(Contributed by Janice Kei) Twilight hour, golden hour, magic hour – call it what you want, the setting of the sun is a photographer’s dream, creating nature’s canvas in the sky and filling it with an array of colours and styles: pink, orange, red, yellow, golden, amber, mauve, purple, blue and more; sunsets can be soft and calm, fiery and streaky, clear and majestic.
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Here we’ll look at 8 hotels and resorts where you can sit back with a cocktail in hand and wind down as the sun sets below the horizon.
We’ll kick things off with already the most unique one on this list, for so various reasons. For starters, because the resort doesn’t actually face west, it faces south. The tented camp of Longitude 131 looks onto one of Australia’s most majestic sites, the revered Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). Come sunset, the western portion of the red rock lights up golden, of which the resort offers unparalleled views. For those looking for a closer look, the resort’s signature “Uluru Sunset” experience is a gathering at the sunset viewing area for the resort’s guests with a pop-up bar.
With most of Phuket’s major development straddling the western coast, there are plenty of lux resorts from which to watch the sunset. But probably the best vantage point from which to experience this on the island of golden beaches is at arguably its most luxurious resort: Trisara. Set within one of Phuket’s most splendid national parks on the northwest coast, the resort offers lush greenery, and enjoys a small but private beachfront. Each room, suite or villa comes with a private infinity pool, with some layouts where the pool seemingly extends straight into the sea, and all villas enjoy an ocean (and sunset) view. Laze on the hammocks by the beach, sip a cocktail at the beachside pool, or enjoy a seafood dinner on your villa terrace as the sky lights up.
Coastal California loves its sunsets: the state is, after all, renowned for its long driveways and highways that snake along the western coastline. The cliffside Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, elevated 360 metres/1,200 feet above sea level on a ridge, sits as the perfect two-night stopover on a long drive up from Los Angeles to San Francisco (or vice versa). The resort is known for its curved and circular designs and cliffside accommodation set among the woodland or on the cliffs that open out to picturesque views over the coast and the setting sun.
The clear skies, untouched by pollution, means the Maldives enjoys some of the most incredible sunsets we have personally seen – with the glowing ball of fire clearly visible in the distance, in a crisp, clear, circular form. With villas with names like ‘Sunset Deluxe Water Pool Villa’ at Velaa Private Island, you know you’re in for a treat. About half the overwater villas on the resort’s jetty face west (as do some of the resort’s beach villas). The resort also has its own yacht/cruise, which makes sunset cruising the perfect way to enjoy a cocktail, out on the sea.
Sunsets over the Greek caldera are probably a bucketlist item for many – with the day’s light fading and the island, with its lit whitewashed stone and dotted pools coming to life. Perched high above the Aegean Sea, the Grace Hotel Santorini enjoys prime views over the region. Its highlight is the two-bedroom 4,300-square-foot villa (although also available as a one-bedroom rental for honeymooners) which comes with its own spa: hammam, Jacuzzi, treatment room and a heated pool.
The architectural gem of Alila Villas Uluwatu provides a magnificent foreground to the spectacular natural backdrop of the setting sun. Perched precariously on Uluwatu’s cliffs at the southern tip of Bali, the aptly named sunset cabana by the main pool and restaurant protrudes past the cliff, hanging over the sea, framing beautiful sunset night after night. With a picturesque view, beautiful location and cutting-edge design, it is no surprise that the resort attracts several daytrippers from around Bali who come by for drinks, snacks and early dinners just to catch a glimpse of the sunset. To ensure maximum privacy, retreat to a 3-bedroom villa, which offer the same view, your own private sunset cabana and a spectacular private infinity pool to top it off!
Set within a private reserve in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert, sits the AndBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge: a 10 suite experience out of the ordinary with a 180-degree view overlooking everchanging scenes over the plains and dunes of the desert, including sunset views from its suites as well as from the wellness centre. Beyond sunset, the resort offers a Stargazing Extravaganza, led by a resident astronomer at the onsite observatory, a state-of-the-art telescope and a large stargazing skylight.
The resort had a full scale revamp, and was featured in our top 3 hotel re-openings of 2019.
We’ve mentioned a cocktail in hand a few times, but how about a glass of wine instead? Delaire Graff Estate, in wine country in South Africa, actually includes sunset canapes and sparkling wine in its rates, along with a standard wine tasting each and a tour of the estate. Located in Stellenbosch, about an hour from Cape Town, the resort’s incredible location offers sweeping views of the sun lowering beyond the rolling hills and vineyards, including from several of its lodges which enjoy a private sundeck with heated pool.
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