Aman may have diverse locations – from the great USA east to Japan – but its sales brains are using this to advantage. Why not use some of its luxury resorts as hubs from which to drive out and around? Think Aman Journeys. Aman will provide the vehicles, SUVs or classic, or drive your own, and if you need to ship it, Aman will help. Once there, personalised Aman iPhones will be already loaded with bespoke guides for three to five hours’ drives. You can set off when you want, exploring as the mood takes you. Your bespoke guide includes stop-off coffee shops, galleries and best photo opportunities. Lunch stops range from picnics and casual meals in authentic road-side eateries through to fine dining, all arranged by Aman. Aman GPS systems ensure easy route-finding, and a support vehicle is never far away. For spring and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, Aman recommends driving journeys from Amangani and Amangiri in the USA; Aman Venice and Rosa Alpina in Italy; Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro; Amanzoe in Greece; Amanjena in Morocco, and, in Japan, Aman Kyoto and Amanemu. Here is one Aman Journey starting point – Amangiri, in Utah. Set on over 200 pristine hectares, it claims sweeping desert views and access to some of the world’s most breathtaking roads. Driving through Escalante National Park, Monument Valley and around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon the journey can be complemented by speedboating on Lake Powell and a helicopter ride up Tower Butte for sunrise yoga. The suggested itinerary gives plenty of time at the end of each day for Amangiri’s spa, built around a central swimming pool. Later, dine by a roaring log fire, the perfect antidote to a day of driving.
Kiwi Collection, led by Brian Mumby, monitors the best in the world from its Vancouver BC base. Its current list of Wow Picks, compiled by its knowledgeable and experienced advisors, includes
WOW PICK OF THE YEAR: Secret Bay Portsmouth, Dominica (Relais), GM Dinesh Kissoon – on a remote corner of Dominica, perched atop a promontory and enveloped by rainforest, conceptualized by Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas (this is all open air, and, punctuated by privacy, each of the 10 residential-style villas has a plunge pool.
BEST NEW HOTEL: Riggs Washington DC (Preferred), 181 rooms, GM Dan Pimental – conversion of the 1891-vintage Richardson Romanesque-style building dubbed “The Bank of Presidents.”
BEST FAMILY HOTEL: Rancho Santana, Tola, Nicaragua (Preferred), 38 rooms, GM Luke Maish – encompassing over 2,700 acres along the Emerald Coast, Rancho Santana has five separate stretches of sand. Kids-related ativities include complimentary guided hikes, wildlife spotting, farm tours and fireside s’mores and there is an onsite accredited international school for study-from-hotel
MOST ROMANTIC HOTEL: Capella Ubud, Bali (GHA and Leading), 22 tents and a two-bedroom lodge, GM Mark Swinton – rising from the rainforest, accommodations, each with a private saltwater pool reaching into the green, seem borrowed from sketchbooks of early explorers.
BEST BEACH HOTEL: Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Philippines, 219 rooms, GM Dave Junker – White Beach is a short drive away, but the resort has two beaches of its own, just as white and sandy but completely private. Nearly every accommodation serves up ocean views.
BEST SUSTAINABLE LUXURY: 1 Hotels – next opening Toronto. (Note, Girlahead loves this brand, and how you even have filtered drinking water on-tap.)
There are two 1 Hotels in New York, one is five minutes’ walk south of Central Park and one in Brooklyn. Talking of the Big Apple, that is where Annastasia Seebohm, Global CEO of the world’s leading conciergerie network, Quintessentially, is based. Hear her now, up on MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST