Occasionally you come across somewhere which makes you think ‘this will be very hard to beat’. The Hotel Villa Honegg is one of those places.
Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Lucerne, Hotel Villa Honegg ‘s terrace overlooks a stunning mountain valley. Within seconds of sinking into the plump cushions, wrapping a soft blanket over our laps and ordering a large beer, our long journey simply melted into the indigo dusk. The only sound was the clanking of bells as the cows drifted to bed across the meadows.
Breakfast in sun is a must, early enough to watch the mist lift from the hills, or late enough to make the most of the offer to take it as brunch. You’ll begin with platters of fruit, meat and cheese to keep you going while you choose the locally sourced main event ‘a la carte’. Be prepared to sit back, enjoy the ambience and take your time.
The Hotel Villa Honegg is all about the extra details, making you feel like genuine thought has gone into what is going to make you happy and comfortable. Night-time tugs of war are eliminated with two duvets side by side on the cloud soft bed. You’ll even find a tiny dressing gown and slipper sets for any young guests joining you.
The 34 degree heated outdoor pool is a blissful. Hugging the outside of the building in an L shape, the infinity design creates the uncanny impression that you are floating through the sky, at eye level to the mountain peaks. Yet, somehow, from the integral Jacuzzi, the pool also seems to merge into the vast waters of Lake Lucerne.
The Hotel Villa Honegg is pure country side luxury with lakeside views. You’ll eat well, breathe the serene atmosphere and probably leave with a lovely sense of renewed energy.
I feel overwhelmed with kindness, hospitality and beauty. My stay at Sungai is simply exquisite. Everything is perfectly designed, planned and executed. There are not enough superlatives to describe staying at Sungai.
Sungai means river, and this exceptional resort is set on the bank of a small one in the tiny village of Cepaka. You’re in the real Bali here.
The resort is divided in two, and you can book the entire resort (sleeps 12 to 17) or just part. Regardless, bespoke service and exclusivity are paramount.
My stay is on the Sungai Gold side. It is just like staying in a private home, if your home is an incredible two-bedroom villa with an outdoor living room and dining room. And a pool overlooking a lazy jungle river. In Bali. With a dozen staff, half of whom are exceptional chefs.
These chefs will prepare incredible meals for you, you simply let them know what you’d like in enough time to do the daily shopping (or leave it to them to surprise you). Only the cost of ingredients is charged.
The decor is simple and elegant, bright whites and beachy taupes. Bathrooms are open to the air on one side (be aware if you’re super squeamish of insects, you’ll see a few). Tuberose and frangipani blossoms are everywhere perfuming the air.
While the setting, facilities and the (many) luxury inclusions are wonderful, it is the staff that make Sungai truly outstanding. The team is led by Made (pronounced Mah-day), who also acts as your personal concierge alleviating you of planning and logistics. The team has unaffected personal and professional service down to an art, and provide the perfect balance of friendliness, care, charm and grace.
Everyone should be so lucky as to enjoy a stay at Sungai.
I’m not supposed to have favourites, but Heritage Suites is one of them. This hotel is both luxury and boutique and has what is, for me, the perfect combination of facilities, services and, especially, attitude.
Don’t be deceived by the modest street entrance, the buildings and grounds are all gorgeous. The stunning two-tired restaurant features the talented kitchen of Chef Vibol (to-die-for canapés, especially the quail’s egg with Béarnaise) and the staff at the zinc bar make creative and classic cocktails.
The spa is by Bodia, one of the best in the region. The saltwater pool, open 24 hours, has a chiller, which is very much appreciated in Siem Reap’s hot afternoons. You can order the full menu at the pool too.
Suites are immense — 75 square meters — and simply stunning. They are also perfectly lit, with a wall of windows and layered lighting, much with dimmers, so that you can have mood lighting or task lighting exactly as you want it. You’ll have a quiet sleep, despite the location in a real Cambodian neighbourhood.
Each suite has a gigantic bathtub in which you can float gazing through your picture window to your own private garden (lit beautifully at night), where you can also take an outdoor shower. Your other bathing options include an indoor rain shower plus a steam room.
There are six classic rooms, 17 bungalow suites, and an additional three extra special suites.
Heritage Suites’ approach to guests hits all the right nuances of friendliness, service, knowledge, fun and sophistication. You simply feel wonderful staying here.
Tucked away amongst the paddy fields and forests a few miles outside of Ubud this boutique villa hotel is breathtaking for two reasons. Actually, make that three- they do the most amazing fresh fruit cocktails- and bring them to you at intervals so regularly you don’t even need to ask.
The first reason has to be the view out over the infinity pool across the deep, lush valley as you enter the main ‘lobby’ and restaurant area. The second reason the place is stand-out fabulous is how well you are looked after. The chef buys market produce and prepares the menu for that day with the utmost care; they help you however they can with big smiles; and they seem to genuinely love having you there as their valued guest. It adds a lot to the atmosphere.
There are only 5 suites and a small staff so this hotel is certainly boutique. All the accommodation are separate villas with secluded balconies and vista -sucking floor to ceiling windows. The spacious open air bathrooms are complete with wall-hugging foliage, up-lighting and invisible night time creatures. Close your eyes, gaze at the stars and imagine you are taking a bath in the jungle- before sliding into your welcomingly plush 4 poster bed.