We are nonstop travelers at PlaneAire, so we love reading a good “where to go next” list.
One of our go-to magazines, Conde Nast Traveler, has done a lot of the heavy lifting for us by creating their Gold List, which features the editors’ favorite hotels and resorts around the world. From back to basics luxury in the U.S., to living like a legend in India, we’ve picked our favorites from each region to add to your 2020 wander-list.
A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Lowell is a landmark hotel that first opened in 1927 on the Upper East Side. It reopened in 2017 after a three-year renovation during which the 74 rooms got a refresh, but certain elements stayed the same: wood-burning fireplaces, grisaille wallpaper in the lobby and tasseled key fobs. Every room has fresh flowers, huge marble bathrooms with separate tub and shower areas, Frette bathrobes and custom-made products from the high-end line DDC28, created by the owner of the hotel, Dina Chartouni. There’s no pool or spa, but sometimes less is more—the personalized concierge services and high attention to detail eclipse those things. The hotel’s long-standing relationships afford guests privileged access to a rarely seen side of New York, such as VIP entry to The Armory, tickets to a sold-out Broadway show or a private after-hours tour of The Frick. lowellhotel.com
We know, we know, when you hear “Great Barrier Reef,” you automatically think about Australia—well, this is one is in the Bahamas, and it is the world’s third largest! Getting to Kamalame Cay, a private island resort off of Andros Great Barrier Reef, takes some time, but it is worth the trek. You’ll fly into Andros, then take a taxi to the port, and then finally a short boat ride to the hotel entrance. Guests of the lush resort can stay in standalone bungalows, which makes it feel like you’re on your own private island retreat. All bungalows have a deck (most with direct beach access), a golf cart and bikes. Kamalame’s collection of veranda-wrapped, beachfront villas feature two to four bedrooms, indoor-outdoor living spaces and full kitchens. Go diving, sea kayaking, snorkeling, on deep-sea and bone fishing excursions, or relax at the Bahama’s only overwater spa at the resort. kamalame.com
If you haven’t already heard, Rwanda is hot right now, and we don’t mean the weather. The “land of a thousand hills” boasts a gorilla-rich region, the Virunga Mountains, and many hotels to choose from. Bisate Lodge allows you to sleep in a luxury treehouse adjacent to Volcanoes National Park with dramatic views of the peaks of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes rearing up through Afro-alpine forests. The eco-sensitive safari lodge features six opulent en-suite forest villas. Bisate is within easy driving distance of the park from where gorilla treks depart daily. Must-do activities include going on a forest walk to find the golden monkey and visiting the Iby’iwacu village, where the villagers have convinced a group of ex-poachers to turn their back on their former lifestyle and create a traditional dance group, The Intore (The Heroes), that performs for visitors on a cultural village tour. andbeyond.com
In 2019, La Résidence de la Pinède, a classic French Riviera hotel on the beach outside St. Tropez’s center, was reborn as the latest of LVMH’s Cheval Blanc properties. The hotel mixes old world glam with bright and modern touches, while still offering the beautiful strip of private beach, the three-Michelin-starred La Vague d’Or restaurant and the cinematic cluster of tables in the main courtyard. Architect-designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte transformed the inside with a blue, white and ivory palette, angular lines, glazed ceramics on the walls. With only 30 rooms, the family-friendly hotel also has a pool and a spa. Visit the Cheval Blanc spa for a Guerlain treatment or take a traditional hammam bath, snow shower or try the ice fountain for a rejuvenating experience. chevalblanc.com
Falaknuma means “mirror in the sky” in Urdu. Strike living like a royal off your bucket list after this stay in the former hilltop palace of the Nizam, which belonged to the former ruler of Hyderabad. Guests will arrive by golf cart or, for VIPs, by horse carriage; they are then invited to enter the palatial 32-acre estate while walking on rose petals. The grand reception rooms feature late-Victorian-style furnishings, with chandeliers and burnished wood and leather. The 60 rooms and suites are beautifully refurbished and restored by Her Highness Princess Esra, the Nizam’s Turkish wife. Each provides views of the palace courtyard and the 400-year-old city of Hyderabad. Visit landmarks like the 16th century Charminar monument, Golconda Fort, Chowmahalla Palace and the world’s largest film studio complex, Ramoji Film City. tajhotels.com