Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is starting the new year with seven new member hotels, including being back on the South African map with three hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection. Together with an Italian trio and a historic hideaway on Bastia’s hilltop citadel in France, these make up the latest additions to the portfolio.
South Africa (New Destination)
The Liz McGrath Collection
SLH returns to South Africa with three hotels from The Liz McGrath Collection: The Plettenberg on the coastline of the Garden Route; The Marine, a clifftop retreat on the Hermanus Coast; and The Cellars-Hohenort in the historic Constantia Valley, Cape Town.
Surrounded by nine acres of gardens and with views of the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, The Cellars-Hohenort combines the historical Hohenort Manor House and the Cellars in the 18th-century Klaasenbosch Wine Estate. Located in the wine-growing suburb of Constantia Valley, the 51-room hotel also offers a great base from which to explore Cape Town. The 17th-century has arranged water fountains and walking trails within the estate. Guestrooms and suites have views of the Eastern Slope of Table Mountain and the gardens. The Cellars-Hohenort is also home to the award-winning Greenhouse, which is consistently ranked as one of South Africa’s top 20 restaurants.
Less than one-and-a-half hours’ drive away is The Marine, offering some of the best land-based whale watching between June and November each year—including right from the 40 rooms on property. Located on a clifftop on the rugged Hermanus coast overlooking the Walker Bay, the retreat is great for relaxing and getting acquainted with nature through the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Grotto Beach.
The Plettenberg presents the ultimate Garden Route destination. Situated on a rocky headland in Plettenberg Bay along the verdant Garden Route on South Africa’s southeast coast, Plettenberg Bay has a temperate climate and golden beaches. The hotel, with its 35 rooms and two family-style villas, offers impressive vistas, from the ocean to the mountains. It is also one of the few hotels in the area with direct beach access.
Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa (Lago di Como, Menaggio)
This 81-room lakeside hotel is the newest five-star hotel on Lake Como. Having started life as a 19th century neoclassical villa, this February Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa reopens as a retreat with ornate chandeliers and classical columns sitting alongside contemporary furniture and surrounded by gardens, lake views and mountains. Rooms can be reserved individually or combined to create multi-room. Lago Restaurant, presided over by chef Martin Vitaloni, makes the most of wraparound views from its lakeside veranda. Guests can unwind in the 16,000-square-foot Erre Spa, centered around a courtyard. The “grand dame” villas and even grander gardens, which slope down to the shores of Lake Como, including Villa Carlotta and the 12th-century Villa del Balbianello, now a film set.
Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel (Torre Canne)
Located in Torre Canne di Fasano in Puglia, this beachside retreat’s 52 rooms have white linens, wooden furniture and a hydro-massage bath/walk-in shower. The Aqua Spa offers an extensive range of treatments, including Ancient Roman rituals such as “Essential Flower,” using rosemary, myrtle and olive oil. Freshly caught fish and seafood are main-course staples here, alongside locally sourced meat, fresh vegetables and homemade orecchiette. The resort organizes special themed evenings on the restaurant terrace for guests to experience customs and traditions of the region, with live cooking, classic Puglian street food and Pizzica folk dances. Its location also makes ideal for a self-drive coastal tour: The pretty town of Fasano is a 10-minute drive away, and about 20 minutes from the whitewashed town of Ostuni, and Alberobello, a UNESCO site known for its hobbit-like Trulli houses.
Villa Soligo (Treviso)
Villa Soligo, which has 39 rooms, owes its Palladian style to its inception in 1782 as the summer hunting lodge for the Counts of Brandolini. Now restored, this boutique hotel stands on nearly four acres of centuries-old grounds at the foot of Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Romanesque columns frame the villa’s entrance with the neoclassical style continuing upstairs to its rooms and suites—each one individually designed and furnished to reflect the Treviso period style and history of the mansion. Nearby marks the start of La Strada del Prosecco, where you can take part in guided tastings of Italy’s most famous fizz. Guests can also visit surrounding wineries to taste the best local wines, or head out to Venice (less than an hour by car) or to the town of Conegliano, which inspired Giovanni’s masterpieces.
Hôtel des Gouverneurs (Bastia)
Tucked away within the historical site of the Citadel of Bastia, Hôtel des Gouverneurs is the only hotel within Bastia’s hilltop citadel. The boutique property, which has just 26 rooms and dates back to 1380, is just a two-minute walk from the Old Port and five minutes from the city center. Guestrooms are “classic-meets-contemporary,” with terraces that offer views of the Old Port and seascape. Guests can also expect Italian-style showers and Roberto Cavalli toiletries. There’s also a heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna and a hammam at Biologique Recherche Spa (guests can also receive treatments in their room). Mediterranean-style Les Dînettes des Gouverneurs transforms into a terrace tapas restaurant at night, before retreating to the convivial bar for small-batch gin and rum.