Adored and respected, The One & Only has an unshakeable reputation within the travel set who love to live life not just in luxury, but in ultra-luxury. Although for as well-known and respected this hotel chain is, there are only 12 properties in the portfolio. So with so few locations, yet a reputation so big, it has to be agreed there is something unique, something extra special, about these hotels that make it beloved the world over. Read ahead to see our favorite properties from the One & Only and understand why it has earned a global following for unparalleled excellence.
ONE & ONLY THE PALM, DUBAI
When one thinks about hotels in Dubai, a vision of excess has almost become synonymous with this country’s hospitality industry. Although, at the One & Only The Palm, Dubai, an idea of luxury that values restraint, and rich, but subtle, glamour offers a refreshing twist to the region’s hotel landscape. It’s not about having the biggest here, it’s about having the (very tasteful) best.
In matching its surroundings, this beachfront property embraces the culture within which it lives first through its architecture. Finished in sand-colored tones, the buildings at the One & Only The Palm, Dubai, have been created in a traditional Medina style and are made up of arches, carvings, and inlays for which the region’s architecture is synonymous. It also means the buildings do not rise into the sky, like many of the skyscraper hotels in Dubai. Instead, the property sprawls rather than ascends.
This embracing of its surroundings extends to the interiors, while plush and sophisticated, have many elements traditional to the region seamlessly blended together with contemporary aesthetics. In rooms, a design-forward floor lamp might sit alongside square footstools with bases that are intricately carved from wood. Or a modern, oversize soaking tub is set with a bathroom whose frosted glass partitions are etched with Middle Eastern motifs. This is seen all throughout the property—at the pool, in the lobby, at the beach and at the spa, where attention to detail through an elevated sense of aesthetics combined with Middle Eastern philosophies prove to be a recipe for a unique experience in this cosmopolitan jewel of the Middle East.
ONE & ONLY LE SAINT GÉRAN, MAURITIUS
The One & Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius is the ultimate getaway when a tranquil holiday is on the docket. Situated within a private peninsula amidst the Indian Ocean, this property is bordered by impossibly still and blue waters and swaying tropical palm trees. It has seen a recent update to its buildings and rooms, and the result is a gem of restored Dutch Colonial architecture which has been updated with traditional Mauritian aesthetics to create a space that brings together two separate traditions with ease. Expect clean, contemporary rooms awash in whites, creams, and light blues which are accented with local art, tributes to Mauritian flora, and subtle accents of dark wood seen mainly in exposed beams or furniture frames.
While the food is extraordinary and indulgent, with the service and property equally so, The One & Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius is truly about the calm and beauty of its magnificent ocean views, which can be enjoyed from every room and almost every place on the property. Whether it is from directly on the beach, from guest rooms and suites, or from the restaurant, the expanse of the aquamarine colored water is the centerpiece of the stay here and imbues guests with the same peace and calm as the ocean which surrounds them.
EMIRATES ONE & ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY, AUSTRALIA
Imagine the perfect Australian outback ranch, replete with a fully-equipped stable, horses and idyllic views of the landscape. Now, imagine this ranch sprawls over 7,000 acres. Finally, imagine it has been designed with perfect ranch aesthetics, but complemented with rich textures and elegant old-world spaces. This Is the Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley. It’s the cross section of old-world elegance and outback proper which results in a feel of a family ranch that might be owned by a European royal or an old, American oil-tycoon family.
As to be expected, the outdoors take center stage here, but with so many acres of land to the property it’s hard for it not to. However, what makes this hotel so special is how it so expertly melds together Australian wilderness design with classic elegance for an experience that can only be described as one-of-a-kind. This is because hotel properties like this tend to go all out on outback aesthetics, which this hotel does note. Instead, at Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley, guests have an authentic homestead experience combined with areas such as the Valley Bar, where the chairs and sofas are finished with delicious silver velvet or smart grey tweeds. Or the Creekside Dining room, an intimate, private dining room which features high back chairs set against a long, mahogany-colored dining table, all of which is nestled within a library setting. This makes the Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley the definition of outback chic.
ONE & ONLY PORTONOVI, MONTENEGRO
This is the newest property in the One & Only portfolio and also its first foray into Europe. Steering away from the more trafficked Rivieras, this property has planted its European roots on the Montenegrin shoreline which is considered to be one of Europe’s most fashionable, yet exclusive Rivieras (exclusive because this region is still somewhat undiscovered).
This property sits at the very edge of the Adriatic Sea at the entrance to Boka Bay and is a sanctuary framed by untouched mountains, green forests, and shimmering private beaches. Situated within a UNESCO world heritage site, each room is designed to delight guests with wide-open views of the landscape through floor to ceiling windows, bridging the gap between the outside and the inside, and the landscape and the inscape.
The most standout aspect of this property, in addition to its incredible interior design and Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli, is the Chenot Espace. A wellness experience created in partnership with the Swiss global wellness leader, Chenot, who for 50 years has specialized in integrated wellness. Through the Chenot Espace, guests are invited to engage on a journey of detox and rest through a custom program and pioneering treatments all while enjoying their explorations of the magic of Montenegro.
ONE & ONLY MANDARINA, MEXICO
Only 30 miles from Puerto Vallarta Airport through pineapple fields, palm-lined streets and sweet Mexican villages lives the One & Only Mandarina.
This property defies all expectations as a luxe jungle hideaway amidst this undeveloped strip of Mexican coastline in the pristine Riviera Nayarit. A coastal rainforest, the area is a visual fantasy made up of white-sand beaches, jungle flatlands, one-of-a-kind estuaries where saltwater and freshwater mix, all which sit against the backdrop of two massive mountain peaks.
Within this landscape lives the sanctuary that is the One & Only Mandarina, which in its desire to meld with the environment rather than impede on it, have created a collection of 105 standalone treehouses and villas designed in their very own definition of eco-chic. This definition has combined Mexican craftsmanship, forward-thinking design, and local materials to the effect of a jungle hideaway like no other.
Each villa or treehouse is made of elements such as rich, teak-colored wood, finely-woven rattan style rugs, cream-toned upholsteries and drapes, dark stone, deep copper accents, and white porcelain for an environment that synchronizes together in a sublime dance.
The treehouses are exactly as they sound—rooms that are suspended 12 meters above the ground to give guests the ultimate grownup childhood dream come true. Meanwhile, each villa on the property takes on a different personality; some are perched on cliffs facing either the rainforest or ocean, some are for couples while some are for families, while some are for complete indulgence in size and style. One thing to note is that each treehouse or villa is unique in its style and design, so no two are the same.
While this property may be the ultimate in jungle seclusion, there is no shortage of amenities, dining, and experiences. Eat at one of the three restaurants which range from fine-dining to beachside chic, or opt for the chef to select locally-sourced ingredients for a meal served on your terrace. There are sea adventures, land adventures, spa treatments, and wellness experiences to be had here, ticking every box for the elements of a most memorable getaway.
ONE & ONLY DESARU COAST, MALAYSIA
A collection of suites and private homes situated on 128 acres of tropical beachfront, this property brings to life the dream of turquoise waters and silky soft beaches. Living on the South Eastern portion of the country bordered by the rainforest, the One & Only Desaru Coast lives in a region of the world that still has yet to be discovered as a global holiday destination. This means there is privacy, untouched lands, and peace at the One & Only Desaru Coast in Malaysia.
A collection of 42 suites, 2 grand suites, and one awe-inspiring 4-bedroom villa, this property was the last one created by legendary architect Kerry Hill before he passed away in 2018. The architect’s vision for the hotel was to bring to life his own love of geometry, straight lines and nature as well as natural elements and to imprint it with the culture of where it lives. As such, nature played an especially important role in its design and is seen in elements such as planted-green roofs and rainforest-framed walkways with Banyan, Penaga Laut, and Jambu Laut trees.
Make no mistake, while the property authentically incorporates local traditions such as authentic Malaysian carvings, ceramic pots and batik designs, the One & Only Desaru Coast has been designed with a modernist approach. The main building is a geometric delight where the clean lines of the rectangular dark wood building are dressed with screens made of parallel slats of wood, while the light grey stone steps ascending to it are wide, long and linear and create visual drama. The entire site is framed with a massive stone retaining wall created to linear perfection which borders it all from the front. Of course, all of the elements used are native to the region, and the result is a place that is a dramatic combination of the traditional and contemporary. This concept has been applied to the entire property including guest suites.
There are a multitude of ways to get there, whether by Singapore Airport, from where the property is a 2.5 hour transfer. Or by Senai International Airport via Kuala Lumpur, from where it’s only a 45-minute drive. Want to get there even faster? Opt for the 15-minute helicopter transfer from Senai Airport, to get you into your suite without having wasted one precious moment.
Prices vary through these properties, and for more information visit the website here.