TOP 5 PLACES IN THE WORLD
As I’m sat at home like every one of you during this lockdown, I’m trying to develop a healthy and also productive routine. But every now and again my mind wanders, and I think about all of the places I’ve travelled to, and all of the recent experiences I’ve had. I ask myself, ‘Of all of those places, where would I most want to be right now?’. As you will have seen, the Ritz-Carlton, Perth is definitely on my list (click here if you haven’t). But I have found it hard to narrow down my choices. So I thought, why not compile a list of the 5 most extravagant places I can think of, where self-isolation would feel kind of extraordinary?!
I want to take the opportunity of this article to remind all of you (myself included) that there is no place like home and how we are lucky to have one. It’s easy to forget the simple things in life as many of us have busy schedules and work routines. But this time at home has allowed me to once again slow down and appreciate all of the things that are so easy to take for granted. As I mentioned, I think it is a great time to re-evaluate who we are as individuals, and to use this time to explore new thoughts and ideas. It’s an opportunity to develop new skills or enhance your business in the comfort of your own home. It’s an opportunity to read, meditate, or simply self-reflect in order to relieve any stress that has built up. It’s also the perfect opportunity to improve physically; improving your diet as we can cook daily, exercise with the options we have, mainly body weight. You should also take the time to call friends and family, in order to stay in touch and have communication with others outside your own home. Quarantine has encouraged me to improve myself both physically and mentally. Daily workouts combined with a healthy diet and lots of fresh juices are doing just enough to keep my personal trainer happy for when I return to the gym! Regular mediation and family time have also helped me to relax and unwind after a busy year of travelling for work.
With that said, it doesn’t hurt to think of other great places to be stuck in quarantine! The following options aren’t necessarily from personal experience, but anywhere that came to mind. So brew a coffee, or light a cigar, and enjoy the read!
5. FLYING FOX SUPERYACHT
Why not start with a yacht. In particularly, Flying Fox; the 136-metre superyacht built by Lürssen. With a height of 32 metres comprising of 6 decks, this is the world’s largest yacht available for private charter with Imperial Yachts. The project was headed by none other than Espen Oeino, the man responsible for designing some of the most recognisable superyachts in the world.
Let me take you through some of the features of the yacht and explain why this is the perfect environment for self-isolation. Starting with bedrooms; the yacht has 10. Each of which open out onto the long side decks and can be separated to have their own personal balconies through the arrangements of hidden panels. The bedrooms are located between the gym at the front and the 12-metre pool at the rear, which has been placed transversely, so as to take up minimal space. The pool offers massage jets at one end as well as swim jets at the other, not to mention a height-adjustable floor. Continuing on with the theme of wellness, the 400sqft spa is complete with a heated limestone floor, spa pool, cryochamber, beauty centre, dry and wet massage rooms. Anything you need, Flying Fox has!
Now onto my favourite section of the yacht; the tender garage. Aside from the most advanced diving equipment available for purchase, the garage is also home to other toys such as flyboards, hoverboards, the tenders, and my personal favourite; a private submarine – this can be deployed and retrieved via the tender cranes. For those that haven’t dived before, fear not, as the diving instructors can cater to your every need. Furthermore, the medical centre is equipped with a fully functioning decompression chamber just in case.
feeling of calm
The design cues throughout the living areas of the superyacht carry a distinctive Japanese influence, to encourage a feeling of calm and tranquillity. Materials such as golden oak, brushed limestone, marble and cream leathers have been used to achieve the desired aesthetic. For those missing a cosy night at home by the fireplace, Flying Fox has 5, so you don’t have to feel anything but relaxed.
I really could go on! DJ alcove, Helipad (accommodating an Airbus H175), firepit, greenery (with fully functioning irrigation system), lobster tank, soundproof cinema…
If you can think of it, Flying Fox has it.
I’m pretty confident this is one of the finest places that you could be spending quarantine in the world (especially if you could sail). As I mentioned it’s available for private charter, so if you really want it, you can really have it, after the quarantine!
Visit Imperial Yachts for more information about Flying Fox : www.imperial-yachts.com/yachts/flying-fox
Photography by Guillaume Plisson for Imperial Yachts
4. DRAKE'S "EMBASSY" MANOR HOUSE, CANADA
Following on from one of the world’s largest superyachts, I thought it would be nice to bring quarantine back onto dry land. And where else would be better than the mega mansion built by recording artist Drake, in his hometown of Toronto ... you may have seen part of the property in Drake's new music video for his latest track "Toosie Slide", and we discovered more information about it through an interview and property shooting by Architectural Digest. Unlike the yacht, this is not available for private charter!
The house is 50,000sqft and has been interior designed by Ferris Rafauli. Materials such as bronze, limestone, and exotic woods have been used to ensure the property will ‘stand firm for 100 years’, as Drake desires.
“Because I was building it in my hometown, I wanted the structure to stand firm for 100 years. I wanted it to have a monumental scale and feel, it will be one of the things I leave behind, so it had to be timeless and strong” Drake adds talking to Architectural Digest.
Moving into the canary-yellow lounge, all of the furnishings have been custom designed by Rafauli, using materials such as dyed ostrich skin, mohair, and bronze. The foliate ceiling features Alcantara faux suede-wrapped panels along with a sunburst chandelier made from Venini-glass.
The main room of the house has 44ft high ceilings, with walls panelled in Macassar ebony and bronze screens, echoing an art deco design. At the far end of this great hall lies a bespoke Bösendorfer grand piano, which has been designed alongside Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, and is one of Drake’s most treasured possessions. Another feature of the great room is a 20,000-piece hand-cut Swarovski crystal chandelier which takes inspiration from Lobmeyr’s Metropolitan chandelier, originally designed for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1963.
"DESIGNED TO STAND FIRM
FOR 100 YEARS"
The master-bedroom (3,200sqft) does not disappoint either. The bed itself weighs over 1 tonne and features a headboard incorporating a champagne bar on the reverse side. Furthermore, the bed linens are inspired by Alexander McQueen and the nightstand is inlayed with mother-of-pearl. If you can’t get a good night’s sleep here, I’m not sure where you can! The bathroom houses a 4000-pound tub which has been carved from a single piece of black marble, and the two-storey closet is finished with amethyst hardware as well as furniture covered in diamond-tufted shearling.
If that’s not enough, the house also features a full NBA-size court with details inspired by his fashion brand, October’s Very Own. Naturally there is an awards room, an indoor pool (made from black granite), a jersey hall featuring the signed uniforms of his favourite basketball legends, and a colorful recording studio decorated with a Ferris Rafauli daybed wearing a Jean-Paul Gautier textile... imagine have the opportunity to see Drake at work there recording his new tracks, even dropping your own flow there, now that's a dream location.
INDOOR NBA-SIZE COURT &
BLACK GRANITE POOL
I hope it’s become clear as to why I think this is one of the best places where to be quarantined!
Discover more about the luxury interior designs & constructions by Ferris Rafauli here : ferrisrafauli.com
Discover more about architecture in general here : architecturaldigest.com
Photography courtesy of Jason Schmidt & Architectural Digest, renders from Ferris Rafauli
3. TREEHOTEL, HARADS, SWEDEN
So maybe you’re after a little less bling, and more outdoors escapism. The 7th Room at the Treehotel in Sweden is where I’d want to be for a little more nature. Designed by Norwegian firm Snöhetta, this room is the latest to be added to the hotel as is suspended 10 metres above the ground. If like me you are looking unwind and take a break from a usually hectic schedule during this quarantine, then the 7th Room would be perfect for you.
The interior is very minimalistic, so not to distract you from the breath-taking environment outside. The room measures 100sqm and accommodates five beds (two in two bedrooms, and one in the lounge), a bathroom and shower, with eco-friendly features. The room is predominantly made using local Scandinavian woods and textiles, fitting with the wildlife around.
The exterior has a burnt wood finish, and the underside of the room shows a life-size photo of the pine treetops as they appeared before the development of the room. These design aspects help the room to remain as inconspicuous as possible for the outside.
SUSPENDED 10 METRES
My favourite feature of the room is its panoramic windows which face the Lule River Valley, whilst also allowing for an unobstructed view of the northern lights. That’s hard to beat in my opinion!
Furthermore, the room also has a terrace, formed from a huge net in the centre of the room. This is perfect for stargazing (if the large skylight windows aren’t big enough!) or just a simple lie-down in the middle of the wilderness. On cooler nights, head inside, where the temperature-controlled fireplace will light itself to keep you comfortable.
The hotel and its surroundings offer plenty of outdoor activities, and there is something to match everyone's taste all year around, wether you like speed and adventure, or tranquility with time for reflection.
A must do is riding a snowmobile through the beautiful winter landscape, and as the light goes down it is ideal to ride a few kilometres away from the artificial light to enjoy an evening under the dancing Aurora Borealis. If you want to exercise a little more, Fatbike is for you; an electric mountain bike equipped with balloon-like tyres that makes it easier to ride on soft surfaces. A fun activity allowing you to reach places you otherwise couldn't.
If you like rivers and the sound of water thundering on the rocks, you will be pleased to visit the stately Storforsen, one of the highest unrestricted white-water rapids in Europe. On hot days you can even go for a dip in one of the natural pools formed amongst the rocks.
One thing I haven't tried yet and I would really love experiencing is a tour with dogs and sled through the winter landscape. Treehotel can organize that for you which I'm sure would be an unforgettable experience, and who knows, with some luck the opportunity to see some goose, the "king of beasts" along with other wild animals like fox, reindeers or forest birds.
At the end of a day full of stunning outdoor activities, you would definitely find me at the Tree Sauna to enjoy a pure moment of relaxation.
For me this sounds like the perfect wellness retreat, and I could certainly use some time during isolation to go and gather my thoughts to bring you more great content!
More information about this unique hotel here: treehotel.se
Photos courtesy of Treehotel
2. THE MURAKA RESIDENCE, CONRAD MALDIVES RANGALI ISLAND
A bit of sun during quarantine would be more than ideal. So why not stay in the Maldives? In particularly at the Conrad’s new Muraka residence.
This luxury residence is equipped with a master bedroom submerged 16ft below sea level in the Indian Ocean. The bedroom features a 180-degree curved acrylic dome to maximise viewing pleasure, along with floor-to-ceiling windows in the bathroom as well as the walk-in closet. I could spend all day down there observing the fishes swimming around!
But the underwater living experience doesn’t end there. The Ithaa undersea restaurant is a world’s first, situated 5 metres below the water’s surface. Panoramic views of the nearby coral gardens and the island’s dense underwater ecosystem might distract you from any company you’re dining with! I would even consider going alone to enjoy the view, and the fine menu which doesn’t disappoint either!
Talking about food, the resort is home to the only purposely designed cheese and wine bar in the Maldives. This has definitely grabbed your attention :)
At sea-level the Muraka residence has two additional bedrooms and an outdoor deck equipped with its very own infinity pool. Furthermore, the residence has a private chef and 24-hour butler service for when you need those midnight snacks (if the cheese and wine wasn’t enough).
Alongside jet skis that accompany the suite, the resort also has plenty of other water sports activities to get your adrenaline racing. I’d love to try the X-Jetpacking, having seen people doing this off the coast of Monaco. If you’re after something less intense, you can go catamaran sailing or do something even more relaxing such as paddle boarding around the island.
The most attractive activity for me is definitely the ocean-diving. Courses are available for beginners and experts alike, and there is no better way to get up close and personal with the wide variety of sea turtles, rays and sharks in the Maldives!
PRESERVING NATIVE WILDLIFE
The hotel is pledging to reduce its use of plastic and aims to become more eco-friendly. It is also involved in reef protection programs for the local area, to help preserve the native wildlife. This is a very important point to me, allowing to enjoy your stay knowing that you are contributing to something greater.
To top it all off, the Conrad will also organise private seaplane travel, and provide access to your very own speedboat, which can be used throughout your stay.
How’s that for a quarantine retreat!
More information about Conrad Maldives and the Muraka residence here: conradmaldives.com
Photos courtesy of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
1. Leobo Observatory Private Villa, South Africa
Last but by no means least is the Leobo Observatory Private Villa. The villa is located 3 hours north of Johannesburg, in the 22,000-acre Leobo estate. This award-winning house is one of the best in Africa, and I’ll show you why.
Firstly, the accommodation is rented to one party at a time which is perfect for a private experience (or self-isolation) where guests are treated like family.
The Observatory is incredible. Designed by award-winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the villa can house up to 6 adults and 3 children – this already sounds like the ideal family retreat. There is a butler service, as well as a private chef and staff to cater to any needs you may have.
OBSERVATORY PRIVATE VILLA
To cool off in the day there is an infinity pool, but for when the temperature drops you have a choice of jumping into the rooftop jacuzzi or sitting by the sunken firepit. I’ll be taking my marshmallows.
By far the standout aspect of this house is the fully automated copper-domed Observatory. Apologies if I geek out here, but as a child I would always be looking up at the night sky in awe. Growing up in the French countryside was very special; with minimal pollution and artificial light the stars were clearer than most places. So to be in the African wilderness with a private Observatory is an ultimate dream.
COPPER DOME OBSERVATORY
It’s equipped with 2 different telescopes – the first is a 20-inch corrected Dahl Kirkham for looking at stars, planets and nebulae and the other is an 8-inch Hydrogen Alpha scope for looking directly at the sun. Zero light pollution coupled with equipment capable of producing world class photography makes the Observatory Villa a dream destination. Just imagine the content I could create here!
The villa also accommodates other activities. Why not take a low-level helicopter flight to tour the reserve, observe the wildlife and enjoy various plains games? Or even flying up to the mountain tops to land and watch the sunset? You can even take it up a notch and try heli-paintballing! Imagine a day out with the boys doing this! The shooters hang out of the helicopter whilst the targets ride around in the reserve below on quadbikes.
If you’re after less paint but more height, try the skydiving! The adrenaline boost of jumping from 13,000ft will be difficult to beat.
ONCE IN A
After a day of activities, I’d end it under the stars with some amazing al fresco dining – compliments of the villa’s private chef. Just imagine being stuck here during quarantine, being able to gaze out at the universe amongst the best nature can offer. If you want to relax your mind, this is the place for you.
More information about Leobo Private Reserve here: leoboprivatereserve.com
Photos courtesy of Leobo Private Reserve
So, those are 5 places that I would love to be quarantined in. Unfortunately, I’m stuck at home, so I have put them on my dream locations list, meanwhile it’s given me time to reflect on and appreciate all I have at home. So please try to enjoy the time you have with your families at home, as we may never get this much time again!
Stay safe, stay classy, and stay tuned for more stories I’ll be publishing during this time!
Written byTom Claeren
Text EditorAzzam Jamil