In a year where very few of us are travelling much outside a few miles of our home, V&VPR is honoured to see 12 of our clients ranking among the top hotels in the Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards – and there is one very good reason why these properties were amongst the chosen few.
With travel planning off the cards, this year has been a time for the industry to pause and reset, evaluating what is truly important. Despite a tumultuous 2020, the teams at Capella Hotels and Resorts, Singita, and Swire Hotels have each made a conscious effort to better their local and international communities, through a range of initiatives designed to make the post-pandemic world a slightly better place.
Capella Hotels and Resorts: Properties within the Capella Hotels and Resorts portfolio launched a number of CSR initiatives, such as a ‘Solitude in Nature’ experience at Capella Ubud – a portion of the funds from which were donated to local families in the Keliki village who had been impacted by the pandemic – and complimentary stays for healthcare professionals at Capella Shanghai.
- Capella Sanya – #21 Top 30 Resorts in Asia
- Capella Shanghai – #16 Top 20 Hotels in China
- Capella Singapore – #2 Top 20 Hotels in Singapore
- Capella Ubud – #16 Top 20 Resorts in Indonesia list
Singita: Sadly, the halt in tourism is having a devastating ripple effect on conservation efforts across Africa. Throughout this period, Singita’s conservation teams and partners are ensuring their ongoing conservation and community programmes continue to thrive, making sure that areas, animals and surrounding community are happy and safe, with anti-poaching canine units and fundraising efforts for the relocation of endangered rhinos.
- Singita Sasakwa Lodge – #1 Best Hotels and Resorts in Africa
- Singita Pamushana Lodge – #5 Best Hotels and Resorts in Africa
- Singita Boulders Lodge – #2 Best Hotels and Resorts in South Africa
Swire Hotels: Continuing their CSR efforts this year, Swire Hotels launched several new initiatives; The Upper House worked with Foodlink Foundation to help reduce hunger as well as the pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills, whilst The Opposite House launched a ‘Top Sanlitun Picks’ initiative to shine a spotlight on local independent businesses during these trying times.
- The Temple House, Chengdu – #3 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Opposite House, Beijing – #4 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Middle House, Shanghai – #17 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Upper House – #5 Top 10 Hotels in Hong Kong
- EAST, Hong Kong – #8 Top 10 Hotels in Hong Kong
The awards are compiled by Condé Nast Traveler readers, who rate each property according to their personal experiences. Particularly in 2020, the awards highlight the restorative and transformative power of travel.
We cannot wait to return to these wonderful properties.
The full Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards Results can be found here.
As global travel restrictions continue across the world, the prospect of a holiday still seems very far away. However, according to research, cabin fever can be cured by looking ahead and planning a future trip – here are a few of Scott Dunn’s dreamworthy destinations to inspire wanderlust for your next vacation!
Destinations that offer wide-open spaces, nature and off-grid adventures are poised to be popular amongst travellers when travel resumes. Bespoke travel operator, Scott Dunn offers a hassle-free vacation for guests with every detail is looked after by their expert Travel Consultants – from flights to visas and packing lists! Travellers can look forward to journeying to a range of inspiring destinations with Scott Dunn’s exclusive itineraries that offer unforgettable encounters such as witnessing the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, getting up-close-and-personal with Canada’s diverse wildlife and trekking through Chile’s breathtaking landscapes. Prepare to be inspired!
Discover Africa’s magnificent wildlife: Scott Dunn’s Tanzania and Rwanda in Ultimate Luxury itinerary combines two bucket list wildlife experiences, the great migration of wildebeest in the Serengeti and trekking to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Guests will enjoy stays at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania and Singita Kwitonda Lodge, which opened last August on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Scott Dunn advise that travellers should leave plenty of time to plan this trip and book at least 1 year in advance as the annual migration crosses the Serengeti in the summer months and there are only a finite amount of annual trekking permits through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park.
Encounter Canada’s Bears and Whales: Scott Dunn’s Whales and Bears of British Colombia itinerary takes visitors off-the-beaten-track to spot some of Canada’s diverse wildlife including black bears, sea lions, migrating whales and grizzly bears. Another itinerary that is best booked a year in advance as this trip includes staying at small, boutique hotels with limited rooms – don’t miss out on your opportunity to witness these incredible animals!
Delve into Israel’s Past: Steeped in history, Israel is a melting pot of history, culture and religion. Scott Dunn’s A Week in Israel allows guests to journey to Israel’s key sites including Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. Guests will enjoy exclusive activities including a cable car ride to the impressive Masada Fortress, where travellers will marvel at the breathtaking views across Israel’s desert landscape and the mesmerising Dead Sea.
For more travel inspiration on destinations to visit post-pandemic, visit our blog here!
With all of us practicing social distancing and staying at home, livestream videos have become part of our everyday life. Companies and brands are now offering armchair travellers a virtual travel experience to some of the world’s most far-flung places. Here are V&VPR’s top picks to make isolation more thrilling:
Journey into the wilderness with Singita
Singita brings the stories of Africa to your home. Wildlife enthusiasts can either enjoy the calming sounds of Singita and listen to Africa’s enchanting bird song, or journey into the bush for a virtual game drive – allowing guests to get up close with some of Africa’s incredible wildlife. Curating the ultimate safari experience, Singita’s lodges are placed in 6 different regions of Africa and each lodge employs the very best guides and trackers to teach guests about the African wilderness and it’s magnificent inhabitants. Accompanied by Field Guides Ross Couper and Johan Ndlovu,
viewers can enjoy an African safari in either Sabi Sand and Grumeti Reserve, whilst sitting on their sofa, Singita’s virtual game drives are available for everyone to enjoy. Visit Singita’s Vimeo channel here and see what you find!
Witness the animals at Australian Reptile Park
The wildlife sanctuary on the Central Coast of New South Wales closed their doors back in March. However, keepers are still hard at work feeding and looking after all the animals. This award-winning wildlife park is making educational videos for school kids to assist parents who are now homeschooling their children. Named ‘Animal Tales With Tim Faulkner’ the live-streaming videos are of zookeepers showcasing their favourite animals and answering viewer questions. This includes feeding Elvis, the MASSIVE Saltwater Crocodile, play time and cuddles with dingoes, feeding cuddly koalas and virtual tours of different areas within the Park. Staff at the wildlife sanctuary are extremely excited to bring their animals into everyone’s sitting rooms. Live streams are available on the Australian Reptile Park’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.
Hike the most iconic rock climb in the world
Yosemite, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is a diverse, natural landscape. Home to more than 400 species of animals, including the magnificent American black bear, rare snowshoe hares and endangered bats. The park’s iconic, El Capitan, stands over 900 metres tall, with a vertical cliff face. From the comfort of your sofa, you can now Scale the mountain with top climber Lynn Hill and her team. The experience promises to teach more climbing skills, techniques and the necessary equipment needed to ascend this incredible height. Explore the park with these 360-degree images, accompanied with sound effects from the Ahwahnee Meadow and Nevada Fall.
Wonder at the Northern Lights
Renowned for its magnificent beauty, the aurora borealis is a dazzling natural phenomenon. The northern lights are visible from countries at northern latitudes, including Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Lights over Lapland takes travellers on a journey through a series of stunning 360-degree videos, starting at the famous Icehotel before venturing into the wilderness on a reindeer sleigh past sights such as Lake Torneträsk and an Arctic birch forest. Explorers will wonder at a series of time-lapse videos, showing the lights dancing overhead with vibrant colours and impressive arcs of deep green.
Escape with these virtual travel experiences, or Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration!
With travel restrictions in place, cabin fever setting in, and stress and anxiety levels rising, keeping wellness a priority has become more important than ever. Take a mental vacation to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations –– visualising a stress-free place is a simple way to help your whole body calm down and give you the boost you need for the day.
We’ve put together a series of stunning visuals featuring rolling landscapes, ethereal views and remarkable sights that will be just the pick-me-up for you.
Golden rays of sunlight lighting up the sand and sea at Zenith Beach in Port Stephens, NSW.
Plumes of steam rising from chimneys across a coastal town along the Oita Hot Spring Trail with Walk Japan.
A leopard taking a well-deserved rest up on a tree at Singita Boulders Lodge, Singita’s privately-owned reserve within Sabi Sand in South Africa.
Check out the rest of our page here for more mental vacation travel inspiration.
The world of luxury is changing and wealthy consumers are becoming active participants to save our world from extinction. As a result, luxury travel brands are changing with the times to become more sustainable. Protecting the environment is paramount in high-end experiential travel and MATTER’s 2019 report promotes how travel brands can adapt to survive and remain connected with their consumers through three main trends:
Consumers seek self-fulfilment through the new sustainable luxury
There is a growing demand of luxury sustainable travel due to a developing demographic of socially conscious, high-net-worth consumers who are increasingly rejecting overt displays of wealth in favour of inconspicuous and responsible consumption. These elite customers value green, inconspicuous luxury and are driven by self-fulfilment and personalised experiences. And so, luxury travel and hospitality is being redefined to incorporate artisanship, authenticity and sustainability, as well as ethical living. Experience and transformation have become the new currency for these next-gen jetsetters, who seek self-fulfilment through green travel, while ‘doing good’ for people and the planet.
Future consumers will invest more in sustainable luxury travel
High-net-worth wealth is transferring into younger hands at a fast rate. According to the study, 72% of Millennials and Gen Zs would pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to social and environmental change. Therefore, these consumers are more willing to invest in sustainable luxury travel and value green brands more than their predecessors. The young elite are reshaping philanthropy by seeking more ways to give back, and the travel industry is supporting their mission through new initiatives from one-off donations to long-term initiatives and volunteering.
Successful luxury travel brands will make sustainability part of the guest experience
Innovators in luxury hospitality are stepping up to environmental and social challenges, by putting sustainability at the centre of their business model and guest experience. From addressing the rise in veganism to rethinking waste, luxury hotels and resorts are honing their offer to attract future guests. Eco-tourism and conservation brand Singita allows guests to take part in sustainable and community initiatives when on safari, guests can leave a legacy from holidaying with Singita and contribute to their 100 year purpose to preserve and protect the African wilderness for future generations.
To download the report in full, please visit MATTER’s website.
Located on 45,000-acres of untouched wilderness in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve, Singita Castleton Lodge, the former home of Singita’s Founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather is steeped in history. The lodge, accommodating a maximum of 12 guests, has re-opened to showcase a recent design refresh to ensure guests enjoy the utmost exclusivity and comfort in the African bush.
With new wellness experiences on offer, the private villa boasts a brand-new yoga pavilion alongside its state-of-the-art and fully equipped fitness centre – which is accessed via a covered walkway through Castleton’s tranquil gardens. Guests can now also choose between double and single massage treatment rooms. As one of 2020’s wellness trends, Castleton Lodge ensures guests to reconnect with the great outdoors as well as each other, and the expansive deck provides uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape. It also offers magical fireside dinners under a canopy of stars –the perfect backdrop for a taste of traditional local dishes, cooked by the on-site private chef.
The property’s impressive wine cellar has been expanded and is now conveniently located adjacent to the dining room and lounge. As a highly curated collection of South African finest vintages, it’s the ideal setting for pre-dinner tastings under the guidance of Singita’s knowledgeable sommeliers.
Many antiques and furnishings of the original homestead have been refashioned, adding authenticity to the living areas that extend outdoors onto deep, covered verandas overlooking a busy waterhole nearby, where game regularly gather to drink.
As part of Singita’s Private Villa Collection, guests staying at Castleton Lodge will enjoy the comforts of a private game-viewing vehicle as well as a full staff complement, which includes a Field Guide, private chef and host. Game drives, mealtimes and activities are organised daily according to the preference of each guests – allowing them to have complete freedom to choose the rhythm of their days. The perfect location for a bush escape for families and groups of friends, Castleton offers numerous opportunities for shared activities – from boules to tennis, cricket and a private pool, combining the best elements of an authentic safari with the rustic charm of a farmhouse.
Singita opened Kwitonda Lodge on 1st August in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The brand new lodge and private house is positioned on an unrivalled location where a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas can be found, marking the next exciting chapter of the brand’s ongoing conservation journey in Africa. As well as supporting important conservation efforts during their stay at Kwitonda Lodge, guests will be able to enjoy awe-inspiring views across the vast Virunga mountain range and volcanoes.
Kwitonda Lodge is designed to honour Rwanda’s people and the country’s fertile land, contributing significantly to conservation efforts, community partnerships and ecotourism to preserve and protect Africa’s wilderness for future generations. Situated a ten-minute walk away from the park’s headquarters, guests can take part in a humbling gorilla-trekking experience to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitats.
Each of the guest suites are beautifully decorated and include private heated plunge pools and massage areas, as well as indoor and outdoor fireplaces for travellers to relax in their secluded haven. Singita has included a dedicated conservation room, gear room for all trekking equipment, and an extensive on-site nursery and vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the lodge’s farm-to-table food ethos.
More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in crafting features like the lava rock walks, exquisite woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork – ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into the design, while boosting local employment and business.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House are go-to destinations, offering an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. It embodies the gentle, rejuvenated spirit of Rwanda with finishes that include raw and burnished timbers, natural pigments on walls and hand-fired terracotta tiles, and long-lasting furniture pieces anchor each room and space, providing a profound sense of groundedness. Its design creates a sense of place, purpose and perspective, tying in perfectly with the serious and soul-centering experience of meeting gorillas up close on treks.