Ocean escapes

21 Oct 2017
6 min read
From a secluded Canadian getaway to a Madagascan paradise, FOUR whisks you away to the most beautiful ocean-side hotels in the world…

Fogo Island Inn |Canada

Fogo Island Inn is the perfect getaway to indulge in nature and to forget the labyrinth of a busy life. Standing, unimpeded against the rugged landscape of Fogo Island, which lies off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, the Fogo Island Inn is a luxury and modern hotel, rich with culture and tradition.

The Inn, with its stark, white, x-shaped contemporary facade sits on stilts to ensure minimal impact on the rocks, lichens and plants. Inside, bespoke décor and furnishings that reflect the island’s nature and culture adorn large, bright spaces. Each of the 29 guest suites is centred around the floor-to-ceiling window views. The contemporary design and clean lines contrast with local textiles, handcrafted furnishings and in-room wood burners, marking the suites with comfortable luxury and giving guests a peaceful haven.

In addition to the suites, the Inn has an art gallery, library, restaurant, lounge, lobby and cinema, which are open to the public, designed to promote the island’s creativity and community. The restaurant, headed up by chef Murray McDonald uses the abundant local produce and traditional flavours, combined with innovative techniques; the library focuses on Newfoundland’s history; the art gallery focuses on addressing issues relating to the survival of rural communities. The outside is celebrated inside.

However, the outside is also worth celebrating outside! The fact that getting to Fogo Island involves a small selection of vehicles to get to sheds light on quite how remote it is. The landscapes are undisturbed and are truly breathtaking: glaciers float and humpback whales roam the piercing blue sea, while caribou herds graze the rocky grasslands which line white sand beaches. Due to its location, Fogo boasts seven seasons, all of which highlight the beauty and offer a spectacular amount of activities to do. For those who enjoy the more dynamic activities, there’s hiking through the ancient footpaths and untamed wilderness, skiing, skidooing, kayaking and others. Or for the slower paced, wildlife watching, craft making, beach walking, berry picking, island hopping and more are on the cards. And if you plan a visit in November, the Northern lights tend to make an appearance.

“New ways, old traditions” is one of Fogo Island Inn’s mottos, so leave your phone, watch, and worries behind you and escape to a Northern utopia.



Parrot Cay by COMO |West Indies

Parrot Cay by Como is the epitome of bliss. Located on the Turks and Caicos in the northern Caribbean, the private island resort and estates couldn’t be in a more magnificent setting, filled with wildlife, white-sand beached, hidden coves, and pristine reefs. But Parrot Cay isn’t just about its spectacular location; it is a retreat that is committed to maintaining the integrity of the Caribbean’s natural environment while offering guests a luxury getaway unlike others.

While the majority of the island remains untouched and lush with wetlands, cacti and shrubs, Parrot Cay lies on a raised bed of land that includes 5.2km of white-sand beaches, the luxury resort and estates and COMO Shambhala Retreat spa. Comprised of a whitewashed central building, the resort has 14 ocean-facing rooms and 25 garden-view rooms that are decorated to reflect the serene, nature-imbibed island, and four suites for those after a little more privacy. Every detail is considered in keeping with the resort’s underlying colonial style, which combines with the warm, contemporary design. Teak furnishing, four-poster beds, cotton covers, terracotta tiles and Indonesian loungers give the rooms a homely feel, while the in-room facilities offer a modern twist.

A little further up the coast, Parrot Cay Estates–a collaboration between Parrot Cay and private owners–are a collection of more secluded villas and estates that are available to rent. Designed and built by Parrot Cay, they remain in keeping with the resort’s aesthetics, but include a few more touches of luxury, including daily maids, private butlers and villa dining, as well as even more privacy. Lucky House and Dhyani House, for example, are three-bedroom estates, while Tamarind is a five-bedroom villa, ideal for families or couples after some privacy. However, if you’re planning a larger group getaway, The Residence is comprised of three villas with 11 bedrooms and three pools.

Guests at Parrot Cay Estates are welcomed to the resort’s two restaurants or to candlelit beach dinner. Relaxed al fresco poolside Lotus restaurant serves Caribbean-inspired dishes by day and contemporary Asia cuisine by night. For a modern Mediterranean cuisine, Terrace restaurant has outdoor and indoor tables, serving breakfast and dinner. Specially designed for the health conscious guest, COMO Shambhala Cuisine is a menu that is created to maximise energy and wellbeing with the use of raw foods rich in living enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals.

However, it is not just cuisine that caters to guests’ wellbeing. Parrot Cay’s award winning COMO Shambhala Retreat offers yoga, Pilates and treatments in each nature-inspired spa experience. With views over the island’s wetlands towards the North Caicos channel, the retreat is in a perfectly peaceful location to enjoy the infinity pool, women-only Jacuzzi garden and the open-air yoga room.

For those who err on the adventurous side, the islands’ warm and unpolluted waters promise some of the world’s best off-site diving, with PADI instructors available. Snorkeling, beach drop-offs and hopping, and fishing trips are popular, as well as kayaking to explore the mangroves and plethora of wildlife. Or perhaps the biggest adventure you will fancy on your trip is meandering to the beach and toing and froing between the sand and the sea.



Song Saa Private Island |Cambodia

Meaning ‘the sweethearts’ in Khmer–Cambodia’s native language–‘Song Saa’ is the way that locals refer to the country’s untouched Koh Rong Archipelago. Song Saa is an intimate private retreat in an utterly undiscovered paradise.

Connected by a footbridge over a marine reserve, the resort spans the beautiful islands of Koh Ouen and Koh Bong. Built using the resort’s environmentally friendly ethos and utmost respect of the natural beauty of the area, the islands’ 27 intimate villas are made from sustainable materials. The resort’s design is inspired by Cambodian fishing villages, with features like over-water buildings, thatch roofs, rough-hewn natural timbers and drift wood furnishings. However, luxuries like private pools and verandas with a private chef and bar service in the Overwater, Beach or Jungle villas elevate each experience to a flawless lavishness ocean escape. Or the two-bedroom Royal villa includes its own private jetty for speedboat arrival and a discrete island hideaway.

Akin to its name, the Vista Restaurant and Lounge Bar, which lies at the heart of the resort has a spectacular ocean view that gives onto the dramatic sunsets, seascapes and starry nights.

Focused on fresh, sustainable and local produce, the cuisine at Song Saa combines bold and delicious Khmer flavours and Cambodian traditions with Western techniques. For those wanting a healthy getaway, the specially designed detoxifying spa menu aims to support a healthy lifestyle while at Song Saa. Choose to dine under the stars on the resort’s private beaches, in the overwater restaurant or within the privacy of their private villa.

On top of the luxury escapism provided with the resort’s accommodation and dining, Song Saa has united with ila spa the Song Saa Sanctuary. Traditional Khmer healing practices are used for bespoke treatments in the private treatment rooms, which are positioned spectacularly in the island’s rainforest and along the water’s edge.

Or for the more actively-inclined guests, there is an incredible array of experiences surrounding the Archipelago, including kayaking up fresh water estuaries, hiking through virgin rainforest, snorkeling with the resort’s marine biologists, Khmer cooking lessons and visits to local fishing villages.

Whatever type of experience you choose to have, Song Saa says “stop, breathe and rejuvenate”.



Constance Tsarabanjina |Madagascar

Standing tall as one of the finest Leading Hotels of the World, Constance Tsarabanjina lies on an 86-acre private island surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The secluded luxury resort is an ideal spot to cast off stresses and roam bare foot along white beaches and the lush land, and swim in turquoise, coral-filled waters.

Striving to provide a luxury Robinson Crusoe-esque getaway, Tsarabanjina is a digital-free and eco-friendly resort with no in-room televisions, telephones or Wi-Fi. The south beach offers 12 villas that stand apart from the busier north beach, which has 13 villas, a restaurant, a bar, diving sites and a helipad. All of the 25 villas have thatched roofs with rustic exteriors, which contrast perfectly with the chic, luxury interior design. From the outside, the villas’ tipped roofs, private wooden terraces and outside hanging hammocks could make from a truly authentic Madagascan stay. However, the elegant décor inside with rosewood floors, four-poster beds and wooden furniture elevate the villas to a luxury sojourn.

Teaming with nature, the resort is certainly not short of activities to fill your days with. Discover the volcanic Mitsio Archipelago islets around Tsarabanjina, like Four Brothers Cliffs with the world-class Akio Diving team, revealing exquisite underwater rock formations and marine life, including a vast range of fish, rays, turtles, and whales, in season. If diving is not up your street, the resort offers guided nature walks to explore the island’s biodiversity, snorkelling, kayaking and small catamaran sailing. A must-do while on the island is to take one of the resorts illustrious excursions to experience some of Madagascar’s traditional fishing, to visit the famous basalt cliffs on Grande Mitsio, or to see the magnificent sunset from Frères Island.

Tsarabanjina is a sacred islet, having been home to the Sakalava kings of the Mitsio islands. Up to this day the islands are populated by the native people. Reflecting the spiritual atmosphere, tucked on the south beach, a small massage hut is open for personalised, quality treatments.

At Tsarabanjina’s sand-floored restaurant, you can feast on fresh seafood and some traditional Malagasy specialities. The bar, also with a sand floor faces the lagoon and is open from 7am until the last man stands. Enjoy a tipple–alcoholic or non-alcoholic–while watching the sun descend into the ocean.

If what you read is exactly what you’d like from an ocean escape, Tsarabanjina offers an all-inclusive Cristal package, which includes everything from accommodation to water sports and exquisite cuisine. So shut your eyes and listen to the gentle waves roll next to you and exhale your stresses.