AHU BAY, SRI LANKA
The modern beach hut reimagined; Ahu Bay is a sleek new addition to Sri Lanka’s famed southwest coast. Located between Galle and Colombo, Ahu sits between two gorgeous coves amid a tropical environment of coconut trees and palms, facing the shimmering Indian Ocean.
Rooms, suites and villas are styled with a high attention to detail. Large panels of glass let in the tropical panorama of swaying palms and azure ocean, while bathrooms are nests of design, with dual vanity areas, walk-in rain showers and royal blue tiling. Suites are steps from the beach and have a gorgeous garden and glass-encased living area, some coming with polished concrete private pools. Villas are set on two-storeys and sleep up to six. The hub of the hotel is the infinity pool surrounded by oversized beanbags, and the bar and restaurant where crafted cocktails are served plus delicious Sri Lankan dining.
“Sri Lanka, but in style: staying at sleek Ahu Bay gives you the perfect beachside bolthole base to explore the southwest coast.”
We have to admit that we think Ahu Bay is perfect for couples. Suites and villas are generously spacious and feel very private – the ideal honeymoon hideaway, with the on-site Sanctuary Spa adding the cherry on the cake.
WALDORF ASTORIA PLATTE ISLAND, SEYCHELLES
Timed to coincide with our chilly UK winter, the opening of Waldorf Astoria Platte Island will be the perfect antidote to winter blues. Located on its own tropical island and accessible by private plane from Mahe in the Seychelles, the Waldorff stands out for the pristine nature and secluded beauty of the resort – this is a modern-day castaway experience where you can disconnect from life as you know it.
Nature and wildlife work in tandem with the hotel, which has been built with the environment in mind, utilising solar power and creating a garden brimming with produce. Testament to the untouched seascapes, the ocean, lagoon and coral reef are full of marine life from hawksbill turtles to reef sharks, eagles rays, migratory seabirds and passing whales. The hotel also has a marine conservation discovery centre where curious guests can find out more, as well as a spa replete with hammam, tennis courts and a kids’ club.
“This exciting new Indian Ocean idyll promises to be a true paradise, set on its own exquisite private island, where seafront villas with private pools are dotted along the pristine beach.”
Those who like feeling truly away from it all will love the exclusive tropical-luxe feel of the Waldorf Astoria Platte Island. It’s also a great option for families or multi-generational groups, as some of the larger villas have up to five bedrooms.
A TRIO OF ISLANDS
SIX SENSES KANUHURA, MALDIVES
Made up of not one but three tropical islands, to say that Six Senses Kanuhura has a desirable location is rather an understatement. Dotted like pearls in an iridescent sea, Kanuhura and her islands are a combination of sheer natural beauty and a bold, modern castaway style. The finish here is very much polished, a break away from the rustic look of many of Kanuhura’s Maldivian contemporaries.
The largest of the three islands is where the habitation resides, alongside one of the Maldives’ biggest beaches. Capacious overwater villas and beachfront residences spread out on the sandy shore and over the aquamarine Indian Ocean. Hidden between the coconut trees are the secluded beach retreats offering a more private escape. The additional two islands are set up for pure fun – such as under-the-stars dining and authentic castaway experiences. One activity to bookmark is sunset gazing from the multi-layered Point restaurant and bar, where you can watch the sun set on another day in paradise.
“Set yourself adrift on one of three tropical islands at Six Senses Kanuhura and enjoy exquisite seclusion in a paradisical setting.”
Those that like to be active and explore; across three islands there’s plenty to keep kids, teens, parents and couples happy on land, on the water and below the waves.
LUX* MARIJANI, ZANZIBAR
Inspired by the traders that came from afar to export exotic spices from Zanzibar, LUX* Marijani is a mix of architectural styles and Swahili culture with its white-washed walls, ornate wooden doorways, terrazzo tiles and coral. Located on Zanzibar’s peaceful northeast coastline, the hotel sits on a sandy beach, washed by the azure tides of the Zanzibar archipelago. At the property’s heart is a large swimming pool, echoing the blues of the East African skies while the hotel’s suites fan along the sandy shoreline, each a luxe mix of linen-swathed beds, brass fixtures and white-on-white bathrooms.
As well as authentic experiences such as watching the ‘seaweed mamas’ gather their catch on the shoreline and morning yoga on a sandbank, visits to Stone Town and afternoons drifting the seas on a dhow, LUX* Marijani has a creative dining scene that is particularly tantalising, from spiced coconut curries to papaya salads, Arabian mezze feasts to the hotel’s own ice cream, there’s a flavour to suit each mealtime on this sensory tropical island.
“Full of breezy Swahili charm and Arab influences, LUX* Marijana sits beachside on Zanzibar’s peaceful northeast coast.”
LUX* Marijana is the perfect place to re-energise after an East African safari, and would make a wonderful honeymoon finale. Equally the roomy, interconnecting family suites mean children are very much welcome too.
ALILA KOTHAIFARU, MALDIVES
Already endorsed by Conde Nast Traveller’s 2023 Hot List, Alila Kothaifaru is making waves in the Maldives. Located in the in the pristine Raa Atoll, access the resort in style by seaplane or zoom in on a speedboat.
Although a newcomer to the Maldives, Alila Kothaifaru has taken great care with its surroundings, retaining over 80% of its original foliage so the resort already merges nicely into its surroundings and has a calming all-natural ambience. In terms of its style, it very much fits the ‘sleek and chic’ category with a clean aesthetic that makes way for azure panoramas and jungle backdrops, depending on whether you choose an overwater residence or a beach villa. Service is a highlight here and friendly staff seem determined to make your holiday the best it can be.
“A private island retreat infused by greenery, Alila Kothaifaru is an all-pool-villa resort set to dazzle with tropical Maldivian hues.”
With dreamy beaches, spa treehouses and a private island for Robinson Crusoe escapades, this Maldivian island is a honeymooner’s paradise; however a small kids’ club and beach villas that can sleep four means families are welcome too.