We’re officially past the solstice—meaning some winter sun is most definitely in order. Here, find nine hotels the Vogue team is hoping to check into for a much-needed hit of vitamin D in the coming months.
A 20-minute drive from Stellenbosch favorite, Babylonstoren, Sterrekopje’s 11 rooms are set within 50 hectares of Edenic grounds—complete with vineyards and orchards where guests are invited to gather fruit at sunrise each day. (Even the spa products here are made using spices, herbs and other wonders from the gardens—think calming wildflower baths and olive-pip skin scrubs.) Founded by Dutch partners Nicole Boekhoorn and Fleur Huijskens (who also happen to be a couple), this is a place for a reset without restrictions; you can trek up Sterrekopje mountain in the morning before ending the day with a farm-to-table feast. Much is written about the activities on offer here, and with good reason—everything from pottery classes to yoga and breath work sessions are available—but it’s the interiors that truly won us over. A collaborative effort by founder Nicole and interior designer Greg Mellor, every room is filled with personal touches; take the antique writing boxes and stationery in each one, with guests encouraged to journal throughout their stay. Even if you only check in for the shortest two-night “journey” offered at Sterrekopje, you leave feeling a decade younger.
If you’re looking to reconnect with nature after months cooped up indoors, set your sights on Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape from March onwards, when the rainy season nears its end. Constructed entirely from recycled wood, the 16 mountainside lodges, or balés, at this eco-resort 40 minutes north of Ubud feature neither windows nor doors, meaning guests fall asleep in four-posters overlooking the forest canopy and soak in copper bathtubs while fireflies dance above them in the dusk. (There are also dedicated “Hideaway” spots scattered across the property, where guests are encouraged to meditate surrounded by birdsong and frangipani.) The food offering, meanwhile, aims to be zero waste, with Balinese chef Eka Sunarya heading up The Open Kitchen, a largely plant-based restaurant that champions produce from hyperlocal farms: think nourishing moringa soup, presented in a coconut shell, or vegetables wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal. As for the Toja Spa? It’s spread across several bamboo pavilions, all of which overlook the Ayung River. Opt for a restorative scrub—done with rice and ginger—or a meditation session at the foot of a private waterfall.
Frequent travelers to Central America often sing the praises of Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s more laidback, affordable neighbor—but a trip to Hacienda AltaGracia is a good way to remind yourself why the world fell in love with Costa Rica in the first place. Opened in November 2021, this 50-room hotel on an old coffee farm in the foothills of the Talamancas is the embodiment of pura vida: a day here might include horseback riding through the Arabica trees and sugarcane fields of the hacienda, taking a river bath in the Calientillo River (with optional wild bergamot massage), or undertaking a birdwatching trip in search of caracaras and quetzals. In every direction, the landscape is mind-blowing in its beauty. (It’s no surprise to learn that AltaGracia is actually located beside one of the world’s Blue Zones, a place where the average human life is significantly longer than normal.) The real selling point here, though, is the 20,000-square-foot spa, designed in imitation of a greenhouse and filled with moss, bougainvillea, and ferns. Every visit begins with a Casa de Agua treatment, with herbal and local clay exfoliation, before guests move on to everything from *maderoterapia—*a wooden massage technique practiced across the region—to gong baths.