By Lisa Hepburn
As a newer member of Dragonfly, I posed the question to my team, of “where in the world would you want to stay if money was no object”? The results were quite interesting and varied. Some chose tropical sun & sand locales and others more remote northern climates with wellness & escape in mind.
Which one would you choose?
Kari Lynn’s Choice: Fogo Island, Canada
Fogo Island is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is about 25km long and 14km wide. Fogo Island Inn is a destination of its own once you get there. Every one of the 29 one-of-a-kind guest rooms and suites has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the wildest and most powerful ocean on the planet. A stimulating relief from the numbing uniformity of modern times, the award-winning Inn is built on the principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture. The Inn is a community asset, and 100% of operating surpluses are reinvested into the community to help secure a sustainable and resilient future for Fogo Island.
This hotel allows travellers to completely disconnect, unwind and discover the beauty of its surroundings. Also, in inclement weather, guests can enjoy the 37-seat state of the art cinema or the intimate library and museum on-property. The culinary team uses regional ingredients, with menus that change daily and reflect the seven seasons of the place. If you need to escape the world – this is one small island you would want to be sent to!
Mario’s Choice – Laucala Island, Fiji
Laucala Island is one of three little islands in the Koro Sea, a 50-minute flight from Nadi, in the island’s private King Air B200 plane. Regular flights arrive into Nadi direct from Los Angeles.
This private-island is the holiday home of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. It is four square-miles of private forest and coconut groves, cut through with a golf course, pools and waterfalls. With just 25 villas, and almost 350 staff, the service is as glorious as the island’s setting. Also, there is plenty to do: swim in the multiple pools, play tennis, ride horses or walk an 18-hole David McLay Kidd-designed golf course; sail a wooden yacht; try a variety of watersports from diving to jet-skiing; enjoy treatments in a spa that uses organic, island-made oils; visit a farm producing most of the ingredients used on the island; and sample fine cuisine from the five restaurants.
Fiji has always been on Mario’s bucket list of places to go as he loves the outdoors and watersports and can’t even imagine sailing on a wooden yacht… as he says “I’m there, sign me up”.
Jaime’s Choice – Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldive Islands
Jaime took her request to the next level, not only does she dream about the Maldive Islands and Cheval Blanc Randheli, but she wants to stay at their 4-bedroom villa located on its own private island. Situated on 1 hectare of white sand beach, it is surrounded by emerald gardens and aquamarine waters and accessible from a private berth and jetty. It is one of 46 luxurious villas located in the Noonu Atoll of the Maldives.
With over 1,000 sqm, it is the epitome of lush, modern island living with exceptional indoor and outdoor spaces, including a 25-metre swimming pool, private bar, fitness centre, private spa treatment room and screening room.
The dedicated team of Ambassadors are available on the island 24/7 to cater to your every need with a vibrant array of tailored services and amenities. If you want to escape the private island, you can go to the main island, just a short boat ride away, where there are five gourmet restaurants and four bars to delight your senses. For those who wish to be somewhat active the resort offers fitness and yoga classes, snorkelling and scuba diving, tennis, water activities and a full-service spa.
Samira’s Choice – Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Sir Richard Branson’s 74-acre private island is unquestionably the most idyllic place in the British Virgin Islands. First purchased by Richard in 1978, Necker Island is much more than the sum of its individual parts. This is the definition of a luxury private island, but their version of luxury isn’t just about top-class food, the latest activities and the best facilities, although you can of course expect all of these. Visitors to the island often arrive as guests but leave as friends. You can take over the island exclusively or during selected weeks you can book an individual room.
If you are feeling extravagant, why not rent the whole island for a week with 15 Bali-style accommodations that are nature-inspired with open living quarters and a staff to look after your every need from water sports (including SCUBA), to a DJ for a night and theme parties on the beach. This is living!
Kim’s Choice – Four Seasons Troon North, Arizona
With its year-round amazing climate, this is Kim’s top pick. The romance of the desert surrounds the timeless adobe architecture of this Scottsdale resort. In their backyard, dramatic valleys filled with saguaro cacti and the slopes of iconic Pinnacle Peak are a playground for hiking and mountain biking, while two world-class golf courses at Troon North Golf Club are a quick shuttle ride away. You can relax at the spa or at the bi-level pool and then savour the amazing Southwest cuisine.
The resort was recently renovated at a cost of $13 million, which included updating the lobby and casitas. The casitas were updated in a subtle earth-tone palette along with woods and metals to highlight the lush desert views from the casitas’ patios and terraces. At night you can settle into your casita with a glass of wine, and get ready for the night sky’s natural light show or enjoy an outdoor movie on the patio complete with a flat-screen TV and speaker on the patio.
Gayle’s Choice – La Mamounia, Morocco
Gayle fell in love with this area of the world many years ago on a trip to Tunisia, however with the turmoil in that area at the moment she has turned her sights to Morocco with its year-round, bone-warming weather which is ideal when it gets grey and gloomy at home.
Marrakech offers so many sights and sounds from the muezzin’s call, to the sight of cobras dancing out of baskets, to the noise of Jemaa el-Fna square and the hustle and bustle of the medina with all its colours and smells.
When it all gets too much, there is the other side of Marrakech at La Mamounia where Charlie Chaplin and Churchill chose to hole up and where Hitchcock filmed The Man Who Knew Too Much. It went under a full renovation in 2009 and re-opened to become one of the top hotels in the world.
It is an oasis, a retreat from the hubbub with huge gardens, where beekeepers tend their bees amongst lemon trees and where you can hunt for the secret ice-cream parlour. Stay in one of the rooms overlooking the Koutoubia Mosque and over the rooftops of the Red City, this will give you the best sense of place.
Lisa’s Choice – Endless
As for myself, I am torn, there are so many places in the world I still want to explore, whether it is sleeping in a bubble watching the northern lights in Iceland, having breakfast with giraffes at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya, staying in room on stilts over the pacific ocean where I can just step down in to the crystal blue waters, or waking up early at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge to watch the sun rise at Macchu Picchu. The options are endless!