The breathtakingly beautiful Rattray's merges original bushveld style with daring ideas that run the risk of seeming out of place but instead work wonderfully well. Eight opulent khayas (think Tuscan villas) with spacious his-and-her bathrooms, dressing rooms, and private heated plunge pools blend well with the surrounding bush. Each villa's entrance hall, with art by distinguished African wildlife artists such as Keith Joubert, leads to a huge bedroom with a wooden
four-poster bed, and beyond is a lounge liberally scattered with deep sofas, comfy armchairs, padded ottomans, writing desks (for those crucial nightly journal entries), antique Persian rugs, and a dining nook. Bird and botanical prints grace the walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows with insect-proof sliding doors face the Sand River and lead to massive wooden decks where you can view the passing wildlife. The main lodge includes viewing and dining decks, an infinity pool, lounge areas, and tantalizing views over the river. In the paneled library, with plush sofas, inviting leather chairs, old prints and photographs, and battered leather suitcases, the complete works of Kipling, Dickens, and Thackeray rub leather shoulders with contemporary classics and 100-year-old bound copies of England's classic humorous magazine Punch. After browsing the cellar's impressive fine wines, have a drink in the bar with its huge fireplace, antique card table, and polished cherrywood bar.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa