While most city dwellers tend to escape to the shore, Shanghai natives head inland to the beauty, rest and rejuvenation offered at the Fuchun Resort. The property, set amidst a hillside tea plantation in the lake district of Fuyang near Hangzhou, was inspired by a 13th-century painting by Huang Gongwang. A striking twopiece scroll, it depicts the same landscapes into which today’s resort blends so seamlessly. Serenity is also found within, at the renowned spa that offers sessions of Himalayan yoga. Active travelers will gravitate to the signature 18-hole Golf Club, a masterpiece course sculpted from the tea-covered hills. For all guests, a cup of the resort’s signature Mingqian Longjing tea enjoyed, in the amphitheatre at sunset, is an experience not to be missed.
A destination for South America’s most glamorous crowd since the 1950s, Punta del Este draws comparisons to the Hamptons, but has a laidback spirit that is Uruguayan. Capturing this unique personality is at the heart of the new Hotel Fasano Las Piedras, the Fasano family’s first venture outside Brazil. With their signature appreciation of tradition, the resort’s luxurious, private bungalows and villas and larger Estancias fit harmoniously between the green plains and River Maldonado. The Fasano gastronomic restaurant appears as if carved into the rockface with rugged stone walls, wood flooring and caramel leather banquets. Its upper outdoor deck has sweeping views of the 1,000-plus acre estate, all the way to the beachfront that rises in the distance.
Nestled in Puglia's idyllic landscape, and host to millennia-old olive trees, the Masseria San Domenico bridges the beauties of its past with its luxurious present. Like the largely unexplored region itself, the hotel is full of hidden wonders, most notably the caves beneath the property which were home to Apulian monks fleeing Moorish attackers during the Middle Ages. The largest cave (now next to the outdoor swimming pool) was used to store olive oil, and the pressing equipment is on display today. The hotel still produces fine oils, which the chef uses in the cuisine served in San Domenico restaurant. Deeper underground, a natural hot spring provides the mineral-rich water for hotel’s Thalassotherapy spa, a center dedicated to relaxation, as befits the unspoiled surroundings.
Set among 60 acres of remote South African wilderness, this sprawling complex built in the crater of an extinct volcano is a wonderland destination where opulence in the bush takes on new meaning. The jewel property in the Sun City resort, the Palace boasts interiors with hand-carved walls, bespoke furnishings and ceilings that depict a classic African landscape. Outside, the imitation sea and palm fringe beach, Valley of Waves, includes a 5,600-square-meter wave pool, waterslides, sway bridge and Botanical Garden trails. A sense of adventure prevails at the 18-hole Lost City Golf Course, which features a crocodile-filled pond. There is also a chance to see the Big Five on safari tours at the adjoining Pilanesberg National Park.
The mystical city of Jodhpur boasts forts and palaces that rise against the backdrop of the surrounding Thar Desert and walled old city. The most spectacular is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, an architectural marvel designed for the Maharaja in the late 1920’s. Part of the palace remains the official abode for Jodhpur’s royal family, while another houses a luxurious heritage hotel that makes guests feel like nobility. Interiors are opulent, with Art Deco touches, gilded furniture and colored murals. The Palm Court, with a soaring 105-foot cupola, stops many visitors in their tracks, as do the royal suites, the former residences of the Maharaja Umaid Singh. Service is unparalleled and the concierge can set up such activities as tennis, village safaris, horseback-riding, polo and croquet.