SOUTHERN CHARM IN SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka continues to be one of those destinations raved about by travellers in the know, and once you spy the pristine southern coast where Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa is located, it’s easy to see why. Famed for its beautiful natural surroundings and proximity to wildlife sanctuaries such as the Yala, Udawalawe, Lunugamvehera and Bundala National Parks, the luxury resort – with its own 18-hole golf course – is also the largest in the country, at 58.8 hectares. This year, the resort has curated a series of new adventures for guests hoping to make the most of the spectacular surrounds, from a riverboat excursion down the Walawe River, spotting langur monkeys swinging through the trees or parading peacocks roaming the banks to whale watching at Dondra – the best place in the world to see blue whales (which are especially prevalent in the waters in the upcoming months of October and November). There’s more soft exploration on the cards with sunset stroll along the beach and Buddhist temple at Godawaya, finishing with a sunset picnic created as part of the hotel’s Dine by Design programme; or for guests eager to learn about the country’s talented artisans, Kadamandiya is the resort’s cultural platform where guests can meet sculptors, weavers and silversmiths – the ideal way to acquire a memorable souvenir with meaning.
STRIKE A POSE
Wanna be a supermodel? This extraordinary two-week trip curated by Hurlingham Travel and Veryfirstto is your chance, whisking you and your significant other to the world’s sexiest fashion shoot locations to be photographed by none other than top British fashion photographer Perou (whose portfolio is crammed with all the hottest names – think Naomi Campbell, David Gandy, Vivienne Westwood, President Clinton, David Beckham and Justin Timberlake). The experience starts in London, where you will be photographed on the mews made famous by Kate Moss in the classic Burberry ad campaign, and after a first-class Eurostar trip, the next shoot location is on Rue Aubriot in Paris, the site for Saint Laurent’s iconic Le Smoking ad in 1975. Italy is next, with boat rides in Venice and to Capri, where David Gandy smouldered in a campaign for Dolce & Gabbana. Manhattan needs no introduction as a fashion photography set, but the final famous stop is in the magnificent Turks and Caicos Islands – who can forget Christy Turlington rolling in the sand seductively for Eternity for Calvin Klein? After being styled and pampered by celebrity hair and makeup artist Alice Theobald and your fabulousness captured by Perou, the trip will result in six beautifully framed prints and digital images to rival any supermodel’s portfolio.
PRICE: £170,100 (US$219,184) per couple, which includes Business Class international flights, Premiere Eurostar, Junior Suites (where available), six full outfits from Hackney Walk, tour guides, chauffeurs, transfers and taxes.
AVAILABLE: year-round though advance notice is required and professionals are subject to availability
A SNAPPER’S SAFARI
Photographers may go a little slack-jawed when they set eyes on the Green Mamba 1 – the new Land Rover Defender remodelled into a plush game-viewing vehicle at Thanda Safari, the five-star private game reserve and member of The Leading Hotels of the World, located in KwaZulu-Natal. This remarkable vehicle has been created especially for the reserve’s photographic specific game drives with lessons led by Christian Sperka, resident wildlife photographer and field guide. So passionate about creating the best experience for avid snappers, Christian, who has travelled the world photographing animals and had his work published countless times, actually designed the vehicle himself. With extra legroom for two photographer, allowing them to shoot from tricky angles more easily to the photography “arms” on the back seats to rest beanbags or gimbals on as well as extra storage space for equipment, the thoughtful design even includes a Marine Sound System comprising bird-call recordings, a 12.9” Apple iPad Pro with the latest nature apps including Roberts Birds of Southern Africa and three sockets for spotlights. Then there’s the on-board Nespresso coffee machine and Christian’s signature Martini bush bar for evening drinks – after all, even photographers like their safaris a little luxe.
PRICE: A half-day Photography Session in the Wild starts from R2500 (US$185) per vehicle.
AVAILABLE: Photography lessons are available to those staying at least two nights at Thanda Safari
AFLOAT AT THE ABU DHABI F1
With Pink and Calvin Harris set to perform, this year’s hotly anticipated 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is primed to yet again be one of the UAE’s most popular annual events, returning to Yas Marina Circuit from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th November. And should you have your own yacht, where better to view all the action from than the world-class, 227-berth Yas Marina? Open to the public throughout the race weekend, the marina offers stunning views of the circuit, not to mention some of the world’s biggest and best superyachts, along with seven licensed restaurants and lounges to party the night away at one of the many post-race soirées. Packages enable yachts up to 150 metres to berth in the marina over the race week, with a host of inclusions, from large, live-feed television screens, Wi-Fi, power and water, to an onsite management office with bathrooms and showers and should you wish, on-board catering, servicing, and delivery options are available. With track-view berths booking out quickly, it’s best to get in quick.
PRICE: Starting at AED 13,150 (US$3,580), Yas Marina’s F1 Week berthing rates include an allocation of Yas Marina guest passes with general admission to trackside pontoons and popular post-race evening concerts, access to Thursday Pit Lane Walk and Oasis areas of Yas Marina Circuit, and option to buy extra Yas Marina VIP Passes and Guest Passes.
AVAILABLE: 20-27th November, 2017
Anyone a little obsessed with vintage Italian cars and boats will swoon over a self-drive Lake Como package launched by Mandarin Oriental, Milan. Along with suite accommodation in the chic hotel – set in four elegant 18th-century buildings in Milan’s fashionable heart – guests can embark on an unforgettable day trip to Lake Como. The exclusive lake, with its historic villas and gardens, is just an hour’s drive away, though you may want to take the scenic route as the vintage vehicle in question is a Ferrari Dino 246 GT Gallettoni. Upon arrival to Lake Como, it’s time to take to the water in a private, three-hour boat ride aboard a glamorous Riva Aquarama, the chic 1962 runabout made famous by Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. Champagne and canapés will be served on board as you sightsee, with the option for staying on to lunch somewhere fabulous. And just to ensure everything goes smoothly, a personal driver will accompany you in a separate vehicle, on call and on hand to provide valet parking, car wash, refuelling service and tech support. Bellissimo.
PRICE: The “Lake Como Luxury Vintage Experience” is priced from €5,100 (US$6,083) per room per night and includes suite accommodation and daily breakfast for two (in-room or at Mandarin Bar & Bistrot), one-way airport transfer from Milan Linate or Malpensa, a 90-minute self-drive experience, a three-hour boat ride and a 10 per cent discount on treatments at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Milan
AVAILABLE: Until 30 September 2017 for a minimum of two nights. Must be booked seven days in advance.