Five Best: Hotels by waterfalls
For dramatic views, try one of these watery wonders.
Saturday 13 October 2007
Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil
This 200-room colonial confection is the only hotel within Brazil's Iguaçu National Park (though there are also hotels on the Argentinian side of the great waterfall system). It is scheduled to become even more ritzy when new the owner, Orient Express, starts a programme of renovation.
But no one comes here just for the decor. It's the setting they're after; the falls are a two-minute stroll from the building and several of the hotel's rooms have direct views of them. Better still, das Cataratas was the first property in Latin America to qualify for the ISO 14001 Environmental Management certification thanks to its ecological operating policies.
Hotel das Cataratas, Iguaçu Falls, Paraná Region, Brazil (00 55 45 2102 7000; www.hoteldascataratas.com). Doubles from US$363 (£182), including breakfast
Huka Lodge, New Zealand
Set along the Waikato River in Taupo, this small luxury hotel is a lesson in old-school country comfort. With its open fires, gilt-framed prints and elaborate flower arrangements, this is the nearest thing New Zealand has to a stately home (which is presumably why everyone from Bill Gates to Kate Winslet has checked in). The lodge also boasts a spectacular position just next to Huka Falls. Though none of the bedrooms directly overlooks the cascades, the rapids leading up to the falls can clearly be seen and, if you want to explore further, the falls are a 10-minute stroll from the lodge.
Huka Lodge, Huka Falls Road, Taupo, New Zealand (00 64 7 378 5791; www.hukalodge. com). Doubles from NZ$1,007 (£377), half-board
Sheen Falls Lodge, Ireland
A member of the swish Relais & Châteaux hotel group, Sheen Falls Lodge is a five-star country house hotel tucked away in south-west Ireland, just outside the village of Kenmare. Keeping true to its history as the summer retreat of the Marquis of Lansdowne, the guest rooms feature custom-made furnishings and tailored bedside reading provided by the lodge's librarian. The real selling point, however, is the landscape. The mountain backdrop and adjacent falls are both overlooked from some of the rooms, while others have views of Kenmare Bay.
Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry, Ireland (00 353 64 41600; www.sheenfallslodge.ie). Doubles from ¿140 (£100), including breakfast
Sukantara Cascade Resort, Thailand
The series of cascades that runs alongside this resort in northern Thailand might not compete with the likes of Victoria Falls in scale, but it does lend this boutique operation (there are only seven rooms) plenty of atmosphere. The accommodation is scattered through lush gardens along the riverside, and guests can book massages right beside the falls. Don't expect a rustic hillside retreat, though. The facilities here are luxurious enough to appeal to the likes of Angelina Jolie, who was a guest here recently.
Sukantara Cascade Resort, A Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand (00 66 1881 1444; www.sukantara.com). Doubles from 5,815 Baht (£91), including breakfast. Week-long packages are offered by Audley Travel (01993 838 100; www.audleytravel.com) from £995 per person, including flights, transfers and six nights' B&B
Stanley Safari Lodge, Zambia
If you're keen on seeing Victoria Falls (or the "smoke that thunders", as it translates from its name in Kololo dialect), the comfortable Stanley Safari Lodge makes an excellent base camp. Marking a dramatic border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the world's largest waterfalls. From the lodge you can see the spray over the drop-off. That's a viewing point for wimps, though. The property can arrange for braver guests to venture closer on a canoe safari.
Stanley Safari Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia (00 27 72 170 8879; www.stanleysafaris.com). Doubles from US$428 (£214), full-board
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