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Sir Henry Morton Stanley and his Retinue in Central Africa

Young students shall be returning to the rigors of academia fresh from their holiday, a perfect time for others experience a change of scenery. While during collegiate years, it is customary to travel a long carriage distance away from the halls of learning, sometimes it is nice to journey further. Say across the ocean? Combing through Conde Nast’s Gold’s List 2013 for the best places to stay in the world, I believed countries in Asia and Africa would be fraught with pre-19th century choices to choose from. Not so! I was truly sadden to discover the establishments pick for the Conde Nast list favored the more contemporary and abstract architecture and setting. How lamentable! I combined selections from Asia and Africa just to minimally populate my own compilation of hospitality. All hotels and resorts are gleaned from Conde Nast’s Gold List 2013 and were established during or prior to the 19th century.

Taj Lake Palace, Rajasthan India 1746

An island paradise. Truly. The edifice is the island in bathing in the middle of a picturesque lake. This residence is spectacular! First sight of this place left me short of breath. The details are . . .ineffable. It claims to be the most photograph hotel in the world, ironically I have not witnessed a previous picture. The Palace offers cultural shows, in-house mercantile opportunity, a cruise in a gondola, vintage car arrivals, animal excursions, and an in-house astrologer all to satisfy your every desire. On a more contemporary note, James Bond Octopussy was filmed here and was the Bond girls decadent lair.

Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, 1835

From the same company that brought you the Lake Palace, this is the Rambagh. The original modest structure was built as a gift for the Queen’s handmaiden. If only Anna from Downton Abbey could be so fortunate! As a private residence, its gardens are memorialized as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. As a hotel, foreign royalty such as British monarchy and American presidents have walked these halls. The Rambagh offers a croquet field. How quaint! As well as its own polo field! Now that is sporting!

Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa, 1899

A pink British colonial property . . .well there is a phrase I never expected to pen. They are largely known for its restaurant menu featuring local red crab and smoked crocodile. There spa is often touted for its coffee-mint-clay experience. This hotel is more suited for families offering ample room, nanny services, and family guest passes to local attractions.

Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania

This is truly an experience! While it is not a true antiquated hotel; it is design to mimic the Edwardian style of Africa’s legendary white hunters. This also means tents. Tents! How fabulously rustic! Some rooms include brass shooting sticks and wind-up phonographs! I adore this place already!! Set in the middle of Serengeti it boasts front row seats to “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth.” Catchy, is it not? Each of the 25 “tents” has its own steward. Never fear they have running water and full electricity. Edwardians were all about luxury and splendor and I believe some of ladies might become lachrymose without access to certain styling devises. One of the highlights of this encampment is its dedication to the environment and surrounding community. Reforestation, road maintenance, encourage interface with local villages, and subsidizing medical care for the community. Who else wants to sign the dotted line?