Mangala Resort & Spa, Kuantan, Malaysia
Mangala Resort & Spa is the result of a 15-year journey of rejuvenation, which transformed an abandoned barren mining land into a tropical oasis of palm plantation, organic gardens, rehabilitated lakes and undisturbed wetlands. From the private villas built on stilts over the lake, to those beside lily-dotted wetlands, every inch of this eco award-winning luxury resort built with eco-conscious materials brings guests closer to nature, which is within the vicinity of Gambang Water Park and Bukit Gambang Safari Park – Wild Savannah. Wherever you are, melodic bird calls fill the air, adding to the sense of natural tranquillity and eco luxury.
SLH Insider Tip: Take a nature walk guided by the resident naturalist to discover the resort’s rich biodiversity which is home to over 100 species of birds and flora and fauna including rare migratory birds, or take a horseback-riding excursion around the plantation.
The Fish Hotel, Broadway, United Kingdom
Surrounded by the rolling hills and honey-stone villages of the 400-acre Farncombe Estate, The Fish is a country hotel with a stylish twist. Designed as a village-style collection of houses, huts and hideaways, The Fish can be any kind of luxury break you desire. Enjoy a romantic weekend in a stylish suite or secluded hillside hut with its own private hot tub. Plan a family getaway in a contemporary treehouse in the woods. Or book out a whole farmhouse for an adventure with friends and four legged companions, complete with group activities spanning archery to Segway safaris. Families with young children will find plenty of fun and games to keep them busy, including a woodland playground. Then as evening falls, follow your nose to Hook, which serves up market-fresh seafood, including Cornish mussels and lobster.
SLH Insider Tip: For more relaxing (or rainy) days, cosy up beside the striking 360º central fireplace in the bar, play a game of pool in the lounge or while away an hour or two over afternoon tea.
Palazzo Vecchietti, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Immerse yourself in Florence’s golden age at Palazzo Vecchietti, a 16th-century palace among the grandeur of the historic centre. Original 16th-century features and artworks are woven into the contemporary-classic interiors by renowned Florentine interior designer Michele Bonan throughout this intimate luxury residence. Within an easy 10-minute stroll from the hotel’s central location are some of Florence’s best cultural sights and retail offerings – the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Bargello museum, Palazzo Vecchio and prime-shopping street Via Tornabuoni are just round the corner. Pets are also very much welcomed here too, pampered with ‘pet sets’ of treats and toys.
SLH Insider Tip: Ask for one of the two rooms with a beautiful terrace overlooking the Florentine rooftops.
The Academy, London, United Kingdom
Tucked away in the heart of Bloomsbury in London’s bustling West End, the Grade-II listed Academy Hotel comprises a collection of five Georgian townhouses combined into one charming luxury hotel, owned by YTL Hotels. Following an extensive refurbishment, headed up by New York-based Champalimaud Design, all bedrooms and suites have been elegantly revamped with stylish furnishings, marble en-suite shower rooms and vintage pieces to create a contemporary take on townhouse living. Downstairs, The intimate Alchemy Bar is the perfect retreat for bespoke cocktails, specialty gins or a refreshing glass of wine or champagne. Quintessentially British, the hotel offers a range of traditional pastimes including afternoon tea served in the private courtyard garden and exclusive access to the hotel’s library which houses a curated collection of classic and contemporary novels, paying homage to the famous Bloomsbury Set. Just moments away from the British Museum, fine-dining restaurants and designer shops, The Academy is perfectly positioned for those travelling for business or pleasure.
SLH Insider Tip: Make sure you order The Alchemy Bar’s new “Rejuvenating Tincture” cocktail made with Alkkemist Gin and homemade rosemary syrup