The road less travelled
Searching for something a little different for your next trip away? A unique hotel at the end of the road less travelled? Travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith know a thing or two about seductive hotels in the world’s most extraordinary locations, so they’ve put together this list of secluded stays where tourists are few and wonders are plenty!
THE CHEDI MUSCAT, Muscat, Oman
Muscat’s rich history and flourishing dining scene offer a ‘real’ glimpse into Arabic life miles apart from the glitz and glamour of Dubai. There’s excitement here, too, girls: expect A-grade aquatic activities and adventures in the inland desert and mountains. And the Chedi makes for a great base, where all rooms offer cinematic views of the Gulf of Oman through widescreen windows, plus three pools including the region’s longest, a 103-metre-long mood-setting marvel lined by palms and black double day beds. The pool overlooks the beach – a quick scamper across the sand and you’ll be splashing among the waves!
Fly To: Muscat International Airport
Flight Time: There are very few non-stop flights to Muscat, Oman, so you’ll have to consider a stop-over in either Colombo, Bangkok or New Delhi
Best For: Escaping the crowds
Sassy Tip: Bikinis, swimming shorts (and the usual beach essentials) are fine by the pool, but for day trips and evenings, be sure to pack smart-casual clothing; long skirts and dresses as well as something to cover your shoulders.
Smith Extra: A Smith hotel voucher for £25/$40/€30
Read more: 10 Reasons to Visit Iran
THE SAROJIN, Phang Nga, Thailand
For a tropical sanctuary hidden away along the coastline of Phang Nga, not far from Phuket, The Sarojin is a boutique resort that strives to satisfy every wish and whim. Your eye won’t know where to settle: the private beach? The lush gardens centred on the hotel’s ancient ficus tree? Or the modern, minimalist décor. Some rooms, like the Pool Residences, come with enormous onyx plunge pools sunk into the terrace, a perfect setting for late-night cocktails while soaking under the stars. An unexpected pleasure are the huge bathrooms with an oval terazzo couple’s bath tub.
Fly To: Phuket International Airport and drive to Phang Nga (about 65 km)
Flight Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Best For: White sandy beaches
Sassy Tip: Can’t decide on your itinerary? The Sarojin will happily put a personalised plan together for you! Think elephant treks (ensure that they’re ethical before booking!), scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.
Smith Extra: A 60-minute Thai massage for two people, to be taken within 48 hours of arrival
Read more: Sassy’s Top Favourite Thai Food Restaurants in Hong Kong
TRI, Lake Koggala, Sri Lanka
A new breed of sustainable luxury hotel in a secret lakeside setting, Tri offers delicious dining, yoga and Ayurveda treatments as part of an euphoria-inducing stay that is as kind to mind, body and soul as it is to its environment. Poking through the trees onto the lake, this retreat is ideal for boat trips and bike rides. Plus it’s only a short taxi journey from soft sandy beaches and Galle Fort, a citadel with ramparts that harken back to the region’s unique Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sri Lankan heritage. Tri’s guest-experience team can arrange trips to temples and stupas, museums and workshops, tea plantations and cinnamon farms, as well as chaperone you on tours to meet local artists, craftspeople and curators.
Fly To: Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo) and drive two-and-a-half hours to Lake Koggala. Cinnamon Air also operates an air-taxi service which lands on the lake from destinations throughout Sri Lanka.
Flight Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Best For: Photography and extraordinary views
Sassy Tip: Add to your adventures and take the train from Colombo to Galle
Smith Extra: A free dhoni boat excursion to Cinnamon Island, for a ‘cinammon experience’, where guests learn how the spice is grown, harvested and prepared
Read more: 8 Things Travel Guides Won’t Tell You About Sri Lanka
SPICERS SANGOMA RETREAT, Blue Mountains, Australia
The intimate, African-inspired Spicers Sangoma Retreat Hotel delivers magical healing in the Blue Mountains. Just a 70-minute drive from Sydney, this chic five-room sanctuary is perfect for city escapees keen to unwind in the bush: enjoy home-from-home comforts, including delicious dining and massage treats for the ultimate house party. Although the Blue Mountains area is famous for its national parks, bushwalking trails, valley and escarpment views, and wildlife sightings, it’s hard to tear yourself away from tranquil Sangoma. The infinity pool is a major draw, and you can spy kingfishers and other birdlife from your balcony.
Fly To: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and drive 70 minutes into the Blue Mountains. Alternatively take a train from Sydney to Richmond Station and a further 15 minute drive to the hotel.
Flight Time: 9 hours 30 minutes
Best For: ‘Glamping’ (with the added option to explore the Australian bush!)
Sassy Tip: Indulge in locally sourced organically grown food at the retreat or check out heritage cottage, Lochiel House for hearty home cooked meals, or nearby pub, Bilpin Afire for a local brew.
Smith extra: A handmade beeswax candle and AU$50 spa credit per stay
THE LOMBOK LODGE, Lombok, Indonesia
Bali’s charms are well documented, but away from its hustle and bustle is neighbouring island Lombok, where you’ll find authentic indigenous villages and exquisite temples with far fewer crowds. Such as Taman Narmada’s pleasure gardens, which feature the fountain of eternal youth, or the Lingsar temple complex, where both Hindu and Muslim worship is welcomed. The place to stay is the Lombok Lodge, a sumptuous resort where the coconut-white interiors are a stark contrast to the riot of blue, green and gold of the exterior. You’ll spend a lot of time outside: in the sun-kissed gardens, splashing in the pool and lazing on the beach – though there are mountain bikes and a boat to borrow for when you’re seeking adventure.
Fly To: Lombok International Airport or fly in to Denpasar (Ngurah Rai) International Airport and take boat over to Lombok. The lodge is roughly a 90 minute drive from there.
Flight Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
Best For: An authentic cultural experience – away from the crowds!
Sassy Tip: Explore beyond the hotel pool and check out a Sasak village, showcasing the way of life and traditions of Lombok’s indigenous people.
Smith Extra: A candlelit beachside dinner for two
BRUNTON BOATYARD, Kerala, India
Fashioned from a Victorian shipbuilding yard into a soothing sea-fronted retreat, this colonial treasure hits plenty of authenticity sweet-spots, such as the tea and frangipani garden, the Armoury bar with its aged whiskey cabinet, and views of historic Fort Cochin, all betraying the region’s eclectic mix of English, Portuguese and Dutch influence. You’ll revel in the glorious outdoor swimming pool, the Ayurvedic Centre dealing in fragrant treatments and massages, and the choice of excellent restaurants. The best of all, however, is simply spying on the coming and going of boats and local fishermen through the window shutters of your well-appointed period bedroom.
Fly To: Cochin International Airport (Kochi), then drive an hour to the hotel
Flight Time: There are very few non-stop flights to Kerala so you’ll have to consider a stop-over in either Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, New Delhi or Mumbai
Best For: An authentic colonial experience
Sassy Tip: Have time to explore? Head out to Veli Lake and dine at the ‘floating restaurant’.
Smith Extra: Two-for-one dinner in the main restaurant
With Mr & Mrs Smith you’ll enjoy our best-price guarantee, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.
Featured image sourced via Unsplash, all other images provided by Mr & Mrs Smith hotels