From Spain to Sri Lanka, this month’s hottest hotels
WHAT YOU’LL FIND JUST OUTSIDE: A two-and-a-half-acre speck of foliage just off Sri Lanka’s south coast, Taprobane is close enough to the mainland that guests can wade ashore, although some opt to make the 200-yard journey by elephant. You’re only about 15 miles from the 16th-century Portuguese enclave (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) Galle Fort, and you don’t have to wander too far to find a Buddhist temple, rain forest or beach bar, either.
BACKSTORY: The property was originally built by an eccentric Frenchman in the 1920s, on what was then known as Cobra Island (locals used it as a dumping spot for venomous snakes). A favored destination for a string of artsy types after World War II, Taprobane was sold to American writer Paul Bowles for 5,000 British pounds in 1951 after its owner racked up gambling debts. Bowles wrote about the island, as did Arthur C. Clarke, who visited it during Bowles’ tenure.
DESIGN NOTES: Taprobane’s five-bedroom neo-palladian house, with its cool white terrazzo floors and high wooden ceilings, is surrounded by tropical gardens. Its abundance of flora-filled terraces blurs the line between interior and exterior, while its four-poster, mosquito-netted beds ensure that the illusion isn’t taken too far.