In “The Reluctant Traveler” with Eugene Levy on Apple TV+, the titular host has a meditation session under the water in the Maldives, reluctantly safaris in South Africa, and hesitantly agrees to discover some unusual local dishes in every country. But this reluctant traveler also gives us a short list of some of the world’s most ultra-luxury and interesting resorts to add to your bucket list. Take a closer look at Levy’s luxury hotel destinations in “The Reluctant Traveler.”
Kudadoo, coming in at a jaw-dropping $7,000 per night, is shockingly worth every penny. The staff follow the concept “anything, anytime, anywhere” and mean it. One example shared in “The Reluctant Traveler” notes a guest who wanted a very exclusive butter. This particular butter is only available in Brittany, the largest Peninsula in France. The guest made the request and it was there the next morning, having been flown overnight from France. Kudadoo also provides a butler for each of its 32 guests and the staff is always on call. Before you arrive at the resort, they send you a survey to let them know your honorifics, including your dream meal, activities you would like to participate in, and leisure preferences. Kudadoo not only has deep responsibilities to its guests, but also to the Earth. The resort occupies the only Maldives private island that runs entirely on solar power.
The Amangiri was built on the border of the Navajo nation reservation, situated in a remote, desert-like area of Utah. The five-star resort blends in among the red rocks that surround it and is designed to integrate so fully that it appears to be part of the natural landscape. Amangiri is built for nature lovers, with hiking trails and UTV (Ultimate Terrain Vehicle) tours to get hikers to the harder-to-reach trails and better access to captivating viewpoints. With Lake Powell close by, Navajo Nation Slot Canyons, and the Colorado Plateau, you are meant to fall in love with the nature that surrounds the Amangiri resort. There are 34 suites in the resort, leaving the surrounding views unobstructed for about $3,000/night.
For a luxury resort that uses the local saying “Pura Vida,” meaning pure or simple life, the Nayara Tented Camp is far from simple. Located at the bottom of a volcano in the middle of a rainforest, the Nayara suites are cleverly built on stilts to allow guests to connect with nature among the trees. As a sustainable resort, each of the 21 luxury tents are oriented to maximize ventilation and heating effects from the sun to reduce the need for heating and cooling. Water-saving faucets and energy-conserving light systems round out the 360-degree eco-chic effect at Nayara Tented Camp. You can feel the restorative power of nature at their award-winning spa, discreetly tucked into pockets of the rainforest. Some of their bespoke treatments include the use of locally grown organic coffee, chocolate, and volcanic mud. At Nayara Tented Camp, daily laundry and complimentary breakfast are included in the starting price of around $1,200/night.
If staying in a palace is on your list, the Gritti Palace Hotel, named after the Doge Andrea Gritti, is the oldest palace in Venice and a Gothic marvel of construction and design. Billionaires, Hollywood icons, and royalty have stayed at the Gritti, including Ernest Hemingway, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor to name just a few in its storied history. You can peruse the names of all the illustrious people who once called Gritti Palace their home in the hotel’s Golden Book. The palace exudes luxury with gold-plated furniture from the 17th century and artwork you would expect to see in a gallery. The views from each terrace overlook the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice, giving guests an elite location from which to enjoy the visual feast of Veince’s grand canal. The Gritti prides itself on attentive service, delectable Venetian foods, and interesting opportunities for tranquility. You can enjoy private cooking lessons at the Gritti Epicurean School, an experience on a private yacht, or the ultimate spa day with personalization for your wellbeing and relaxation. This royal experience comes in at about $1,200/night.
Each of the suites at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, known as a GlassHouse, are facing north ― the best seats on the planet for taking in the Aurora Borealis. Its panorama of colors could be entirely different from one night to the next as the collisions between gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere collide with particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Each GlassHouse comes with its own private sauna, which is the perfect place to warm up and relax after one of their amazing arctic experiences: arctic floating, a wilderness sledge ride or, for those who do not enjoy the cold, a private dining experience. The main restaurant at the Arctic TreeHouse is Rakas, a Finnish word meaning “beloved.” The restaurant uses local ingredients like reindeer, and adds a modern twist to some classic Finnish dishes. These activities and rare viewing experiences light up at about $1,000/night.
Lisbon is a city that may not be as popular of a tourist destination as some of the other getaways, but in this city you can see little pieces of the world. Their Christ the King statue emulates the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. Their Salazar bridge looks as if the Golden Gate bridge moved to Portugal. The Verride Palácio de Santa Catarina is a Lisbon original. Its interior reflects the taste of a former count, the Count of Verride, who built the structure in 1750, and even includes many preserved items that the count had made for the former palace. It sits atop of a hill at the heart of Lisbon’s old town and is located within walking distance of ancient churches and famous flea markets. The palace features 19 rooms and suites. Their restaurant, SUBA, features locally-inspired contemporary dishes to classic Portuguese dishes. Their rooftop bar overlooks the Tagus River. Each morning arrives with tailor-made breakfast and a tasting menu ready for you in their Winter Garden. For about $1,000 a night, you can experience royalty.
The Kruger Shalati – The Train on the Bridge is both unique and innovative. The property is comprised of 13 train cars that date to the 1950’s, situated over the Sabie River on a 1,000-ft long bridge. Each train car was sourced across Africa to make this hotel the modern wonder that it is today. The bridge that the Kruger Shalati lays upon what was once the path used to traverse Kruger National Park, but ultimately abandoned due to the amount of animal deaths by trains. The Kruger Shalati features an arrival lounge, dining areas, and two of three swimming pools that overlook the Sabie. The staff treats you as a priority and offers in-room spa treatments. For around $800/night, you are able to experience the African wilderness from the distinct advantage of an historic train that is always on time.
Described as a contemporary Ryokan, the Hoshinoya hotel mixes luxury and Japanese simplicity with a curious high-tech twist. To Eugene Levy, the most fascinating part of his stay in Tokyo was the toilet in his hotel bathroom ― proving that high-tech luxury can be reflected in something as simple as a toilet. The Hoshinoya features Japanese-style shoji screens and tatami floors in each of the guest rooms. On the top floor of the hotel, bath halls are fed by hot spring waters below the ground. Among the Ryokan’s unique experiences: the luxury spa, which includes a traditional Japanese massage using 12 pressure points along the body’s energy meridians to relieve tension. Guests also enjoy Japanese tea ceremonies and a Tokyo river cruise. The cost for your Tokyo stay ranges from about $300-500/night.