South Africa – Queen Victoria Hotel, Cape Town

Description: Queen Victoria Hotel: Queen Victoria Hotel is in a prime Cape Town

Queen Victoria Hotel: Queen Victoria Hotel is in a prime Cape Town

The new, discreet sister property to Cape Town’s Dock House is tucked away being that hotel in a quiet mews away from the bustle of the harbour development. The Queen Victoria is a study in understated elegance throughout, a cocoon of soothing grey and white with just a dash of the most subtle royal purple. People- watching from a deep- purple velvet armchair in the triple- volume atrium, it is obvious this sexy urban sanctuary has proved popular with locals as well as visitors. Dash restaurant (it is named after Queen Victoria’s favourite spaniel) is hung with enormous paintings by local artists and the distinctive Gregor Jenkin tables and chairs by Moorgas & Sons showcase the best of local furniture design. Chef Jamie Dempster’s menu has been much acclaimed, particularly the chicory, pickled pear stilton and roasted hazelnut salad with sorrel dressing, which is nothing less than artistry on a plate. The Presidential Suite, with superb views from its terrace, is the best- kept secret on the V&A Waterfront. All the shops of the Waterfront are just a five- minute walk away, or you can hop on a hotel bike and explore further; the spa and pool at Dock House are available to guests at the Queen Victoria.

Description: Queen-Victoria-Hotel-Guest-Room


When to go

September to April; February is usually the warmest month.

Room to book

The Presidential Suite or Junior Mountain Suite 1205 with a balcony and mountain view; 1311 is an Executive suite on two floors and 1305 can be linked to the Presidential Suite via a private lobby. 00 27 21 418 1466; Doubles from $381

Tanzania – Singita Explore, Singita Grumeti Reserves

Description: Singita Explore, Singita Grumeti Reserves

Singita Explore, Singita Grumeti Reserves

In 2002, the American financier and philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones leased 350,000 acres of land adjoining the Serengeti to create a private game reserve. In June 2011, onto his three opulent safari camps (Saskwa, Sabora and Faru Faru) he added a less decadent and more private option: Singita Explore. The camp is theoretically mobile) although its takes two days to set up), so can be pitched in various spots at different times of year. Tents are roomy khaki, chrome and leather constructions, whose elegant design was inspired by classic Land Rovers, with very comfortable proper beds, as well as bucket showers and flush WCs. A cool, Calvin Klein- style mess 0 tent offers respite from the heat, with fans, linen sofas, a mini- library and a glamorous cocktail bar twinkling with silver shakers and crystal decanters. Because Explore can only be booked by a single group, its is extremely private, with attentive service from the chef (who turns out exquisite dishes, from iced gazpacho to lemon pudding with crème Anglaise), camp staff (who deliver steaming espressos to hammocks with a smile) and  a top- notch guide who will drive guests wherever they fence on- road or off- road, day or night. Downsides are the expense and lack of intimacy (the walls are canvas, and tents set close together). The main lodge, Saskwa, has a spa, pool and tennis court for all Singita guests’ use, as well as 18 well- schooled horses for those who fancy getting really up close and personal with the game.

Description: Singita Explore is a return to the very essence of safari.

 Singita Explore is a return to the very essence of safari.

When to go

June to August, when it is cool and dry and the wildebeest migration often passes through.

Room to book

The tent furthest from the mess- tent, for privacy. 00 27 21 671 6776; Doubles from US$ 1,850 all- inclusive

United Arab Emirates – Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi

Description: United Arab Emirates – Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates – Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi

The blue- green, wave- shaped shaft of Sir Rocco Forte’s first hotel in the Middle East shimmers proudly in an otherwise low- rise district, just five minutes’ drive from the city’s private jet airport. Inside, Olga Polizzi’s design continues the ocean theme: fish- shaped blown bottles hang, like a frozen shoal, in the lobby; bubbles float in the Perspex room handles. But the attention to detail does not end at the tide line. Fort’s focus on quality service rings out loud throughout his Arabian outpost: staff members greet you in the corridor; cocktail- makers shake, slice and pour with more determination than Bond mid- chase; butlers are available to unpack your suitcase and pour a bath. The hotel is a 15- minute drive from the beach and predominantly aimed at business travelers, but local families frolic in the large outdoor pool. The 15- treatment- room spa has another four pools (for him and her), Moroccan hammams, Technogym and classes ranging from sort yoga to capoeira. Take the lift to the left of the lobby for a 30- second tour of some of Rocco’s restaurants: Oceana Grill serves breakfast followed by seafood; Rouge is a hip Asian venue serving dishes such as Chinese wagyu’ Blue Bar sits on top, a high- ceilinged bar looking out to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The Bournemouth- born hotelier plans further hotels across the region: with Abu Dhabi as his Gulf showroom, the rest should follow in quick succession.

Description: Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhab, United Arab Emirates

Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhab, United Arab Emirates

When to go

Anytime between October and mid- May. The searing summer heat drains Abu Dhabi of its appeal (and people) the rest of the year.

Room to book

If possible, a roomy Grand Suite- mainly for  its Gordo Gekko- worthy bath TCs. 00 971 617 0000; Doubles from $ 290

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