey on the Silversea Silver Explorer to the Earth’s southern-most continent, Antarctica, in search of penguins, orcas and icebergs.
We’ve awarded Awasi Atacama first place for the great outdoors. An intimate boutique hotel in San Pedro de Atacama, Northern Chile, Awasi is one of South America’s finest retreats. Venture forth and discover the salt flats, lagoons, El Tatio Geysers, highland lakes of Miscanti or flamingos of Salar de Atacama, the list is endless. We also love Hud Hud Bespoke Luxury Camping in Oman where guests can wake up in desert, mountains or on the beach in Bedouin-style tents. Mchenja Bush Camp is another great alternative, the birthplace of walking safaris and spectacular for Zambian game viewing and Minaret Station, New Zealand’s first luxury tented camp, only accessible via helicopter and offering awe-inspiring views of the Southern Alps.
Finnish Lapland in winter is a magical option for families and our favorite for kids this year. Scott Dunn offer hand-picked luxury wooden chalets across Lapland – fill your days with huskies, reindeer, snow and ice-themed activities, the spectacular Northern lights and of course a visit to the man himself, Santa. Quite the contrast, other finalists in this category are NIYAMA in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri on the island of Koh Kood in Thailand respectively. Both are exceptional “barefoot luxury” resorts and consistent favorites for families. Scott Dunn offers its Explorers Club and tailored activity programs and unique playgrounds at each. Niyama has two islands, one for play and one for chilling whilst all villas and suites at Soneva Kiri feature their own pool and guests can dine in a tree pod with service via zip wire.
CLOSE TO HOME
Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is our 2015 winner of this category. Set in an extensive and heavenly private estate in Provence, the hotel is in a spectacular location to explore the South of France or simply relax in understated luxury. Other highlights in this category are Finca Cortesin, offering spacious suites and exemplary service in the south of Spain, a prime residence from which to explore Andalucia and the unrivalled Portetta in Courchevel Moriond, a superb ski-in, ski-out luxury hotel with great facilities including an exclusive Scott Dunn mini children’s club and boasting the largest sun terrace in Courchevel.
For us here at Scott Dunn we know that an outstanding vacation is made up of far more than just a beautiful hotel, so this category is particularly close to our hearts. Top of the running is the inimitable Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in the wilds of Canada’s British Columbia, where you can hike and kayak to your heart’s content, watch bears hunting for salmon in the rivers, or orcas cruise through the waters. For the ultimate wilderness experience, take a helicopter to their Cloud Camp for a night, complete with your own private chef and eagles soaring before your eyes. We also love Gantey Goenpa Lodge in Bhutan, offering a truly authentic experience with some beautiful and luxurious touches. Spend your day hiking to ancient monasteries or watching black-necked cranes, and unwind in your bathtub overlooking the valley before dinner. Finally, we recommend heading to Botswana’s epic Makgadikgadi pans for a 10 day horse riding adventure with David Foot, combining cantering across the pans with getting up close to the meerkats, and time canoeing the Selinda Spillway in the north of the country, camping along the river banks.