A favorite saying on the island of Príncipe is “Leve, leve,” or “Slowly, slowly.” Message received: here, we’re supposed to take it easy. At Sundy Praia, South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth’s tented beachfront resort, this won’t be an especially arduous challenge. Located 130 miles west of the African coast, Príncipe is nicknamed the “African Galápagos,” an under-the-radar oasis that boasts more endemic species per square mile than anywhere else on earth.
The hotel in question is a Didier Lefort–designed escape, as idyllic as a full-fledged beachfront resort but without the crowds at the breakfast buffet and the flip-flops by the pool. Sundy sits on the northern side of the island, wedged between the rustling banana trees of a cacao plantation and the turquoise waters of the Atlantic. Guaranteed: the only other living creatures on the beach are nesting marine turtles.