The Balinese are revered for their uncanny ability to celebrate beauty and grace in the everyday. Renowned hotelier Adrian Zecha was inspired by this philosophy when he conceptualized The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, outside the village of Ubud. Set amongst more than 12 acres of emerald green rice paddies, the resort radiates tranquility. At the entrance, an arrangement of flower adorned Ganesha sculptures lends a spiritual ambiance, while the property itself features serene lotus ponds, reflecting pools and private villas. The interiors blend harmoniously into the landscapes, and each villa has its own butler to help with everything from unpacking to poolside pampering. Ubud, with its bustling restaurant and art gallery scene, is nearby, though most guests choose to simply stay put.
Pulau Langkawi, in the Andaman Sea off the northwestern tip of Malaysia, is one of just four inhabited islands in an archipelago of 100. Its remoteness makes it a nature lover's dream destination, with lush rainforests and pristine beaches. The Datai Langkawi celebrates this spectacular setting. The Asian-minimalist design blends beautifully into the landscapes, and the sleek guest rooms are equally sophisticated, with tropical wood floors, shantung-silk wall panels and sprawling marble baths. Families and couples on a romantic getaway happily co-exist here, while golfers can play the challenging, award-winning course, which has a unique 19 holes. Active types can partake in sailing, sea kayaking and snorkeling.
Located on the banks of the Yangon River, The Strand is housed in a restored Victorian mansion that exudes history. It was built in 1901 by the ambitious Sarkies Brothers at a time when the country was ruled by the British. The Strand quickly became one of the Asia’s most prestigious hotels, hosting such guests as Prince Edward, George Orwell and Noël Coward. Almost a century later, legendary hotelier Adrian Zecha cast his gaze on the historic property, which had fallen into disrepair, and set out to restore its legacy. Today the white-washed façade, teak-framed windows and elegant interiors are newly splendid. The lobby, with its cane furniture, soaring ceilings and jasmineperfumed air, transports guests to the bygone era when Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham were in residence.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a three-hour drive from Sydney in Australia's Blue Mountains, represents a new breed of high-end hotels dedicated to preserving the natural world for generations to come. Low-density is the mantra at this nearly 4,000-acre property, centered around the restored Wallerawang homestead, dating from 1832. Amenities and facilities, from the sumptuous, free-standing villa suites to the acclaimed spa, find the balance between relaxed and refined, while the great outdoors are breathtaking. Guests can go horseback-riding, hiking or biking, though most popular are the wildlife safaris (to see kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies and more). Through grassy plains and verdant valleys, these nature tours vividly illustrate how important—and admirable—this resort's mission truly is.