Sun, Spa and Safari in South Africa
Where? Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa and Shambala Private Game Reserve
Why? Guests can start their holiday exploring the Limpopo Province and the many activities offered at Shambala Game Reserve, followed by a relaxing visit to the Saxon Hotel where an oasis of wellness awaits at the recently-launched Saxon Spa.
Set in ten acres of lush landscaped grounds, the 53-suite Saxon hotel includes six swimming pools; three luxurious dining venues, and the two-floor Saxon Spa with fully equipped fitness centre. The recently-launched Saxon Spa is an oasis of wellness, taking the guest on a holistic journey incorporating sound, touch and sight, blending modern understanding with ancient techniques to balance energies and restore wellbeing.
Ideal for a twin-centre escape, The Saxon’s sister property, Shambala Private Game Reserve offers an authentic African bushveld experience, boasting 12,000 hectares of wilderness in the Limpopo Province, home to the ‘Big Five’ and set against the backdrop beautiful Waterberg mountain range. Activities on offer include game drives, guided bush walks, star-gazing, fishing, sundowner cruises and bush picnics. Also set in the grounds of Shambala is the historic Nelson Mandela Villa, built especially for the former President as his personal retreat.
Room rate/ package offer: Scott Dunn offers a seven-night South African itinerary from £3,300 per person. This is based on a couple spending two nights at The Saxon Hotel on a B & B basis and five nights at Zulu Camp on an all-inclusive basis, and includes return international flights and private transfers.
Reservations: scottdunn.com // 020 (8)682 5070
A town and country break in Bangkok
Where? The Peninsula Bangkok
Why? Start by exploring Bangkok’s Old Quarters with Peninsula’s Footprints from the Past adventure. Guests are invited to take a journey back in time as they explore areas of the city rich with Thai history. The journey begins with a cruise along the Chao Phraya River, past fascinating architecture, lush scenery and lively neighbourhoods. Guests then walk around Kudee Chin, an area famous for its neo-classical Santa Cruz Church, before visiting The Artist’s House where they enjoy a one-hour Thai puppet show and a delicious lunch.
Next, venture out for the Fine Wine Adventure and Elephant Ride in the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Guests are transferred by helicopter to the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard where they will experience an elephant ride tour before hand-painting personalised wine labels that can be taken home as a souvenir. The journey ends with a three-course set menu with a wine pairing at the vineyard’s restaurant before flying back to the hotel in a helicopter.
Room Rate: Deluxe Room: THB 13,000 per night (£290)
Reservations: www.peninsula.com/bangkok // +66 2 020 2888
What? Yoga, Moonstones and Whale Watching in Sri Lanka
Where? Owl and the Pussycat, near Galle
Why? Relax and re-energize: Owl and the Pussycat offers personalised yoga sessions and meditation on the property’s yoga platform by the pool, with captivating views of the sea, allowing sights of the iconic Sri Lankan stilt fishermen.
Whale Watching: Sri Lanka’s south coast is renowned as one of the best places in the world to find humpback and blue whales. Located near to Owl and the Pussycat is Mirissa – the best place to do this – and with whale-watching season from November to April now is the best time to visit. Guests can hire a private boat or go on a group excursion for an adventure of a lifetime.
Turtle Hatchery: Galle is home to several non-profit sea turtle hatcheries, ensuring the preservation and protection of a very delicate ocean species. They take care of the hatching of eggs brought to them by fishermen, for further release in the sea after birth. This is a must-visit place for its inspiring work, and true evidence of the miracle of life.
Moonstone Mines of Meetiyagoda: Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest gem sources and guests can find some truly beautiful and unique precious stones. The Moonstone Mines of Meetiyagoda are the most frequently visited by guests, as they are only 45min away from Thalpe.
Room rate: Rooms start at USD$284 (£210) for a Double Room
Reservations: www.otphotel.com // +94 (0)777 240077
A sunny urban wellness retreat in California
Where? The Peninsula Beverly Hills
Why? The Peninsula Beverly Hills is proud to introduce a new health and wellness program designed to combine detox with decadence. The Urban Wellness Retreat offers guests healthy, active respite from the hustle and bustle of busy city life, without leaving the heart of Beverly Hills. Available as a one, two, or three-night package, the offering provides a personalized wellness experience for all guests. A specially-created menu of healthful meals from Executive Chef David Codney, features the very best locally-sourced ingredients of the highest quality, some of which are plucked from the hotel’s own rooftop garden.
Room Rate: Find the perfect balance of workout and wellness at The Peninsula Beverly Hills with rates from $1,635 per night in a Deluxe Room.
Reservations: www.peninsula.com/beverlyhills / +1 310 551 2888
A gourmet city break before heading into the mountains
Where? Baur au Lac Zurich
Why? With captivating views of the surrounding lake, Baur au Lac in Zurich has been the Swiss location of choice for the world’s jet-set for over 170 years and remains one of the premier showcases of Swiss luxury hospitality. A gourmet haven in its own right with Michelin-starred restaurant Pavillon restaurant and much loved ‘1884’ chocolate, it has curated some remarkable culinary talents, including the renowned Daniel Humm. From 17th until 25th November, Baur au Lac welcomes the return of the successful Matsuhisa pop-up at their Rive Gauche restaurant, where guests can sample delectable Japanese fare with a twist such as black cod yuzo miso. To celebrate Baur au Lac is offering an exclusive package during the pop up that includes a one night stay inclusive of daily breakfast, exclusive Nobu Matsushisa Dinner at Rive Gauche and a delicious present of 1844 Chocolate.
The perfect pre-piste pitstop, later this winter the leafy Baur au Lac Park will be transformed into a Swiss Chalet, bringing a touch of authentic Swiss Alpine charm to the city. Guests who visit the Chalet au Lac can enjoy delicious traditional dishes such as molten cheese fondue, Raclette, Buenderfleisch accompanied by the traditional German drink; Feuerzangenbowle and mulled wine before setting off into the mountains.
Room Rate: Stays from CHF 819 (£660) per night. Nobu Matsushisa Experience from CHF 1045 (£807)
Reservations: www.bauraulac.ch / +41 44 220 50 20
What? A lakeside French escape for ski lovers and loathers
Where? Evian Resort, Lake Geneva, France
Why? Evian Resort is located in the heart of Europe in Evian-les-Bains, France, on the shores of Lake Geneva and at the foot of the Alps making it the ideal location for ski enthusiasts travelling with ski adversaries. Skiers will be spoilt with choice when discovering that Evian Resort is only 15 minutes away from the bijou resorts of Thollon-les-Mémises and Bernex and also a short 40 minute drive from the ever popular Les Portes du Soleil. For those wanting to explore further, Chamonix is also easily accessible.
With its Palace’ distinction, The Hôtel Royal, offers a luxurious home away from home. The hotel includes its own ski shop, so if a guest happens to lose a glove on the slopes, they can purchase (or hire) high-end equipment or ski clothes in the comfort of their own hotel. A range of bespoke services can also be easily facilitated from beginner lessons to heliskiing off piste. With a dedicated kid’s resort – for those aged 3 months and up – two sumptuous spas and a host of other activities from hikes, yoga and cultural sojourns there’s plenty to keep the anti-skier amused.
Room Rate: Stay at Hotel Royal from £203 (€259) per person per night based on double occupancy in a Sejour Parkview room inclusive of breakfast and dinner at the hotel
Reservations:: www.evianresort.com // +33 (0)4 50 26 50 50
What? A family ski extravaganza in the Rockies
Where? The Little Nell, Aspen Colorado
Why? Tepees and New Wheels for The Littlest Little Nell Fans
A family friendly abode in every sense of the word, this season sees the introduction of Land of Nod tepees for cosy in-room ‘camp outs’. After a day on the slopes, kids can nestle under their tepee to ‘divulge all’ in their Little Nell holiday journals or enjoy a ‘midnight feast’ – obligatory for all camp outs – from the specially devised children’s in-room menu. Little Aspenites can also take advantage of the complimentary prams by Ibex with specially adapted skis for smooth sojourns into town or mountaintop lunches.
What else? Inspired by an ‘Authentic Aspen’ motif, The Little Nell recently unveiled their newly renovated rooms. Paying tribute to both Aspen’s lively and cultural scene, as well as its dynamic history as a charming silver mining town the new rooms are bedecked in palettes of blues, tans and greys to complement the relaxed nature of Aspen. Custom throws – available to purchase in the hotel’s boutique – navy blue ottomans and plush decorative pillows complete the offering. The new renovations echoed The Little Nell’s ongoing commitment to continued enhancement when they introduced six new luxury suites by Holly Hunt in 2014.
Cosmopolitan yet intimate, contemporary yet timeless, The Little Nell invites guests to experience Aspen’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel – a Relais & Châteaux resort.
Room Rate: from $575 (currently £440) per room per night
Reservations: www.thelittlenell.com // (855) 920-4600
What? Snooze in style at one of the chicest hotels in the Three Valleys
Where? Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges, Courchevel
Why? After a successful first season, Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges reopens to welcome guests on 15th December to its contemporary yet cosy and inviting rooms, suites, restaurants bars and spa. Uniquely positioned slope-side at the foot of the famed Bellecôte run, Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges is just moments from the centre of this vibrant destination with easy access to the rest of the Trois Vallées’ 600km of ski runs.
With its 42 beautifully-appointed rooms and suites inspired by the mountains and luxuriously cosy with materials such as cashmere, felt, velvet, fur and wood it provides a modern take on the traditional chalet. A slope-side haven, The Bar at Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges provides an ideal hideaway after a day in the snow whilst fine dining awaits at Le Fouquet’s Courchevel – the mountainside sister to the legendary Parisian brasserie – and B Fire home to tasty wood-fired cuisine; a dining concept created by celebrated Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco (whose restaurant Le Mirazur has 2 Michelin stars and has been ranked 4th in the world for 2017*) for the hotel. Nestled in the heart of the hotel and bathed in natural light, the 1000m² Spa Diane Barrière is a haven of tranquillity where guests can relax or revitalise with a carefully-curated menu of treatments from the expert Biologique Recherche and the indulgent St Barth ranges – a superb way to soothe ski-weary muscles, feel pampered and re-energised.
Room Rates: From 1,450 Euros (£1,270) per night
For reservations visit: www.hotelsbarriere.com // +33 457 552200
What? Memorable Mountaintop Moments in Gstaad
Where? Gstaad Palace
Why? Guests can board a helicopter for a 60 minute sightseeing flight to Zermatt that includes a lap around the Matterhorn and lunch at 3,000 metres above sea level. After this circumnavigation, the pilot – Thomas Kohler from Air Glaciers – lands the helicopter on the glacier for a Champagne aperitif overlooking a staggering panorama that includes the Matterhorn. Guests then enjoy alpine culinary treats at the ‘Refuge l’Espace’ before returning to the airfield in Saanen (that neighbours Gstaad). Cost: including helicopter flight and two nights at the Gstaad Palace is from 2,077 CHF per person (based on double occupancy).
Back on terra firma, as well as a superb offering for skiers and snowboarders, a stay at Gstaad Palace can include cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, chocolate factory visits, horse and carriage rides, igloo stays, dog sleigh rides and night tobogganing with a fondue meal on the mountainside.
After active days enjoying everything on the Palace’s doorstep, retreat to the Spa for a well-deserved pampering. This mid-winter oasis is spread over 1800sqm and boasts unparalleled mountain views from its fireside relaxation space. Muscle-easing and rejuvenating treatments are provided using Sisley, Pitanguy, Margy’s Monte Carlo and local brand Jardin des Monts, created from botanicals plucked from nearby Alpine gardens and pastures.
Room rates: From 650 CHF (£495) per room per night on a half board basis.
For reservations visit: www.palace.ch // +41 33 748 50 00