Welcome to T Wanderlust, a new travel newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. Twice a month, we’ll recommend global destinations and hotels worth visiting. Sign up here to find us in your inbox every other Friday, along with our T List newsletter each Wednesday.And you can always reach us at [email protected].
A Colorful Retreat Near Jaipur
By Sarah Khan
For years, Jaipur enthusiasts have flowed through the Pink City on a well-trodden circuit that includes lunch at Caffé Palladio and drinks at Bar Palladio: the former, a candy-colored affair where Sicilian plates are served on a terrace awash in shades of mint and citrus; the latter, a vision in sapphire where guests sip Palladio martinis — made with lemongrass and lime — on tented daybeds beneath paintings of flora and fauna. Now, visitors are adding a stay at Villa Palladio to their itineraries.
With the nine-room hideaway, which opened in the suburb of Jamdoli Chouraha in September, the Italian Swiss owner, Barbara Miolini, has introduced a vivid crimson to her color palette. “Because my background was in hotels, it was always a dream of mine,” says Miolini, who arrived in Jaipur in 2005 via St. Moritz and Venice, where she worked on Villa Cipriani in Asolo. When she heard about the turreted manor 25 minutes from Jaipur, the pastoral location spoke to her. “I was missing nature,” she says. “You can say hello to the horses in the morning, but if you want to go to dinner or a bar, you can have both.”
After securing the two-acre property, located in a forested region where leopards lope nearby, Miolini worked with the Dutch-born fashion designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, who helped design her cafe and bar. The walls, pillars and archways are a patchwork of scarlet stripes, plaid patterns and chevron motifs, while latticed marble jali, hand-painted florals and palm trees and stained glass break up the monochromatic feel. Miolini commissioned umbrellas in Venice, linens in Lake Como and block-printed bedding and lamps from local artisans in Jaipur, filling the villa with an Italian-meets-Rajasthani flair. Take it all in from the jasmine-scented pavilion that runs alongside the 43-foot swimming pool. Rooms from $367; villa-palladio-jaipur.com.
A Seaside Escape on Sumba Island
By Kathryn Romeyn
In their first moments on Sumba Island in Indonesia, the nascent hoteliers Evguenia and Fabrice Ivara felt amazed to visit a place that is “still living in its own timeline,” says Evguenia, an LVMH marketing guru turned co-founder and creative director of the 47-studio, 20-villa Cap Karoso. The new property sits on a virginal lagoon on the west coast of the island, which is known for its coconut-colored sand and wild horses. Construction on the accommodations, whose rooftops double as vegetable gardens, and the 7.4-acre permaculture farm began just months before the Covid lockdown in Singapore, where the French couple lived. “It was quite the experience — building a resort by WhatsApp,” says Evguenia.
The breezy, louver-clad studios and villas were designed with hand-carved teak panels that mimic geometric ikat motifs and bespoke Gaya Ceramic vessels featuring Sumbanese textures and shapes. Treatments in the thatched-roof spa incorporate ingredients such as noni, an evergreen medicinal tree. Snorkeling, surfing and spearfishing are on offer, as well as a hike that concludes with a guided meditation. At the Beach Club restaurant, whole fish crudo, jackfruit rendang and pizzas baked in an Acunto oven from Naples — some with Sumba cashew cheese and sautéed vegetables plucked from the property — are meant for sharing. A self-service beach bar is stocked with cocktail recipes and premixed ingredients, while sunset hour brings drinks created by the French bartender Nico de Soto (Experimental Cocktail Club, Danico). Fabrice is both an entrepreneur and a food blogger, and one of his pet projects is Julang, a guest chef-only restaurant where open-kitchen fine dining meets a 30-foot communal table. “By day you are alone in the wild, and at night you can get into meaningful conversations,” says Evguenia. “Places like Sumba inspire you to think differently about the world.” Studio suites from $300, two-bedroom duplexes from $600 and two-bedroom villas from $800, including breakfast; capkaroso.com.
A Trio of Designer Flats on Lamu Island
By Sarah Khan
Water defines the pace of life in Lamu, a chain of islands off the coast of Kenya. For millenniums, the channel they lie in ferried conquerors, traders and adventurers like Ibn Battuta up and down the Indian Ocean coast of Africa; now it’s the backdrop for quotidian scenes of dhows filled with fishermen and tourists. In the village of Shela, where men wrapped in kikois play cards at seaside cafes and donkeys pause for water outside boutiques, the Kenyan designer Anna Trzebinski has unveiled Jannah, three flats located off a square where traditional Swahili weddings are celebrated. The project comes on the heels of Eden Nairobi, her art-filled home turned boutique hotel in the Kenyan capital, which she opened in September 2021. Shela is a place Trzebinski knows well, having visited since she was a child. “When I go through the village, I know every single person there,” she says. “It remains carefree, wild and extraordinary; it got right under my skin.”
For Jannah, which means “paradise” in Arabic, she transformed three units in a new apartment building, with a Swahili-style wedding bed in one and mahogany-framed windows throughout. Guests can access a sweeping terrace with views of thatched rooftops and the sea beyond, while anyone can pop into the ground-floor concept shop, where Trzebinski mixes her own scarves and necklaces embellished with ostrich feathers and glass beads with jewelry and handbags from under-the-radar Kenyan designers. Trzebinski also worked with Lamu dhow makers to restore four dilapidated wooden vessels: the Al-Aina, Noor, Khatun and Tamra. Guests can head out for leisurely cruises through the archipelago, but the real reason to book Jannah is Trzebinski’s black book, which she’s cultivated for decades: her favorite silversmiths and perfume makers, a baker who delivers hot bread every morning and neighbors who drop by with fresh coconuts and jasmine corsages. “I just want to open up my world to a traveler,” she says. Rooms from $760 per night, including use of a boat; jannahlamu.com.
A Retro Ski Resort in the Colorado Rockies
By Chris Schalkx
Driving west from Denver, it takes just 90 minutes to travel 50 years back in time. The A-Frame Club, a new ski resort in Winter Park, Colo., is a time warp to the golden age of Rocky Mountain skiing. “We’re taking the ski experience back to where it all started, to a cabin in the woods with a party in the lodge,” says Kyle Zeppelin, the president and C.E.O. of Zeppelin Development. Nestled in a pocket of old-growth pine forest along the Fraser River, the resort’s 31 cabins riff on the A-frame designs that were once synonymous with midcentury ski lodging. Set on stilts so as to tread lightly on the land, the double-story cabins feature loft bedrooms and onsen-style soaking tubs and are furnished with Malm fireplaces, Noguchi lamps and Maharam rugs with color-blocked patterns echoing the cabins’s triangular silhouettes. The alpine theme continues at the Saloon, the resort’s après-ski hangout, set in an 80-year-old bar that includes a restaurant and patio where, amid sheepskin throws, vintage ski advertisements and old TVs, the kitchen serves up wintry comfort food such as venison schnitzel, fondue and trout almondine. The bar specializes in classic cocktails and Colorado craft beers and opens onto a deck with a crepe station, a live D.J. and Champagne bottle service. Rooms from $500 per night; aframeclub.com.
Glass-Walled Cubes in the Alaskan Wilderness
By Chris Schalkx
Pitched on a 100-acre swath of boreal forest north of Fairbanks, Alaska, Borealis Basecamp’s village of igloos with see-through ceilings shot to social media stardom when it opened in 2017. But with their limited space and rustic dry-flush toilets, the accommodations weren’t for everyone — and Borealis has taken notice. The camp recently unveiled eight new modular suites with improved creature comforts, scattered around the eastern flank of its spruce-studded plot. The 32-foot-long Cubes feature flushable toilets, towel-heating racks and soaking tubs in the bathrooms; dedicated luggage storage; and more elbow room than their domed counterparts. Scandinavian-inspired accessories — including neutral-toned textiles and wooden ornaments — warm up the straight-lined monochromatic interiors, but the Cubes’ trump cards are the 10-foot-tall glass walls that frame the aurora borealis from late August until April. (The camp also welcomes guests during the summer and recently introduced new activities, including guided trips to the Arctic Circle and reindeer walking tours, as well as blackout curtains to block the midnight sun.) “Alaska is the ultimate playground,” says the owner, Adriel Butler. “When you’re out here exploring, you almost instantly reconnect with nature and let the rest of the world fall away.” Rooms from $1,043 per person for a two-night, three-day package; borealisbasecamp.net.
An Artisan-Focused Inn in Mérida
By Michaela Trimble
Down a quaint cobblestone alley in the colonial town of Mérida, considered by many to be the cultural capital of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, a historic 1930s mansion is now the area’s latest boutique hotel. Located in the residential La Ermita neighborhood, the property was restored by the local architect Roger González, who preserved the mansion’s original cerulean facade and Corinthian-style columns and cornices while modernizing some of the traditional design details. The open-air patio — with walls smoothed in the Mayan stucco technique of chukum, which González achieved by combining white cement with soil sourced from Uxmal, a nearby archaeological site — has a bar, a boutique and a star-shaped fountain with a ceramic mural inspired by the La Ermita de Santa Isabel, an 18th-century church within walking distance of the hotel. Beyond the central courtyard, where chit palms surround a sunken seating area and blue-tiled swimming pool, guests can dine at a Yucatecan restaurant helmed by the Puebla-born chef Ángel Peláez; visit the hotel’s cistern, home to a wine cellar that can be rented for private dinners; or retreat to one of 10 thoughtfully decorated guest rooms, each with interiors that celebrate Mexican artistry. Red cedar four-poster beds, produced by carpenters from the nearby Acanceh and Maxcanú communities, are draped in slate and cream textiles produced in Oaxaca; the clay vases were made in Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara; and the Melipona honey-based toiletries are bespoke creations from the Yucatecan brand Miel Nativa Kaban. Rooms from $200; cignohotel.com.