Cloister yourself on Patmos

The fireplace room at Pagostas on Patmos island
The fireplace room at Pagostas on Patmos island © Yiorgos Kaplanidis

Londoners know Maria Lemos as the woman behind the fashion showroom Rainbowwave and also Mouki Mou, where understated womenswear, jewellery and accessories come together in one of Marylebone’s chicest storefronts. What they might not know: she and her husband, Gregoris Kambouroglou, are long-time denizens of Patmos. Recently they took on the oldest monastery on the island – a 16th-century beauty in Chora – out of which, following a meticulous restoration project, they have carved three guest suites.

The kitchen at Pagostas
The kitchen at Pagostas © Yiorgos Kaplanidis
The desk in the mezzanine room at Pagostas
The desk in the mezzanine room at Pagostas © Yiorgos Kaplanidis

Pagostas is steeped in Greek and Patmian design, cuisine, colours and traditions: most of the furniture, linens and tableware were made on Patmos or sourced from dealers and markets in Athens. A kitchen garden bordered in jasmine and myrtle scents the air (and is captured by the house scent they have created with Perfumer H’s Lyn Harris). The plan is to stay open much of the year, offering the chance to experience the chora, and Patmos – minus the buzz of July and August, but with all its innate style and genuine hospitality present. From €200, pagostas.com


East (Suffolk) is Eden

Retreat East in Suffolk
Retreat East in Suffolk

The “farm stay” model in the UK takes many forms, from the cushy Ilse Crawford-signed surrounds and artisanal “cyders” of The Newt in Somerset to the more bracing proposition of tent sleeps and hands-on lambing at The Farm Camp in Wiltshire. At Retreat East, a dairy farm outside Coddenham in Suffolk, owner Dominic Richards has given new life to the 16th-century farmhouse, a collection of some 16 barns and outbuildings, and original gardens. The Farmhouse has four ensuite bedrooms; the barns and cottages – done in nice (if slightly generic) Oka-meets-Soho-House English modern style – sleep between two and four, and can be self-catering; and there is a small spa and restaurant with appealingly rib-sticking dishes and some creative cocktails. Richards’ eco-creds look promising as well, with groundwater reuse, solar heating and electricity, and an onsite waste-treatment plant. From £130, retreateast.co.uk


Aman’s Fifth Avenue zen

A room at Aman New York
A room at Aman New York © Courtesy of Aman

It’s been years in the offing, but the advance word is that this new Aman lives up to expectations and then some: last week, the hotel made its New York debut, welcoming its first guests to 83 suites in the landmark 1921 Crown Building, at the corner of 57th and Fifth Avenue. It’s Aman’s second urban property (the Tokyo hotel opened in 2017): designer Jean-Michel Gathy has nailed the delicate remit of bringing just enough Asian-inflected ambience to evoke the brand’s heritage while simultaneously spotlighting the great bones of a classic Manhattan building.

The Aman Suite at Aman New York
The Aman Suite at Aman New York © Courtesy of Aman

Minimalism may have been the decoration remit, but as far as spaces go, it’s all of a very NYC scale: some of the biggest on-average rooms in the city, a 650sq m outdoor dining and lounging space (with retractable roofing for year-round use), and a stonking three-storey, 2,300sq m flagship Aman Spa, whose ambitions to change the wellness landscape here, where size matters, seem entirely feasible. From $3,500, aman.com


The new Belle of Bonnieux

The pool at La Bastide de Capelongue, just outside Bonnieux
The pool at La Bastide de Capelongue, just outside Bonnieux
La Bastide restaurant at La Bastide de Capelongue
La Bastide restaurant at La Bastide de Capelongue

Since 2011, Eric Dardé has been confidently steering Beaumier, the French hotel micro-brand whose singular style imprimatur stretches from mountain (Le Val Thorens, Les 3 Vallées) to sea (the Côte d’Azur’s very fabulous Les Roches Rouges) – and between them, a handful of lovely enclaves around Lourmarin. His newest is a 21st-century reinvention of La Bastide de Capelongue – an old-school stalwart just outside Bonnieux, whose Michelin-starred restaurant has been lovingly maintained (now called La Bastide). The Beaumier version is a pared-back, polished but warm reinterpretation of Provence, layering handmade furniture throughout 37 rooms and suites finished in golden travertine and creamy plaster. It’s in essence a little world unto itself: besides the two pools, a more casual bistro-style restaurant and a morning café, and the spa, there are extensive gardens, a library, a bookstore and several other boutiques – with Bonnieux in easy striking distance, and majestic Mont Ventoux at the horizon. From about €272, beaumier.com


A dazzle in the Botswana Delta

Duke’s camp in Botswana
Duke’s camp in Botswana © Kerry de Bruyn

And finally to Botswana, where a legend of conservation has joined forces with a legend of African style to open a new camp in the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta. Ralph Bousfield (of Jack’s Camp, in the Kalahari Desert) has come together with Colin Bell (a co-founder of both Wilderness and Great Plains Conservation, two of Southern Africa’s most established safari purveyors), bringing his operations under the umbrella of Bell’s Natural Selection portfolio of lodges, camps and mobile outfits.

Wildlife at Duke’s Camp in the Okavango Delta
Wildlife at Duke’s Camp in the Okavango Delta

Duke’s Camp is the first fruit of that partnership: set in a megafauna-rich concession, it styles itself loosely along the campaign vein that has made Jack’s fodder for aspirational travellers: block-print cottons and paisleys, Roorkee chairs on teak decks, four-poster beds, copious candlelight. Natural Selection brings the sustainability cred, but every one of the guides has been trained by Bousfield himself. From $695pp, naturalselection.travel

@mariashollenbarger

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