LUXLIFE 2017 | March 2017
For an underwater experience that defies imagination, head to Palau, an island whose primary draw is its near-magical diving and snorkeling opportunities. The Republic of Palau is scenically magnificent—for such a tiny area of land, it packs a big punch. An archipelago of about 200 largely pristine limestone and volcanic islands, Palau is blanketed in emerald forest and surrounded by a shimmering turquoise lagoon. Palau boasts a 68 mile-long barrier reef that is home to hundreds of different sea life species (e.g. dolphins, turtles, dugongs, sharks, 400 different species of coral alone). Visitors can also partake in sailing and kayaking.
Sea Passion Hotel
Just a five-minute drive from Koror, the Sea Passion Hotel offers a private beach, an outdoor pool and a restaurant, while being ideally located for scuba diving. With 77 rooms to accommodate your experience in Palau, all offer tea/coffee-making facilities including a range of English and Chinese teas. Divers can explore the wreck of World War II Japanese fighter jet, situated in the bay next to the hotel. seapassionhotel.com
Palau Royal Resort
Featuring tropical-inspired décor and tile floors, Palau Royal Resort offers guest rooms with irresistible views. Rooms located on the upper level have balconies overlooking the quiet harbor while those on the lower floor can enjoy the view of the hotel gardens, lush with greenery and surrounded by mixed flora and fauna. Make sure to stop by Breeze Bar for a quiet evening after the veil of night descends on the island. palau-royal-resort.com
Palau Pacific Resort
Set in a 64-acre garden paradise overlooking the crystal-clear blue Pacific Ocean, Palau Pacific Resort blends the true spirit and culture of the islands with the luxury and amenities of a world-class resort. Offering over 160 villa-style accommodations and new water bungalows with breathtaking views, this resort is your ultimate home away from home. Relax in the privacy and luxury of your own room overlooking the pristine waters of the lagoon or enjoy a tranquil morning at the Elilai Spa. palauppr.com/en
Belau Art Gallery
Established in 2003, Belau Art Gallery is the first and only exclusive fine art gallery in the Republic of Palau created by the gallery’s main featured artist, the world-renowned Michael Glinski. With particular emphasis given to art inspired by the marine life so abundant in the country’s waters, the gallery offers vibrant paintings that will be sure to bring life to your home. The souvenir shop contains laser prints, posters, postcards, woodcarvings featuring marine animals and hand-painted sarongs. +680-488-6848
Etpison Museum Gift Shop
A 3,000-square-foot, three- story building, husband and wife team Shallum and Mandy Etpison first opened the Etpison Museum in August 1999. Dedicated to Shallum’s father, late Palau president Nfgiratkel Etpison, the museum houses two floors of Palauan and Micronesian artifacts, displays, photography and information. Explore the large collection of antique maps and prints of Micronesia. etpisonmuseum.org
One of the most reputable restaurants in town, the Taj serves authentic Indian cuisine. From richly flavored korma to curry and tandoori dishes, this restaurant prepares all dishes with the best ingredients available. Start your night by ordering the tandoori chicken, which is brought to your table impaled on what looks like a
short sword. tajpalau.com
Situated atop a hillside of Ngerkebesang Island with an uninterrupted view of the lagoon and the west side of Babeldoab, Elilai restaurant offers a menu featuring Japanese-, Thai- and Italian-influenced Pacific Rim cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. Start lunch with the seafood salad, a refreshing mix of seafood tossed in shredded green papaya, then dig into a mangrove clam risotto. elilaipalau.com
Drop Off Bar & Grill
With accommodations for up to 150 people and a conference room which holds up to 200 people with an outdoor area, the Drop Off Bar and Grill is known for its ocean setting, relaxing atmosphere and music. Enjoy the freshest fish in town—it’s the only place you can eat the deep-sea snapper, Sebus. necomarine.com
TURKS & CAICOS
With more than 230 miles of white sand beaches and some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, the Turks and Caicos Islands are arguably the hidden gems of the Caribbean. Here, you’ll find historic villages barely touched by tourism and crystal-clear waters full of marine life. The landscape varies from dry brush and scrub areas on the coral islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos and Providenciales to the lush, rolling greenery of North Caicos, Parrot Cay and Pine Cay. The perfect antidote to your hectic lifestyle, the irresistible azure waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands will stick in your mind.
The Palms Turks and Caicos
Located on world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, the Palms Turks and Caicos contains guest rooms with infinite views of the Caribbean Sea or a landscaped garden and a spacious penthouse. Ideal for a retreat with the whole family, this hotel takes the cake with an infinity pool that snakes around the hotel grounds. Relax by the pool, exercise at the fitness center, unwind at the spa or collect souvenirs at the Palms Courtyard shops. thepalmstc.com
COMO Parrot Cay Turks and Caicos
An award-winning Turks and Caicos luxury resort set on its own private island, at Parrot Cay by COMO you can find a balance between a relaxed aesthetic and a soothing contemporary style. Designer Keith Hobbs oversaw the light-filled look of Parrot Cay and combined the colonial and the contemporary by creating whitewashed interiors furnished with soft, white, cotton-covered chairs, airy four-poster beds and teak furnishings. Start your day off at the COMO Shambhala Retreat in one of the treatment rooms, which include private cottages and pavilions with Japanese baths. comohotels.com/parrotcay
Atelys Handcrafted Jewelry Store
A self-taught jewelry designer originally from the Dominican Republic, Atelys’ passion for jewelry led her to start handcrafting her own. Versatile and eclectic in both style and technique, her jewelry combines a wide range of materials such as Argentium silver, Larimar (a rare blue stone variety of the silicate mineral Pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic), semi-precious stones, fresh-water pearls and sea glass. Inspired by nature and the Caribbean surroundings, her techniques include silk knotting and metalsmithing. atelysadrian.com
Established by Mary O’Neill, a long-time resident of over 30 years, ArtProvo showcases island artists with diverse talents. Artists such as Kim Gillett and Barbara Shively show their acrylic style as well as photography, ink on canvas and watercolor art. This quaint store also carries a comprehensive collection of prints, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry and art glass pieces. artprovo.tc
Set amidst the largest palm grove on the island of Providenciales, Coco Bistro is a food lover’s fantasy. Coco Bistro is the essence of al fresco dining, with a natural, tropically inspired ambiance of contemporary chic. An aficionado of fresh herbs and spices, Executive Chef and Owner Stuart Gray is known for consistently creating elegant Caribbean cuisine. cocobistro.tc
Coyaba, an old Arawak Indian word meaning “heavenly,” is an elegantly appointed gazebo-style restaurant in a lush tropical garden offering fine eclectic contemporary Caribbean cuisine. Paul Newman, executive chef and owner of Coyaba, has become a leading authority when it comes to indigenous Caribbean ingredients such as tropical fruits, spices, herbs and exotic seafood. coyabarestaurant.com
Infiniti Restaurant and Bar
Formerly known as Anacoana, Infiniti Restaurant and Raw Bar has an ambiance that reflects the sophisticated atmosphere of the islands. Guests can dine while enjoying the sound of waves from Grace Bay Beach. This restaurant features modern presentations. Chic and sleek, this swanky newcomer is decorated with blazing blue and gold Bisazza glass mosaic tiles designed by Keith Hobbs. Finding a seat at the bar will never be of trouble because, according to Grace Bay, this is longest bar in the Caribbean. The black marble construction stretches 90 feet across the beach and like its name—Infinity—seems to extend indefinitely into the ocean. gracebayresorts.com
A destination like no other, Cuba is a place where art, music and fascinating people are found at every turn. This island has a wonderful Caribbean climate and long season of liveliness, when the days are warm and sunny and there’s very little rain, particularly in Havana and on the coast. Visiting the sultry capital of Havana is like stepping back in time: the city boasts plenty to see and do including the chance to take day trips to nearby beaches.
A Caribbean fantasy come true, Meliá Buenavista basks in the sunny Jardines del Rey archipelago, just off Cuba’s northern coast. An all-inclusive 5-star resort with 105 junior suites and full-size suites, Meliá Buenavista also features an adults-only, all-inclusive island escape: The Level. The Level experience means personalized, VIP treatment from the moment you’re driven from the airport to when you arrive at your room with full butler service 24/7. Don’t miss a yoga class on the pier, free snorkeling and watch the sunset from the beach while a saxophonist plays jazz. meliacuba.com
Royal Service Paradisus Río De Oro
Located by Bahia del Naranjo Nature Park, you’ll find a hiker’s paradise and dream destination for lovers of all things aquatic. Paradisus Río De Oro is a resort within a resort. This secluded complex of bungalows with 58 royal service suites and private beach is the well-to-do neighbor of Paradisus Río de Oro Resort & Spa. The resort contains eight restaurants ranging from Cuban to Japanese, personalized butler service and botanical gardens. Stop by the YHI Spa Aguas de Oro, embraced by tropical flora and fauna and located beyond Caleticas private beach and Paradisus Río de Oro’s orchards and botanical gardens. paradisuscuba.com
The Level Meliá Marina Varadero
Offering up a taste of nautical life with all the comforts of a 5-star retreat, Meliá Marina Varadero is a seaside resort that contains 46 super-serviced level accommodations. Including spa treatments with a Cuban twist, it’s hard to believe you’re not at sea as you lay by the infinity pool with views of the sparkling ocean and marina. Prepare to be wowed by the Fantasia Nocturna—the pool—side light show—or simply enjoy the twinkling lights from the marina as the sounds of Cuban nightlife drift up to the poolside terrace. melia.com
Palacio de la Artesanía
Strategically located on Cuba Street between Cuarteles and Peña Pobre, the Palacio de la Artesanía was a former 18th-century colonial palace turned into a shopping mall. Classified as baroque, this palace previously belonged to the alderman and mayor of the city, Don Mateo Pedroso. Now a shopping mall, the Palacio de la Artesanía is a mandatory stop on the tour of the city. This one-stop-shopping spot contains souvenirs, cigars, crafts, musical instruments, clothing and jewelry. lahabana.com
A cozy atmosphere with soft lights, fine table linen, German silver cutlery, candles, Cuban music and good jazz, La Guarida was originally known as La Mansión Camagüey. This restaurant shows its former grandeur from the magnificent wooden entrance door through the marble staircase up the two flights of stairs to the restaurant itself. Try the ceviche, gazpacho or their signature eggplant caviar appetizer. laguarida.com/en
There’s a place for everything in Havana these days, even Swedish-Cuban fusion food. Emerging improbably from a kitchen in the battle-scarred tenements of Centro Habana, comes toast skagen, ceviche, couscous and the crème de la crème: melt-in-your-mouth meatballs with mashed potato. The owner is Swedish and the décor has a touch of Ikea minimalism to it. casamiglis.com
Located in the Miramar Area on the second floor family-room-turned-restaurant of a private residence, Paladar Vistamar offers an uninterrupted view of the ocean and an infinity pool. If enjoying sweet and savory seafood dishes overlooking the crashing ocean sounds enticing, then this is the spot for you. restaurantevistamar.com
NEW ZEALAND - Wharekauhau
This destination represents true luxury, focused around one particular hotel. One might think of New Zealand as the land of backpackers, WWOOFers and hobbits, but it’s also home to Wharekauhau, a high-end “lodge” that Fodor’s dubs “quite possibly the most luxurious sheep farm in the world.” Located just over an hour east of Wellington along the mountain-rimmed Palliser Bay, Wharekauhau is home to a working 5500-acre sheep farm. Visitors to Wharekauhau stay in the elegant, Edwardian-style main house or private guest cottages, partake in horseback riding, fishing and hiking by day and enjoy fine cuisine and home-grown wine come nightfall.
Nestled between the foothills of the Rimutaka Mountain range and the cliff tops above the dramatic Palliser Bay, Wharekauhau Lodge is located at the heart of one of the most spectacular farms in the world. Enjoy the grandeur and lifestyle of a bygone era, complete with carefully chosen antique furniture and oversized classic
fireplaces. As you explore the lodge, you’ll discover that each room has a distinct atmosphere, from airy open lounges to smaller intimate settings, you can socialize freely or find a cozy space to relax. Luxuriate in Wharekauhau’s magical private courtyard and gardens.
The Owner’s Cottage is a world-class, 4,500—square—foot hideaway that offers the best of both worlds—complete privacy, independence and access to all of the amenities. Built to make a statement, this luxury cottage sits on an elegant stand-alone property framed by the backdrop of the Rimutaka mountains. The 3.5 bedroom cottage is split between two levels, joined by an Oamaru sandstone staircase. The house was designed to incorporate as much natural light as possible with high ceilings, large windows and full sliding patio doors. Tranquil and serene, the master guest bathroom contains a secluded outdoor shower. For added privacy, guests can land a helicopter directly at the cottage and departures and arrivals can be conducted in a way so no other guests will notice.
Sitting on the sloping pastures of Wharekauhau, Wharepapa Cottage is a secluded retreat in which you can enjoy endless views of Palliser Bay and Lake Onoke Sandspit. This warm and homey cottage is an ideal residence to base yourself for a longer stay and explore the estate and region over a few days. This three-bedroom cottage has a large open-plan living, kitchen and dining area. wharekauhau.co.nz
Set in a small cluster of shops, Everest Cafe is a must if you’re looking to make a day trip to Featherston. Here, you can find excellent coffee, pastries, breads, cabinet food and an exceptional menu all set in a lovely, relaxing cafe. Indulge in one of their Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas or try the southern fried chicken paired with a waffle, guacamole, corn salsa and sour cream.
Boulcott Street Bistro Restaurant
Boulcott Street Bistro serves customers a combination of innovative, modern fare and classic bistro dishes, great wines and warm hospitality, earning it the reputation as a Wellington favorite. Reserve a spot at this luxury restaurant and try the house-made mushroom ravioli with truffle dressing and shaved Grana Padano. Don’t forget to end the night with a pinot noir and Ghana mousse with salted macadamia brittle, cocoa nib wafer and cherry jam. boulcottstreetbistro.co.nz
Located in Miramar, Wellington, film buffs will dig the Weta Cave. A mind-blowing mini museum of the Academy Award-winning special effects company, Weta Workshop, the company that brought The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, The Adventures of Tintin and The Hobbit to life. Come face-to-face with characters, props and costumes of your favorite films. wetaworkshop.com
Cuba Street is Wellington’s creative heart, boasting an easy mix of top New Zealand designers, international labels and beautifully curated vintage stores like Ziggurat, Hunters & Collectors and Unearthed. wellingtonnz.com
CAMBODIA Song Saa Private Island
A private island is the pinnacle of luxury, and Song Saa offers the ultimate, all-inclusive luxury experience where relaxation and rejuvenation are on the menu. Treat yourself to wellness-focused experiences—spa treatments, yoga, meditation—and unplug on the ocean-view sun deck in your private villa. Featuring 27 intimate villas, guests can enjoy uninterrupted sunrise or sunset views. Each villa promises a sanctuary where you can shower looking out over the sea or sip cocktails while watching the sunset from your private veranda. The island lies secluded in the warm sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Just 35 minutes by boat from the port of Sihanoukville, this is Cambodia’s first luxury private island resort. The resort spans the islands of Koh Ouen and Koh Bong and features a large infinity edge swimming pool, spa and wellness sanctuaries positioned in the rainforest and along the shore and water sports. Walk among old-growth rainforest, watch dazzling reef fish, swim under your villa or see rare hornbills land on your balcony.
If you’re looking for a forest view of this luxurious private island, the Jungle Villas are calling your name. Whether you choose a one bedroom or a two bedroom, the Jungle Villas come with a private pool. If you decide to stay in the two bedroom, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a bar with a mojito-making station, a twin vanity bathroom, a lounge area and, to top it off, a private chef. Unwind with a mojito at your outdoor terrace (with day beds). Overwater Villa Step into the ocean from your private balcony or quietly watch the sunset from the pool. The Overwater Villas provide guests with the ultimate experience by literally resting over the ocean. Like the Jungle Villas, the Overwater Villas also come with a private pool and a lounge area, but more importantly, you get stair access to the ocean. songsaa.com/villas
For a hands-on experience of this one-of-a-kind island, take a journey around the twin islands of Song Saa–Koh Ouen and Koh Bong–with a member of the private island’s conservation team. By taking this island safari you can learn about the different species, habitats and ecosystems that exist on the island and learn about conservation efforts. Tours can be tailored for adults, families or children.
Sala Song Saa Cultural Experience
Sala Song Saa—translating as Song Saa School—offers visitors the chance to see what a real Cambodian village is like. Take a trip by traditional buffalo cart to a local farm and see how villagers are pursuing sustainable livelihoods on the land. Make sure to explore the world of Khmer agriculture and herbal remedies.
It’s no surprise to be submerged in the natural world when you’re residing on a private island, so put scuba diving on the top of your list. The resort offers scuba diving in the warm waters of the Koh Rong Archipelago, which hide beautiful coral gardens that breed a wide variety of types such as gorgonians, whip corals and big mountain corals. Classes are offered for those that aren’t quite ready to take a plunge. Keep a look out for barracudas or giant trevallies when you’re swimming through the vast blue.
Vista Bar and Restaurant
Sitting just off the island’s shoreline and surrounded by sea, Vista Bar and Restaurant is a spectacular spot to indulge your senses. Fresh food is prepared by chef Joel Wilkinson, who blends local Khmer flavors with the Western cuisine. At Vista Bar and Restaurant you’ll find spanking-fresh seafood dishes such as fish amok (a light, turmeric-laced curry) and samlor koko (a spicy fish soup). An impressive list of beverages, fine wines, champagnes and beers is also offered but nothing beats the panoramic view of the vast ocean on your walk there; a bridge leads guests to the lounge situated over the water.
If you fancy something more informal, Driftwood Bar is the perfect spot for a relaxed and rustic feel. Order a pizza and a cold beer or from the room service menu, which offers a variety of Western food and rustic Cambodian fare, delivered to your villa in traditional baskets. Pizza isn’t the only thing you’ll find—with a tapas-style menu, guests can enjoy anything from steak and chips to spaghetti to sinful puddings such as dark chocolate and peanut torte with marmalade ice cream. Choosing a spot to eat is of no challenge—tables can be set up anywhere whether you want to be by the main pool, the beach or any secluded spot by the resort.
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