New & Noteworthy, March 2016
By Hideaway Report Editor
March 1, 2016
Little Dix — the Reinvention of a Caribbean Classic
Founded by Laurance S. Rockefeller more than 50 years ago, Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands has long been a favorite of Hideaway Report subscribers. A idyllic place to relax and recuperate, it is set on on a near-perfect crescent of white sand, overlooking an expanse of mirror-like turquoise sea. Few Caribbean resorts can boast comparable atmospheres of such serenity and seclusion. As the property is an inevitable recipient of one of our annual Readers’ Choice awards, I was taken aback to learn that Little Dix will close on May 1, 2016, for 18 months. Apparently, all the 107 accommodations will be completely refurbished and several new signature suites, plus a new beach grill with an open kitchen, will be added. Although it is a little sad that one of my favorite beach resorts will be shuttered for such an extended period, I am reassured to learn that Rosewood intends to preserve the property’s deep tranquility and its unspoiled natural surroundings.
The Spectacular New Six Senses Duoro Valley
Previously obscure areas of Europe sometimes become abruptly fashionable. A decade ago, the Languedoc in France rose to sudden prominence; five years back, Puglia in southern Italy enjoyed a spell as a permanent resident on newspaper travel pages. Today’s place of the moment is Portugal’s steep and serpentine Douro Valley, with its exquisite landscape sculpted by vineyard terraces and dotted with whitewashed quintas. Now the Asian hotel group Six Senses has opened its first European resort and spa to sustained applause. Centered on a 19th-century manor house, Six Senses Duoro Valley comprises 41 rooms, nine suites and seven villas. In addition to the Vale de Abraão restaurant for regional cuisine, the resort boasts a magnificent spa with 10 treatment rooms and a wine library. The Douro is an unspoiled and traditional region of Europe. Visit in September and you may well be invited to help tread the grapes at one of the local Port estates.
New Bali Resorts
When I first visited Bali in 1983, the island still possessed a dreamlike innocence. Tourism was in its infancy, and the magical world described by painter and art historian Miguel Covarrubias in his 1937 classic "Island of Bali" remained substantially intact. Some aspects of Bali’s unique culture survive, but visitor numbers continue to soar and large hotels marketed to Asia’s newly wealthy open with the metronomic regularity. The latest luxury resort is Mandapa, a so-called Ritz-Carlton Reserve. It will soon by joined by the Mandarin Oriental Bali and the Waldorf Astoria Bali. No doubt all three will be commendable, but I still wish that the development of this once exquisite island had not been quite so relentless.
Trekking Around the Sacred Mountain of the Incas
The Peruvian Andes contain 25 peaks that are more than 20,000 feet high, and the splendor of the scenery can sometimes rival that of the Himalayas. However, Peru has no equivalent to the Sherpas and the supporting teams of porters that are so fundamental to the experience of trekking in Nepal. Recently, however, options have begun to multiply, with guided hikes accompanied by teams of llamas to carry baggage and supplies. The trek that particularly appeals to me is the “Ausangate Circuit,” a five-day lodge-to-lodge hike around the 20,907-foot sacred mountain of the Incas. I am told that the simple mountain lodges — constructed with the cooperation of the local Chillca and Osefina peoples — provide private baths, hot showers, duvets atop comfortable beds and surprisingly delicious food. I guess it’s time to head back to the gym to practice the mandatory pre-trek step ups.