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Five of the most unique hotels in the world


Welcome to the first in our new series exploring bucket list-worthy hotels that offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From a 13th-century castle and a private French Polynesian atoll to an iconic African architectural landmark and a rugged Arabian hideaway, we’ve got all the details you need to plan an unforgettable trip via private jet charter to some of the globe’s best hotels.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman

A view of Anantara Al Jabar Al Akhdar hotel
A view of Anantara Al Jabar Al Akhdar hotel

The Setting

Dramatically perched 2,000 metres atop the rugged contours of the Saiq Plateau on the mythical Green Mountain of Oman, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is the Middle East’s highest luxury resort. Regarded as one of the world’s best hotels, it sits on the edge of a grand canyon and offers dramatic views offset by authentic Omani hospitality. Arabian indulgence awaits in the 115 rooms and villas, which feature opulent furnishings and luxury amenities.

What to do

Breathtaking views and five-star accoutrements aside, the resort offers an exhaustive array of activities to suit all preferences. Gaze at the night sky from a fort platform, take a plunge in the infinity pool or relax in the shisha lounge. Dine alfresco with a luxury mountain picnic, learn how to prepare exotic Arabian cuisine at the Spice Spoons Cooking School and photograph the Milky Way during an evening photography class. For those looking to unwind, the Anantara Spa offers ancient Arabian treatments that revitalise and recharge. Further afield, explore ancient forts, peruse the Nizwa souk and visit remote villages on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.

How to get there

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Oman’s Muscat International Airport. From there, guests transfer to the resort in a 4x4 kitted out with Wi-Fi and vehicle entertainment consoles. Flight times London Heathrow to Muscat International Airport are dependant on many variables, however below are some examples:

The Silo Hotel, South Africa

A view of the exterior of The Silo, one of Cape Town’s most opulent and iconic hotels
A view of the exterior of The Silo, one of Cape Town’s most opulent and iconic hotels

The Setting

The Silo towers over Cape Town with 360-degree views of Table Bay, Signal Hill and Table Mountain. Its iconic steel-and-glass structure sits atop an old grain silo, which now houses the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). A breathtaking convergence of innovative architecture and design, guests have their pick of 28 rooms and a lavish penthouse suite. The Silo Hotel is adorned with art from some of the continent’s preeminent artists, encapsulating the diverse and colourful culture of this vibrant city.

What to do

Peruse the expertly curated collection at the Zeitz MOCAA, enjoy a bespoke treatment at The Silo’s spa or toast the sunset from the rooftop bar. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, guests are just a stone’s throw from some of Cape Town’s top attractions. Indulge in retail therapy at the V&A Waterfront, ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain or stroll along Sea Point’s promenade. Indulge in some of the region’s best tipples in the surrounding winelands and soak up the sun at blue flag beaches Llandudno and Clifton. Embark on a game drive to observe Africa’s Big Five at the Aquila Game Reserve and get up close and personal with penguins at Boulders Beach. To top it all off, sample local shisa nyama (barbecue) washed down with local craft beer.

How to get there

Cape Town International Airport – open to both commercial flights and private jet charters – is a short 20-minute drive from the city centre. Flight times from London Heathrow to Cape Town International Airport depend on the type of aircraft chartered, but the below examples provide an indication:

  • A heavy jet, like a 16-seat Gulfstream V, take 11 hours and 30 minutes.
  • An ultra long range heavy jet, such as a Dassault Falcon 7X seating 17 passengers, takes just under 10 hours.

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz hotel, Switzerland
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz hotel, Switzerland

The Setting

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz is located in the picturesque “Heidiland” of Eastern Switzerland – the same landscape that inspired Johanna Spyri to pen beloved children’s classic Heidi. Globally regarded as Europe’s best wellbeing resort, this amazing hotel combines luxurious accommodation with world-class wellness and medical treatments to help guests recharge and rejuvenate.

What to do

The resort boasts several thermal pools which are naturally heated at 36 degrees celsius. Guests can unwind with offers tailor-made spa treatments, including a herbal steam bath featuring Swarovski crystals, and consult with the renowned in-house medical team for a bespoke wellness plan. Additional world-class facilities include Michelin-starred dining, an on-site casino and two golf courses.

How to get there

Guests fly to Zurich Airport, followed by a one-hour flight to the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. Flight times from London Heathrow to Zurich International Airport vary depending on the type of aircraft, but the following examples will give you an idea of what to expect:

The Brando, French Polynesia

The Brando, French Polynesia
The Brando, French Polynesia

The Setting

Located on the French Polynesian atoll of Tetiaroa, The Brando is paradise personified. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water and an abundance of flora and fauna await. Guests are housed in 24 private villas meticulously designed to reflect French Polynesian culture, providing a serene base from which to explore the island. Modern amenities coupled with luxury furnishings and an alfresco bathtub and terrace set amidst coconut, pandanus and miki miki trees make this a truly unforgettable retreat.

What to do

As if the awe-inspiring location wasn’t enough, guests can fill their days with a plethora of activities at The Brando. Immerse yourself in nature as you take to the sea with a paddleboard or kayak, cycle around the island with your own bicycle or explore the wonders of Tetiaroa alongside one of the island’s research scientists. If you prefer a slower pace, take a dip in Mermaid Bay or soak up the sun by the spectacular lagoon.

Getting there

Guests travelling to Tetiaroa fly into Faa’a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti before taking a short flight to the atoll. Charter a private jet for the entirety of your journey or just for the flight from Papeete to Tetiaroa. Flight durations and routes vary depending on the aircraft and point of departure:

  • Flying from London Heathrow to Los Angeles International (LAX) in a heavy jet like a 14-seat Bombardier Global 5000 takes nine hours and 41 minutes. Continuing on from LAX to Faa’a International Airport on the same aircraft takes a further seven hours and 14 minutes, with a total flight time of just under 17 hours.
  • A flight from London Heathrow to LAX in a heavy jet (ultra long range) like a 16-seat Gulfstream G550 takes 10 hours and 20 minutes. The second leg of the flight, from LAX to Faa’a International Airport on the same aircraft, takes seven hours and 43 minutes. Total flight time is just over 18 hours.

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Ashford Castle, Ireland
Ashford Castle, Ireland

The Setting

Steeped in history, Ashford Castle – a 13th-century Irish castle which was once home to the Guinness Family – promises an experience like no other. Located in the West of Ireland in County Mayo, this magnificent hotel is the epitome of traditional grandeur and modern convenience. The 800-year-old castle comprises 83 guest rooms and suites, as well as a cottage set in a former bathhouse, each of which are individually designed and lovingly refurbished with antique furniture, palatial fittings and opulent touches.

What to do

As if Ashford Castle’s impressive interior wasn’t enough, a wide array of on-site activities has earned this Irish gem numerous accolades. Step back in time and try your hand at flying a hawk at Ireland’s oldest falconry school. If you fancy yourself as a good shot, learn the ancient sport of archery or shoot clay pigeons under the guidance of expert instructors. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, indulge in a sumptuous afternoon tea before whiling away the hours with a private screening in the castle’s cinema. End your day with a treatment at the award-winning spa in preparation for more activities including boating, fishing, horse-riding, golf and tennis.

Getting there

The closest airport to Ashford Castle is Galway Airport, which is exclusive to private jet charters. The exact flight duration from London Heathrow to Galway Airport depends on the type of aircraft chartered; the below examples give a good idea of what to expect:

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