Hotel Highlights

The hotels that I include on this page are what I would call 'destination' hotels. When I read a review or article about a particular hotel, I will sometimes visit the location simply so that I can enjoy the place.

This is especially true for wellness retreats and spa resorts, but sometimes I like to visit a hotel just to see what the fuss is all about. If I enjoy my stay, I will tell you all about it here. These won't be value for money hotels, so best saved for special occasions!

 

From fine dining to spa treatments, the Oyster Box Hotel & Spa has all the amenities a top hotel should, wrapped up in a classically decorated bow. Set in the shadow of the Umhlanga Lighthouse, the Oyster Box's breathtaking ocean views are the stuff to write poems about. With a Durban curry buffet, two pools, free-flowing champagne, sushi & gin specials, and cheeky Vervet Monkey entertainment, one never needs to leave the Oyster Box. 

The Mount Nelson Hotel, part of the Belmond hotel group, sits happily in the shadow of Table Mountain in Cape Town's Garden's district, close to all the hip and happenings in the city bowl. This hotel has won many awards for it's interiors. They have cottages, rooms and suites, four dining options including the five star Lord Nelson, plus  spa & beauty and a fitness centre. This hotel is packed with history-with past guests such as John Lennon and Nelson Mandela.

The Oyster Box

The Mount Nelson Hotel

Silica Hotel

Blue Lagoon

Grindavik, Iceland

The Silica Hotel opened in 2018 five minutes walk from Iceland's most famous tourist attraction, the Blue Lagoon. The Hotel is a master class in minimalist luxury. With your stay, you have a private thermal pool, complimentary breakfast and premium access into the Blue Lagoon. You also have access to Mt. Torbjorn hiking trails 

www.bluelagoon.is/accommodation

Retreat Spa and Hotel Resort

Grindavik, Iceland

The Retreat Spa and Hotel Resort opened along with the Silica Hotel in 2018. The Retreat features 62 suites settled between the lava flows of the Reykjanes Peninsula at the Blue Lagoon. This hotel is attached to the thermal baths and guests have premium access. They also have two fine dining restaurants, private thermal pools, and the Retreat Spa. 

The spa provides private changing rooms, a collection of relaxation rooms, sauna, steam, and cold plunge. Finish off a visit to the spa with the self-administers Spa Ritual wear guest can enjoy the naturally occurring silica, algae, and minerals provided by the geothermal healing waters of the blue lagoon.

www.bluelagoon.is/accommodation

Farmington, PA USA

84 Lumber's Hardy family bought the #Nemacolin Inn in 1987. They transformed the Inn into a five-star resort with the original lodge, a FrenchChateaux, fine dining at Lautrec and RockwellSteakhouse.

 

There is the Woodlands Spa, HolisticCenter, heated pools, 18 holes golf complex with Fallingrock accommodation. Tea room and bar, shopping, a tavern for casual dining, PJ's for ice cream and pizza,

Farmington, PA USA

The history of the Summit Inn goes all the way back to the construction of the First National Highway during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

 

The current hotel replaced a tavern on Chestnut Ridge on land purchased by George 

Washington, in 1907 and has one of the last remaining grand porch hotels in America. In 1917.

The Historic Summit Inn

Nemacolin Woodlands

Resort

Borneo, Malaysia

Sepilok Nature Reserve is a five-minute drive from the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary.

A collection of wooden chalets dot the edge of a manicured jungle lake. There are over 150 varieties of orchids on display here. 

Also on display are marvelous cocktails and the lodge bar!

www.naturalworldsafaris.com

Borneo, Malaysia

One of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World, The Sukau Rainforest Lodge is located down the Kinabatangan River. Rooms exude a great mix of a safari lodge with Malaysia luxury.

 All of the Suka buildings are connected with an elevated walkway through the rainforest.

This repurposed canoe serves as the buffet table and once carried David Attenborough on a Borneon river safari.

www.sukau.com

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Sepilok Nature Resort

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Axel Gulsmeden is an eco-hotel located in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. This hotel has a restaurant, the Cafe Du Nord, a gym and a spa.

 

Spa in the traditional sense in that there are sauna and jacuzzi.

 

The rooms are on the smaller side but Danish in decoration and eco-friendly toiletries. A great location and a friendly place to stay.

www.guldsmedenhotels.com

Marbella, Spain

The Don Carlos Hotel Resort and Spa in Marbella, Spain, has three accommodation options.

 

The Oasis is a grouping of rooms attached to the spa, the Hotel has traditional room accommodation and the Villas are the most exclusive on the property.

 

They have a large spa, business center, four restaurants, plus poolside dining, large tropical dining rooms, and multiple gyms tennis courts. There is also a kids club for families. 

www.doncarlos.com

Likoma Island, Malawi

On the edge of Malawi, there is a lake. In the middle of this lake is an island. On this island is a village. And near this village is Kaya Maya.

Likoma Island is home to ...people of the Nyami, Tonga, Tumbaku, Yao and Chewa tribes. 

Kaya Mawa is an eco-friendly, ethical lodge built on the banks of the lake. 

Decorated with Malawi-inspired rustic luxury, this hotel has won many titles.  Awards 

 

Choose from three standards rooms, four premium rooms, two family rooms and two houses. There is a spa and many water activities to choose from and beach dining at sunset is a must. 

Kaya Mawa

Venetian Hotel

Macau

The Venetian Hotel in Macau is a carbon-copy of its sister hotel in Las Vegas. 

The rooms are split-level suites and are plentiful.  

The building is one of the largest in the world and includes the rooms, casinos and several malls. 

There is really no reason to leave the hotel!

www.venetianmacao.com

Marrakech

La Mamonia, moments away from Jemaa el-Fnaa Square in the Old Town Medina, is an oasis of luxury in a sea of chaos.

This five-star palace boasts manicured gardens, four restaurants, spa, casino, and boutique shopping. 

Arabic decor blends seamlessly with mod cons and fine art and complete comfort. One of my favorite hotels stays ever.

www.mamounia.com

Wales

Unique and odd are a few adjectives you can use for Portmeirion, Wales. 

This is a place where nothing is as it seems. The buildings of this town are the hotel rooms and most of the village shops sell ice cream and marmalade. 

There is a lovely restaurant and spa and beautiful walks in the foothills of Snowdonia National Park. 

www.portmeirion.wales

Lenox, MA USA

Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA is the most fun I have had at a resort spa.

They have a non-stop activities schedule, fitness center with trainers, a spa with a large treatment menu, inside and outside pools, cooking classes, and alternative exercising with therapists to visit with.

 

I had my astrology chart done and survived my first Zumba class and without spraining one single ankle!

www.canyonranch.com/lenox

Tucson, AZ USA

Miraval Wellness Resort is set in the breathtaking Sierra Desert, Arizona. 

The resort has a restaurant and cafe, fitness studio, treatment spa and many alternative treatments that help with both the body and soul. 

Equine Therapy is a popular activity and they have an in-house medicine man

www.miravalresorts.com

Stowe, Vermont

The Stowe Mountain Lodge, in the shadow of Mansfield Mountain, is a great place to stay for both the winter and summer season.

They have 8 ski trails, cross country trails, skating and rock climbing.

In Summer months, there are zip-lining adventures, hiking, and many other activities in the beautiful Vermont location. The lodge has two main restaurants, cocktail lounge, and several other food kiosks throughout the grounds. 

www.sprucepeak.com

New Mexico, USA

Just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico you will find the resort Ojo Caliente. 

This is a lovely Pueblo-styled resort that takes advantage of it's natural hot spring waters. 

There are five pools including lithia, iron, arsenic and salt, plus mud baths and tepid pools for swimming. 

Day passes are available for those just passing through and want to take advantage of the natural healing powers of the water.

They have well appointed rooms, two restaurants, hiking trails and a generous treatment menu.

www.ojocaliente.ojospa.com

Berlin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski sits in the shadow of the iconic Brandenberg Gate in the center of Berlin.

This hotel has 13 different room types, a full-service spa, and three exquisite restaurants.

 

A concierge service can get you anywhere you need to go in this hip and thriving city.

www.kempinsky.com

Boston

This little gem of a boutique hotel is a hop from Boston Common and the start of the Freedom Trail.

 

The Kimpton 9 Zero serves a continental breakfast, salon, have access to the local sport's club and even have an in-house historian. 

Valet parking is on offer, though it is a bit hard to spot the entrance. 

The rooms are funky-cool with designer furniture and are very roomy.

The location simply can't be beaten.

www.ninezero.com

Aguas de Ibiza Grand Hotel

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, the Spanish island in the Balearic Sea, is more than just a place to go for mad clubbing. The Aguas de Ibiza is an Oasis of tranquility in the most picturesque part of this vibrant island. The spa is superb and the food is five star. And Please! It is Catalan pronunciation:  I-BEE-THA! 

Pauline Monastery Hotel

Sopron, Hungary

The Pauline Monastery Hotel has been perched high in the hills overlooking the quaint village of Sopron, Hungary for 500 years. This former Benedictine monastery has been beautifully restored in, erm, monastery-chic style. The hotel has event space,  yoga studio, spa, and restaurant. This is a tech-free environment, so it is the perfect place for quiet meditation and reflexion. Rooms are restored monk cells and are finished with minimalist luxury. 

 

The Giant Pink hotel on the Florida horizon is none other than the Don Cesar beach resort. This resort has welcomed the world's elites since 1928. There are 277 rooms, all with views, two outdoor heated pools with cabana service and a luxury spa. You can't go wrong with the luxury afforded at the Don Cesar. 

Boston Massachusetts

This new addition to the Wynn Collection is a real stunner. Located a little further down the river than the Harbour, this resort is an exercise in pure luxury. Rooms, suites, casino, fitness centre, convention space, spa, and shopping are all paled by the amazing foyer and its floral carousel and floral mosaic floor tiling. Just beautiful. 

Don Cesar Hotel

Wynn Encore

St. Petersburg, Florida

About Us

 

Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.

 

I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 

 

 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!

 

 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 

 

So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.

-Beth

When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 

 

From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 

 

Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!

-Phyl

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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com

The Nick and Nora glass does not get its eponymous name from an Infinite Playlist. It was inspired by characters, Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man. These two lived the dream as a leisure-couple who combine heavy drinking, flirtatious banter, and detective work. Cocktails presented in a Nick and Nora glass are served up, which means shaken with ice, but served without.