A Travel Editor’s Little Black Book: 8 Secret Addresses
In this high-speed world of social media, nothing’s really a secret address anymore. But we’ve discovered a few spots that still hold surprise and delight for us. We’ve compiled a short list of those places we just can’t help but share, whether it’s for tea, for sleeping over or for just stopping by.
Scroll through and add these secret addresses to your contacts list. (Just don’t tell them we sent you.)
Two Bali Retreats
- Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud
Sure, Bali is not exactly a secret. But Ubud, which is away from the beaches and the bars and the partiers (you get the drift), is an inland utopia of wildlife-rich jungles, the raftable Ayung river – and retreats where you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature, or yourself.
- Four Seasons Bali at Sayan
This is a getaway that’s secret yet familiar, the best kind. Among the rice paddies and the river views, is a retreat that immerses you in the local Balinese culture: From programs where you can work with rice farmers, take tours with the resort’s gardeners, even learn more about the Balinese Hindu philosophy.
You can try AntiGravity Yoga – we did, and it was surprisingly more relaxing than we thought, a great way to stretch – and take mindfulness meditation classes. Indonesian style cuisine and dining is in the trees, on terraces that are close enough for you to reach out and touch the palm fronds that shade the space.
2 Ways to take in Afternoon Tea and Art in Dublin
- The Merrion
Where tea is an art form of different proportions. ‘Art Tea’ at The Merrion 5 star hotel is perhaps one of the most lavish afternoon tea services in Dublin. Sink into one of the Drawing rooms’ (yes, there’s more than one) overstuffed couches, recline by the fire, and admire the art – on the walls and on your plate. The art is 19th- or 20th-century, the art of sweets is served on fine china with miniature creations inspired by the work of J.B Yeats, William Scott, Louis Le Brocquy and others.
2. The Westbury
If you like tea with a view, this is the place. Just a few floors above Dublin’s popular Grafton Street, The Westbury Hotel’s Afternoon Tea on The Gallery level is a must-do. Considered a Dublin institution, the Afternoon Tea features a sampling of sandwiches, scones, homemade pastries and divine patisserie; the fragrant teas come from all over the globe and are served in pretty traditional silver teapots.
2 London Hotel Escapes
- Hotel 41
This Red Carnation property is sandwiched between its sister hotel, Rubens at the Palace, yes, that palace in London (hello, your majesty!) and bbar and restaurant, one of the Rubens’ outposts that features South African wine and cuisine. But it’s the discrete signage and the black and white polish of 41 that welcomes its guests into an exclusive, 5-star private hideaway. The beauty of this place is its snug and cosy feel, and here, snug and cosy is a good thing. All warm and rich hues, and with only 30 rooms.
- The Levin
With just 12 bedrooms, you may feel like you’ve crashed a tony Knightsbridge townhouse slumber party. But then you explore. And discover this family-run property is the closest hotel to Harrods (shopping!), Harvey Nicholls is just up the way, and that it has The Metro, a subterranean restaurant that doubles as a pub, for weary shoppers to take respite.
2 ways to join the Club or have a Spa day in Toronto
- Verity and The Ivy at Verity
This club in downtown Toronto is unique and exclusive: unique in that it is a private members club – for women, only, and well that’s what makes it exclusive. It’s a throwback to those gentlemen’s clubs (they still exist!), but with a decidedly feminine power network. Inviting décor, a dining room/members lounge, meeting rooms of all sizes and the Sweetgrass spa, including a swimming pool, with most of the walls acting as art gallery space, reside in the heritage building on Queen Street E. Right next door is George, the award-winning restaurant. And membership includes all of the above, including preferred access to George plus a chance to network and be mentored by the 800-and-counting fellow women movers and shakers, from the corporate elite to artists and fitness gurus.
- Miraj Hammam by Caudalie Paris
When some of us read the word Hammam, we might think Turkish and other middle-eastern ways to take the waters in the form of being hosed down, dunked in icy pools and scrubbed to within an inch of our skins’ lives. Sure, exfoliation is a part of the treatments at the Miraj Hammam by Caudalie Paris (purveyors of vinotherapy – that’s wine-based, to you and me) in the Shangri-La Toronto but what we’re really here for is to visit three countries in three hours, all under one oasis of calm umbrella – even the décor and little details, the Jerusalem gold marble benches and sweet cakes and herbal teas, for instance, take their cues from a global mashup. So, not just from the vineyards of Bordeaux, but off the continent, as well.
Start with a deeply soothing steam, where you can sweat out the toxins, the head off to Morocco with the spa’s signature full-body gommage, which translates loosely into exfoliation, to help stimulate new skin cells to the surface; follow it up with a stop in Thailand and a traditional massage that uses Yoga poses, stretching (a note here: the therapist does get up close and personal here as she manipulates your limbs into poses, but uses a pillow as a cushion between you) and pressure points to help lymphatic drainage and boost circulation.
Finally, who doesn’t want to end a good voyage with a little bit of wine? This vintage, however, is for your face. Head to France, in your treatment room, that is, and say oui to a Caudalie facial, using the company’s wine-based products. Drink up.
Did you know? Moroccan mint tea is a traditional drink of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. In North Africa, offering it to guests is thought of as a sign of friendship. The herb acts as a powerful antioxidant, as well as a mild sedative due to its calming properties. At the Miraj Hammam at the Shangri-La, it is the house tea, and is made with freshly ground mint and unrefined sugar. www.mirajcaudaliespa.com/