ADVERTORIAL • December 2019
From gardens designed by ‘England’s greatest gardener’ to castles fit for royalty, The Luxury Collection offers more than the typical five-star resort, as travel writer Dan Mobbs discovers
The history: Over in Crete – once the centre of Europe’s most ancient civilisation and still one of the world’s most mythological cities, Blue Palace basks in the shadow of the Unesco certified Spinalonga – an ancient circular fortress rising from the opposing hillside.
The highlights: Luxuriate over the view of the Mediterranean Sea from the comfort of your own infinity pool. Or, for the true Cretan experience, take to the sea in a traditional wooden caïque boat and spend an afternoon on the water, in good company, with local food and wine.
The hangout: Stroll into the vaulted hall of the Arsenali Lounge Bar and absorb the romantic image of an 11-metre recreation of Heraklion Harbour’s Venetian shipyard, which is complimented perfectly by the sparkling azure sea in the background.
The history: Surrounded by lush subtropical gardens, this historic castle announces itself from its perch above the Bay of Palma. The Castillo has its roots in the 13th century when King Jaume I of Aragon declared its hills to be on fertile ground, and it still bears all the hallmarks of an aristocratic dwelling. Increasingly extravagant restorations through the centuries followed while it was in private hands, before the castle opened its doors as a luxury hotel in 1961.
The highlights: The island’s first golf course, Golf Son Vida; the towering, multi-coloured glass dome by leading German artist Nils Burwitz that occupies the lobby, and the rich depth of historical art that’s literally hanging from the walls.
The hangout: Marvel at the architecture dominating the lobby and the antiques that complement it so well, before drinking in the atmosphere of the former dining room where ten paintings by 19th-century Mallorcan artist Ricardo Ankermann oversee every person that enters.
The history: For an effortless blend of grandeur and history, make your way to The Langley. The hotel is only 40 minutes from central London, but feels an eternity away. The 150 acres of gardens and parklands of the former manor house of the third Duke of Marlborough were originally designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, so a rich sense of heritage hangs in the air. Often referred to as England’s greatest gardener, Brown also imprinted his world-famous grand style on nearby Blenheim Palace.
The highlights: Besides the spectacular gardens, honey-coloured Bath stone steps beckon toward an original front door and two curved staircase wings that create a dramatic arrival befitting the nobles who have gone before. Plus, any of the 41 rooms, bursting with historical touches.
The hangout: The feeling of luxury continues with the opulent spa, The Langley Spa, where guests can indulge in a bespoke experience.
The history: Surround yourself with the past at The Jaffa, set within a restored 19th-century complex that once housed the French Hospital and the School of the Sisterhood of Saint Joseph convent, it is moments away from the Museum of Antiquities.
The highlights: Found in the historic wing of the hotel, with indoor and outdoor seating in the magical courtyard, the artistry of food at Don Camillo restaurant is a must-try. The mastery of its renowned Israeli chef, Roi Antebi, is nearly surpassed by world famous designer John Pawson, who was awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Design and Architecture, and spent 14 years transforming the historic dining space.
The hangout: Relax beneath the soaring vaulted ceilings and decorative plasterwork of The Chapel Bar and enjoy evening cocktails, or join the hotel staff for drinks and a glass of house rosé, served every day at 6pm.
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