Beauty is everywhere, you just have to look… or, make it easier by travelling. From mountains to beaches, jungles to lakes and even cityscapes, each landscape holds its own special magic; with the ability to captivate our hearts and minds so that, even for a moment, nothing else matters. We’ve handpicked a selection of hotels from around the world, that irrespective of how stunning their architecture is, or how stylish the décor, the real star of the show, is the view from the window.
Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, The Kumaon is an exceptional eco-sanctuary with views out across the mystical Kasar Devi ridge, with its hidden stone temples and local leopard community. Combining bamboo and glass, this distinctive structure has been engineered to best showcase this magnificent land, which has captured the imagination of artists and thinkers such as D H Lawrence, Bob Dylan and Swami Vivekananda. In the words of Zoya Architects, responsible for the design:
“Overall our attempt was to highlight the stunning natural landscape and focus on the mountain views, while paying homage to local materials, tradition and culture.”
All of the 10 suites boast floor to ceiling windows, which open right out to unite the inside with the outside. And this theme continues, with the impressive cantilevered restaurant, suspended over the valley below, glazed on three sides to provide the most expansive views possible. The lounge roof is a great spot to practise yoga, or simply unwind. Just turn up, chill out and wait for bliss to take hold.
If your heart belongs to the ocean, you’re definitely going to lose it at Alila Seminyak. Set before acres of quiet unspoilt beach and no less than five swimming pools, this chic Indonesian ocean view hotel has been designed to blend harmoniously with its striking environment. Contemporary lines, lush chocolate-hued wood and floor to ceiling windows merge the interior with the outside, whilst its strict eco-friendly policies ensure it continues to meet Earth Check’s standards and its Silver Certification. The superb “Seasalt” open-kitchen restaurant is an absolute must for dining and the dreamiest of spas offers as many treatments as there are guided ‘Bali experiences’ to sign up for. And whilst all the rooms are nothing less than fabulous, if it’s the scenery you’ve come for, make sure to book one with an ocean view, or better still, a corner Beach Suite with its wrap-around balcony and vistas to die for. From clear blue skies to stunning sunsets, the ever-changing beauty of Seminyak will have you entranced forever.
The mountains are calling and I must go. At Crans-Montana in Switzerland we find Hotel Chetzeron, an utterly chic converted cable car station. With immense walls of glass and minimalist design, this unique hotel offers the most incredible views of the Rhône Valley and the majestic Alpine peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. Set 2112 metres above sea level, this is the place to come for serious alpine lovers. With the only access being by foot, snowmobile or cable car, Hotel Chetzeron is the ultimate ski in/ski out destination with direct access to the slopes, or, should you go in summer months, beautiful trails. All 16 rooms, each named after a summit, feature warm wooden panelling, plush robes and spectacular views — even the bathrooms. So kick off those boots, draw yourself a bath, and soak it all in. The hotel’s superb wellness zone is also on hand to take extra care of you, should you still need it, and with solar panels and a pellet-fired boiler, this mountain retreat ensures it cares for the environment too.
If Lara Croft and Indiana Jones were to check in anywhere, it would probably be The Hanging Gardens of Bali. Quite literally perched on the edge of a densely forested valley in the area of Ubud, this secluded jungle retreat houses 44 thatched roof villas that can only be accessed by funicular. This tropical hide-away is the first of its kind to have been awarded a whopping 7 stars, and it certainly doesn’t fail to impress. With a two-tiered cascading swimming pool that was voted the “World’s Best” by both Condé Nast and TripAdvisor, and it’s “Feng Shui” restaurant serving up local organic fare, under the glow of a hundred candles, this place is nothing other than paradise. Whilst the villas are clearly comfortable and beautifully decorated, it’s not the interior décor you’re visiting for — with lush mist-covered forests full of wild orchids and bamboo, and a riverside spa, just waiting to indulge you, this is one jungle fever you won’t be recovering from. Not sure about you, but our bags are already packed and we’re not sure we’ll be coming back anytime soon!
There are rooms with natural views, and then there are rooms overlooking Manhattan. With an estimated population of 1.63 million people, that makes this landmass one of the most populated in the whole world, and home to some of the most iconic landmarks too. Just a few blocks away from Grand Central Station and the Empire State Building, the Mondrian Park Avenue is the perfect fusion of New York hustle and upscale funk. Another jewel in the Phillipe Starck crown, this stylish NoMad establishment couldn’t be cooler if it tried. Standing at just 20 stories high (5 were added during a conversion) this oh so stylish city view hotel offers 189 rooms, all infused with classic Starck flair, all sleek and modern, with a smattering of curated artwork throughout. But that’s not the only attraction. As night falls, take an elevator up to Fifteen Stories, a 3000 square feet open air lounge and terrace for nibbles, tipples and music, and enjoy more than a bite of the Big Apple. Should you tire of the bright lights and big city, rumour has it there’s a hidden door to Yours Truly, an underground club open only to the city’s elite and a gateway to a room with an altogether different view. Looks like we just released the secret. Care to take a look?
Intrepid explorers looking for something more original might want to check out Gal Oya Lodge. Set in the heart of a national park of the same name, this unique eco-retreat features luxurious wooden cottages connected by sandy pathways and flickering lights. Home to elephants, wild boar, marsh mugger crocodiles, and a myriad of rare indigenous birds, this is Sri Lanka at its finest, and wildest. Although the beach is just on the other side, this complex offers an entirely different kind of view. If you’re addicted to your devices, we have to warn you, there’s no Wi-Fi or mobile signal here, so resist the urge to take a selfie under the mosquito-netted four-poster bed. There’s no formal bar either, so just surrender to utter disconnect and solitude. Allow one of the very helpful members of staff to whip up an Arrack-based cocktail, cool off in the pool, then pick up your binoculars, and enjoy your jungle view, old school style. All cottages come with their own personal terrace for private nature-spying.
Life is better at the lake, or so they say. If you’re lucky enough to visit the utterly romantic Villa Sostaga, on Lake Garda, that might certainly be the case. Set amongst 99 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, there’s an undeniable air of aristocracy here and no surprise as this was once the stately summer residence of Count Giuseppe Feltrinelli. Perched hilltop, just a few miles from Gargnano, one of the lake’s most enchanting locations, there are 19 rooms to choose from; chic, elegant and unmistakably Italian. The accommodation is split between the main villa (a 19th century hunting lodge) and its annexe which was once a barn. Whilst all of the rooms have a view, opt for one of the lake — it’s only one of the most stunning in Europe after all. Worth mentioning too — the hotel’s wine cellar is home to over 400 Italian and international vintages, so make sure you enjoy a glass, or two at the gourmet restaurant, by the pool, or simply in your room along with that panoramic vista. It really doesn’t get much better than this. And if you’re a dog lover, did we mention Rocco and Gina, the resident bulldogs along with the hotel security, are always there to greet you.
Ah, Santorini! With its palette of white-washed villages and blue-domed churches, soaring cliffs and multi-coloured beaches, set against the glimmering waters of the Aegean, this is arguably Greece’s most beautiful island, and one you’ll always dream of returning to.
Located on the cliffs of Imerovigli, one of the most picturesque villages on the island, Pegasus Suites & Spa offers traditional Cycladic style along with luxurious cave-like rooms which blend seamlessly into the natural architecture of the land. Set right on the edge of the caldera, (the area of water between the outer island and the central volcano), this romantic hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy your glorious Grecian landscape. All suites come with sea views, as does the hotel’s open-air gourmet restaurant, “Under the stars”, where you can take in breathtaking sunsets that light up the sky as you dine by candlelight. If you weren’t in love when you arrived, you’ll certainly be by the time you leave — if you ever do.
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