Luxury Escapes to Watch the World Flow By
Rivers, oceans, lakes, and streams help create and sustain life, offering incredible experiences for travelers who are eager to connect with the world around them. From navigating fjords in Patagonia to kayaking through mangroves in Borneo, precious wildlife encounters in Botswana and the Sabi Sand Reserve, and more, here are some top properties and destinations to watch the world flow by:
Park Hotel Vitznau
Located right on the banks of Lake Lucerne, the Park Hotel Vitznau features its own private beach, two restaurants and a large spa and wellness area - all with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. A member of Swiss Deluxe Hotels, an organization featuring 39 properties that are considered among the leading hotels worldwide and embody the prestige of the Swiss luxury hospitality sector, the property is in the perfect location to watch the world float by as it offers a wide array of activities on the water for guests to enjoy. From quiet stand-up paddle boarding sessions to private rides on the property’s Sea Ray or Sun Chaser, relaxing with a book at the hotel’s beach and more, travelers are invited to get out on the lake.
The Singular Patagonia
The Fjord of Last Hope, at the so-called "end of the world" in Chilean Patagonia, is an inlet within the Magallanes Basin that receives the waters of almost all the surface waters of Torres del Paine National Park through the Serrano River, and occupies a valley carved by glacial action. The fjord, along with the Señoret Channel, forms a navigation route which connects Puerto Natales with several protected areas of the region.
Situated directly on the Fjord of Last Hope, The Singular Patagonia features picturesque views of the natural wonder and star attraction as all guest rooms are facing the water. The property also features a holistic-focused spa with a focus on Salut Per Aqua or “health through water.” The 3,000 square-foot wellness center not only incorporates the fresh glacier water into its design elements and aesthetic, but also in every treatment. Additionally, The Singular offers travelers the chance to navigate the fjord’s twists and turns on one of the property’s two private high-speed boats, taking in the spectacular sights, nature and wildlife along the way.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
A destination for wellness and spirituality, Bali carries a long tradition of healing and inner reflection. Befitting its name, which means "temple" in Sanskrit, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve offers guests a “temple” to call their own, a luxury sanctuary for inner discovery and serenity. Nestled within Bali's cultural heart of Ubud, with the Ayung River floating peacefully alongside, each experience at Mandapa was carefully thought to provide guests a deeply personal and sublime connection to body, mind and spirit.
For travelers looking to enjoy the water, the property’s Exclusive Ayung River Journey is the perfect way to enhance their connection with mother earth. Guests will go rafting to see hidden waterfalls, the tropical jungle and and enjoy the sacred beauty of the river up close, allowing them to feel deeply connected to Mandapa’s location and the nature found in Ubud.
Singita — Ebony Lodge
Set right on the Sand River and built to celebrate its surroundings, Singita Ebony Lodge is positioned to offer uninterrupted views to watch the world flow by. The river flows south-eastward towards the Sabi Sand Reserve, welcoming a rich wildlife viewing. The landscape is honored throughout the fresh and contemporary lodge, featuring 12 luxurious suites with glass and canvas walls, opening onto expansive private decks and plug bools overlooking the river.
The communal dining and bar spaces are shaded by lush trees and surrounded by the vivid colors, sounds, and captivating sounds of the bush, further ensuring an intimate nature experience with the Sabi Sand’s natural rhythm. Guided safari walks and game drives, private plunge pools, outdoor wellness experiences, and the updated Boutique & Gallery round out the nature retreat with added elements of animal encounters, relaxation, and African roots.
Natural Selection — Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
A remarkable, exclusive concession in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is perched between land and sea atop the ancient dunes. From July to November, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is the location to experience the world flow by as the Southern Right whales migrate to South Africa from Antarctica to calve and breed.
The seven guest rooms—featuring six twin and one family unit—display floor-to-ceiling windows with blues and greens balanced by rich textures and a private deck for each room. Designed with seamless access to the stunning outdoor views, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is nature-based experience with incredible fauna, pristine beaches, rolling hills, and abundant sea life to explore.
Monkey Island Estate
Situated on a private island in the River Thames at Bray, Monkey Island Estate is a centuries-old retreat. With picturesque views and beautifully manicured gardens, visitors can find their own private countryside escape to relish in and watch the world flow by while they immerse themselves in a rich history of dukes, monks, and monarchs. Monkey Island’s remarkable and intriguing history dates back to 1197. Since then, island has hosted showbiz royalty, famous literary visitors, and now, visitors from all over the world who seek out the hotel’s Floating Spa.
The Floating Spa seamlessly blends the island’s storied past with the power of water to craft specially curated experiences. The Floating Massage mirrors the soothing effect of gently rocking on water. This experience is ideally suited for those with deep-seated muscular tension, energetic stubbornness, and difficulty in relaxing, as the nature of the aqua-cushion treatment bed cradles and supports the body on a cloud of warm water. The spa’s signature 60-minute treatment, The Monks Elixir, begins with a house-made elixir made from herbs the Monkey Island garden and greenhouse, by the monks who once lived on the island. The elixir is then followed by a full body massage with house-cured herbal and essential oils.
Quasar Expeditions – M/V Evolution
Set along the equator, 600 miles off the South American cost, the Galapagos Islands is an exceptional escape from life’s usual concerns. The eight-day voyages on Quasar Expeditions’ M/V Evolution are idyllic for watching the world flow by and offer once-in-a-lifetime activities and excursions, from snorkeling in a caldera with sharks to visiting a lagoon with seemingly endless amounts of wildlife.
During the cruise, guests can explore Genovesa Island with two snorkeling experiences. The first, for more daring guests, is in the inner part of the caldera, which is very deep and attracts hammerhead sharks and manta rays. Across the bay, guests can snorkel off the shoreline and seek out the vast assortment of tropical fish that hide in and around the rocky shoreline, as well as sea lions. Quasar also takes guests to Floreana Island, where they are invited to enter a descending lava tube and swim in a subterranean grotto, where they can have an encounter with sea turtles and tropical fish. Further on the route to the northeast shore, the mangrove-lined lagoons are frequented by flamingoes and other wading birds. Champion, a tiny inlet on the north shore of the island, is one of the top snorkeling sites in the Galapagos, with sea lions, dolphins, humpback whales, white-tipped reef sharks, and penguins.
After exciting days spent on the islands, guests retire back onboard for hors d’ouevres and drinks, to enjoy the sunset, and to experience more of the archipelago after a relaxing night’s sleep in their comfortable and tastefully designed cabins.
Niarra Travel — Botswana’s Harkness Mobile Safari Camp and Meno a Kwena
Niarra Travel, a purpose-driven tour operator, features itineraries with an emphasis on meaningful, sustainable travel to destinations all over the world with an emphasis on African travel.
This completely private, 8-day expedition across Botswana’s landscape explores ancient river beds and teeming waterways, and unfolds in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where Harkness Mobile Safari Camp resides with canvas tents and open fires alongside owner and tour guide, Andrew Harkness. For four days, guests discover the sprawling wilderness on dawn and dusk drives to spot zebras on the pans; wander giant fossil riverbeds; and enjoy a three-course dinner by the fire beneath the stars. After one night at Natural Selection's Meno a Kwena camp exploring the Zu’/hoasi Bushmen culture along the Boteti River, the final days are spent in the Okavango Delta. Along this corner of the Delta and network of waterways, guests can encounter lions, leopards, and wild dogs.
Gaya Island Resort
Gaya Island Resort is a five-star property located on the island of Borneo, set within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, that also plays a proactive role in animal conservation through their Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre and Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre programs. During every stay, travelers are invited to visit the centers and take part in one of their signature experiences, including the Mangrove Kayak Tour, where guests are guided through the 100-year-old forest by kayak to spot crabs, peid hornbills and lizards. This small-group tour is offered daily and led by the property’s Resident Naturalist to minimize human impact on the wildlife and their habitats.