Platinum List 2019: Best Country House Hotels

The Fife Arms, Hacienda AltaGracia, Rumene Manor

September/ October 2019

In Costa Rica and Latvia, these grand properties offer lavish escapes amid natural beauty.

The Fife Arms

Braemar, Scotland

Sometimes when traveling, the journey is as important as the destination. A drive through the rugged landscape of the Scottish Highlands, past electric-purple heather moors, dark pine forests and salmon-filled rivers, is an experience of breathtaking beauty. It’s this scenery that inspired the influential Swiss art dealers Manuela and Iwan Wirth to buy the Fife Arms in Braemar and transform it into one of the world’s most exciting hotels. 

Built in 1856—the year Queen Victoria completed the neighboring Balmoral Castle and made Scotland a sought-after destination—the Fife Arms originally served as a grand hunting lodge. At the behest of the Duke and Duchess of Fife, it was remodeled in the late 19th century by renowned Scottish architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie. Over the decades, however, it devolved from a coaching inn into a dilapidated hotel before the Wirths committed to restoring it to its original architectural glory, complete with a multimillion-dollar contemporary art collection, two restaurants, cocktail bar and tearoom. 

To read more about The Fife Arms, click here.

Hacienda AltaGracia

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Built as a family retreat and coffee plantation, this expansive resort in the mountains of Pérez Zeledón is now operated by Auberge and features a series of suites and casitas. The restaurants use produce from the property’s 20-acre farm.

Rumene Manor

Kandava, Latvia

Built in 1876, this neo-Gothic manor offers regal rusticity amid 17 parklike acres. The main house, stable and other structures have been converted into luxe lodgings.


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