As we compiled this year’s Editors’ Choice Awards, which will be released on January 4, we took great pleasure in reminiscing about our stays at previous Hideaways of the Year. The properties below remain as enticing as ever, and we would return to any of them given the slightest excuse.
Walland, Tennessee, United States
Last year’s Editors’ Choice winner was Blackberry Mountain, the sister property of Blackberry Farm, a consistent favorite of Andrew Harper members since it opened in 1976. With a very different personality than its sibling, Blackberry Mountain emphasizes exercise and wellness, and the cuisine is health-conscious with influences from around the globe. The accommodations comprise 18 stylish Stone Cottages, five multibedroom homes and six Watchman Cabins, the last category located at the top of the mountain, a seven-minute drive from the main lodge. A huge array of activities is available, and wellness concierges can arrange all manner of hiking, biking, yoga, wake surfing and rock climbing, among many other options.
Sumba Island, Indonesia
Our 2019 winner was Nihi Sumba, a property set on 550 wooded acres on the island of Sumba, 250 miles east of Bali. The estate encompasses 27 villas with 38 one- to five-bedroom lodgings. All come with private pools and designated butlers. Dining options include the Nio Beach Club for charcoal-grilled meat and fish, plus wood-fired pizzas. Beautiful Ombak restaurant has a deck cantilevered over the ocean, which provides a spectacular setting for refined Indonesian and international cuisine. Other amenities include an equestrian center and a glamorous spa. Guests may also tour the hotel’s Sumba Foundation, which provides humanitarian aid through village-based projects.
Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France
The 2018 winner was the much-talked-about hotel Villa La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France. The exceptional honey-colored stone villa is located on a 600-acre wine estate. The 28 freestanding suites line a private cobbled lane shaded by bamboo and scented with jasmine and feature a sleek and contemporary décor, with modern art and traditional Provençal design accents. Public areas comprise a reception pavilion with two restaurants by three-star chef Gérald Passédat, a grill restaurant by famed Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, a library, a bar and a new spa with seven treatment rooms, an onsen (traditional Japanese bath) and an outdoor pool.
This magnificent 1,730-acre property is located down the road from the famous Vega Sicilia vineyard. The hotel's 30 rooms, set in a former 12th-century Cistercian monastery, feature tall windows that overlook surrounding vineyards. Abadía is the perfect base from which to discover the Ribera del Duero and old city of Valladolid.
Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia
This idyllic family-owned resort is set on a desert island in the pristine Koh Rong Archipelago, a 35-minute speedboat ride from Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s west coast.
Fogo Island Inn is a stunning modernist inn with 29 guest accommodations spectacularly sited near a remote island fishing village off the Newfoundland coast.
Offering a congenial and relaxing atmosphere amid scarcely believable grandeur, the Aman Venice is a sumptuous 24-room hotel in a spectacular renovated 16th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Just outside the center of San Pedro de Atacama, this enchanting little sanctuary is screened by rustic wood gates and offers superb hospitality.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
This refined, environmentally sensitive lodge is located between two national parks. (Editor’s note: In January 2020 Australia's first luxury resort was destroyed by bushfires. However, they are committed to rebuilding, and we greatly anticipate its reopening. In the meantime, Kangaroo Island is open to tourism and needs travelers’ support more than ever. Check here for updates.)
This 45-room masterpiece of old-world style and hospitality occupies a lavishly restored villa near Fiesole, three miles from Florence.
This 51-room property is a tranquil resort hotel adjacent to the East Gate of the historic Summer Palace. Some of the pavilions, originally used by guests of the Empress Dowager Cixi, date back more than a century.