For the third week running we have been away from home and the office as we decamped to South Charlotte and the truly excellent Ballantyne Hotel for 3 days of learning, nurturing supplier and fellow advisor relationships, and even helping to give back to our amazing travel community by assisting with discussions on a panel or two featuring luxury travel.
It remains a mystery to me why my profession is dominated by females, but I can live with it! Am I hiding on stage (below) behind all these incredible ladies? Possibly, but I'm not shy anymore, and that's a good thing. Special thanks to the 3 shiniest ladies in blue, green and sparkly gold for helping Helen and I build a robust business, and more importantly make us better people. It doesn't get any better than this from our perspective.
Top 5 Hotels of the World
1. City - Park Hyatt Sydney (below)
Note - personal bias is involved in the list this week, and I'd love to argue with anyone about the choices!
We did stay ourselves in the Park Hyatt Sydney just before Christmas 2017. It's a given that the location is the absolute stand out factor here, but that shouldn't take away from the incredible service we enjoyed here. Book about 3 years ahead if you want to experience the ridiculous New Years Eve fireworks display over Sydney Harbour from the rooftop terrace, absolutely the best spot in Sydney for one magical night. For points nerds, a booking here is the best use of World of Hyatt points possible.
2. Beach - St Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico (above and below)
It took over a year to rebuild this beautiful hotel following the double hurricane hit of 2017 and after a $60 million refit the St Regis Bahia Beach Resort has just reopened. I personally have a soft spot for Puerto Rico and think it is massively underrated as a Caribbean destination. The island has wonderful beaches, the beautiful old town of San Juan with 16th century historical landmarks and the opportunity to hike and explore El Yunque National Forest. Then the hotel has a stunning golf course, an extraordinary beach, a special spa and great restaurants.
3. Jungle - Keemala, Phuket, Thailand (above)
We'll be spending some time in Thailand in the summer, and whilst we will not be staying at Keemala, we are intending to line up a lunch and hotel inspection. With views of rainforest and the ocean, this resort has Birds Nest Tree Villas that intrigue me. At nearly 2,000 sq ft they are quite an engineering feat, especially as they each have a private pool seemingly suspended in mid-air. If you come to Phuket you are probably wanting the beach, but for perhaps a 3-day retreat this place will calm your senses, and renew your soul.
4. Desert - Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah (above)
Apparently it took an Act of Congress to get permission to build this resort, but they are absolutely connected to their environment and the local Navajo reservation and have won Conde Naste's Best Resort in North America on more than one occasion. It's 30 minutes to the nearest town and you will be located with privileged access to National Parks and Lake Powell. I've read that the light here changes through the day from red to apricot to dazzling pink at dusk and the landscape of canyons, mesas, mountains, gorges, rapids and desert is something to behold.
5. Mountain - Hoshinoya Mt Fuji, Japan (above and below)
Though it's not actually in the mountains this super luxury cabin/glamping resort qualifies for it's perfect situation to view the goliath that is Mt Fuji. The hotel prides itself on assaulting your senses. Aside from the fresh scent of conifers and other trees you will be enticed to follow the scent to the top of Cloud Terrace--a series of wooden platforms connected by stairs--until it is replaced by the smoky aroma of an enormous bonfire. This fire is maintained at all hours of the day, drawing people to it day and night, its smell clearly appealing to something primal in all of us. On my bucket list!
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