By { Angela Fairhurst

On an island in the Andaman Sea, only 19 miles off the coast of mainland Malaysia, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi is tucked inside a UNESCO World Heritage Geopark.

The property is spread over 48 acres of tropical gardens between lush thickets of emerald jungle, limestone rock formations and the powdery white sands of a mile-long private beach. Designer Bill Bensley paired soaring wood-beamed ceilings and repurposed teak floors with bold blue accents and local objects to give the resort a sense of place. Malay-style pavilions and villas draw inspiration from the surrounding Indian, Balinese and Middle Eastern cultures; their indoor-outdoor living spaces show off the finest in Malay craftsmanship. Each is set within tropical gardens and comes with its own plunge pool and outdoor shower, as well as hammam-style bathtubs and ogee-arched doorways. Pictured here, a three-bedroom garden villa features tropical woods, Spanish marble, hand-picked objets d’art, a private pool and an expansive hot- and cold-water open-air shower surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

Meaning “golden” in Spanish, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is 11 miles east of San Juan, on Puerto Rico’s golden coastline.

The structures survived Hurricane Maria, but the landscape wasn’t as lucky. Even so, The Ritz-Carlton decided to renovate this entire property from top to bottom. Re-opened in Fall 2018, the 1,400-acre resort is a tropical paradise with more than 300,000 new plants tastefully placed during the restoration. Each of the 114 beachfront guest rooms and suites boasts a light color palette, modernized interiors and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to a private balcony or terrace. Most guest rooms have their own infinity plunge pools. The spacious bathrooms have deep soaking tubs and indoor-outdoor rain showers.

A 20-minute motorized catamaran ride away from Male International Airport, Jumeirah Vittaveli is a serene resort on South Malé Atoll, in the Republic of Maldives.

Each of the 90 villas and suites, positioned on land and over water, has its own sizable swimming pool, direct access to the beach or lagoon and exquisite views of the Indian Ocean. Inspired by a Maldivian fishing village, the resort’s private courtyards are filled with lush greenery; they  lead to spacious beach villas with coral stone walls, tropical wood, thatch roofs and private terraces off open-air bathrooms. Dual sinks and a large soaking tub give way to an oval-shaped semi-open-air shower.  Outdoor day beds and traditional wooden swings make the bathroom without walls a most luxurious and romantic place to linger.

Deep within 157 acres of misty forests in Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch Auberge Resorts Collection is a rustic, yet luxurious, escape.  

The resort, designed by the San Francisco architectural firm of Sandy & Babcock International, features 50 freestanding guest lodges and 22 owner lodges in the shade of ancient oak and redwood trees, beside a rock-strewn stream bed and Lake Lommel. The elegantly rustic cedar-shingled units range from 600 to 3,000 square feet, with rooms connected by decks, trellised walkways and expansive outdoor living areas. Interiors designed by Los Angeles-based Darrell Schmitt Design Associates blur the line between indoors and outdoors with floor-to-ceiling windows, polished wood floors and contemporary earthy decor in the colors of copper, olive, sage and gold. Each cabin features an indoor bath and outdoor shower garden. Amenities include Fili D’oro linens and Calistoga Ranch’s own line of bay laurel and eucalyptus-scented botanically pure hair care and body products.