Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Generally, when Richard Branson does something he does it right, and his 33,000-acre game reserve that features two luxury 21-suite lodges is so good it’s widely considered one of the top five in the world, boasting a range of celebrity fans such as Will Smith, Hugh Dancy and even legendary South African, Nelson Mandela.
Ulusaba translates as “place of little fear” in the Shangaan dialect – the tribe that originally occupied the land as a lookout point during battles – and yes you will have to leave your sense of trepidation in the desert, because the park is home to the ‘big five’, elephants, buffalo, lions, rhinos and leopards – and because of the position of the lodge, you’re likely to see them all.
Most days start before dawn with tea and snacks before setting out on a game drive in the open-air 4WD. Then it’s back to the lodge for a cooked breakfast (after you’ve taken about 1,000 snaps of the amazing wild moments, natch) where you’ll have time to relax and enjoy a spa treatment, sunbathe or hit the fully-equipped gym or tennis court before the evening game drive at 4pm.
Dinner is served around a roaring open fire, with local dancers and singers keeping the plains alive with song and dance. And if you’ve really left your fear at home you can arrange a walking tour with a tracker and armed ranger; coming across a yawning lion when in a car is one thing, on foot? That’s some next level stuff.
One of the nicest things about the lodge, however, is its charitable arm Pride ‘n’ Purpose, which helps provide water and health care in needy communities around the reserve. Ulusaba also organise excursions to the surrounding villages where visitors can help out and volunteer on one of the many ongoing sustainable development projects.
www.ulusaba.virgin.com | +27 11 325 4405
Sereno Spa, Goa
Have you ever found yourself staring enviously at Freida Pinto’s perfect skin, wondering how she looks so amazing? Yep, us too, and we’ve found her secret: Sereno Spa in the Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa. The 3,350sqm haven of healing is set in beachfront gardens and Ms Pinto is a confirmed fan. The treatments, which you can enjoy outdoors, use Ayurvedic healing techniques, and we love the sound of the Cooling aloe and lavender masque and the Njavara rice massage, which uses warmed rice and crushed herbs.
+91 832 272 1544 | goa.park.hyatt.com
Le Colonial, Chicago
John Stamos and Kelsey Grammer love it there, LeAnn Rimes had lunch by herself there, and staff say The Office star Jenna Fischer was one of the nicest celebs that’s ever dined there (and they’ve served their fair share of celebs). Sitting in the restaurant, which has been around for almost two decades, dishing up French Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll feel transported back to the 1920s. Old-school fans whir on the high ceilings, and whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the Cari tom: sautéed shrimp with eggplant in a curried coconut sauce
+1 312 255 0088 | lecolonialchicago.com