Nicest digs on the planet? Here are a few of ‘em! 2016 was one of the best years of travel for me yet. What made the year such an amazing time to ramble was, in large part, where I got to lay my head at night.
Check out my list of favourite hotels and resorts as I continue with my Best of 2016 series.
Please note, this list merely reflects how I chose to spend my time during the year and is comprised of well established and brand new venues as well as businesses that are somehow related to where work and play took me. Venues are shown in alphabetical order.
Please also note …
I owe a significant chunk of this list to “tailor-made” travel company Wexas Travel which played a major role in my choice of accommodation in Namibia. And – as you’ll see from this list – I really liked my choice of accommodation in Namibia.
Best Hotels and Resorts
Ongava Game Reserve, Etosha, Namibia
Rustic and sustainably powered camp inside Ongava Game Reserve with private gate access to Etosha National Park. “Rooms” are canvas tent/stone cabin hybrids with en-suite bathrooms featuring flush toilet, basin and open air shower, as well as a wooden decks and covered verandas with an uninterrupted view of the bush. Opportunities to view big game and a variety of wildlife are myriad – even while having breakfast.
Doro Nawas Camp
Doro Nawas, Damaraland, Namibia
Doro Nawas Camp is a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris (who efficiently and expertly ran most of the accommodations and activities I enjoyed during my trip), the Doro !Nawas community (the ! is a click to illustrate how the name of this area is pronounced in the local Damara language), and a Namibian empowerment company. The camp consists of a series of 16 spacious natural walled and thatch roofed cabins, clustered around a main lodge. The lodge makes the most of its unique setting with amazing views from verandas of what might be the most stunningly surreal landscape on Earth (guests are encouraged to roll their beds out onto their verandas to sleep under the stars).
The Fairmont San Francisco
950 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94108
Perched high atop steep Nob Hill, this elegant and historic five-star hotel is a comfortable and lofty base for taking in all that San Francisco has to offer. Home of the America’s oldest tiki bar still (very much) in operation (The Tonga Room) and the setting for the Tony Bennett premiere of his signature song (I Left My Heart) in San Francisco, the iconic beacon of luxury is a Bay Area treasure. When you go, stay in the hotel’s tower for amazing views over San Francisco Bay.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is a khaki canvas paradise of haute design fixed lightly to one of the world’s most desolate and pristine wilderness areas. Open just over a year when I visited in January, this fully solar powered joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the neighbouring Conservancies of Anabeb, Torra and Sesfontein, was the very model for cutting edge – and sustainable – luxury.
Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel
500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California 92648
Across the street (with that street being the Pacific Coast Highway) from the beach and the famous Huntington Beach Pier, with stylish and spread-out-able rooms, the Shorebreak is the sort of hotel that’s easy to love and hard to leave. Breakfast at the hotel’s Zimzala restaurant was one of the tastiest I ate this year.
During the day this otherworldly and eco-sensitive luxury lodge run by Wilderness Safaris looks to be the very definition of a desert outpost. By night, it’s a fairyland cluster of twinkling lights melding as much with the starry dome above as with the sandy ground below.
The Olive Exclusive
22 Promenaden Road, Windhoek, Namibia
A splendid place to kick off my travels across Namibia and acclimate to the country, I spent the first night of my trip at the all-suite Olive Exclusive hotel in Windhoek. My junior suite was plenty spacious and featured a super king bed, high definition satellite TV, air conditioning, gas fireplace, laptop, complimentary Wi-Fi (with a strong signal) and fixed-line internet, Nespresso coffee machine, free standing bath, complimentary Port and sherry, a roomy and smartly designed luggage area and loads more amenities. Food at the Olive’s terraced restaurant was great too.
The Royal Villas at the Half Moon Hotel
Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica
Set along a two-mile stretch of pristine Montego Bay coastline, Half Moon luxury resort is within easy reach of Sangster International Airport but feels as removed from it – or any concept of hustle and bustle – as can be.
Driving around the manicured grounds of this tropical beachside retreat at a leisurely pace in my own golf cart, taking advantage of the facilities at the sumptuous 68,000 square foot Fern Tree Spa (and receiving and ultra relaxing Awaken Deep Tissue Massage while there), hitting up the resort’s humidor for a Cohiba – these all rank as highlights of my 2016 visit to Jamaica.
Main South Coast Road, Upolu, Samoa
My stay at this small family-run boutique resort tucked away in a little cove of paradise on the Samoan island of Upolu is as memorable for its beautiful setting as it is for its gracious hospitality.
- Hotel Le Marais, 717 Conti Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
- Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn, 2303 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, California 92106
- Le Lagoto Resort & Spa, Fagamalo, Savai’i, Samoa
- The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, 535 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, Louisian 70130
- Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, 8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel-By-The-Sea, California
- Return to Paradise Resort, Lefaga, Matautu, Samoa
More of the Best of 2016 to follow!