GET FESTIVE WITH GILI
Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
Swap snow for snow-white sand in the Maldives this Christmas at Gili Lankanfushi, which has a special festive package with all the trimmings. Along with a meet-and-greet at Malé airport, return speedboat transfers, and guaranteed early check-in and late checkout, guests can choose between a Villa Suite, Residence or a Crusoe Residence (dreamy villas surrounded entirely by water), with a Christmas Eve Gala Dinner experience for two and daily festive amenities during the length of your stay. The spirit of Gili’s giving continues, as in addition to all the regular complimentary inclusions (think Sunset cocktail parties on Wednesdays, daily sunrise yoga and Gili Breakfast Experience at the Main Restaurant throughout your stay), your kids can also stay for free. They also get a free ride (don’t they always?) in the form of a return transfer when sharing with two adults.
PRICE: Villas from US$2,136 ++ per night with a minimum four-night stay (maximum two children only)
AVAILABLE: For stays between 19th–26th December 2017
A HAVEN FOR HEDONISM
Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam
You’ve done glamping at Glastonbury, perhaps even made the pilgrimage to Burning Man, but there’s nothing quite like a city-based electronic festival to keep your shenanigans five-star. Enter Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) –the globally renowned, five-day electronic music festival held annually each October looks especially enticing this year with performances from Nightmares on Wax, Philip Glass, and Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler (often referred to as the Stevie Wonder of house music), talks from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, and even live meditation. To help overexuberant festivalgoers to recover, the city’s grand luxury hotel, The Conservatorium, has curated a special package dubbed “The Ultimate Party Package”.
With a three-night stay in the I Love Amsterdam Suite – a beautiful 155 m2 triplex overlooking the rooftops of the Dutch capital – it also includes two VIP passes to ADE; a bottle of champagne on arrival and daily breakfast in bed for two (with more champagne); and a “Recovery Treatment” in Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre for two. However the best part has to be the private Recovery Concierge, who will be on call 24 hours a day to aid your well-being, whether it’s booking an apppointment for intravenous vitamin-drip therapy for an instantaneous pick-me-up (two are included in the package), or organising a rejuvenating beverage or an in-room massage for the morning after. Along with late checkout and private round-trip airport transfer, recovering from debauchery has never been so luxurious.
PRICE: “The Ultimate Party Package” costs €806 (US$963) per night on top of the best available rate per night (inclusive of VAT and exclusive of five per cent city tax)
AVAILABLE: From 18-22 October
BOOKISH IN BURMA
Pandaw Exhibitions, Burma
The fourth Irrawaddy Literary Festival, held in Mandalay from Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th November, looks to be the most exciting yet, with international literature figures like Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler, Britain’s Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy and Alice Pung (the author of Her Father’s Daughter) joining some 100 Burmese authors. To coincide with the event, festival sponsor Pandaw Exhibitions is organising a special, seven-night cultural river cruise. The “Mandalay Pagan Packet” cruise sets sail along the Irrawaddy to explore the small villages and towns of lost Burma such as Salay, Pakokku, Yandabo, Amarapura, Sagaing and Mingun, and you could hardly conjure up a more atmospheric way to travel than on board either the RV Indochina Pandaw or RV Kalaw Pandaw, beautifully handcrafted ships made of teak and brass. There’s a pre-festival sailing from Pagan to Mandalay (upstream) but the post-festival cruise from Mandalay to Pagan (downstream) has the added bonus of docking in Mandalay during the event, allowing guests to attend the festival on two of the three days, and return to the ship in the evenings.
PRICE: From US$1,795 per person (festivalgoers can avail an additional 10 per cent discount), based on twin share, including airport or hotel transfers to/from the ship, excursions and entrance fees, guide services, gratuities, main meals and local beverages
AVAILABLE: Pre-festival cruise from 28th Oct-4th Nov; post-festival cruise Nov 4-11
TEA, SEA & SAFARI
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
The long-awaited canvas and bamboo safari camp, Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala in Sri Lanka, founded by the creators and producers of Dilmah Ceylon Tea, will open in November, joining its sister properties to create a seven-night circuit dubbed the “The Resplendent Relais & Châteaux Sri Lanka Journey – Tea, Sea & Safari”. All well-connected by floatplane or luxury SUV transfers, there is simply no better way to take in the extraordinary beauty and culture of the island nation – staying in atmospheric luxury at Ceylon Tea Trails, the world’s first tea bungalow resort bordering the World Heritage Central Highlands; journeying to the palm-fringed shores of Cape Weligama and finishing with a safari-style wilderness experience at Wild Coast Tented Lodge. A stunning itinerary and immersion into local culture for travel connoisseurs with a taste for adventure.
PRICE: From US$3,267 per person based on double occupancy (two fully-inclusive nights at Tea Trails, two fully-inclusive nights at Wild Coast Tented Lodge and three half-board nights at Cape Weligama)
AVAILABLE: 1st Nov-15th Dec 2017 and 16th April–15th July, 2018. From 11th Jan–15th April, 2018 the price increases to $3,994 per person
FAMILY TIME IN PARADISE
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Maldives
There’s nowhere better than the Maldives to be marooned with your nearest and dearest – especially if you’re staying at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. Located in the Dhaalu Atoll, with knockout design courtesy of Singapore-based architect Chiu Man from WOW Architects and Maria from Warner Wong Design, this island resort might be dripping with luxury, but don’t be intimidated by The St. Regis’s good looks – it’s also incredibly family friendly, and if you’re hoping to reconnect, relax and recharge with your brood, look no further than the “Summer in Paradise” offer. With up to two kids below 12 staying and dining for free pervilla, this offer also means you can take advantage of 20 per cent off the room rate, with welcome amenities on arrival (such as a bottle of champagne, fruits and decadent sweets), daily buffet breakfast at Alba restaurant overlooking the main pool, and the very generous complimentary US$100 food and beverage credit for each adult per day.
PRICE:Two-Bedroom Family Villa With Pool from US$2,160 excluding taxes
AVAILABLE: For stays until December 22, 2017
Mandarin Oriental, Prague
With cooler temperatures, fewer crowds and magical autumn colours, October in Prague is one of the loveliest times of year, and couples headed to the Czech city for a romantic break this month can opt to gaze at its beauty from the water with a luxury boat package arranged by Mandarin Oriental, Prague. In addition to decadent accommodation at the hotel – a former 14th-century Dominican monastery set amid the palaces and gardens of Prague’s historic Malá Strana – and daily buffet breakfast served at the hotel’s signature Spices Restaurant and Bar, the “Prague by Boat package” includes a special just-for-two cruise on the Vltava River and romantic water channels of Lesser Town. After meeting the boat’s captain at the lobby, you will be escorted to a private pier and onto an elegant catamaran for a 60-minute tour, to marvel at the sights such as the Charles Bridge and the golden-hued National Theatre while relaxing in comfort with fine wine and delicacies prepared by executive chef, Zdenk Kížek. Just the two of you, drinking wine on a river in one of the world’s most romantic cities? The ideal scenario to pop a certain question, if you ask us.
PRICE:“Prague by Boat” costs €518 (US$619) for a minimum of two nights’ stay. Package is based on double occupancy and is subject to availability.
AVAILABLE: Until October 31, 2017