By Tiffany Ryes – International Banker
When one thinks of luxury travels to Africa, images of tents and safari adventures come to mind. After all, Africa is famous for its bone-tingling, exciting safaris during which vacationers come face-to-face with the continent’s extraordinarily diverse wildlife.
However, what is fascinating about Africa, as many discerning habitué can attest to, is that it offers a wide range of exhilarating and luxurious experiences that give every visit a new sense of wonder. From immersing in the tribal cultures of Ethiopia to tasting the finest pinot noirs of South Africa’s wine country, from the majestic volcanic peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the idyllic, secluded beaches of Zanzibar, Africa will easily give any first-time or seasoned traveler the ultimate luxury trip of a lifetime.
Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp (Tanzania)
If the Serengeti National Park is the “Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth” then guests of the Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp will feel like they are on the balcony sipping cocktails. Ideally located at the famous Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park, guests can enjoy ringside views of zebras’ and wildebeests’ migrations during certain times of the year. The adventures and splendor that await at Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp is only an hour’s plane ride from Arusha, Tanzania’s safari capital in the north.
The smallest and the most luxurious part of the East African Serena Hotels chain, Kirawira Camp is designed to be an ultra-upscale, Edwardian-style tented camp. Adorned with Persian rugs, antique escritoires, wind-up phonograms, intricately carved rocking chairs, old sepia photographs, leather-bound traveling cases and colonial-style, four-poster beds, it truly embodies the old colonial “Out of Africa” feel, were it not for the sight of Africa’s expansive savanna as you look out from inside the rustic yet opulently appointed tent camps seated on timber atop a hill.
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Kirawira Camp features 25 widely spaced luxury tents located around the elegant central meeting tent. Each tent presents a varying angle of the evocative plains and the wildlife that appear on the horizon, or even nearby. Passing through the spacious timber deck, the sight of the Edwardian-style bedroom provides a haven amid the extraordinary wilderness.
Lunch and dinner are served sit-down style, in keeping with colonial elegance and opulence. Meals are served on crisp-starched tablecloths peppered with delicate blue-and-white china, Villeroy & Bock crockery and pure-silver cutlery. Meanwhile, adventures range from game drives and four-wheel-drive safaris to cool dips in the pool. Guests can also visit nearby Lake Victoria or a local fishing village.
Beachcomber Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa (Le Morne, Mauritius)
Set against a spectacular backdrop that is the Le Morne Brabant Mountain, Beachcomber Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa is the postcard-perfect picture of paradise. Located 70 kilometers from the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Beachcomber Dinarobin is the perfect escape that gives you an exotic village feel that only a remotely nestled setting in the Indian Ocean can bring.
Beachcomber Dinarobin is lined with powdery-fine, white sand beaches from which palm trees explode in lush green hues that are a perfect contrast to the clear, turquoise waters of the sea. Guests are ushered into spacious suites with ocean, pool and garden views. Each suite is designed like a private apartment, with an imposing master bedroom, a large terrace and an enormous bathroom. Looking out through the big bay windows or from the covered balconies, guests immediately feel that they have indeed reached an unparalleled sanctuary for body, mind and soul.
Located on the Le Morne Brabant Peninsula, the luxury hotel boasts of the most exotic and immaculate spa on the island with Spa by Clarins, the first in the world, and complemented by heated pools, beachside detox massage services and yoga classes on the shore. Another exceptional feature of Beachcomber Dinarobin is its exceptional golf course within a scenic walking distance of the suites, as well as two more international golf courses within driving distance. Guests can also drop by the neighboring Paradis Hotel & Golf Club for lessons at the Practice and Golf Academy. Guests who are looking for more variety in their activities can enjoy kitesurfing as the hotel holds the title for the Third Best Kitesurfing Site in the World. There are also private and group coaching for other sports and fitness activities.
At the end of the day, guests are treated to a choice of four gourmet restaurants that have different themes and atmospheres to suit any taste and mood, topping the whole Le Morne luxury getaway experience.
Sahara Palace Marrakech (Marrakech, Morocco)
Recently awarded Africa’s Leading New Hotel 2014 and Morocco’s Leading Hotel Suite 2014, Sahara Palace Marrakech sprawls like nothing less than a true palace fit for royalty against the magnificent snow-capped Atlas Mountains.
Nestled in the exclusive Palmeraie region of Marrakech, the Palace is a picture-perfect mash-up of the best and most splendid of Indian, Venetian and Moorish design and architecture amid 55 acres of expertly manicured gardens. It truly highlights its place as the point where the exotic East meets the glamorous West. Stepping inside its walls will provide a sense of crossing over into a mysterious in-between of two opposite worlds, in a place of a pure luxurious lifestyle reminiscent of the stories of 1001 Arabian Nights.
The Sahara Palace opens its doors to a faultless staff that awaits guests with mint tea and delicate baked treats. Its interior is adorned with intricate gold lamps, tasseled walls and archway hangings with richly colored, plush sofas. This elegance extends to the bedrooms. A jewel in this palace is the 80-square-meter Riad Garden Room, which features an ensuite, dressing room and a covered terrace revealed by the intricately frosted glass that separates it from the spacious bedroom.
Also famed for its opulence and diversity is the excellent array of dining opportunities that, like the whole of the palace, merges East and West in one perfect symphony. There are restaurants that include the best of Moroccan specialties, as well as wonderful Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.
Nearby are other destinations such as Bab Debbagh, Jamaa el Fna, Ben Youssef Mosque, Almoravid Koubba and the Marrakech Museum, which allow tourists to fully soak in the Moroccan history, sights, sounds and culture.
LUX Le Morne (Le Morne, Mauritius)
With 149 ultra-LUX rooms strategically nestled between the picturesque Le Morne Brabant Mountain and the pristine sandy beaches of Mauritius, LUX gives every one of its guests a unique experience of beauty and luxury.
This five-star boutique hotel houses four pools, a serene spa and rooms and chalets sheltered among tropical-garden greens, giving luxury a more laid-back appeal. Each chalet has dark hardwood furniture and opens up to either the beach or a lagoon. The rooms feature cathedral ceilings lined with rattan. The bathrooms are made of Italian marble, and beds provide the best feeling of sinking into utopic slumber. Going out onto the furnished, open balcony affords a rare opportunity to view dolphins frolicking on the oceanic horizon.
A place for relaxation, romance and feeling surrounded by nature, highlighted by simplistic yet unmistakably high-end luxury that focuses on tailor-made experiences such as pop-up outdoor movie nights, mountain-climbing up the Le Morne Brabant Mountain, guided bike rides around the locale, customized gourmet picnics and even master-cooking classes with the hotel’s acclaimed chefs.
LUX also features seven dining choices that offer a wide array of world-class and local cuisine, such as Mediterranean-style meals with local ingredients, themed dinners, light cocktail fare and eclectic Mauritian street food. LUX also offers a unique selection of its own brand of coffee, water, wine and ice cream to complete the total LUX-life experience.
Diamonds Star of the East (Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar)
Exclusivity at the heart of one of Africa’s most famous hideaways—this is Diamonds Star of the East.
This luxurious all-inclusive proves that quality is indeed superior to quantity, as it features just 11 modern, all-white African villas topped with traditional makuti thatch pitched roofs. These private, palatial villas are cleverly concealed by manicured gardens of lush exotic greens. Nestled within a larger beach resort that overlooks the clear, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Diamonds Star of the East is a true sanctuary that stylishly embodies modern African design in a place that is purely and simply heaven on earth.
Diamonds Star of the East makes such a successful job of maintaining its exclusivity that guests would find it hard to believe that the international airport is just 30 miles away. Stepping inside this complex instantly gives a sense of peaceful seclusion. The intimate, well-hidden villas are adequately spaced apart from each other. Each boasts of lavishness at its finest, from spacious rooms to excellent amenities, private plunge pools and Jacuzzis, as well as stunning views of palm-laden gardens and, beyond, the ocean. The villas are named after the most precious gems in the world to match the natural beauty and luxury each has to offer. Throughout their stays, guests are treated to superb personal-butler service and unmatched amenities.
Ocean Blue Restaurant tops each guest’s search for gastronomical delight as it offers a feast for the senses with its vast offerings of multi-course gourmet menus that cover the culinary highlights of the local spices for which the islands of Zanzibar are also known. The decadence is made even more memorable by the view provided by the Indian Ocean it overlooks and is inspired by.
Aside from the all-inclusive services that it provides, Diamonds Star of the East leaves nothing for its guests to desire as it also allows them full access to all the facilities, restaurants and bars of La Gemma dell’Est.