Small Luxury Hotels of the World is pleased to introduce five new hotels to join the luxury collection this February. From a Buddhist sanctuary to a secluded Greek getaway, these hotels offer the independently-minded traveller the perfect motivation for a future voyage.
Ayard of Ch’anAyard of Ch’an: Leshan, China
Two magnificent courtyards play host to 47 elegantly appointed guestrooms at this ideally situated hotel in Leshan, an ancient and culturally rich city 75 miles from Chengdu. The first courtyard “Xing Shen” can loosely be translated to mean practice while the other “Jing Ly” means meditation. Both terms are at home in this peaceful haven where the four room varieties also follow the phases of meditative practice. The hotel hosts a private meditation arbour, surrounded by great pine trees which provides a uniquely relaxing environment for true reflection. Guests can also take advantage of local tradition by visiting the teahouse to sample the customary Gongfu style of tea making or visit the on-site vegetarian restaurant that brings Sichuan flavors to the forefront of their master fare.
SLH Insider Tip: Don’t miss the Leshan Giant Buddha, just a short walk from the hotel – carved over 1,000 years ago into the side of a cliff – this is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world.
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale: Phuket, Thailand
Mom Tri’s Villa RoyalePhuket in Thailand is well known for its party atmosphere and beautiful sandy beaches, however, Mom Tri’s Villa Royale has something completely different to offer visitors to this tropical island. Peace, tranquilty and natural beauty combine here beginning with the salt water pool, carved into the rocks, that greets guests on arrival. For those that seek culinary memories, the restaurant which hangs over the Andaman Sea provides much more than spectacular views, it also has over 750 different bottles of wine on offer and only uses local produce from the hotel’s own farm. With local culture and design in mind the hotel takes its name from renowned architect and artist Mom Luang Tridosyuth Devalus – a.k.a Mom Tri. All rooms have balconies to make the most of the views, many with Jacuzzi tubs and sun loungers.
SLH Insider Tip: Book the Kata Suite – not only will it provide guests with ample room for a lengthy stay but they will also enjoy direct pool access.
Domaine de Fontenille: Provence, France
Domaine de FontenilleIn Provence food is an all-encompassing passion, a self-evident fact for any guest visiting this sprawling country retreat in the picturesque French countryside. The home once belonged to the Savornin family and the renovations have preserved the charm of an 18th century grand estate, while an intriguing blend of historical character and modern furnishings brings the hotel gracefully into the 21st century. 17 rooms and suites take in views of the gardens, cedar Park and the Luberon hills and encourage guests to embrace the ‘French Art of Living’ in which time stands still. Guests are encouraged to wander the estate in its entirety to discover separate gardens for quiet rest, relaxation or reading, dive into the outdoor pool, enjoy a massage at the spa or explore the trails that run through the family’s vineyard. Les Champ des Lunes – the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant also provides an exhaustive workout for the tastebuds courtesy of Chef Jerome Faure, with organic ingredients and handpicked wines from the Rhone.
SLH Insider Tip: No stay is complete without a visit to the wine tasting shop which opens onto Fontenille’s vineyards and cedars. Guests can learn firsthand about grape growing and wine making. Later in 2016 the shop will also offer Tasting and Oenology Courses.
Galle Fort Hotel: Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle Fort HotelWith a rich history dating back over three centuries, this Dutch mansion is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been meticulously restored, retaining the original 18th century doors and windows in the building’s façade that are some of the best examples of their kind. It’s colorful past as a gem merchant’s mansion, bakery, RAF barrack, post office and even a cricket ground only increases its intrigue. The restaurant serves the freshest seafood and vegetables with an exotic twist as the chefs take their inspiration from a voyage along the Spice Route. Each of the 14 rooms reflects the hotel’s philosophy, balancing history and luxury, and has its own personality – Garden Rooms open out on the frangipani-scented courtyard while the Mews Suite has a private garden and separate entrance.
SLH Insider Tip: Make sure you visit a local eatery to experience a mouthwatering blend of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Arab, Indian and Malay influences.
Sesa Boutique Hotel: Preveza, Greece
Sesa Boutique HotelWith only seven rooms Sesa Boutique hotel is an enticing private getaway. Opened seasonally (May to October) the hotel is in Preveza, a location yet to be discovered by the majority of tourists and therefore offering calm and authenticity in northwestern Greece. As its names spells out the hotel is based around the natural elements – Sea, Earth, Sand and Air – offering modern design that reflects the Ionian seascape and a deck that leads directly onto the white sand beach. Guests can take advantage of private loungers during the day or enjoy a cool drink and classic Mediterranean dishes given a contemporary makeover in SESA Restaurant, the best in the region, by night. Guests with children are also welcome – there are triple rooms with the option of additional cots or beds, and plenty to explore within the area, including boat trips to the tiny Paxoi Islands.
SLH Insider Tip: Visit the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis (the ‘City of Victory’) which is only a short drive north of the hotel, or the Springs of Acheron which the Greeks believed to be the passage to the Underworld.