The Ark

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week announced a staged opening of New Zealand’s borders.

If it were us here at get lost that was traveling across the dutch, we know where we would want to stay. It’s called ‘The Ark’. And it’s f-arking delightful.

The Ark is a houseboat, but not as you know it. It’s situated in a quiet corner of a lake, five minutes down the road from a quaint village with an even quainter pub and a winery.

It’s a little wooden shack docked onto the wharf of the lake, with a deck to sit out and read, drink or get a tan, or maybe all at once. Go for a dip in the lake when it’s warm, or build a fire in the pit when it’s cold.

Even better: you’re completely off-grid here. No work emails nor pesky notifications from Zuckerberg. It’s arguably THE perfect place to unwind and relax – thanks for letting everyone back in, Jacinda.

Barefoot chic in Mozambique

Off the east coast of the East-African country Mozambique is the Archipelago de Bazaruto. And in this archipelago there are six islands of unfathomable beauty, including Benguerra Island. And it is on this island that the Kisawa Sanctuary is based, a brand new luxury opening that was built with a 3D printer.

O.K, we’re sure it wasn’t the only tool on the work site when this stunning retreat was being built, but it was used to construct things like flooring, tiling, benchtops, stools, tabletops, vases and more. That’s pretty cool in our book.

There are only 12 residences in Kisawa, each with its own private beach (!), an open-air deck, an infinity pool and more. There’s epic food, with some gun chefs cooking up a storm with local produce, and plenty of watersports – think spas, sailing and snorkelling.

As well as being a sanctuary for humans, the area is one for marine life too – the area surrounding the 55square kilometre island is a designated WWF national marine park. This means it’s an untouched, pristine environment, making it not unlikely for you to see a whale or a dugong in the distance as you sip a sunset champagne. Life could be worse.

A 700-year old Italian masterpiece

In the 700 years between the 14th century and now, a fair bit has taken place in Italy: the birth of Leonardo Da Vinci, the invention of the piano, the unification of the country and four soccer world cups, to name a few.

But stepping into Rastrello Boutique Hotel is like stepping 700 years back in time before all that took place, just with modern comforts of 2021.

The hotel is based in Umbria, central Italy – not far from Tuscany. Olive trees fill the fields and line the roads, making for a very Italian scene on the approach and as you look out from your balcony.

Rastrello is a palazzo restored with a lot of care, so much so that the old stone walls will make you feel like a King or Queen that you are…

Bella!

Greek Island luxury

Long known as ‘The Party Island’, Greece’s Ios has recently been putting the ios in luxurIOuS.

Calilo is another example of this, a five star retreat literally carved out of native rock.

There’s epic pools to take a dip in, wellness programs like spas and massages, modern and ancient art and contemporarily designed rooms that will make you feel like you really are on holiday.

But what really sets Calilo apart from other luxury retreats is it’s otherworldly setting; it is set on 1,000 acres of wild land. The owners recently planted 70,000 trees on the land, which certainly sounds like a lot, but it’s mostly rocky outposts with swim-up bars and villas carved into them. Epic.

Is this Australia’s Best AirBNB?

The Coombs Hill Barn is a spectacular five bedroom “barn” with views to die for across the Delatite Valley.

The structure itself is a 160-year-old barn from Illinois, USA (YeeHaw!). It was painstakingly pulled apart and shipped across to Australia, before being rebuilt, albeit with a few added bells and whistles.

In essence, this place is epic. Picture a celebrity’s mountain pad on the ski slopes of Montana or Wyoming and Coombs Hill is it. A massive fireplace is the focal point of the 10 metre high main living room, with original barn beams crossing throughout.

A fully decked out kitchen, table tennis table, a couple of chill zones with floor to ceiling windows, dining table for 18 and a deck to lose yourself in the views; you’ll fund yourself strutting around like George Clooney.

This is the perfect pad to explore the Victorian High Country; from mountain biking the trail of Mt Buller to lounging in the Jamieson river with a craft brewski, it was damn hard to leave.

Wander, or chill, at the Scenic Rim

The Gold Coast is all beaches, theme parks and nightclubs right?

Wrong! The secret is slowly getting out about the appropriately named Scenic Rim, one hour inland from the coast, a haven of nature, wine and wildlife. Wander have recently built five eco-cabins on the banks of Lake Wyaralong, in the heart of the Rim.

The Gold Coast draws 5 million + visitors a year, and the cabins represent the perfect way to get away from maddening crowds, and get a bit of your own time in. It’s set on a winery, and there’s only five cabins, so you’ll hardly be jostling with 18-year-olds on their schoolies trips.

There’s wildlife, there’s waterfalls, there’s the lake and Eucalyptus bushland. Whatever the definition for idyllic is in the dictionary, replace it with a picture of this joint.

There’s also private hot air balloon rides, onsite yoga sessions, meditation and massage. Plus, the Gold Coast’s famed beaches are only an hour away (and Brisbane 90 minutes).

Get there now, before everyone else does.

Walk on water at world’s first floating resort

Walking on water: no longer restricted to biblical characters.

Kempinski Floating Palace will become the world’s first floating sea resort, to be built in Dubai (or rather, in the sea flanking Dubai).

It’s a case of another day, another extraordinary thing happening in the UAE; the resort will feature 12 luxury villas connected by pontoons: each with two floors, a roof terrace and infinity pool, large panoramic windows and all the technical features of a smart home.

The villas are equipped with solar panels and are designed to be environmentally friendly. Cruising at a maximum speed of 6 nautical miles, you’re not going anywhere fast, so allay those fears of floating away.

The resort won’t open to the public until 2023. But you can bet we’ll be swimming there when it does.

The most peaceful place on Earth

Cities are bustling again, and with bustling comes busy. And busy means traffic jams, running late for work, trains to catch and work to do, people to see and places to be.

And we love it. But the return of busy means the value of a peaceful getaway has gone up once again.

It’s hard to imagine any place more tranquil than Cap Karoso, a slice of serenity on Indonesia’s Sumba Island, a southern island not too far away from the Western Australian border.

At Karoso, it doesn’t matter what your idea of relaxing is – they’ve got it. If it’s meditating next to a waterfall, you can meditate next to a waterfall.If it’s catching a peeling left rightout front the villa, wax that board up. If it’s yoga in an exquisite yoga pavilion, then prepare that downward dog.

Almost everything is handmade from locals, from woodwork and furniture, to furnishings and ceramics. Even just watching the resort’s ceramic making process is soothing.

They also have a farm on-site, growing the delicious food that you eat. If learning is your thing, you can learn about plant propagation, nursery skills, plant care, garden maintenance, organic farming and permaculture.

And then there’s where you sleep. Villas boast private beach access, lush gardens, tasteful artwork and a hot tub, while the studios aren’t too shabby either.

Get me there now please.

Bula! Fiji’s legendary Turtle Island re-opens

Are you turtly enough for the turtle club?

Iconic Fijian island resort Turtle Island has re-opened it’s doors – just in time too, with the first flights departing from Australia to Fiji this week.

The island is a 500-acre barefoot luxury resort that has been one of the mainstays of travel to Fiji for over 40 years.

Staff recently recreated an image from 1980 – the same year the island provided the setting for the 1980 Hollywood teen-romance film ‘Blue Lagoon’.

From 1980…

….to now!

In addition to days of snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing and fishing, dining has always been a big deal at Turtle Island Guests can get a fresh farm- and sea-to-table dining experience, and not just at a table either (boring) but in epic locations like the beach, the extraordinary garden and even on a mountain top.

During the closure, there has also been a focus on the expansion of the island farm to deliver a more sustainable guest experience – the 5-acre vegetable and hydroponic garden on the Island supplies over 80% of the produce used at the resort.

Check out the video below of the Island welcoming back visitors this week:

Beautiful Jeddah Luxury Stay

Saudi Arabia has been emerging as a post-Covid travel hotspot in recent times, throwing money into left-field projects including an offshore oil rig resort/theme park, and the world’s fastest rollercoaster.

The House Hotel Jeddah City Yard represents a slightly more traditional way of attracting tourism: by building a bloody beautiful (read: stunning) luxury hotel.

Having only opened in late-September 2021, the hotel is arguably the hottest stay in Jeddah, a town with no shortage of heat in itself. Cool down in the stunning, shaded pool, located on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

Despite being located in the upmarket Al Rawdah district, you’d have reason to not leave the complex at all during your stay, given the plethora of food, entertainment and wellness options at your disposal (this is despite being a boutique, mid-sized hotel of 114 rooms).

The hotel is SO aesthetically pleasing; combining Saudi sandstone with minimalistic architecture that wouldn’t look out of place in Scandanavia. No exercises in over-extravagance here.

And while Saudi Arabia mightn’t have been at the top of your list in terms of travel destinations, we’re tipping you’ll be hearing of more and more people heading there over the next few years. Tell ’em about this place.