Fire and Ice
Snow-capped volcanoes, explosive geysers, breathtaking waterfalls and glaciers as far as the eye can see: Iceland’s Golden Circle holds no shortage of wonders. And it is here, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet, that you can also find ION Luxury Adventure Hotel, whose architecture is rivalled only by the lava fields below. To really bask in the luxury of nature, be sure to relax in the outdoor bath, fed by natural hot springs – it provides perfect viewing for the dancing lights of the aurora borealis.
While the Mondrian London hotel has cemented the formerly low-key SE1 as the city’s hottest new postcode, what really sets it apart from the other shiny new properties on the South Bank is Dandelyan Bar. Award-winning head bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr. Lyan, draws inspiration from the globetrotting British botanists of yore and, even further back, the first hunter-gatherers. The complex, poetic cocktail menu is part history lesson, part Book of Shadows. A brief taste: Vaudeville Venom includes vodka and zedoary root, traditionally used by Native Americans “to block evil spirits, and also as an antidote to cobra venom”; the 13th Century Boy’s ingredients (like palm and pine cordial) are inspired by Egyptian mummification rituals. Suffice it to say, this is not the time to order a pint of ale.
White-sand shores and top-notch snorkelling make Kapalua Bay a prime destination on Maui, but Montage Kapalua Bay’s cultural offerings are perfect for a dose of authentic Hawaii in between trips to the beach. First, make your own lei using fresh flowers and fern stems that you’ll pick with help from Silla Kaina, the hotel’s cultural ambassador. Next, take a ukulele lesson and learn basic chords on the stringed instrument that has become an iconic part of Hawaiian music since being introduced by early Portuguese settlers. And finally, dance the hula, honouring the story of Hawaii through basic hip, foot and hand movements accompanied by Polynesian chants.
Alan Faena took the title of hotelier to the next level with his Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires, transforming an abandoned port into an arts destination anchored by a luxury hotel. Now, he’s done the same along a formerly sleepy stretch of Miami Beach, creating the six-block Faena District and Faena Hotel Miami Beach.