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Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Belgium’s Zannier hotels has a monopoly on high romance, from its Namibian camps to the lush elegance of Phum Baitang, its estate outside Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, an all-villa resort in Vietnam, opened at the end of 2020 and ticks all the dreamy boxes: a beach setting in Phú Yên, a less frequented bit of the coastline; huge accommodations with interiors that channel a bit of Axel Vervoordt style; privacy, privacy, privacy – and, as of February, a Green Globe Certification for setting sustainability bars in the country. zannierhotels.com, from £295
Not new, but still flying under the radar, Relais Sant’Elena is one of Italy’s unsung charmers – a farm restored with bottomless love and an eagle eye by owner Moira Rossi Ciampolini, who likes a rampant rose garden, organic food, friendly dogs and telling her guests about the best local haunts.
The 16 rooms have terracotta-tile floors, chestnut-beamed ceilings and pretty toiles on the beds. Breakfast is epic; the pool, surrounded by tented loungers, is a delight; you’re in one of Italy’s great wine regions; and the sea is a 15-minute drive. tenutagardini.it, from €340
In France’s Cognac, the very names – Hennessy, Rémy Martin – carry old-world glamour. On the outskirts of the town on the banks of the Charente river, La Nauve is a former distillery that’s been converted into a 12-suite hotel.
It will open in June with eight bedrooms in the main building, along with a restaurant, bar and small library (with a wide selection of the local tipple). La Nauve has four further suites scattered in the rambling gardens that lead down to the riverbank. lanauve.com, from €350
Zambia is next-level safari country – its vistas wider, its wildlife wilder. The Bushcamp Company has just launched KuKaya, a six-villa camp with a winning romance formula: do what you want, when you want. Your rate includes a private villa, a private safari guide and a host to see to your needs; you plan your schedule each day.
Go megafauna-chasing when you like; dine in or opt for a meal at the KuKaya “deli”, where waffles, wood-fired pizzas, three-course meals and everything in between are on offer. Best of all: you’re inside South Luangwa National Park, right next to some of its most popular permanent watering holes, which means the big animals might just come to you. bushcampcompany.com, from $425pp