Based on the five elements of fire, water, air, earth and consciousness, representing a sense of trust, dynamism and fluidity, Five Hotel on the iconic Palm Jumeirah speaks to an-all encompassing and sumptuous experience that rests on meeting your basic needs with exceptional service. The visionary beachfront resort fuses California-cool courtesy of the tropical landscaping and Dubai spectacle with its immersive design. The property has 477 rooms and suites and is based on the trunk of the Palm giving you both an urban and beach feel by way of the striking views of the Arabian Gulf and high-tech features including the signature central glass cube, one of the hotel’s main architectural statements. Toronto-based contemporary lighting design brand, Viso Inc. created some of the hotel’s incredible mood lighting that truly sets the interior apart, while the views from Elevate on the 13th floor unfold a spectrum of colours over Dubai’s twinkling skyline come sunset.
From Dhs1,050 a night; Fivehotelsandresorts.com
Left: The sprawling Five Hotel hotel offers a modernistic-meets-relaxed LA vibe. Right: Five Hotel’s artistic infusion
AMAN SVETI STEFAN
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan was a legendary hotel in the 1960s, a haunt of Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Aman has brought it up to date with its minimalistic design, adding three swimming pools and a vast and spectacular spa. Built on a tiny island, attached to the mainland by its own causeway, the hotel was once home to
a community of fishermen. Only their stone houses, now turned into 50 rooms, remain, together with four Lilliputian churches, the village square and a labyrinth of flowery lanes.
From Dhs3,706 a night; Aman.com
Serenity abounds at Aman Sveti Stevan
At 80,000 square feet, the latest Soho House outpost has opened in Barcelona’s once-gritty Gòtic district. Aside from the 57 beautifully appointed bedrooms that have been built around a central courtyard, there’s a familiar assortment of public spaces, including the Italian restaurant Cecconi’s, a Cowshed spa,
a 30-seat cinema and a rooftop pool with stunning views over the marina. Nods to the host city are everywhere, from the hand-worked wooden headboards in the bedrooms to the wrought-iron chairs on the roof terrace and the vibrant Catalan floor tiles.
From Dhs790 a night; Sohohousebarcelona.com
Rustic touches at Soho House
FENDI PRIVATE SUITES
To say that Fendi has opened its first hotel in Rome is something of an understatement. The fur house – founded in the city in 1925 by Edoardo and Adele Fendi, and now run by their five daughters – has, instead, thrown open the doors to its opulent world. With just seven bedrooms, Fendi Private Suites is located above brand’s flagship store, near the Spanish Steps. Historically respectful yet wonderfully glamorous, with Fendi Casa furniture and artwork by the house’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld, the whole place is a symphony of sensuous materials and the kind of luxury that money often doesn’t buy.
From Dhs2,605 a night; Fendiprivatesuites.com
Fendi Private Suites is luxury reimagined
THE BEAUMONT LONDON
It’s not surprising that Jeremy King and Chris Corbin should have launched such a successful establishment as the Beaumont: who can doubt the taste of men who brought us The Wolseley, Colbert and so many more? But not content merely to offer a traditionally sophisticated hotel, they want to experiment. Hence the Antony Gormley sculpture/room hybrid; the guests-only Club Room bar; and the fact that all this luxury comes with the presiding spirit of James Beaumont, an imaginary Prohibition-era hotelier who escaped New York for this art deco Mayfair establishment.
From Dhs1,930 a night; Thebeaumont.com
Cubist facades in the heart of Mayfair
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Reopened in 2016 after an extensive renovation, the Pulitzer has already hit its stride. Spanning 25 houses between two canals,
the hotel has a rich history of former inhabitants, including flamboyant Dutch aristocrats, and its namesake Herbert Pulitzer, a scion of the publishing dynasty. Sumptuous interiors feature original ceiling beams and fireplaces, vintage desks and jewel-coloured velvet sofas. Luxuries include Le Labo toiletries,and,this being Amsterdam, a bicycle-repair kit in every room. Modern twists on Golden Age living continue at Jansz restaurant, and you can drink under a canopy of stars in the courtyard garden.
From Dhs1,145 a night; Pulitzeramsterdam.com
Contemporary chic with a Dutch twist at Pulitzer
Lake Como, Italy
Opening a contemporary boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Como to stand amid the much-loved grandes dames was a bold move, but one that has paid off for Sereno Hotels. The owners enlisted the interiors guru Patricia Urquiola to design the 30-suite property, and the result is
an aesthetic triumph, both soft and sculptural, and filled with handsome furniture. Surrounded by wood, copper and stone, the building blends into the hillside, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer breathtaking views at every turn, while the heavenly 60-foot infinity pool seems to flow right into the lake.
From Dhs7,210 a night; Elegantresorts.com
Left: Private balcony views offer uninterupted views of Lake Como. Right: Be a culture vulture at Il Sereno
Noonu Atoll, Maldives
Designed for those who would prefer an adult-size playhouse to a hotel room, the villas at Soneva Jani are carved entirely from wood. Each of the 25 suites has a retractable roof for stargazing as you fall asleep, and some have a slide linking the top deck with the ocean. Spanning five islands in the Noonu Atoll’s Medhufaru Lagoon, the property was previously a farm, and its large gardens still provide the kitchens with fruit, vegetables and herbs.
As well as a spa, library and over-water cinema, there is a juice bar, wine cellar, observatory and mystery tasting menus on offer.
From Dhs7,430 a night; Soneva.com
Left: Make an over-water villa your new home. Right: Soneva Jani villas are spread across azure waters
With two enormous Damien Hirst sculptures unveiled as part
of its decor (one is a skeleton of a woolly mammoth, covered in 24-carat gold leaf and encased in glass), the Faena Hotel was quick to make its mark on Miami Beach. Baz Luhrmann and his wife, the costume designer Catherine Martin, were charged with the overall scheme, and have used plush velvet animal prints to evoke old-world glamour. There are glittering Lobmeyr chandeliers and exuberant frescoes, while a number of bedrooms are adorned with furniture from a collaboration between actor Brad Pitt and the designer Frank Pollaro.
From Dhs2,360 a night; Faena.com
Poolside R’n’R is essential in Miami
An imposing 19th-century fortress perched on the cliffs of the Bay of Palma, Cap Rocat is a luxury hideaway situated on its own peninsula. Stroll across the drawbridge into a fairy-tale courtyard, take a dip in a pool built into the ramparts, or lodge within former surveillance points in the new Sentinel suites, cut into the rock face and furnished with local fabrics. After a lunch of fresh seafood, relax on your terrace day-bed before cooling off in the infinity plunge pool or the aquamarine waters below.
From Dhs1,970 a night; Caprocat.com
Cap Rocat’s palatial driveway takes you back in time
Siem Reap, Cambodia
No wonder Angelina Jolie made Phum Baitang her home for three months while she was directing a film in Cambodia. This lush oasis of lemon-grass and rice fields just a couple of miles outside the city provides guests with bicycles so they can ride from the infinity pool, along the snaking walkways, past the resident water buffalo, to one of the 45 thatched villas on stilts. These cool, clean nests are decked out with beautiful natural materials and thick wooden floors, and have egg-shaped stone bath tubs, Aesop beauty products, cushion-covered terraces and private plunge pools.
From Dhs1,605 a night; Phumbaitang.com
Left: Be at peace at Phum Baitang. Right: Natural elements to inspire at Phum Baitang
Ett Hem has Scandinavian cool in abundance. Situated in the embassy district, away from the tourist bustle of Gamla Stan, it features an elegant mix of antiques and classic design pieces: one room is lit with candles in a brass chandelier, another by chic Michael Anastassiades lights. Kaare Klint chairs sit alongside bespoke pieces commissioned from Ilse Crawford, who designed the hotel’s interior. After a meditative sauna in the stone-flagged spa, settle down in front of the tiled stove with a glass of something delicious.
From Dhs1,700 a night; Etthem.com
Ett Hem plays to Scandinavia’s classic vibes
It’s easy to see why Kate Moss checks in to Cas Gasi when she visits Ibiza – hidden up in the hills, but close to the sea, its setting is idyllic. The century-old finca, with its pretty nooks and corners filled with fading photos and burnished antiques, stands in the midst of orchards, olive groves and an organic vegetable garden. The 10 handsome rooms and two suites are all decorated with objects d’art from across the globe, including mirrors from India and Moorish lamps, and most have terraces where you can watch the island’s legendary sunsets.
From Dhs1,485 a night; Casgasi.com
Pared back romance at Cas Gasi
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia