Posted by: Raul Dias on May 06, 2015
While you sweat it out in the sweltering summer heat, remember, cool deliverance is just a jet plane ride away! We bring you a selection of five luxurious Southern Hemisphere getaways that are in the throes of winter right now. And to make it an even six, we’ve thrown in one up north as well…
Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway, South Africa
The best part of summer is that it is always winter somewhere or the other. And South Africa has some of the best winter safari getaways in the world. Tempted? Then, why not book yourself into the ultra-luxe and chic Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway that is one of the many sumptuous digs that one can stay at while on safari at the Welgevonden Game Reserve? The fauna-rich Welgevonden Game Reserve, north of Johannesburg truly is the perfect ‘Garden of Eden’ for a memorable South African Safari. As is evident from its name, the bathed-in-white Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway lodge dangles precariously from the lip of a cliff with the meandering Sterkstroom River coursing its way below. The lodge is so exclusive that it has only eight cottage suites that are decorated in a caveman motif—a kind of Fred Flintstone meets Philippe Starck if you may—with white furniture that resembles rounded pebbles and plenty of plush faux fur rugs and throws to add a wild appeal. The attached white slatted decks have their own plunge pools to lounge about in post safari. Now that’s decadence at its wildest best!
Earn some bragging rights by whisking yourself away this summer on an adventure of a lifetime, all in one of the most exotic and hitherto undiscovered places—Antarctica. Wearing the sobriquet of ‘the white continent’ with élan, Antarctica has a lot in store for the sybarite in search of the different. For starters, make your way here by cruising the iceberg-ridden waters of the Antarctic Ocean and Patagonia aboard the majestic Seabourn Quest. This decadent cruise ship offers 225 luxury suites, four dining venues, six bars and lounges, and the Seabourn Spa to pamper you at sea. The onboard 20-member strong expedition team consisting of ornithologists, geologists, glaciologists and historians make your cruise a very informative and exciting one. By day, immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the natural landscape and abundant wildlife. Another great luxury option to experience Antarctica is with White Desert. This luxury service has created accommodations one can only have dreamed of: fibreglass pods with en suite bathrooms and dressing rooms. White Desert flies you to the heart of Antarctica in absolute luxury. Once there, guests are transported to the opulent, ecological camp and can spend their time ice climbing, abseiling through open crevasses, kite skiing, visiting colonies of emperor penguins… basically, discovering this almost untouched piece of land at the very bottom of the world.
Puma Lodge, Chile
Snugly wedged in, by the rugged Andes mountains, one of Chile’s most luxurious hotels—the stunning Puma Lodge spells exotic with a giant 'E'! At an altitude of 1,325 metres and with a landscape that covers 3,000 square kilometers and lying between the Rio Los Cipreses National Reserve and the Argentinian border, this hedonistic haven is open all year round for you to explore the mighty Andes. If you want a summer holiday that is full of activity, then the Puma Lodge is for you. It is one of the biggest private heli-ski centres in the world and has several other activities that allow you to take perfect advantage of the great outdoors. While in the winter, you can travel by helicopter to remote places, untouched by humans, to ski and snowboard in the immaculate powder, in the summers, heli-skiing becomes heli-hiking where you traverse the mountains by foot. Now, how about a break from outdoor activities? No problem, says the Puma Lodge! Relax in one of the lodge’s spacious rooms. The lodge itself has beautiful interiors, with wooden floors, cozy fireplaces and comfy couches. They also have a wine tasting room, El Catador, with a cellar featuring the finest international and domestic wines. Plus, there’s a spa, gym, heated pool and, of course, a ski shop. 'Nuff said!
Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast, Australia
Trust us when we say this: There can be no better way to ‘summer’ than by indulging in a bit of winter fun in Australia where its winter, when we sweat it out in summer! And what better playground than the opulent Palazzo Versace hotel? The magic and glamour of the Versace label is evident in every tiny detail of this paradisiacal hotel. In keeping with traditional Italian palace design, the 15 year old Palazzo Versace bears three distinct areas with the opulent marble, chandeliered foyer and dining areas representing the meeting places of the palace, while the accommodation in the left and right wings (‘Ala Sinistra’ and ‘Ala Destra’) represents the palace residences. With 205 luxurious rooms, including 54 plush suites, the Palazzo Versace is kitted out like a diva who knows how to put on a spectacular show. Besides its well-appointed spa called Salus Per Aquum, the designer hotel boasts of some of the best dining options in all of the Gold Coast. Even the locals often take time out from their fish-n-chips routine to dine at one of its three beautifully appointed restaurants or at the Pool Bar that serves up some delectable snacks like the poetic open-faced smoked salmon sandwich.
Never mind the fact that you’re already in Fiji—one of the most exotic places your money can take you to, but this ultra-luxe underwater hideaway is the stuff all your aquatastic fantasies are made of! At this decadent, glammed up resort you are surrounded by water and can see not just the beautiful ocean floor, but experience the thrill of underwater creatures swim right past your nose. The resort has an elevator that takes you 40 feet underwater to their 24 luxurious suites for an adventure of a lifetime. If you really want to indulge, spend your days in the lap of decadence as you stay in the luxurious Nautilus Suite—the 1,000-square-foot suite decorated in the fashion of Jules Verne’s fictional submarine. Here guests can scuba dive in the pristine waters or navigate glorious lagoons in submarines. They also have island villas where you can frolic for hours on the beach with not a care in the world. Now, how’s that for a sybaritic summer vacation with a difference?
one for the North!
Picture this. You’re zipping at 180 km/h in a very James Bond-esque Mitsubishi Evo IX on a frozen lake à la the dramatic chase scenario from Die Another Day. Only here, it isn’t a chase but an ice driving programme called Laponie Ice created by French company, Cap Maitrise.
Such thrilling racing scenarios are the ultimate in adventure motorsporting and take place in the heart of Sweden just 70km from the Arctic Circle in a village called Arjeplog. This village is the key locale where most of the top-notch European car manufacturers test their new vehicles to verify performance on extreme terrain. In fact, very often the frozen Lake Udjaur is host to reproductions of top racetracks like the French circuit called Le Castellet and the German Hockenheim circuit, for you to test your limits at. Here, participants can choose between an array of vehicles and packages allowing you to fully experience the thrills of ice driving. And if it’s good for the likes of Indian race car driving enthusiasts like Gautam Singhania, you can bet your last rupee, you too will have the time of your life cruising the snow in style and that too in summer!
With over a decade's worth of food, travel and luxury articles under his belt, Raul Dias describes himself as an incorrigible hedonist who moonlights as a lifestyle writer on his odd day off!