County Limerick, Ireland
Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a heart-crushing meditation on friendship torn asunder. It’s also a story set amidst the lush, emerald greenery of an island off the coast of Ireland in the early 1920s. Watching the film, one can’t help being captivated by its verdant, idyllic scenery — cows roaming the pasture, horses braying along a long dirt road. Adare Manor in Co. Limerick, Ireland, a five-star resort comprising a fairy tale-esque castle, Medieval ruins and winding woodsy paths, evokes the bucolic cinematic backdrop of “Banshees.” A 25-minute drive from Shannon Airport and two and a half hours from Dublin Airport, the sprawling resort is set on an 842-acre estate in Adare Village. The hotel features 104 guest rooms and a luxe, high-end spa with an indoor pool overlooking the Maigue River. For the ultimate in fine dining, Adare Manor guests can enjoy the Oak Room, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the region. Guests can also partake in a plethora of on-site outdoor activities, including golf (there’s an 18-hole course) and trout fishing, falconry and clay pigeon shooting. Irish gun dog training with Irish Labrador Retrievers your thing? Adare Manor has that, too.
In “Triangle of Sadness,” Ruben Östlund’s savagely subversive dark comedy revolves around a luxury yacht that sinks, plunging its affluent, self-obsessed passengers into the ocean. A handful of survivors wash ashore on a deserted island, leaving the uber-rich to fend for themselves in ways for which they are pathetically ill-prepared. For those delighting in opulence, that grandeur of sailing the high seas can be recreated — and with far happier results than in “Triangle of Sadness” — on the Celestia Phinisi Yacht, a seven-cabin, 148-foot-long traditional Indonesian vessel outfitted to the nines. The Celestia is the pinnacle of cruise-ship travel. Designed by Deirdre Renniers, a Cape Town, South Africa-based designer, and engineered by naval architect Tresno Seery, Celestia guests cruise across the pristine azure waters of the Indonesian archipelago, dotted with more than 17,000 islands. Celestia (which means “heavenly” in Latin) offers private charter trips ranging from 3-14 nights, docking at dreamy, tropical spots such as the famed Coral Triangle, home to 75 percent of the world’s coral creatures, Komodo (indigenous habitat of the Komodo dragon monitor lizard) and the Spice Islands. Snorkeling, water-skiing and wakeboarding are just a few of the ship’s featured activities, along with stargazing, meditative yoga and birdwatching. With a maximum of 14 guests allowed, Celestia Yacht is for travelers aching to get away from it all. Smooth sailing awaits. Rates start at $11,000 per night.
The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort
Paradise Island, the Bahamas
The water scenes for box office juggernaut “Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron’s science fiction epic, were shot in a soundstage in Manhattan Beach, Calif. (with other segments lensed in Wellington, New Zealand). To get a taste of real-life aquamarine waves, look no further than the Ocean Club, a Four Seasons resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas, where Versailles-inspired gardens grow amidst the high-end hideaway’s 35-acre property, colorful fish abound and white-sand beaches line the lip of the crystalline Caribbean Sea. The prestigious 107-room resort, which opened its doors 60 years ago, has long served as a vacation playground for celebrities and well-heeled travelers: Zsa Zsa Gabor and a parade of European princes and princesses attended the hotel’s inaugural welcome bash. The resort was also a filming location for the 2006 James Bond film “Casino Royale,” and it’s easy to see why. With visibility stretching over 200 feet, Paradise Island boasts some of the planet’s most translucent water. The sea is so clear that in 2015 astronaut Scott Kelly took photos of the Bahamas from above during his year in the International Space Station, calling the island nation, “the most beautiful place from space.” Says Ocean Club general manager John Conway, “the property has become an iconic grande dame of the Caribbean, with so many incredible stories to tell.”
“Fire of Love” is the explosive true story about two intrepid French scientists, Katia and Maurice Kraft, who died doing the thing they loved most: recording footage of volcanoes. The thrill-seeking married couple traveled the world filming volcanic eruptions, from Colombia to Japan, dying in a pyroclastic lava flow on Mount Unzen in June 1991. A far safer bet: head to the rugged, jungle-blanketed wilderness of Costa Rica, home to more than 60 dormant or extinct volcanoes – and six active ones. Enjoy these majestic, cone-shaped wonders from up close — you can hike the surrounding rim of volcanoes such as Arenal and Poás — or appreciate them from afar at Origins Lodge, a remote, eco-friendly retreat offering sweeping 180-degree views of Costa Rica’s breathtaking volcanic terrain. Perched atop a tranquil mountainside in the country’s northwest rainforest, the lavish resort overlooks picturesque Tenorio Volcano, an area where you will no doubt run into an assortment of indigenous wildlife, from ocelots and howler monkeys to toucans and sloths. Foodies will flock to Origin’s cooking classes, held at the property’s Michelin-starred El Salto restaurant, which offers a menu of organic, farm-to-table French haute cuisine. Whether polishing off a day of horseback riding, kayaking or lagoon fishing, relax and recharge at Origin’s Lake-Tii spa (the 50-minute Toji Swedish massage runs $148).
In Todd Field’s “Tár,” Cate Blanchett plays a world-renowned symphony conductor-cum-composer whose career spirals out of control. Lydia Tár’s professional fall from grace is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Bolstering the film’s sense of nerve-wracking tension and wild urgency is its moody, stark, almost severely chic urban backdrop: Germany’s capital, Berlin. Tár’s sprawling city apartment is awash in muted shades of creams and grays, stacked with books and photos and musical instruments. It is, simply put, an intellectualist’s dreampad. But Berlin is a city of contrasts, of bright lights and bustling social activity. Provocateur Hotel is the proverbial definition of high-wattage cosmopolitan glamor, with a style hitting at the intersection of European sophistication and lush sensuality.
Located in West Berlin and within walking distance of Kurfürstendamm’s myriad shops, cafes and bars, Provocateur’s 58 hotel rooms and suites are flush with dark, natural stone and jewel-toned plush velvet fabrics. Saar Zafrir, the founder of London-based studio SZ Design, is the designer behind Provocateur’s sensual aesthetic. Each room has a signature “Provocateur Mode,” a switch allowing guests to set the mood and drift to a different world as the room’s lights dim, seductive tunes commence and video art plays. The hotel’s award-winning Golden Phoenix restaurant features a menu of delectable French-Chinese dishes, including wild boar siu mai, dragon prawns and honey BBQ pork ribs. Provocateur’s bar, with its deep red upholstery and dim, romantic lighting, is the pulsating heart of the hotel, offering an array of cocktails and punches inspired by the 1700s. Make sure to check out Provocateur’s burlesque variety show–complete with dancers and a sumptuous Chinoiserie feast you will not forget.