Nature reclaimed this 19th-century hacienda some 80 years ago, and it’s taken more than a decade to turn it into the place it is today; sprawling gardens dotted with crumbling arches, snaking vines and twitchy-eyed iguanas are best experienced by moonlight when fireflies flicker. For ultimate privacy, go for the Royal Villa, which comes with its own gym, pool, movie room and spa suite. After dark, follow the flames to Ixi’im restaurant for hand-rolled tortillas served in hollowed-out gourds, slow-roasted suckling pig and the world’s largest private collection of tequilla.
Set in one of the oldest farmsteads in the Cape Winelands, this simple, beautiful mid-18th-century manor house sits back from its private lawn against a backdrop of the Drakensberg mountains. With its resplendent Cape Dutch-style central gable, it is in the center of the 500-acre Babylonstoren gardens and farm, less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Whilst there are also seven self-contained cottages, the Manor House, with its five bedrooms, is the grandest and most memorable place. In the kitchen is a cornucopia of produce straight from the estate: wine; virgin oil; cheese; bread and biltong cured on site. Daytimes are spent lounging on the chamomile lawn. As for things to do, jump on a bike for an expedition to the farm’s dam for swimming or canoeing; book a session in the spa’s hammam, or go for a tasting session in the award-winning winery.
If you dream to escape the seasonal madness, then this private, tropical island could be your ideal retreat. Just a 10-minute boat ride from the vibrant city and World Heritage Site of Granada in Nicaragua, through the lagoon-like waters of the Isletas, Lake Nicaragua – or Mar Dulce (sweet sea) as the invading Spanish named it. The English owners’ minimalist style is peaceful and comfortable, with daybeds fashioned out of local hardwood and gardens that wrap around the 12-meter infinity pool and two large properties – each housing two en-suite bedrooms.
Chile’s Millahue Valley is a South American Shangri-la, layered with sun-kissed plains, soft-focus peaks and cloudless skies. The 22-room boutique property sits on a crest of the hill, its roof a sinuous swirl of pure Japanese titanium. Inside the visual feast continues featuring bespoke contemporary pieces from international artists. When it comes to wine, guests can join the workforce and tend the vines or inspect the grapes from horseback or on a mountain bike; or simply admire the jaw-dropping view, with a glass, from the hotel’s infinity pool.