For our 32nd annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey—yes, more than three decades—a record 600,000 registered voters weighed in on their favorite resorts in the world. As we reviewed this year’s results, one thing became apparent: Your curiosity. You visited nearly 10,000 hotels, resorts, and destination spas rated, but barely 15 percent made the cut. And we were certainly impressed by the ones that did. The 2019 results were especially exciting for us, pulling in new openings and new parts of the world. We’re ever curious about where you go, what you loved, and who you went with, and as you continue to travel, we continue to listen. Here are the resorts you loved most this year.

The Datai Langkawi

Courtesy The Datai Langkawi

HOTEL

50. The Datai Langkawi

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

There was relief in 2018 when Malaysia’s Datai Langkawi, with its nature-luxe architecture by the late Kerry Hill and jungle-meets-sand setting, emerged from an almost $65 million overhaul as wild as ever. Architecture whiz Didier Lefort upped the Zen factor, sanding back the villas’ dark wood floors, adding hand-poured bathtubs, and scattering statement artwork—including a 1,500-pound tangle of petrified tree roots—throughout the grounds. The grand zigzag steps that descend from the adults-only pool and the veteran staff remain. But there are plenty of new elements to discover: a butterfly garden and a revamped spa. Most fun is the beach club where families feast on satay as the sun sets. There are new Rainforest villas too, but still the best thing to do is to spot dusky leaf monkeys on the walk to the Andaman Sea. Doubles from around $320.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Tongabezi & Sindabezi

Courtesy Tongabezi & Sindabezi

HOTEL

49. Tongabezi & Sindabezi

$$$

RCA 2019

At Tongabezi’s private Sindabezi Island, guests have Victoria Falls all to themselves. Situated on the Zambezi river waterfront, this luxury camp, with just five romantic chalets, is all about adventure by day and indulgence by night. Test your heart rate while the sun’s up with white water rafting, helicopter flights and, if you’re really brave, a bungee jump from Victoria Falls. Then come back down to earth with a slow drift down the river on a sunset cruise, followed by a dinner on an old wooden boat. And while waking up to a playful baby rhino is unforgettable, nothing beats the experience of having a personal valet throughout your stay, who will make sure a warm bubble bath has been run for you to perfectly time with your return from exploring.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Twin Farms

HOTEL

48. Twin Farms

$$$

RCA 2019

Twin Farms, an 18th-century farmhouse 75 miles southeast of Burlington, Vermont that once belonged to Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis, is the perfect spot to get away from the city and relax amid maple and pine trees. Guests laud the first-rate service at this rural retreat, which begins at booking when guests specify any dietary restrictions or preferences, so gourmet meals will be customized to your palate—and you don’t have to start every dinner by combing the menu wondering what you can and can’t enjoy. Beyond the dining room, there’s a guide readily available for walks through the surrounding woods, an on-call chauffeur for local outings, and even someone to bring you milk and cookies at any hour.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas

HOTEL

47. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

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.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado

Courtesy The Luxury Collection

HOTEL

46. Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado

$$

RCA 2019

The second Luxury Collection property from Peruvian chain Libertador sets the bar high in the Sacred Valley. The 128-room trapezoidal property, smack in the center of town, beautifully fits the topography: Accommodations face either the Urubamba River or the cordillera and the Chicón glacier. Designer Roberto Caparra’s imaginative interiors weave ancient motifs into the contemporary decor: towering fireplaces sculpted out of Inca-style stone walls, pre-Incan textile design reimagined as wallpaper, and oversized regional pottery. Soak in the 19,375-square-foot spa, try an original pisco-based cocktail in the bar, or dine on lamb loin crusted with aji amarillo and pecans over a quinoa soufflé. The service is attentive—staff are everywhere and almost always know your name—and if you’re heading to Machu Picchu, there’s a railway station right on the property.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Photo by Paul Brady

HOTEL

45. Tierra Chiloé Adventure and Spa Hotel

$$

RCA 2019

This might be the coolest hotel in Chile. The 24-room property on the remote, southern island of Chiloé—about two hours by plane from Santiago—is an all-inclusive destination resort that does just about everything right, from traditional scratch-made apple tarts at breakfast to horseback riding along deserted stretches of coast to pisco sour cocktail hour. Rooms have wide-angle views of the bay, sumptuous beds, and rainfall showers. There’s a communal lobby that feels more like a mountain lodge living room, with roaring fireplaces and wool blankets; the oversized hot tub is magical; plus there’s a brand new spa and pool. But activities—as at all Tierra properties—are the special sauce here: Trekking through woodlands, visiting small farming communities to shop their produce markets, getting behind the scenes of restoration projects underway at UNESCO-protected wooden churches; sailing the waters off Chiloé in the hotel’s private yacht. Everything’s included, and guests are free to pick and choose from the menu of options—all the more reason to love this all inclusive.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Ayana Resort and Spa Bali

Didi Lotze/Courtesy Ayana Resort and Spa Bali

HOTEL

44. Ayana Resort and Spa Bali

$$$

RCA 2019

Set on the cliffs of Bali’s Jimbaran Bay and spread across 220 acres, Ayana is a gargantuan resort—the kind where some guests might not leave until check-out time. The property has three sets of accommodations, 19 restaurants and bars, a dozen pools, a spa, a private beach, a cooking school overlooking rice paddies, a kid’s club and mini golf course, and Buddhist statues and shrines at every turn. The whole thing feels a bit like Disneyland for Eat, Pray, Love fans, complete with trams that maneuver around perfectly manicured stone paths, taking guests to and fro.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Grace Bay Resorts/©Steve Passmore

HOTEL

43. West Bay Club

$$

RCA 2019

You can’t go wrong with this all-suite (all of them oceanfront) paradise. The family-friendly resort sits on a vast and quiet stretch of Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos, at a safe remove from the swarms of vacationers in the resort district. It offers a Kids’ Club, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom suites (all equipped with creature comforts like kitchens, washers, and dryers) and a spa. Throw back a cold one at the resort’s beach bar before you depart on an excursion, orchestrated by one of the resort’s handy concierges: whether you want the best snorkeling in in the country, a day on the green, or the scoop on where to find the best souvenirs for even your pickiest relative, they’ll sort it out for you.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Vik Retreats

HOTEL

42. Bahia Vik José Ignacio

$$

RCA 2019

Want to book a room with a view? Start at one of the 11 unique stand-alone bungalows at Bahia Vik—with two or three bedrooms each and filled with site-specific art—or one of 10 suites in the central building. With views of the sand dunes of Uruguay’s eastern coast, the resort offers a library, a game room (with ping pong), a spa, and gym, all thanks to art-collecting and wine-making power couple Alex and Carrie Vik. Sister property, Playa, directly next door was designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, and the beach property contrasts startlingly with José Ignacio’s modest, whitewashed cottages: Six light-filled two- and three-bedroom casitas, walled in glass and roofed with sea grasses, surround a titanium-and-glass main building. There you’ll find an additional four suites, a Zaha Hadid–designed molded acrylic bench, and a wall of pulsating light from artist James Turrell in a dining area overlooking the beach.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Capella Ubud, Bali

Dewandra Djelantik/Courtesy Capella Ubud, Bali

HOTEL

41. Capella Ubud, Bali

$$$

RCA 2019

It’s not like Bali needed another hotel, especially around the island’s teeming spiritual hub of Ubud. But the notoriously inventive Bill Bensley envisioned something wholly divergent for this 10-acre patch of jungle north of the city on the Wos River: a fanciful take on a tented camp pitched by early-19th-century spice traders. This is hotel as theater: On arrival, visitors receive a survival kit (sunscreen, insect repellent, a map), plus a carved walking stick to help pick their way over the suspension bridges leading to 22 black canvas tents with saltwater plunge pools. Each retreat is a mise-en-scène representing expeditionary characters: The Naturalist’s Tent is hung with binoculars and watercolors of flora and fauna; the Cartographer’s is home to a mini-museum of compasses and charts. Nor does the food shake the storyline: The Mads Lange, named after a notorious Danish trader, turns out full English breakfasts in cast-iron pans. Bensley’s light-footprint approach (not a single tree was felled) means the camp blends seamlessly into its backdrop, the tent walls porous to the hooting birds of the jungle. It’s ideal for those looking to approach Bali in a more conscious way—staying here is like returning to the island’s former wild self.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Morukuru Beach Lodge

Greg Cox/Courtesy Morukuru Beach Lodge

HOTEL

40. Morukuru Family Beach Lodge

$$$

RCA 2019

Say you’re more of a beach bum than a safari enthusiast—don’t worry, South Africa still has you covered. Head to the intimate five-suite Morukuru, about three hours east of Cape Town on the shore of the Indian Ocean. There are white sand beaches, of course, but also access to the De Hoop Nature Reserve with its zebra and bontebok and protected marine area. You can simply chill on the beach or by the lodge’s pool, but we’d suggest letting Morukuru’s friendly, attentive staff fill your day with game drives through the reserve, mountain biking, sandboarding, snorkeling, and more. (All activities, gear, and meals are included.) Plan your trip during South Africa’s winter (July-October) for prime southern white whale watching from shore, from the lodge’s restaurant, and even from your bed.

Manapany

Courtesy Manapany

HOTEL

39. Manapany

$$

RCA 2019

Unique on an island well known for profligate excess, Parisian Anne Jousse, owner of a portfolio of small hotels in France, including the groundbreaking Bel Ami in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, sought to introduce more than a modicum of eco-responsibility to St. Bart’s. The glamorous hotelier had fallen for Manapany, a once-upon-a-time chic spot on the sleepy north shore, on family trips. She bought the place in 2016 and initiated a top-to-bottom reconstruction of its 4.2-acre beachfront on Anse des Cayes. Several years and one major hurricane later, it’s been reborn. Water is heated by solar panels, no chemicals are used in cleaning or maintenance, towels are made of woven bamboo, and only electric cars are permitted beyond reception. Yet Jousse’s endeavor isn’t lacking a lick of luxe. All 43 sea-view rooms and villas—eight directly on the sand, others a mighty but rewarding 80 steps above and with enormous terraces—are gracefully decorated by Parisian designer François Champsaur, with walls painted peppery red, turmeric orange, mint green, or ultramarine blue. Impossibly attractive staff serve artfully crafted rhum agricoles at barefoot dinners, and a Dr. Hauschka–supplied beachside spa has raised St. Bart’s wellness game. With its design ethos and ecological focus, Manapany represents the next wave of Caribbean hotels.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Nanuku Auberge Resorts Collection

Courtesy Nanuku Auberge Resorts Collection

HOTEL

38. Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection

$$$

RCA 2019

Although this 550-acre estate sits on the southern coast of Fiji’s largest island of Viti Levu, it feels like a secluded private world of its own. The property might be vast, but the experience is intimate. Opened in 2014, Nanuku has a total of only 37 suites, villas, and luxe private residences. Although you can’t go wrong with what you book—the suites, for instance, have vaulted thatched roofs and private terraces—the real showstoppers are the private homes. The largest of the residences, which opened in April 2019, are 5,380 square feet and are outfitted with private plunge pools and elevated balconies that overlook the ocean. Adrenaline junkies can book zip-lining, white water rafting, treks through waterfalls, surfing, and cage-less bull shark diving. Guests can also help rehabilitate Nanuku’s own private coral reef by assisting in coral and mangrove planting with the resort’s marine biologist. At the end of the day, watch the sun go down at Nanuku’s restaurant, which serves up fresh seafood caught right in Beqa Lagoon, along with South Pacific specialties like ivi chestnuts and peach palm hearts.s.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy C Lazy U Ranch

HOTEL

37. C Lazy U Ranch

$$

RCA 2019

This Colorado dude ranch offers a family friendly version of the American West experience, with horseback riding, white water rafting, fly fishing, ice skating, skiing, and sleigh rides. On 8,500 acres, the ranch does it all—programs for kids and luxurious spa treatments for adults. Log cabins have been renovated in recent years, and with their indoor, heated riding area, visitors can ride horseback year-round.

Courtesy Kimpton Hotels

HOTEL

36. Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa

$$$

RCA 2019

Grand Cayman may be famous for its SCUBA diving and offshore banking, but with several daily non-stops from New York and Boston, it’s increasingly drawing families to its powdery, placid western Caribbean beaches. On the island’s Seven Mile Beach—one of the loveliest stretches of sand in the world—you’ll find the 266-room Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa, with a boutique atmosphere that manages to be both child-friendly (two pools, a kids’ club) and hip (colorful, contemporary design and a lobby scene replete with pool table, library, and daily happy hour). The food is also strong: Hit beachside Coccoloba for fish tacos and ceviches; Ave, the resort’s primary restaurant, for epic breakfast buffets (including house-made cronuts); and the sceney Avecita for progressive Spanish fare like white anchovy toast and prawn tartare, served up alongside craft cocktails at the chef’s counter. You can always snorkel and parasail right off the hotel’s beach, but you’re also just a short ride from Stingray City (where you can stand on a sandbar and touch giant rays as they swim by), world-class gardens (look for the endangered blue iguana), golf, and roadside jerk chicken. Hit Rum Point to toast the sunset—or maybe you’ll prefer doing that from your own private balcony.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Small Luxury Hotels of the World

HOTEL

35. Pikaia Lodge

$$

RCA 2019

Most travelers are used to visiting the Galapagos via cruise, but the one-of-a-kind Pikaia Lodge justifies booking a couple nights on dry land as well. This 14-room luxury lodge sits on Santa Cruz Island—centrally located to major sights in the archipelago, including Tortuga Bay and the Darwin Research Center—and allows for a very comfortable marriage between nature and modernity. It’s entirely carbon neutral and the modern design leans on both striking steel and local lava stone. Of course, you can also admire the volcanic crater its set in, the volcanic beaches some 5 miles toward the horizon, or the floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. And under no circumstances should you miss a meal at the restaurant, which serves elevated South American dishes alongside a strong wine list, or take advantage of the private yacht available for hire.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Italy, Florence, Hotel, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

Courtesy Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

HOTEL

34. Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

$$$

RCA 2019

Owned by Chiara and Massimo Ferragamo, this hotel is the sprawling Tuscan estate you’ve always dreamed of staying in. The property is spread over 5,000 acres but manages to feel intimate with just 23 stylishly decorated suites and 11 villas. The place is full of local delights, including the on-site Brunello di Montalcino winery, an 18-hole golf course, a cooking school and on-site garden, a spa with La Prairie treatments, and an infinity pool. Oh, and you can organize truffle-hunting excursions and helicopter transfers, naturally.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Soneva Kiri

Courtesy Soneva Kiri

HOTEL

33. Soneva Kiri

$$

RCA 2019

Soneva Kiri, on the still pristine Koh Kood, is among the most exciting resorts, not just in Thailand, but in all of Southeast Asia. Guests land on a private airstrip on neighboring speck Koh Mai Si and then take a short motor boat ride to a jetty jutting into a pretty cove. The resort sprawls over the island’s northern tip, and butlers shepherd guests over the manicured grounds by electric cart. Virtuously constructed from sustainable eucalyptus logs, native bamboo, and treated pine, the 36 villas—some fronting a gorgeous private beach, others up on the hillside—are actually multi-structured complexes spacious enough for an entire family and appointed with a dressing area, a separate dining deck, indoor and outdoor showers, and a private infinity pool. Chef Khun Benz spearheads the resort dining—including inside a bamboo “Treepod” served by a waiter on zipline—which matches dishes with a dizzyingly long wine list, makes use of locally sourced produce, and borrows from Thai, Mediterranean, and continental European cuisine. Another pleasant surprise is the Cinema Paradiso, an open-air movie theater with dinner service.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Kamalame Cay

Courtesy Kamalame Cay

HOTEL

32. Kamalame Cay

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

Getting to Kamalame Cay, a private island resort off of Andros Great Barrier Reef, takes a bit of time—you’ll fly into Andros, then take a taxi to the port, and then finally a short boat ride to the hotel entrance. But the payoff is evident as soon as you step onto the deck and take in the lush island, with its welcoming Great House, beautifully designed pool area, and calm beaches. All guests of the resort stay in standalone bungalows, which makes it feel even more like you’re at your own private island retreat. Each bungalow has a deck—most with direct beach access—as well as its own golf cart and bikes for exploring the 96-acre island. And every morning, breakfast is delivered in a wicker basket, with treats from fresh fruit and juice to house-made pastries and hard-boiled eggs. And while the food at most Caribbean resorts is nothing to write home about, Kamalame stands out in the care it takes in its food, with rotating dishes like ceviche, seafood salads, crab-stuffed avocado, and Bahamian curry. Look to sample some it during the laid back, wine-soaked lunches thrown by David and Michael King-Hew. Doubles from $575.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Lion Sands Game Reserve

Courtesy Lion Sands Game Reserve

HOTEL

31. Lion Sands Game Reserve

$$$

RCA 2019

Set on the banks of the Sabi River, this luxurious resort on 10,000 acres comprises four lodges and a family camp. Ivory Lodge rooms, done in ebony and ivory, have African artifacts and views of the reserve and its animals from private terraces with plunge pools, while the cream and beige rooms at River Lodge have freestanding tubs as well as indoor and outdoor showers. After viewing elephants and lions on open jeep drives, enjoy traditional boma dining. The unique treehouses couldn’t be more romantic—lit by lanterns, candles, the stars and the moon. After a picnic dinner, settle-in for a night surrounded by the safely-distant sounds of hippos, hyenas, leopards, and lions.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp

Courtesy Elewana Collection

HOTEL

30. Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp

$$$

RCA 2019

If you really want to be surrounded by nature on safari, this tented camp with just eight suites is the way to go. With no fences or boundaries, you’ll fall asleep to the sound of lions, leopards, and hyenas making their way across the Maasai Mara. (Don’t be surprised if you spot animals wandering through in the daytime from your tent’s veranda, too.) The experience here leans more towards the glamping side of safari lodges—but you won’t be without creature comforts, as the tents are fully furnished with indoor plumbing and hot showers. You won’t have to jockey for a view of the wildlife on game drives or bush walks either, since Elewana’s location and surrounding savannah is only accessible to the 11 other nearby lodges, keeping Land Cruiser traffic down.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Marataba Safari Lodge

Courtesy Marataba Safari Lodge

HOTEL

29. Marataba Safari Lodge

$$$

RCA 2019

The lodge hosts 15 canvas-and-stone Tented Suites, each kitted in rich fabrics and niceties such as a complimentary minibar, air conditioning, a roll top bath and an indoor and outdoor shower. Like the communal areas, the tent’s contemporary yet earthy look is a refreshing departure from the overdone ‘Out of Africa’ trope seen in other safari accommodations. If you’re lucky, you might be able to view wildlife activity right in front of your wraparound private deck. Options to relax outside of your tent here include a communal pool with loungers, hammocks amongst the trees and a library with plush brown leather sofas; alternatively, book an in-room spa treatment on your deck and zone out to sounds of the birds and the breeze. For those wanting alternatives for Big Five excursions beyond vehicle drives, Marataba offers a walking safari and a must-do water safari.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Stein Eriksen Lodge

Courtesy Stein Eriksen Lodge

HOTEL

28. Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley

$$$

RCA 2019

This mid-mountain Norwegian-style lodge is the “ultimate ski hotel with old-world charm,” thanks to custom millwork, flower paintings from the lowland areas of eastern Norway, and leather, copper, and stone elements. Each room in the lodge is uniquely styled, but all have dark-wood furnishings, a Nordic color scheme, and bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries. Suites come with large stone fireplaces. Glitretind serves up regional American cuisine and unique specialties (try the Norwegian potato pancakes) with views of the Wasatch Mountains. If you’re looking for a little relaxation, the 23,000-square-foot spa has 16 treatment rooms.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Morukuru Family

Courtesy Morukuru Family

HOTEL

27. Morukuru Family

$$$

RCA 2019

The Big Five is the big draw across the continent, but at this family-friendly lodge on South Africa’s fifth largest game reserve, you’ll spot the Magnificent Seven—adding cheetah and African wild dog (an insider favorite for their strategic hunting abilities) as well hippo, rhino, prides of lions and the rest. It’s a fittingly spectacular viewing lined up alongside the camp’s equally spectacular accommodations: three free-standing luxury villas, each uniquely designed. (Think lots of raw blond woods in the Farm House; stone fireplaces and sink-into-’em couches over at the River House; and a staff of eight, plus an infinity pool and African artwork at the Owner’s Home). And unlike many of the lodges across the region, Wi-Fi here is fast and available everywhere, meaning your 13-year-old won’t have to wait until she’s back in Johannesburg airport to upload her shot of leopard cubs to Instagram.

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Courtesy Jumeirah

HOTEL

26. Jumeirah Mina A’Salam at Madinat Jumeirah

$$

RCA 2019

This is the real insider’s choice among Dubai’s proud crown of Jumeirah hotels. The cool, understated Mina A’Salam is central to the mighty Souk Madinat Jumeirah, with its canals and wind towers, home to two other hotels and secluded summer houses popular with visiting starlets. Mina A’Salam is where every experienced bruncher in town comes on Friday. But hotel guests get to discover another level of service: cruising in a little abra boat for breakfast on the patio of the superb Pai Thai restaurant; being served up cold towels, flavored crushed ice, and fresh mango at the pool or beach club; drinking Champagne and feasting on seafood at Shimmers, the barefoot restaurant in the sand. Staying at the Mina A’Salam really does feel like you’ve made it in Dubai—it’s the hub of the city’s old and new worlds.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Le Barthélemy/Photo by Pierre Carreau

HOTEL

25. Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa

$$$

RCA 2019

A new addition St. Barts’ luxury hotel scene, and in keeping with the island’s low-rise sensibility, Le Barthélemy is a sophisticated winner. Set between a lagoon and Grand Cul-de-Sac beach along the island’s northeastern shore (with jaw-dropping views of offshore islets and distant St. Maarten), the hotel is an education in understated elegance. Rooms are spare, and enormous, with lots of wood and one or two pops of bright color—some even have small, rectangular plunge pools for mini-laps. The food at Aux Amis is unabashedly modern French, with attention paid to proper portions in the tropics: in other words, not too much. Water sports enthusiasts have an expanse of calm shallow waters for kayaking, kite-surfing, and snorkeling—a flotilla of a dozen sea turtles that survived the storms of 2017 remain in residence and are easily visible.MAKE A RESERVATION

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HOTEL

24. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives

$$$

RCA 2019

Although the Maldives isn’t exactly hurting for luxury properties, Taj’s Exotica Resort and Spa still manages to set itself apart from the pack. Occupying its own private motu (small reef/island), it’s ideal for those craving peace and quiet, where villages with palm-thatched roofs and wood finishes on the exteriors and floors all come with panoramic Indian Ocean views. If you’re not content to stay in bed all day, though, there are plenty of lounge-ready hammocks hanging on the beach, and activities like the sunset dolphin-watching cruise to keep you feeling like you’re actually doing something. Deep End Restaurant offers top-notch dishes, focusing mostly on the tastes of Europe.MAKE A RESERVATION

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The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

Yi GeunSoo/Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

HOTEL

23. The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

$$$

RCA 2019

There are myriad reasons why The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi could be considered the ultimate luxurious hideaway to reconnect with nature. The resort’s location—nestled in Malaysia’s 10-million-year-old rainforest right on the beaches of the Andaman Sea; its spa—a collection of six overwater pavilions with a menu of treatments inspired by the island’s generations of shamans and midwives; its four beachfront restaurants and bars, featuring classic Malaysian design elements right on the shores of the sea. But we think the magic lies in how the resort captures the island’s character. Jungle flora and fauna beckon from the windows of each of the 90 suites and 29 villas (which also offer beachfront views). Guests can participate in traditional jewelry making or textile printing, or opt for more adventurous activities like a hike through the rain forest or water skiing on a nearby volcanic lake. Of course, flopping down on nearby Pantai Cenang Beach for the entirety of your stay is also an option.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy COMO Hotels and Resorts

HOTEL

22. COMO Uma Punakha

$$

RCA 2019

At the farthest edge of the Punakha Valley, on the Mo Chu River in central Bhutan, is this COMO retreat. The 11-room hideaway gives harried guests views of terraced rice fields, the temple of Khamsum Yuley Namgay, and snowcapped Himalayan peaks. The restaurant Bukhari, so named for the traditional Bhutanese fireplace, might be the best place to savor these vistas. Park yourself on the outdoor terrace, preferably by a smoking, standing fireplace, for a seasonally driven dinner made with local organic ingredients—red rice, hand-ground buckwheat flour, apple cider vinegar, and hand-moulded farm cheese.

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Derek & Chris Fourie-Lipman/Courtesy Makanyi Private Game Lodge

HOTEL

21. Makanyi Private Game Lodge

$$$

RCA 2019

The seven-room Makanyi Private Game Lodge is full-on luxury with the feel of a family home—which makes sense, given its provenance. British owner Jessica Gold bought the private property and turned it into a safari camp in 2015, conforming to a classic aesthetic of thatched-roof villas in terra cotta tones. This place is relaxed, void of stodginess, and perfect for people looking for a more intimate experience.

Uxua Casa Hotel

Courtesy Uxua Casa Hotel

HOTEL

20. Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

$$

RCA 2019

Hidden among fisherman’s casas painted cobalt-blue, pink and pistachio bordering Trancoso’s sleepy village square, where the town’s elders gather to shoot the breeze, Uxua is almost imperceptible to passersby. The only giveaway is the tables of smart Cariocas and international hipsters sipping passionfruit caipirinhas while watching the early evening scene unfold on the Quadrado. Golden light catches the locals playing soccer around the whitewashed 16th-century church. This is just how expansive Dutch owner Wilbert Das (Diesel’s former creative director) likes it. Surrounded by dense rainforest and teetering high on a ridge overlooking the powder-sand fringed Atlantic, Uxua fits right into the post-hippie utopia of Trancoso. Working with local artisans, Das has turned the hotel into a collection of rustic renovated casas, cottages, an intimate treehouse, and a tribal-inspired spa. All are cloaked by hummingbird-flecked tropical gardens and centered around a pool lined with green aventurine quartz, which, for those not up on their healing crystals, is said to be very therapeutic. Interiors are haute-boho: roomy indoor-outdoor sitting rooms and airy living spaces with dazzling-white walls and muslin-canopied beds, accented with lots of reclaimed wood, antiques, and vintage finds including brightly painted Virgin Mary statuettes. A decked path runs through mangrove forests to the beach, where there are enormous day beds for post-breakfast snoozing and a beach bar fashioned from an old fishing boat—just stay horizontal and another Caipirinha will soon find its way to you.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Atlantis by Giardino

Gerrit Meier/Courtesy Atlantis by Giardino

HOTEL

19. Atlantis by Giardino

$$

RCA 2019

A tranquil, hillside retreat (but still only a 15-minute drive to central Zurich), Atlantis by Giardino was once a popular escape for musicians like Elton John and Freddie Mercury, and a relatively recent renovation has returned the property back to its former 1970s glory. Rooms are done up in sleek tones of cream and wood—accented by sharp pops of blue and green—while the suites take on grander themes: The Hublot 107 suite, for example, is dedicated to the Swiss watchmaker of the same name. The real draw though is the spa, which features everything from indoor and outdoors swimming pools to Ayurvedic treatments and every type of facial imaginable. But it’s not all virtue here: Ecco, which has two Michelin stars, has a set menu featuring items like caviar and wagyu beef—a welcome indulgence after a day of detoxing.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Londolozi

Elsa Young/Courtesy Londolozi

HOTEL

18. Londolozi

$$$

RCA 2019

Situated within 6 million acres of pristine wilderness, Londolozi has been owned and run by the Varty family for over 90 years. The word londolozi comes from the Zulu language and means ‘protector of all living things’. Once endorsed by Nelson Mandela, who described it as “a dream I cherish for a model of nature preservation in our country,” it’s one of the best places in the world to see leopards in the wild. Some of Londolozi’s most popular features are its state-of-the-art photographic studio and it’s safari Healing House. Breeding herds of elephant and buffalo roam throughout Londolozi, while white rhino and lion concentrations are among the highest on the African continent.

Ol Jogi Home

Durston Saylor/Courtesy Ol Jogi Home

HOTEL

17. Ol Jogi Home

$$$

RCA 2019

The maximalist decor—animal prints, crystal, and ubiquitous statuary—may be over the top for some, but what Ol Jogi lacks in restraint it compensates for in its wholehearted commitment to conservation. The home of the Wildenstein family sits on 60,000 acres of wildlife conservancy in Northern Kenya, which you’ll have entirely to yourself. It harbors black and white rhino, giraffe, and zebra, which you can see on safari or ambling in front of the house’s wide terrace (there’s also a rescue center for rehabbing animals—baby elephant, anyone?). It’s the perfect spot for a group takeover or big birthday party, with plenty to do between game drives from horseback riding and fishing on Mount Kenya to a hammam-style spa and an extensive cellar of wines that are served, fittingly, out of huge animal-stemmed goblets.

Courtesy Auberge Resorts

HOTEL

16. Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

$$

RCA 2019

The only private beach resort in Los Cabos, Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, couldn’t feel further from the freewheeling streets of downtown Cabo San Lucas (though it’s only a 15-minute drive, in case a craving for cheap strawberry-mango margaritas on the sand strikes). This 57-room hotel sits right on the rocky Cabo coast, meaning every room, suite, and infinity pool—several room categories come with their own—promises stellar views, and a constant soundtrack of crashing waves. The rooms, a soothing blend of crisp white linens, light wood-beamed ceilings, and massive windows, are all spacious enough to spend the day in, but with a world-class spa, fitness center (which also offers a full schedule of workout classes), and experiences that include sea foraging and a tequila tasting course, you’d rarely be tempted to do so.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Oliver's Camp

Courtesy Oliver’s Camp

HOTEL

15. Oliver’s Camp

$$$

RCA 2019

Asilia Africa, an East Africa–focused safari company, has 23 safari camps spread out in Tanzania in Kenya. Oliver’s Camp, located in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, was one of their first, dating back to 1992. It’s been a go-to on the East Africa safari circuit, with 10 beautifully appointed tents and prime access to wildlife spotting. The tents all include en-suite bathrooms, as well as running water and multiple showers, so you won’t be roughing it here. Oliver’s Camp is known for their walking safaris—a rare chance to get out of the vehicle with a guide. Most days at Oliver’s Camp include morning drives, afternoon tea, sundowners, and an evening drive, as well as plenty of down time and stargazing at night. And it’s a great option for families, as children five and above are welcome.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Courtesy Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

HOTEL

14. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

$$$

GOLD LIST 2020

Shoulders begin dropping half an hour into dinner at Positivo Sand Bar. By the time the table is covered with tangy ceviche and cold albariño, sleeves are rolled up and sandals slipped off. Unlike with other properties on the resort-heavy north shore, the emphasis is on the setting. The hotel has undergone many transformations (including after Hurricane Maria in 2017), but since Laurance Rockefeller built a sanctuary here it has been all about sea, sand, and green spaces. Rooms are bookended by beach-facing terraces and outdoor showers, and museum-quality art is scattered on tree branches. But it’s the Spa Botánico, a tropical wonderland that’s much more than the usual cluster of treatment rooms, that really sticks to Rockefeller’s approach. After visiting, you’ll remember the 95-year-old ficus at the entrance most clearly. That or the tree house in the canopy where you had the greatest massage of your life. Doubles from $1,500.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Velaa Private Island

HOTEL

13. Velaa Private Island

$$$

RCA 2019

This is the place to book if you dream of chilling in your stilted villa looking over the endlessly turquoise water of the Maldives, but are way too restless to tolerate that level of lollygagging for very long. The turtle-shaped Velaa Private Island, a speck in the Noonu Atoll, somehow contains a José Maria Olazabal-designed golf academy with nine tees, six greens, seven bunkers, and a lake; a grass tennis court, squash court, and water sports from wakeboarding to kite surfing. The appetite you work up will have plenty of outlets, be it the pizza ovens at Athiri, or the Teppanyaki grill at Tavaru, a tall, tented structure that looks like a giant chrysalis (Velaa also has the largest wine and champagne collection in the Maldives). The Czech owners built the resort’s 45 wood-and-glass villas and residences, most with pools, to have plenty of privacy and to resemble sea turtles, which you’ll be able to spot in person from the resort’s own mini submarine. One other nifty feature: The spa has the region’s only snow room, to boost circulation and quite literally chill you out.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

HOTEL

12. Angsana Lang Co

$$

RCA 2019

Decorative touches of bamboo, calligraphy, folk art, and lanterns give this 223-room property an air of festivity about it, but the overarching theme of nature dominates. Since the resort has an idyllic vantage point at the foothills of the Truong Son mountains (part of the dense Annamese cordillera), the setting makes for noteworthy Instagram shots. A crescent-shaped bay with latte-colored sand and plenty of cabanas hosts the occasional phlegmatic sea turtle or two. What is particularly notable are the generously-sized suites, some of which have private gardens, personal plunge pools and stone pavilions that make stargazing quite glamorous. Flex your adventure muscles by swimming in the 900-foot-long swimming pool, with its many secluded nooks.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Elewana Elsa's Kopje

Stevie Mann/Courtesy Elewana Collection

HOTEL

11. Elewana Elsa’s Kopje

$$$

RCA 2019

Meru National Park has it all: lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, kudus, and even a sanctuary filled with black and white rhino. One of the best home bases to see it all? Elewana Elsa’s Kopje, named after the real-life orphaned lion cub Elsa, whose rescue and return to the wild was dramatized in the 1966 movie Born Free. Built up on a hill with a full view over Meru’s savannah, the lodge offers game drives, fishing in Meru’s rivers, and bush walks for those looking to explore, as well as an infinity pool, private decks for each suite, and massages by appointment for those who don’t want to stray far from the lodge. You can also set up breakfasts out in the bush—and sundowners, too, before it’s time to turn in.

andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Courtesy andBeyond

HOTEL

10. andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

$$$

RCA 2019

Courtesy Minor Hotels & Resorts

HOTEL

9. Naladhu Private Island Maldives

$$$

RCA 2019

With only 19 expansive guest quarters in South Malé Atoll, this intimate resort provides a level of privacy and personal attention impressive even in the Maldives. Weathered-wood accommodations come with a private garden and an infinity pool, high-ceilinged interiors decorated in cane and tropical hues, and an open-air bathroom with L’Occitane products and a sea-facing tub for two. The Living Room’s dining spaces range from tables set around the all-glass wine cellar to cushioned Indian daybeds under the stars, and a fleet of dhonis adds onboard private dinners. Dedicated butlers, or VGCs (very good chaps), exceed expectations with quiet, smiling service. With a location only a 30 minute speedboat ride from Malé’s international airport, Naladhu represents the Maldives’ most convenient exclusive destination yet.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Deplar Farm

Courtesy Deplar Farm

HOTEL

8. Deplar Farm

$$$

RCA 2019

This isn’t your typical farm. It’s owned by Eleven Experience, the Colorado-based high-end adventure-travel outfit that is one of the most interesting of its kind in the world right now. It has two helipads, an indoor-outdoor, swim-through geo-thermally heated pool, a bar with a pool table and drumkit, and a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, modern art, and sweeping views. In fact, there’s really nothing typical about Deplar, among the mountains on Iceland’s remote Troll Peninsula, a place of severe beauty. It’s got some of the best heli-skiing and fishing right at its doorstep. You can roll out of bed and chopper up to the top of a snow-covered volcano which, in all likelihood, no one has ever skied before, zipping through fields dotted with tiny horses that look like toys, and finishing your run on the Arctic beach, where, if you do not mind the chill, you can simply kick off your skis and go fishing (then hightail it to the spa to recuperate in a flotation pod). It’s the sort of trip that confers bragging rights back home, from a company that understands such hyper-adventurous yet modern-luxe impulses perfectly. Eleven Experiences has an expanding empire of properties and boats in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe devoted to these fast/slow, winter/summer outdoorsy pursuits. But Deplar Farm is a standout. The air is pure, the snow powdery, and in the summertime the salmon-rich rivers flow clear, fast, and free.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate

Courtesy Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate

HOTEL

7. Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate

$$$

RCA 2019

After a $23 million renovation, this historic Irish castle hotel has been upgraded for today’s traveler without losing the charm that’s helped make it such an iconic place to stay, particularly among American visitors. You’ll feel like you’re traveling back in time as you make the drive from the estate gates down a winding lane, past forest thickets and a vast lake, to catch the first glimpse of stone towers and turrets. While the estate has been the ancestral home of the royal-blooded O’Brien family since the 16th century, the current castle dates back to the early 1800s, and has been restored and expanded several times in that time before becoming a hotel in the 1960s. Guest rooms are traditional and comfortable (and most have both a shower and a tub)—but you’re not just here to lounge about. Make time to enjoy the 18-hole championship golf course, or a falconry walk, before you head off to explore the Cliffs and the Burren.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Courtesy Richard’s Camp

HOTEL

6. Richard’s River Camp

$$$

RCA 2019

This casually luxurious eight-tent getaway is great for gatherings of up to 16 (and slightly larger groups upon request), replete with rounds of sundowners and festive bush dinners under the stars. A nearby spring attracts a resident lion pride also looking for a cool drink. The family of owners Richard Roberts and Liz Fusco have been in Kenya for decades (Richard is a third-generation safari expert and conservationist); the couple built Richard’s Camp as a home away from home in 2006, which gives it the feeling of a private getaway.

This image may contain College, Plant, Grass, Campus, House, Building, Housing, and Mansion

Courtesy Adare Manor/Photo by Jack Hardy

HOTEL

5. Adare Manor

$$

GOLD LIST 2020

Toss a pebble in any direction across Ireland’s twenty-six counties and you’ll likely hit all manner of manor hotels. But when dashing across the island from Dublin to Limerick, the one to stop at is Adare. Trappings of heavy velvet and armor, superbly-polished floors, and the satisfying crunch of a well-raked gravel drive are present. Yet this is a thoroughly modern reinvention of a country escape—draft excluders be gone, with airtight double glazing and lashings of hot water in a tub overlooking a waterfall on the River Maigue. An eye-opening afternoon of falconry, including an introduction to mesmerizing owls large and small, is fueled by an open-faced grilled-prawn sandwich and a glass of Sancerre worthy of Adare’s recent Michelin Sommelier award, served fireside in the stained-glass Gallery. This is a welcoming place without pretension—a remarkably understated lobby and check-in is pleasantly filled with a congenial mix of world travelers, in- and-outbound from Shannon’s international airport only 30 minutes away. This summer, the manor will debut a new indoor pool, two paddle tennis courts, yoga studio, and steam room/sauna. The hotel can arrange a well-worth day trip to the Cliffs of Moher on the raging Atlantic up north, but the tip is to visit nearby Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, home to first point of entry to Europe for transatlantic flights from the U.S. in the 1940s—and the birthplace of the Irish Coffee. Doubles from $399.MAKE A RESERVATION

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A guest room at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

HOTEL

4. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

$$

RCA 2019

Though just 30 minutes from the Da Nang airport, InterContinental’s flagship Vietnam property feels much farther away from the “real world.” Scattered amongst the lush hills of the Son Tra Peninsula nature reserve and down to the sandy shores of the East Sea, the resort—which opened in 2012—has become one of the top picks in the country for relaxing getaways. While families tend to rule the resort, it’s also a hit with couples and groups of friends, particularly those interested in cuisine and wellness. Adults can have their fun around the grown-ups-only infinity pool (there’s a garden pool for all ages), at daily activities like tai chi classes, and at the award-winning Harnn Heritage Spa, where the treatments range from holistic therapies to luxe mani-pedis created by French pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez. From the ocean- or mountain-view rooms and suites to the penthouses and the multi-bedroom villas, it’s the perfect pick for some beachside R&R while in Vietnam.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Chindeni Bushcamp

Dana Allen/Courtesy The Bushcamp Company

HOTEL

3. Chindeni Bushcamp

$$$

RCA 2019

Chindeni’s strength is its simplicity. Don’t get us wrong—the camp’s four large canvas tents, rustic with their stripped wooden floors, solar power, and assemblage of rattan chairs in the sitting areas are supremely comfortable, yet manage to channel the frontier days of safari travel, eons before the high design era spread across the savannas. You won’t get short changed on game drive viewings across the plains either (we guarantee you’ll lose count of the number of elephants you spot 10 minutes in), and walking safaris are especially poignant for the birders out there. But for our money, it’s the views from the evening sundowners, taken on your terrace, overlooking the lagoon where herds of hippo wallow, that will stay with you long after you return home.

David Lauridsen

HOTEL

2. L’Horizon Resort & Spa

$$

RCA 2019

“There were a lot of fun hotels in Palm Springs, but there weren’t any great ones, and I wanted to change this.” So says Steve Hermann, the L.A.–based residential designer who spent the two years (and millions of dollars) turning the historic William F. Cody–designed L’Horizon into a luxurious boutique hotel. Hermann didn’t alter the footprint much—the main house and 25 bungalows were built in 1952 as a vacation spot for Hollywood producer Jack Wrather (of LassieThe Lone Ranger fame)— but he added an open-air spa and an alfresco restaurant and gut-renovated the interiors. Hermann wanted the decor to work with the mid-century architecture without creating a time warp. As such, each bungalow is a mix of modern (custom hair-on-hide rugs, industrial-chic machined brass lighting and fixtures) and vintage (furniture from Percival Lafer, Mullhauser, Knoll, and Katavolos). The result is in keeping with the original purpose of Cody’s design and Hermann’s background— more luxe residential than hotel, heightened by touches like monogrammed stationery and door plaques inscribed not with room numbers but with guests’ names. And while it is a fun hotel, more private club than frat party, it’s also a place for quiet indulgences: The pool is guests-only; unexpected treats are brought to your room every afternoon (could be a scoop of ice cream, could be a shot of tequila); and roaming poolside therapists offer complimentary foot and shoulder massages. Request a west- facing bungalow with an outdoor shower and watch the sun go down over the San Jacinto Mountains while shampooing.MAKE A RESERVATION

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Sirikoi Lodge

Courtesy Sirikoi Lodge

HOTEL

1. Sirikoi Lodge

$$$

RCA 2019

Built by second generation Kenyans and conservationists, Sirikoi’s got a main lodge, a three-bedroom house, and two- and four-bedroom tents facing a watering hole for great armchair game viewing. The feeling that you’ve entered a private home suffuses the place, from the lovingly tended gardens to the heirlooms collected by the family over the years. In addition to morning and evening game drives, you can do a bush walk with a ranger, horseback ride across the plains, fly in a helicopter up to Mount Kenya to go fly fishing, or do a quad bike safari for an overnight campout.