There are certainly more luxe options scattered around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. But Gibb’s Farm, with its colonial, low-beamed farmhouse on the wooded slopes of the crater, built by German farmers as a coffee plantation in 1929, wins hands down on history, character, and convenience. You can walk out the back kitchen door to set off on a six-hour walk through the forest and around the crater rim with one of Gibb’s naturalists (a picnic lunch will meet you there). After a meal overlooking the crater,
it’s back down to the farm for G&Ts on the lawn at sunset. There’s also the neighboring village of Tloma to explore if you’re keen for a taste of rural Tanzanian life; or you can birdwatch from the hotel, which is surrounded by more than 200 species, including giant kingfishers and silvery-cheeked hornbills. It’s the perfect antidote after days of dusty game drives elsewhere in Tanzania. Doubles from $660.
The bougainvillea-filled grounds at the grand La Mamounia, inside Marrakech’s medina, are as lovely as those of its neighbors, though Jacques Garcia’s sultry, layered interiors are the real star, particularly the mosaic walls with terraces that look out onto jasmine and roses. Few hotels are as synonymous with their destination as La Mamounia. Frankly, if you don’t end up overnighting in one of this former palace’s tiled guest rooms, it’s almost as though you were never in Marrakech at all. That’s because this opulent, more-is-absolutely-more pocket of palm trees, landscaped gardens and fountains, where sultry lobby spaces and bars are draped in silks and dark velvets, has come to embody all those reasons we travel to Marrakech in the first place. Inside its hammam, a mosaic of blue, red, and pine-green tiles, are cheery therapists who offer clay body wraps (head down early for a pre-treatment dip). By the utterly enormous pool, a flurry of bow-tied waiters rush between the Brits and French and, with increasing frequency, Russians and Turks, lying about all day long, with bottles of Moroccan rosé and surprisingly well-mixed Old Fashioneds, moving equally as swiftly between the languages. In the incredible bedrooms, the sweeping Moorish curves on the balcony doors are emulated in the archway to the bathrooms, themselves a symphony of tilework and gold-framed mirrors. Doubles from $410.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
If the most inhospitable places on earth were ranked, Namibia’s rust-colored Kaokoveld Desert and its neighboring whale-bone- and shipwreck-bedraggled Skeleton Coast would tie for the win. But the truth is, neither of them feels quite of this planet. They’re so harsh that even the animals—elegant oryx, lonely Hartmann’s mountain zebras, lions, elephants, and fur seals—had to adapt to this cursed land like some sort of Netflix mashup of Noah’s Ark and Mad Max. So it’s a tiny miracle that in 2015, the reputable Wilderness Safaris opened here, in the transition zone between these two places in the 450,000-hectare Palmwag Concession. Guests don’t take multiple twin-prop flights over uninhabited desert just to relax in one of the camp’s eight sleek tents powered entirely by solar energy. Nor do they visit for the dinners with on-site researchers, cutting into filets of wild game and sipping creamy afternoon rooibos teas—a salve for sand-irritated throats. Rather, they come to Hoanib for a masterclass in survival. Often held in the bumpy back seat of a four-wheel-drive while dune bashing over riverbed laid with fresh paw tracks pointing towards the intense smell of seal colonies. And they’ll never feel so alive. Nightly rates from $864.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
Set in the sunburnt Al-Hajar mountains, on the rim of the Arabian Peninsula’s most outrageously beautiful canyon, is the region’s most ambitious wilderness hotel. This is Oman’s wild frontier, but this space has souped it up to the max, with chasm-facing pool villas, majlis-style courtyards, a lantern-lit outdoor hookah space, and superslick service fit for a sultan (a little jealous, perhaps, Omani premier Qaboos bin Said is building a palace on the canyon lip opposite). This being the splashy Gulf of Oman, there has to be a superlative or two: The hotel has the highest swimming pools, tennis court, and stargazing platform in the Middle East. But its real essence is pure escapism, whether dangling from a mountain while rappelling or relaxing in the impeccable spa with its energizing hammam rituals and fragrant frankincense oils. It’s a bold, almost transcendental experiment in off-the-map tourism, and at the vanguard of a growing number of Middle Eastern hotels opening in unexpected and wonderfully extreme locations. Doubles from $400.
Beldi Country Club
For a serious reset, hit Beldi Country Club, where the roomy spa has handcrafted chandeliers and bronze sconces, plus views over the long reflective pool. This property nails the idea of the retreat-as-destination, with prime access to Marrakech’s urban treasures. Perhaps most enticing of all is the sense that nothing here feels overwrought, too primped or precious; the hotel’s 38 rustic guest rooms are spare, save for intricate wooden chairs, unadorned four-poster beds, and the occasional woven rug thrown across otherwise bare floors. There’s nary a fleck of gold, or a flash of marble. And yet, it all manages to feel thoughtfully refined, comfortable and cozy. You’re nearly always in view of something beautiful, it seems, with features that enhance what the location already has to offer: Colorful lawn chairs are stationed around the hotel’s lush 35-acre grounds, all the better to take in the clear vistas of the nearby Atlas Mountains; and the blue-tiled swimming pool, ringed by thatched cabanas, reflects stretches of sky and surroundings olive and palm trees. There are no rules—or pretenses—here; only endless ways to relax. And isn’t that the point? Doubles from $215.
One&Only Le Saint Géran
Over on Mauritius, One&Only Le Saint Géran is one among the foremost beloved Indian Ocean hotels, with a fiercely loyal following since it opened in 1975. Tamper with an old favorite at your peril, but there was a collective sigh of relief when the hotel revealed a quite $55 million renovation a few of years ago: lighter, brighter, the very model of a pointy , slick, sophisticated beach retreat, and still within the island’s best spot. The changes made during the makeover were uncontroversial, either merely cosmetic or merely sensible. the amount of rooms has decreased, and that they are the very definition of tasteful neutrality, taupe and teal, as soothing as a breeze . The spa has expanded and there’s a replacement pool. But the essentials remain an equivalent . The location—on 60 acres with a mile of flawless beach—is unbeatable. The spangled Alice Temperley teepee remains available for seaside revels. The adored tree within the lobby continues to grow. Guests still are available drove; lately it’s not uncommon for 3 generations from an equivalent family to arrive simultaneously. Now Mauritius has the best concentration of five-star hotels of any island within the Indian Ocean and yet Le Saint Géran has in no way been overtaken. Doubles from $500.
Singita Sabora Tented Camp
Singita Sabora, in Tanzania’s Grumeti Game Reserve, was made for those that want to travel on safari, but would never dream of fixing their own tent—or, for that matter, opening their own beer. Think Americans fully safari gear, newlyweds on honeymoon, and Europeans who somehow manage to form even a clear khaki shirt look chic (and always seem to possess the right Hermès scarf available when it gets chilly within the morning). Entire Middle Eastern families have taken the camp to themselves, as have several billionaires. Why? There aren’t many other camps during which you’ll jet onto a personal runway and half an hour later be sitting around a fireplace , drinking Krüg, and watching elephants wallowing—without another guest in view . Spending time seeing the Grumeti black rhino project is well worthwhile , as is meeting the rangers and visiting the community projects, to urge some understanding of the dedication, bravery, and money it takes to guard Africa’s wildlife. Doubles from $2,950, all-inclusive.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
It was a sensible move, even in those far-off pre-Instagram days, to style this hotel with such a particular silhouette. Since rising off Jumeirah Beach in 1999, the Burj has been the symbol for Dubai the maximum amount because the Eiffel Tower is for Paris. And despite fierce competition—the regal One&Only, superchic Bvlgari—this homegrown star remains regarded with a mix of affection and awe. Arriving here and searching upward can make a head spin: The atrium rises 590 feet, a dancing waterfall flanked by aquariums. and therefore the hotel has found fresh ways to innovate, with Michael Ellis, formerly of the Michelin Guide, heading up the restaurants, and Robuchon disciples bringing French finesse to 27th-floor Al Muntaha. While the pool terrace may be a lesson in pared-back luxe, the remainder of the show may be a Baz Luhrmann-style production, with crystal ceilings, silk wallpaper, and gold-plated iPads. during a land of record-breaking one-upmanship, this place still feels audacious. Doubles from $400.
At the Royal Mansour Marrakech, located inside the medina, the draw is privacy—its beautifully tiled riads have their own pools dotting lush gardens that are made for afternoon strolls. Of course, that seclusion is not the only defining factor: The palatial resort, founded by King Mohammed VI to showcase the simplest of Moroccan artistry and hospitality, was built over three years by 1,200 master craftsmen. It’s a swoon-worthy showpiece of Moroccan decorative art, starting with the two .5-ton etched bronze doors that open upon your arrival. Each of the 53 individual three-story riads comprises a mini courtyard (with a cover that automatically unfurls if rain is detected); a sumptuously appointed living room; an equally dazzling bedroom with silk-covered walls, hand-painted arched doorways, and generous MarocMaroc bath amenities; and a personal rooftop terrace with a hearth . You and every one this space are attended by a gracious staff, especially a butler who appears silently through the riad’s kitchen service entry (staff travel unseen via an underground tunnel system). Although Djemaa el Fna square is within walking distance, there’s much to stay you ensconced during this city sanctuary, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a powerful spa, and two superb restaurants, La Grande Table Marocaine and La Grande Table Française (both overseen by chef Yannick Alléno from Paris’s Le Meurice), also because the indoor-outdoor La Table, which serves a formally presented breakfast and lunch—by white-gloved staff. Doubles from $1,200.
Twenty-six years on, Ellerman home is still everybody’s fantasy bolthole in Cape Town: minutes from the simplest beaches and therefore the Table Mountain cableway, but close enough to the town and its dynamic food, art, and style scene. Sandwiched between Lion’s Head and therefore the Atlantic , the Cape Edwardian mansion seems like a personal residence from the road and that’s exactly what keeps guests returning . The bar, restaurant, and spa are exclusive to invited and resident guests, which suggests it’s very private and secure. Owner Paul Harris takes enormous pride in his country—his impressive collection of South African art spans original works from the turn of the last century to current contemporary art. an off-the-cuff tour of the gathering with one among the in-house art experts may be a fascinating lesson within the country’s socio-political history. Then there are the 7,500 bottles of rare and vintage South African wines within the cellar, and therefore the indigenous plants sourced from Kirstenbosch (Cape Town’s botanical garden) within the 1.5-acre terraced gardens. Besides the most house, there are two modern, minimalist private villas built into the granite mountainside, also as a wine gallery and a superb little spa. Checking into one among the individually decorated rooms within the house feels both comfortable and comforting. As does the open-access kitchen. Walk right in, tell the chefs what you’re craving and it’s whipped up in minutes. Better yet, take a snack back to your room. The post-sunset vista from the balcony has got to be one among the simplest views of the Atlantic found anywhere on earth. Doubles from $752.