If you want to crack a mention in Robb Report’s annual ‘Best of the Best Awards’ you have to take luxury to the next level.
The US-based lifestyle magazine focuses on luxury products like cars, aviation, boating, real estate and watches, with a little travel thrown in from time to time.
Thus, when I perused their Best in Travel list for 2022 and saw some local flavour I thought it was worth a closer look.
Categories are broken down in a number of ways, including geographically. The ‘African Retreat’ category is won by Franschhoek’s Sterrekopje Farm.
The write-up is positively glowing:
This 124-acre farm in South Africa’s winelands is a passion project for Dutch entrepreneur Nicole Boekhoorn and her wife, Fleur Huijskens. The couple consider it more a sanctuary than a hotel, with regeneration the goal—not only in the practices employed at the on-site farm but also for guests, who’ll depart their stay restored and rebooted via a series of treatments, dubbed journeys, ranging from Reiki to intuitive massage. There’s nothing so prosaic as a focus on paperwork at check-in, either. Rather, arrivals involve a cleansing foot bath…
Some of the 11 rooms are housed in several low-slung cottages decorated in warm earth tones. Four-poster beds made on Kenya’s Lamu Island dominate most of them, and bathrooms feature an assortment of plunging tubs—particularly charming is one made from an old wine barrel. The owners suggest three- or seven-night stays, better to follow the rituals, though Huijskens isn’t proscriptive. “It’s all a gentle invitation, and no one’s obliged to do anything,” she says. “This is a heart project.”
A seven-night stay would give you plenty of time to explore Franschhoek and its top vineyards, like Anthonij Rupert Wine Farm, as well as run through the extensive list of regenerative treatments. Sorry, ‘journeys’.
I see Sterrekopje also cracked a spot on Conde Nast’s 2022 hot list – another feather in the cap.
If you’re after luxury travel further afield, Robb Report picks Maybourne Riviera, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, as the finest European resort:
An international coterie of aesthetic arbiters came together to design the 69 rooms and suites, light and bright and each with a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean; that superstar team included Hong Kong’s André Fu, Irishman Bryan O’Sullivan and Paris-based Pierre Yovanovitch.
Indeed, this property is a refreshingly contemporary retreat on a relatively quiet stretch of coast not far from Italy and Monaco, known for its heritage hotels. The town, once frequented by Coco Chanel and Eileen Gray, is still as fashionable as ever, so pack for a day at the private waterfront club, which is just a short ride down the cliffs in a bespoke beach buggy.
Hôtel des Horlogers in Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, takes top spot in the hotel design category whilst Finniss River Lodge in Australia’s Northern Territory gets the nod for the best outdoor experience.
There, you can pay for the privilege of helping the owners “push a mob of cattle up through the flood plain”. Nothing screams holiday quite like herding cattle.
You can see the full list here.
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