Live The Legend: Hotels Where You Can Enjoy Your Own Fairy Tale


Photo Credit: Akaryn Hotel Group

Across cultures and centuries, certain stories arise with distinct similarities, like mutually familiar plots or distinctly heroic characters. The story book explores well-known adventure stories and presents parallels in surprising destinations. Now JustLuxe readers can experience these stories in the present day by finding luxury accommodations conveniently located near the attractions from these tales.

Loch Ness of Laos

The Scottish creature that inhabits the loch (and appears only to a lucky few while shrouded in fog) is a widely known legend, with supposed sightings still reported to this day. Now cryptozoologists reveal similar creatures may not only have once existed, but may still be living and breathing on earth, not yet discovered. Loren Coleman, director of Portland, Maine’s International Cryptozoology Museum, suggests that likely habitats for new species research are locations which have recently undergone political transformation, such as Vietnam and Laos. A Laotian legend is that of the Phaya Naga, said to be the guardian of capital city Vientiane. Naga Balls, or Boong Fai Phaya Nak are firey, glowing orbs which shoot out of the Mekong River usually around the month of October, at which time a holiday and festival take place to celebrate the mythic creature. In 2017, amateur cryptozoologists and fantastic beast hunters can book a stay at the first 5-Star hotel in Vientiane, opening between December 2016 and February 2017. The President Hotel will be directly situated on the Mekong River. A boat, which is available to guests, will make the search for the truth behind the tale a reality.

Photo Credit: Tschuggen Hotel Group

A Royal Russian Escape

In 1918, the world was stunned by the news that rebel Bolsheviks had murdered the Russian Tzar Nicholas II, his Tzarina Alexandra and the Russian royal family, although they had abdicated the throne. Before long, a legend arose that one young princess, Anastasia, had miraculously escaped the execution and was living in hiding. For some time, women would arise from the woodworks claiming to be the long-lost princess. No claims proved true, but the story lives on in countless forms, from the classic animated movie to an upcoming Broadway musical, set to debut in the spring of 2017. Those captivated by the legend who still seek unexplored, potential hideaways of the long lost little princess should look no further than St. Moritz, Switzerland. The story goes that the grand building was planned to be a summer escape for Russia's last Tzar, Nicholas II, Anastasia's father. Though this has never been confirmed, it is true that the building instead opened as the Carlton Hotel in 1913.  

Perhaps the young Anastasia found her way there and was sheltered by the peaks of the Engadine mountains, growing up hidden away disguised as a Swiss mädchen with a dark secret to keep. Perhaps she was even raised by the Greek Royal Family, who were distant cousins, and lived in exile at the hotel throughout World War II. Whatever the truth behind the myths, the present-day interior designer of the Carlton Hotel found swatches of fabrics hidden away in the attic. Assumed to be of Russian origins, the fabric swatches became design inspiration for each unique, lake-facing suite, and are featured above the bathtub in each. Visitors can now bathe in the splendor of Russian decor and infamous lore at Switzerland's legendary Carlton Hotel in sparkling St. Moritz. 

Photo Credit: YTL Hotels

Healing Waters of Fertility 

Legend has it that in the 9th century B.C., Celtic Prince Bladud was struck with leprosy, and thus left the royal court to become a swineherd. When the pigs he was looking after (many of them also suffering skin deformities) stumbled into a pool formed by naturally-occurring springs, they were healed. Upon witnessing this, Bladud himself entered the pool and was then healed of his leprosy. For this reason, he founded a spa at the site of the miracle and dedicated the land to the Celtic goddess of healing and fertility, Sul. This land is now known as present day Bath, England.  

Around 43 A.D., Roman conquerors took over the settlement and re-named it Aquae Sulis, which means "waters of Sul." Romans also celebrated the purportedly miraculous nature of the waters and erected bathhouses with towering columns to their own goddess of healing and wisdom, Minerva. Rediscovered in 1755, the structures and history contributed to the 1987 designation of the destination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The renown of Bath was historically widespread, with Bladud even referenced as the father of Shakespeare's King Lear. Two hospitals for the poor were eventually constructed in Bath, The Royal United Hospital and Bellott's Hospital, which resulted in pilgramages over the centuries by those suffering from a wide range of maladies. For modern day sojourners dealing with a range of illnesses, from gout, skin conditions, infertility, and more, there is one luxury hotel in Bath with direct access to the thermal waters, occupying the two former hospitals. After years of renovations, The Gainsborough Bath Spa opened to the public in September of 2015. The hotel's water source is directly supplied from one of three famous hot springs in the center of Bath, the Hertling Spring. Believed to find its source from rain which fell 10,000 years ago, seeped over a mile beneath the Earth's surface, it now bubbles to the surface with mineral-rich healing properties.

Photo Credit: Finch Hattons

Out of Africa

Released in December 1985, the Sydney Pollack classic film Out of Africa (starring Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen and Robert Redford as Denys Finch Hatton) was based on a true story of romance, drama and love for the Kenyan wilderness. This same story was the inspiration behind the creation of Finch Hattons, a luxury safari camp. Mahali Mzuri is offering an eight-day “I Had a Farm in Africa” Flying Safari with Finch Hattons to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the multiple Academy Award-winning film. The experience will take guests on a whirlwind experience and showcase two of Kenya’s top safari camps. The golden age of safari-rustic charm at Finch Hattons will be contrasted with the sleek, modern vibe at Mahali Mzuri. Couples can indulge in their own film-inspired romance at this intriguing escape within Kenya.

Photo Credit: YTL Hotels

Malaysia's Robinson Crusoe

In April of 1719, the first edition of Daniel Defoe's iconic work of literature, Robinson Crusoe was published. Weaving the tale of a man shipwrecked and left to survive on a wild island, the novel captured the imaginationgs of readers worldwide. Countless readers believed the tale to be a true adventure travel account, and it is often attributed as the origin of realistic fiction. Since that time, the book has been recreated on stage, screen, and various other adaptations and similar storylines exist in other literature around the world. In May 2016, Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia introduced the first-annual Chapman’s Challenge. The aquathlon consists of a 6.2 kilometer run around the private island and through its two million-year-old rainforest as well as a 1 kilometer swim at the award-winning Emerald Bay. Unlike Robinson Crusoe, this is based off of the experiences of a real-life accidental adventurer. The experience mirrors that of Colonel Chapman, who after spending three and a half years in hiding from the occupying Japanese army during WWII, made his escape from Emerald Bay to the Royal Navy submarine, HMS Statesman hidden under cover of inky waves offshore in the dark of night.

Photo Credit: Akaryn Hotel Group

The Sword in the Stone

Over 40,000 temples are found in Thailand. On the island of Phuket lies one of the oldest in the southern hemisphere, Wat Phra Thong. Within its hallowed halls sits half-buried golden Buddha, Luang Poh Phra Thong. As the legend goes, a kindly old farmer was dismayed to find his son and cow had passed away in a field for no discernible reason. Upon revisiting the site, the half-buried Buddha relic was discovered. Although countless community members attempted to unearth the golden rendering of the god in its entirety, none were successful and upon each who touched it befell a curse. To protect the artifact and those who came to cast their eyes upon its gleam, a temple was erected around it.

No worthy visitor has unearthed it since the discovery centuries ago. For those who deem themselves a modern-day King Arthur, the sole soul able to lift the curse, there are ample accommodations nearby. One option is the Akyra Beach Club Phuket set to open in December 2016 or the exclusive private residences at the Aleenta Phuket. Finally, the Aleenta Phuket manages exclusive, billionaire-owned villas. These villas feature entirely original artworks and design, private secluded beach-front salas, entertainment rooms, butlers and a private chef on call 24-7 and more. 

Ela Walz

Having grown up in a multi-cultural surrounding, I have developed my love for international travel at a young age. I have traveled to over 50 countries, enjoy good food, meeting people, and experiencing other cultures. ...(Read More)

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