Defining what is meant by luxury in the context of travel is complex. Increasingly, though, it seems it’s as much about the experience as it is about the trappings that go with it. For Sanctuary Retreats, it’s often the little things that give true meaning to the term – a guest’s favourite drink served in the middle of the African bush; a large, comfortable bed; reliable Wi-Fi – which is why these things come as standard with every stay at a Sanctuary Retreats camp, lodge or cruise.
There are, however, opportunities to experience a level of indulgence that goes above and beyond. Here are Sanctuary Retreats’ favourite suggestions for those seeking the ultimate luxury holiday.
GEOFFREY KENT LUXURY SUITE, SANCTUARY CHIEF’S CAMP, BOTSWANA
One of Sanctuary Retreats’ flagship properties, Chief’s Camp was rebuilt last year to create a contemporary safari camp in one of the best locations in Africa. With 10 stylish pavilions the camp has set new standards in the luxury safari experience.
For the epitome of luxury, the 620-square-metre Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite, named after the safari pioneer, can accommodate 2-6 guests. The suite is ideal for honeymooners looking for the ultimate retreat or groups of friends in search of the utmost privacy and comfort, with two pavilions, a private kitchen, indoor lounge, private boma with fire pit, two private plunge pools and a secluded deck area. It is fully staffed with a dedicated chef, personal waiter and housekeeper as well as a private vehicle with its own guide.
CHUMA HOUSES, SANCTUARY SUSSI & CHUMA, ZAMBIA
Built on a dramatic bend of the Zambezi River in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park upstream from Victoria Falls, the lodge is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the river amid jackalberry trees and phoenix palms, providing unrivalled views and exclusivity. Accommodation is provided by 12 treehouses, connected by wooden walkways. For a truly luxurious experience, guests can book one of two private Chuma houses, each with two bedrooms.
The 132-square-metre houses have been built into the surrounding ebony forest and ooze elegance. With large, comfortable beds, freestanding bath tubs and outdoor showers, each ensuite room comes complete with views of the Zambezi River, while the shared spaces are light, airy and perfect for family gatherings. Additional features include a private dining area, an indoor lounge, a private plunge pool and a personal chef and house staff.
HONEYMOON SUITE, SANCTUARY CHOBE CHILWERO, BOTSWANA
A riverside retreat in the heart of the bush on the edge of Chobe National Park, Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is home to the world’s largest remaining population of elephants. Sitting above the Chobe River, the lodge offers unparalleled panoramic views across the islands and floodplains as far across as Namibia. This is an incredibly luxurious lodge with just 15 guest cottages, as well as the only full spa on the Botswana safari circuit. Relax in the split-level swimming pool, unwind with a session in the spa or enjoy the lodge’s gourmet food.
For those who want an added element of privacy, the Honeymoon Suite is the perfect option. Brightly decorated with traditional Botswanan artefacts, this charming 101-square-metre cottage enjoys all the benefits of the usual suites – indoor and outdoor showers, free-standing bath, sumptuous bed and private garden – with some added extras thrown sure to lend more than a little romance to any stay including a private plunge pool, a secluded deck area, private dining area and a private vehicle and guide.
CELESTIAL & IMPERIAL SUITES, SANCTUARY YANGZI EXPLORER, CHINA
Widely regarded as the most luxurious option on the Yangtze River, Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer has been recently relaunched after a major refurbishment. Twenty sumptuous suites have all been refitted with new furniture, authentic Chinese artwork, stylish textiles and soft furnishings and ‘silver-leaf’ wallpaper designs featuring the mudan, or peony, which is native to the Yangtze region, and its 38 deluxe cabins have also been extensively enhanced.
But for the nec plus ultra cruise experience, guests should book a berth in either of the Celestial and Imperial Suites, which have both been refreshed in a contemporary-colonial Chinese style. The largest cabins on the ship at 110 square metres, these recently renovated suites are dressed in traditional Chinese décor, the ideal setting as passengers sail through some of China’s most dramatic landscapes. Offering the ultimate in comfort and indulgence, additional benefits include separate bedroom and living areas, in-suite private dining and private room service.
OWNER’S SUITE, SANCTUARY ANANDA, MYANMAR
Custom-built using traditional Myanmar materials, Sanctuary Ananda combines all the comforts of 5-star contemporary luxury with the refined elegance of authentic Burmese design, as well as one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios on the Irrawaddy, offering up a remarkable and fascinating way to enjoy all that Myanmar has to offer.
The Owner’s Suite takes things to a new level. Draped in lush silks and adorned with polished teak, lacquer ware and curios, the suite is one of the largest suites on the river at 75 square metres. Boasting a large verandah with sun loungers, table and chairs and a spacious bathroom with freestanding tub, monsoon shower and his-and-hers sinks, this suite is the epitome of extravagance. Along with its own separate bedroom and living areas, other extras include a private guide for shore excursions, butler service and in-suite private dining.