Five Best: Beds Under The Stars
Hayley Norton curls up in the world's most romantic places to sleep in the open air
Saturday 24 September 2005
Lizard Island Australia
One of only a handful of resorts on the Great Barrier Reef, this hotel offers some of Queensland's best sea views within the confines of a National Park. Guests staying in the Pavilion suite are treated to a private plunge pool, decking area and the four-poster Pavilion Daybed. It also provides a sheltered lookout from which to lie back and watch the sun set.
Lizard Island Resort, Queensland, Australia (00 61 2 8296 8010; www.lizardisland.com.au). The Pavilion starts at AUS$1,530 (£655), all-inclusive.
Makanyane Safari Lodge, South Africa
Luxury blends harmoniously with nature at this isolated lodge in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve. Glass-walled bedrooms and an open-fronted lounge afford each suite uninterrupted views of the bush. To get even closer to the action, the Star View Sleep Out - a hide situated next to the park's only waterhole - allows night-time game-watching in the open air. A bed is made up on a wooden platform, with only a mosquito net between guests and the wilderness.
Makanyane Safari Lodge, Krokodildrift, Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, South Africa (00 27 14 778 9600; www.makanyane.com). Rates start at 3,000 Rand (£256), all-inclusive.
The stone, timber and thatch lodge is set on the edge of the Laikipia plateau and overlooks a watering hole teeming with wildlife. The furniture is locally made, as are the dramatic Koija Star Beds - two sets of sleeping platforms located a short horse- or camel-ride away. One set is found among rocks, overlooking the Kiboko waterhole; the other is suspended above the Ewaso Ngiro River, reached by a footbridge. Guests can choose to have the beds wheeled out onto a platform in the open air, or left under the thatch roof.
Loisaba Wilderness, Nanyuki, Kenya (00 254 623 1072; www.loisaba.com). Full board starts at US$393 (£217), including drives and walks, transfers and activities.
In the heart of Lapland, Kakslauttanen is just 250km from the Arctic Circle. The Saariselka fell witnesses drastic seasonal changes, from the winter snowscape to the lush greenery of summer. Protected from the elements by special thermo-glass igloos, guests get unbeatable views not only of the landscape, but also from August to April, of the Aurora Borealis. Guests also have access to an ice restaurant, gallery and chapel and on the warmer side, saunas.
Kakslauttanen Hotel & Igloo Village, Saariselka, Finland (00 358 16 667 100; www.kakslauttanen.com). Glass igloos start at €225 (£161), including breakfast.
Casa Triton Mexico
Perched on a cliff-top above the Pacific, Casa Triton commands 270-degree views of Mexico's unspoilt Costa Alegre. The three-bedroom villa is the creation of Mexican architect Marco Aldaco. The rooms, many open-sided to face the sea, are linked by walkways and a central infinity pool. The villa is dotted with stargazing towers, roof gardens and sun terraces. On one terrace you can imagine you are sleeping on the edge of the world in a luxurious four-poster day bed, white-draped and surrounded by flowers, which sits inches from the cliff edge.
Casa Triton, Rincon de Careyes, Mexico (00 52 315 351 0240; www.casatriton.com). Rental of Casa Triton starts at $2,645 (£1,469) a night, full-board.
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