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24 May 2024

The best holiday hideaways for 2008


By Nicky Holford



Opening in a former 15th-century palace in February, this new five-star hotel will have 95 beautifully designed rooms and suites. It has retained many of the building’s original features and fittings, including paintings and a grand ballroom (Call: +32 50 447882; or visit: kempinski-bruges.com).

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL – Florence, Italy

Set to open in spring 2008, the new Four Seasons is in the restored and renovated historic Palazzo Della Gheraradesca – a former convent. It will offer spectacular frescos, sculptures and artisan works with the earliest wing dating back to the late 1440s. Its grounds make up one of the largest private gardens in Florence (Call: +800 6488 6488;  or visit: fourseasons.com/florence/preview).



PUMULANI – Lake Malawi, Malawi

On the west side of the Namkumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi, Pumulani – opening in July – is in Malawai’s only national park. There will be 10 guest villas, with an infinity pool, with fantastic views from elevated terraces. Contact The Ultimate Travel Company (Call: +44 20 7386 4646; or visit: theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk).

AZURA LODGE – Mozambique

This eco-boutique lodge, run with the local community, has just opened. Each of the 15 thatched bungalows will have an infinity pool. Contact Expert Africa (Call: +44 20 8232 9777; or visit: expertafrica.com).

TOKA LEYA LODGE – Livingstone and Victoria Falls, Zambia

Toka Leya, on the Zambezi River near the Falls, is due to open in May and is built and run by Wilderness Safaris. The ideal place to combine a relaxing stay with a safari at one of Zambia’s National Parks. Contact Expert Africa (Call: +44 20 8232 9777; or visit: expertafrica.com).


North Africa


A group of five riads, all beautifully restored, have just opened close to the medina. The riads operate as one hotel, so guests staying in one of the riads, for example, can enjoy dinner in another or a spa treatment in a third. The beautifully restored Angsana Riads Collection is the place to stay in exotic Marrakech. (Call: +44 2031 707296; or visit: angsana.com).


Middle East


Just about to open, Zighy Bay (pictured above) is in a secluded fishing village on the Sultanate’s northern Musandam Peninsula. It has 82 villas and suites with a pool, a private butler, outdoor showers and a marina. The setting is dramatic, with mountains on one side and a sandy beach nearly a mile long at Zighy Bay, on the other. Contact ITC Classics (Call: +44 1244 355527; or visit: itcclassics.co.uk).




The first Four Seasons property on the Indian Subcontinent, opens early in 2008. It will be a 33-floor glass tower in the emerging Worli district and will have 202 guest rooms and suites, including the largest rooms and presidential suite in the city. A two-storey spa will feature state-of-the-art health and fitness technology. (Call: +800 6488 6488; or visit: fourseasons.com/mumbai/preview).

THE AMAN – New Delhi

This resort, opening in September, is located on the edge of New Delhi, close to Humayun’s Tomb and Purana Qila, a fortress site dating from the time of Indraprastha in 1400BC. All 39 rooms in this nine-storey building have private plunge pools. An internal courtyard has 28 suites, half of which have private pools. (Call: +800 2255 2626; or visit: amanresorts.com).




Set on Bali’s southernmost peninsula, this resort, opening next autumn, is secluded but near the thriving beaches of Kuta, Seminyak and Sanur. The hotel will have 73 spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom villas. Each villa will be a private retreat set in its own landscaped garden, with bathrooms that boast a built-in sunken bath, open-air shower, private infinity pool, outdoor jet pool and Balinese balé or pavilion. Contact Cazenove+Loyd. (Call: +44 20 7384 2332; or visit: cazloyd.com).

SWIRE HOTELS – Sanlitun, Beijing, China

Swire Hotels is a new brand and launches with a stunning-looking hotel in Beijing in June. Situated in the Sanlitun district of the city, it has been designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and will have 89 spacious, uncluttered rooms and 10 suites, all with wooden bathrooms, under-floor heating, a sunken garden with open fireplace, two spa treatment rooms and a stainless-steel swimming pool. Contact The Ultimate Travel Company. (+44 20 7386 4646; or visit: theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk).


The new Mandarin resort and spa opens in February on a mile-long stretch of private beach, surrounded by tropical greenery, on Hainan Island. With just under 300 rooms, suites and villas, all the accommodation will have expansive views over the South China Sea. (Call: 00800 282838; or visit: mandarinoriental.com).

SONEVA KIRI – Thailand

Opening in September 2008 this property boasts 42 villas with pools overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, all with a personal butler. It is located on Koh Kood, a remote island situated in the east of Thailand, known for its pure waterfalls, and turquoise sea. Ecological sustainable design and materials are used throughout. Contact ITC Classics. (Call: +44 1244 355527; or visist: itcclassics.co.uk).


Indian Ocean

THE BEACH HOUSE – Manafaru, Maldives

Set on 35 acres, each villa and suite at this new resort, opening in February in the northern Maldives, has a private pool, complete privacy, a personal butler, iPod hookups, high-speed internet, espresso bar and open-air bathrooms with magnificent views. Contact Abercrombie & Kent. (Call: +44 845 618 2212; or visit: abercrombiekent.co.uk).

(The Daily Telegraph)