Planning to get out of town comes with its inevitable share of headaches — are my visas in order? Do I pack one or two bathing suits? How many screaming children will I sit next to on this flight? — but all that stress should melt away when you climb into bed the first night of vacation.
That’s easy enough to accomplish with the right advice on where to find the perfect digs. Enter Rhiannon Taylor, the editor-in-chief of In Bed With, an Australia-based lifestyle site that specializes in seeking out the most unique hotels around the world. Change the way you stay with her favorite spots, from Tuscany to Abu Dhabi, the Australian Outback to New York City.
The Maldives is stocked with picturesque atolls, but Cocoa Island is a tiny paradise made specifically for lovers. A 10-minute stroll along pristine white sand takes you from one end of the island to the other, past over-water bungalows, with surf gently lapping at your feet all the while. COMO Shambhala’s health focused menu is as nourishing as it is delicious and spa treatments are carried out in little huts on the beach. Paradise.
Outback Australia has a way of getting under your skin—the red dirt, the heat, and the local storytelling make the interior of the continent particularly spiritual. Remote and luxurious, Longitude 131 boasts uninterrupted views of Uluru. Before sleeping under the stars in a “tent”—actually plush suites with a balcony—guests enjoy a flickering fire in the evening with a cup of tea and digestives. Meanwhile, expertly trained staff share historical and geological facts of the region while pouring glasses of champagne on the dunes at sunset. It’s a must-do when Down Under.
Countless hotels in New York offer a pleasant night’s sleep, but the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca easily ranks among the most elegant in the city. With an eclectic mix of vintage, reclaimed, and modern furnishings, no two rooms are alike. A complimentary Mercedes-Benz transports guests around Manhattan to cap off overall impeccable service. Don’t miss breakfast at Locanda Verde—the sheep’s milk ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast is especially divine.
With rooms dotted throughout a tiny town near Siena, falling in love with Tuscany is easier than ever during a stay here. Ancient ruins surround a jaw-dropping infinity pool, beyond the edge of which you’ll see the verdant rolling hills of Val d’Orcia. The suites are outfitted with luxe Italian furnishings, stone bathtubs, and rich textiles—a vision of rustic elegance. The spa uses ancient Florentine techniques and local ingredients for healing treatments. And the restaurant entices locals and tourists alike with its organic Tuscan fare. Rise early to take part in an early-morning truffle hunt paired with cooking classes where students prepare fresh ravioli for lunch while sipping wine from nearby Montepulciano.
Located north of Byron Bay, it’s safe to say every hotelier-in-the-know covets a stay at Halcyon House. This converted motel is something dreams are made of, with colorful wallpaper, tiles, and accoutrements all curated by designer Anna Spiro. The toughest choice guests have to make is selecting the palm-fringed pool or the hotel’s beachfront location for an afternoon hangout. A sampling of the artisanal menu includes pancakes with passionfruit and smashed avocado with poached eggs—delightfully served in bed, if you wish.
The newly renovated Ivory Lodge by Lion Sands is an architectural masterpiece. Each suite is decked out with a plunge pool, polished stone flooring, light-filled dining rooms, lounges, and bedrooms, as well as panoramic views of a hippopotamus-filled river. Game viewing is abundant, with expert rangers ensuring that guests experience intimate encounters with lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, and buffalo from the comfort of plush Land Rovers. The food is outstanding, showcasing the best of South African cuisine. With much more to offer than a standard hotel, you'll leave the Ivory Lodge with a deep appreciation for its keen attention to detail.
Amanpulo, located on a diminutive island in the Philippines, is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Among the Aman group’s first properties, Amanpulo stands up to the test of time. Check in takes place at a private hangar-turned-lobby in Manila, where you’ll stop off before being whisked to island paradise. Diving and snorkeling among the islands reefs is unbelievable, with endless stretches of living coral, countless turtles and other marine life, and near-perfect visibility. While guests can easily stroll around it, there are also private buggies available to navigate the island. It’s a place to find relaxation, explore nearby islands, discover inner peace at the zen-like spa, and work up a sweat on the jungle ropes course.
A pod-style hotel hidden in the heart of Rome behind the Pantheon, Le Quattro Dame is an Italian-design dream. Lofty ceilings, silky sheets, and polished floorboards feature throughout the space and the front desk is staffed during business hours with stellar recommendations for local eateries and boutique shopping. It’s also a great value for the Eternal City.
Driving out of Abu Dhabi for two hours, through the desert toward Saudi Arabia, you’ll find Qasr Al Sarab rising in the sand dunes like a mirage. The sprawling resort hints at mystery with camel rides at sunrise and an open-air Middle Eastern barbecue at sunset. The desert seclusion is almost otherworldly, yet unlimited hummus and dates bring guests back to earth.
Sri Lanka is not quite yet overrun with tourism, making it the unconventional destination of the moment. Ceylon Tea Trails is a resort of sorts, where colonial estates dotted throughout Tea Country are transformed into guest houses with old-school butler service. Like stepping back in time, staff serve tea on the terrace each afternoon and draw baths for guests in the evening. A visit the local tea factories offers a glimpse of what goes into perfecting the art of Ceylon black tea.