2020 came in like the most savage of lions and completely overturned and redefined our lives, from the way we live, work and socialise, right down to how we dine, shop and exercise. It has forced us to seek new ways for almost every aspect of our lives, and while the isolating, social distancing and obsessive sanitising has gradually and begrudgingly become second nature, the sorely missed world of travel remains ever-changing and uncertain.
That said, ironically, travel is actually one of the most beautiful and reliable antidotes for uncertainty and we’re all feeling the desperate urge to get outdoors and reconnect with the world. Travel is a tremendous, not-to-be-taken-for-granted privilege and one that many of us clearly cannot live without.
Privacy is the new luxury
Just as we all managed to find new ways to work and communicate, travellers are quickly redefining the way in which they travel. From local staycations and workations, to those once in a lifetime bucket list adventures they only ever dreamed about, travel addicts are finding safe, responsible and comfortable ways to travel amidst the pandemic.
The art of slow travel has (rightfully) been resurrected. Instead of racing from one crowded stop to the next, many travellers are opting to limit their movement — and exposure to other travellers — by staying longer in a destination and by travelling in the safety (and privacy) of their own trusted travel bubble.
“We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all.”
Together is a wonderful place to be, which is why so many travel-deprived souls are now opting for a longer, more leisurely and indulgent stay in an exclusive sole-use property where they can relax, safely and privately, with their trusted quaranteam.
These 10 exclusive travel bubble-friendly hideaways put the ‘soul’ in sole-use.
1. The Star Dune Suite at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
The ultimate in private desert luxury, the Star Dune Suite at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is ideal for four friends or family that want to escape to the soul-restoring solitude of Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert. Spacious and ultra-luxurious, the two ensuite bedrooms, each with their own private pool and veranda, are linked by enclosed walkways that lead to a large private lounge, dining area and veranda.
2. The Hacienda at Vira Vira
In the heart of Chile’s picturesque Lake District is Beyond Vira Vira, the first and only South American lodge in our portfolio. Completely separate to the lodge’s elegant suites and villas is the exclusive, five-bedroomed Hacienda (Homestead). Previously the owner’s private residence, this two-story luxury farmhouse boasts a master suite complete with outdoor hot tub, plus four additional bedrooms, three of which are ensuite. With spacious living, dining and lounge areas, a covered veranda, plus the added benefit of a personal chef and private guide and driver for daily excursions, this gorgeous home is ideal for a multi-generational family adventure.
3. Phinda Homestead
The world-class Phinda Homestead overlooks a forested pan frequented by wildlife on &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Generously spacious and luxuriously elegant, this private villa features four spacious ensuite bedrooms with an extensive indoor and outdoor living and dining area, interactive kitchen and rim-flow pool frequented by elephants. Complete with a private safari vehicle and dedicated ranger, tracker, butler and chef, this means that game drives, as well as mealtimes, are tailored entirely to the guests’ preference.
4. Kahani Paradise
A remote and tranquil escape from the colourful chaos of India’s city centres is the serene Kahani Paradise private villa, situated just south of Gokarna. This 20-acre (8-hectare) estate boasts manicured gardens, lush forest, tropical flowers and an orchard of coconut, betelnut and banana trees. Just a six-minute walk to Paradise Beach, each of the villa’s six luxury suites have ocean views. The elegant two-story villa also features a large pool, spa, outdoor terrace and comfortable, stylish living and dining spaces. Fresh seafood is brought in daily from the bay, which a private chef prepares according to guests’ unique tastes.
5. Ngala Tented Camp
&Beyond Ngala Tented Camp is an intimate and romantic starlit camp situated on &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve in South Africa. With just nine tented suites overlooking the seasonal Timbavati riverbed, this is a classic safari hideaway with exceptional game viewing (including two of the world’s only three naturally-occurring white lions living in the wild). Each luxury tent boasts an ensuite bathroom with bathtub and outdoor shower, air-conditioning (and electric blankets for winter) and private wooden decks perfect for a sneaky afternoon g&t. The entire camp can be booked for sole-use, making it the perfect place for an unforgettable family safari.
6. Grootbos Luxury Private Villas
Situated in the colourful Cape floral kingdom along South Africa’s famed Cape Whale Coast, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is one of the hottest biodiversity hotspots on the planet. In addition to its tranquil Forest and Garden Lodges, the two Grootbos Luxury Private Villas offer the ultimate privacy in a floral and fynbos playground. Complete with a private driver and nature guide, as well as a personal butler and chef, each unforgettable day spent in this eco-paradise can be as active and energetic, or as leisurely and indulgent as guests like.
7. Sisindu T
The gloriously tranquil Sisindu T private villa is situated just outside of Galle, Sri Lanka on a lush, hilltop tea plantation where tea, cinnamon, pepper and tropical fruits are grown. The elegant estate boasts six spacious suites, extensive living and dining areas, a large rim-flow pool, rooftop terrace, and beautiful kitchen, boasting both ocean and jungle views.
8. Phinda Rock Lodge
Perched on a rocky cliff face with dramatic panoramic views out over the dense bushveld of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, &Beyond Phinda Rock Lodge is as unique as it is luxurious. With just six intimate and spacious stone cottages that can be booked for sole-use, this is a quiet, yet classic safari escape ideal for friends and family. Each suite boasts a glorious bathtub with a view, as well as indoor and outdoor showers, and a private plunge pool.
9. Tengile River Lodge
Situated in the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, which is celebrated for its leopard viewing, &Beyond Tengile River Lodge is a must-see safari haven. Each of the nine secluded suites sit in and amongst the cool shade of a riverine forest overlooking the Sand River. To say these luxury suites are spacious is an understatement. In addition to a grand master bedroom, bathroom, bathtub and indoor/outdoor showers, each suite also boasts a lounge, dining and private bar area, together with a large swimming pool and sunken veranda with sofas and al fresco dining area.
10. Tree Camp at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Where Maasai meets Versailles, the ultra-romantic and postcard-perfect &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is dramatically perched right on the edge of the ancient Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Situated below the larger North and South camps is the intimate Tree Camp, with just six standalone suites and its own central guest area, making it ideal for sole-use. The views here (even from the bathtubs) are jaw-dropping and the ambience unapologetically romantic with red roses aplenty, raw silk curtains, gilt mirrors and beaded chandeliers. A veritable African fairytale that belongs on every bucket list.
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