Small Luxury Hotels in the World (SLH) kicked off the new year with seven new member hotels, including a return to the South African map with three hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection. Together with the Italian trio and historic hideouts in the hilltop fortress of Bastia in France, this is the latest addition to the portfolio.
South Africa (New Destination)
Liz McGrath Collection
SLH returns to South Africa with three hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection: The Plettenberg on the Garden Route coastline; Marines, cliff top retreat on Hermanus Beach; and The Cellars-Hohenort in the historic Constantia Valley, Cape Town.
Surrounded by nine acres of gardens and with views of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, The Cellars-Hohenort combines the historic Hohenort Manor House and Cellars at the 18th century Klaasenbosch Wine Estate. Located on the wine-growing suburb of the Valley of Constantia, this 51-room hotel also offers a great base from which to explore Cape Town. The 17th century have arranged fountains and walkways within the estate. Rooms and suites have views of the East Table Mountain Slope and gardens. The Cellars-Hohenort is also home to the award-winning Greenhouse, which is consistently ranked as one of South Africa’s top 20 restaurants.
Less than an hour and a half drive away is The Marine, offering some of the best land whale watching spots between June and November each year – including straight from the property’s 40 rooms. Located atop a cliff on rocky Hermanus beach overlooking Walker Bay, this retreat is great for relaxing and getting acquainted with nature via Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Grotto Beach.
Plettenberg serves the ultimate Garden Route destination. Located on a rocky headland on Plettenberg Bay along the green Garden Route on the southeast coast of South Africa, Plettenberg Bay has a temperate climate and golden beaches. This family-style hotel with 35 rooms and two villas offers impressive views, from the sea to the mountains. It is also one of the few hotels in the area with direct beach access.
Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa (Lake Como, Menaggio)
This 81-room lakeside hotel is the newest five-star hotel on Lake Como. Starting life as a 19th-century neoclassical villa, Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa this February reopens as a retreat with classic chandelier and pillar decorations set alongside contemporary furniture and surrounded by gardens, lake and mountain views. Rooms can be booked individually or combined to create multi-rooms. Lago restaurant, led by chef Martin Vitaloni, takes advantage of the incredible views from the lakeside veranda. Guests can relax at the 16,000-square-foot Erre Spa, which is centered around the courtyard. The “grand dame” villas and even the magnificent gardens, which lead to the shores of Lake Como, include the 12th century Villa Carlotta and the Villa del Balbianello, which are now filming locations.
Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel (Torre Canne)
Located in Torre Canne in Fasano in Puglia, these 52 beachfront retreat rooms feature white linens, wooden furnishings and a hydro-massage bath / shower cubicle. Aqua Spa offers a variety of treatments, including Ancient Roman rituals such as “The Essential Flower”, using rosemary, myrtle and olive oil. Freshly caught fish and seafood are the main dishes here, alongside locally sourced meat, fresh vegetables and homemade orecchiette. The resort hosts special themed evenings on the restaurant terrace for guests to experience the customs and traditions of the area, with live cooking, classic Puglian street food and Pizzica folk dance. The location is also ideal for self-drive beach tours: the pretty town of Fasano is a 10-minute drive, and about 20 minutes from the whitewashed town of Ostuni, and Alberobello, a UNESCO site known for its hobbit-like Trulli house.
Villa Soligo (Treviso)
Villa Soligo, which has 39 rooms, owes its Palladian style to its beginnings in 1782 as a summer hunting lodge for the Counts of Brandolini. Now restored, this boutique hotel sits on nearly four hectares of land at the foot of the Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Romantic columns frame the villa entrance in a neoclassical style that continues upstairs to the rooms and suites – each individually designed and furnished to reflect the style of the Treviso period and the mansion’s history. Nearby marks the start of La Strada del Prosecco, where you can take part in a guided tasting of Italy’s most famous drink. Guests can also visit nearby wineries to sample the best of local wines, or head to Venice (less than an hour by car) or the town of Conegliano, which inspires Giovanni’s masterpieces.
Governor Hotel (Bastia)
Tucked away within the historic site of Fort Bastia, the Hôtel des Gouverneurs is the only hotel within the hilltop fortress of Bastia. The boutique property, which has only 26 rooms and was built in 1380, is only a two-minute walk from the Old Harbor and five minutes from the city center. Rooms are a “classic-contemporary meeting”, with a terrace offering views of the Old Harbor and views of the sea. Guests can also enjoy Italian-style showers and Roberto Cavalli toiletries. There is also an indoor heated pool, sauna and hammam at the Biologique Recherche Spa (guests can also receive treatments in their room). The Mediterranean-style Les Dînettes des Gouverneurs turns into a terrace tapas restaurant in the evening, before returning to the friendly bar for a small amount of gin and rum.