This month, Luxe Lavs contributors Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compago want you to go somewhere you haven’t been or perhaps haven’t even thought about before. After hunting high and low for beautiful bathrooms, they also scouted trending destinations. Here are their picks for must-see hotels and destinations around the world.
On a mile long stretch of golden sand off the Pacific Ocean, only 20 minutes from Panama City, sits the Westin Playa Bonita Panamá. Surrounded by tropical rain forest, this upscale modern beach hotel redefines the cosmopolitan destination. The $100 million Bern Hotels & Resorts property opened in 2012.
But a year ago, after four years of construction, they opened Casa Naga, a 25,000 square foot residence steps away from its parent property. Casa Naga is the vision of Herman Bern Jr. and English designer James Derry. Casa Naga translates to “Dragon House” and features modern furnishings and unique artifacts collected during Bern’s international travels. The villa is available as a vacation rental or event venue and comes with full-time staff and six guest room suites.
The master suite has a private plunge pool, two outdoor terraces, and an indoor garden with a grandiose open-ceiling shower as the focal point. The living area has 50-foot ceilings and an open entryway with stone pillars and steps that descend to an outdoor patio and 25-meter, semi-Olympic infinity pool. A large Jacuzzi and a typical Panamanian poolside palapa offer panoramic ocean views of the Pacific—a scenic setting for guests to relax and entertain.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the world’s fastest growing destinations for business and leisure visitors. The UAE is now a major travel hub and is home to high end resorts with premium facilities. Abu Dhabi attractions range from the seaside fun of the Corniche to the historic sights of Al Ain and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Jumeriah at Etihad Towers is part of an iconic five-tower complex in Abu Dhabi. The hotel is in the center of it all. The hotel’s unusual contemporary sculptural design sets it apart from other hotel experiences. With 382 rooms and suites, the hotel overlooks the blue waters and white sands of the Persian Gulf.
Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows that capture the view, and the bathroom is no exception. The large free-standing soaking tubs peer out over the city or the sea, complemented by the spacious marbled counters with double sinks. The vanity mirror is one of the best around, but one of our favorite details is that the quality amenities are packaged to imitate the shape of the towers. Soak in the view with a bubble bath and a glass of champagne.
Approaching its 50th year of independence, Botswana has much to celebrate—a burgeoning tourist industry, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, a content population, and honored and protected wildlife that are practically on stage for safari tours. One of the most powerful features Botswana has is the Zambezi river, where tourists and locals trade binoculars for front row seats while sailing along with bathing wildlife.
Sanctuary Baines Camp, named after the 19th century explorer and painter Thomas Baines, also provides a quality bathing environment. It boasts an incredible outdoor star bath, one each in its five suites, with the sounds of Africa. An eco-friendly property built using only commercially grown wood, the camp is raised above the Boro River, with wooden walkways connecting the main areas and luxury rooms.
The swimming pool with surrounding wooden deck is the ideal place to repose while watching hippos wallow. It’s hard to be by the pool when the artistically dented, raised private tub calls. Surrounded by vintage-esque camping lanterns, towels draped over branches and cold champagne, this type of “wallowing” brings humans closer to the great outdoors.
A long-time trending destination, Croatia is high on everyone’s list. It’s perfect for travelers who want the South of France look with the Italian sensibility, minus the crowds. An insider tip is to drive the entire coast to get all the jaw-dropping views while navigating the equally shocking tight turns.
Villa Agave understands the importance of these views and has unobstructed views of the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik. This rental is an ultra-luxurious three-bedroom villa that was previously the residence of famed archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans and rests on the remains of the 16th century chapel of St. Lazarus. The style is Mediterranean, but Croatian culture is featured through the prominent art in the living room by artist Romana Milutin Fabris and a mural by Milovan Stanic.
The bathroom is an excellent simple blend of old and new. A vintage self-standing bath has magical views of Lokrum Island, where Game of Thrones is filmed. The wooden window frame opens out to catch the breeze, and we noticed an interesting touch: You can luxuriate in the tub while leaning out of the window easily. It’s a lovely way to be both inside the villa while simultaneously taking in the Adriatic views.
Want to discover more Luxe Lavs around the world? Check out:
- Can’t-Miss Glamping Sites Around the World
- Farmstays That Let You Get Back to Nature in Style
- Unique Bathrooms at Private Island Resorts
By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for PeterGreenberg.com