1. THE 5.8 EXPERIENCE
Impossibly clear waters, vivid coral and tropical marine life, the Indian Ocean is a natural marvel and most travellers to the Maldives will experience it on rotation during their holiday, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving (and repeating). However guests staying at the new adults-only Hurawalhi Maldives Resort resort can also experience it in a truly remarkable way – by dining beneath the sea, for the 90-villa, adults-only luxury resort, which opened in December, is home to the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant.
Named 5.8 for its depth, 5.8 metres beneath the crystal-clear lagoon, dining in such an astonishing setting is an immersive (pun intended) and highly exclusive experience, with only eight tables set for two at lunch and dinner. The world-class seven-course tasting menu includes delicacies such as diver scallops with a peach-almond vinaigrette and samphire and yellow fin tuna with cucumber wasabi and sesame ponzu, all paired with an exceptional wine list and the backdrop of marine life swimming about the surrounding coral reef.
PRICE: Stays in an Ocean Sunset Pool Villa with and “All Inclusive Plus” package is US$1,649 per room, per night inclusive of taxes. Dinner at 5.8 is priced at US$280 per person
2. SECLUDED LUXURY IN SRI LANKA
Imagine waking in the morning to the rhythmic sound of waves rolling on the shore, stepping out from your private villa to gaze at the coconut palms swaying in the breeze, and dipping your toes into a plunge pool before taking tea on the terrace? This dreamy scenario plays out every day at the beguiling Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle in Sri Lanka, which has released a package ideal for couples seeking a private getaway over an extended weekend. The three-night “Luxuriate On A Secluded Shore” package will see you and your better half checking into one of the resort’s Ocean View Pool Villas – luxurious, pavilion-inspired abodes with open wood ceilings, private infinity pools and direct access to the resort’s crescent-shaped, palm-fringed beach.
The 64-sqm villas are designed with natural plantation teak with local art adorning the walls, a master bedroom with a king-sized bed and daybed, and enormous bathrooms with a rain shower and a separate oval tub. It’s only a short stroll from the resort’s main facilities, such as the spa, which specialises in Ayurveda; Il Mare restaurant, perched on the cliff top with views out to sea, and the resort’s colossal main pool, though couples might find excuses to linger in their own private paradise, and understandably so. Breakfast and round-trip airport transfers in a luxury SUV are also included.
PRICE: “Luxuriate On A Secluded Shore” includes a three-night stay in an Ocean View Pool Villa and is priced from US$3,000 (incl. tax)
AVAILABLE: Until December 19, 2017. Package must be booked by March 15 and is subject to availability
3. SWISS BLISS WITH THE KIDS
St. Moritz is more than just skiing. To ensure the whole tribe is satisfied on your Swiss getaway, Giardino Mountain has special family packages to unlock the destination beyond the slopes, including St. Moritz Gourmet Festival (until February 3), the chance to ogle the pros at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship (February 6-19) and the highly novel Cricket on Ice event (February 23-25). Aside from the spectacles, the resort itself is a cosy retreat, with pampering spa offerings for adults and plenty to occupy the kids in the meantime.
Giardino Mountain’s five-night Family Breakout packages are targeted at children aged two and above with three distinct options: “New Snow” for kids aged two to five; “In the Mood for Snow” for kids aged up to 12; and “Snow Flurry” for children over the age of 13. Each package is tailored to the appropriate age group, featuring toboggan runs, cooking classes, snowshoe hikes, snow yoga, and spa treatments, while also offering a generous 25 per cent discount on the half-board stay.
PRICE: “Family Breakout” packages are priced from CHF 3,050 (US$3,057) for two adults and one child at the age of two to five
AVAILABLE: From March
4. GREAT MINDS AFLOAT
Luxury tour operator Steppes Travel was smart enough to team with Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker for an incredible Galapagos cruise taking place next month. The pre-eminent psychologist, neuroscientist and linguist will lead a group in the footsteps of legendary naturalist, Charles Darwin, recreating his famous voyage (albeit in more comfort), tracking down blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, giant tortoises and flightless cormorants. Awarded the National Humanities Award by President Obama for “bringing philosophy into conversation with culture”, Pinker will deliver informative lectures and insightful thoughts on all the Galapagos has to offer, while bona fide genius and author of 10 books, Rebecca Goldstein, also takes partakes in the ongoing narrative and daily lectures – and the pair of boffins just so happen to be husband and wife.
The 11-day trip, which includes eight-days private charter aboard the M/V Evolution, will take in islands such as the remote Genovesa, North Seymour, Floreana and Santa Cruz, each presenting an abundance of colourful creatures seemingly unafraid of humans. There will also be many opportunities to get close to the islands’ unique wildlife, either on foot, by kayak, by panga or while snorkelling.
PRICE: “Galapagos Cruise March 2017” is priced at £6,750 (US$8,525) per person based on two people sharing, including international and internal flights, transfers and full board accommodation
AVAILABLE: March 9-19, 2017
5. OVER THE MOON IN HONG KONG
The Peninsula Hong Kong is ushering in the Year of the Rooster with authentic events and promotions, including a complimentary suite upgrade and a chauffeured three-hour cultural tour in a customised MINI Cooper. The “Celebrate Chinese New Year Sweet Upgrade” also includes an array of sweet little details, like macarons iced with a New Year greeting in Chinese characters, and Chinese confectionary boxes filled with Peninsula versions of seasonal candies and snacks, and red envelopes containing gold chocolate coins.
Guests will arrive to find hanging Chinese lanterns and fragrant red, yellow, pink and purple flowers in classic Spring Festival style, with colourful lion dances, calligraphy activities and seasonal cooking classes available to captivate guests no matter what their age. The proverbial rooster may have already crowed in Chinese New Year on January 28, but there’s still plenty to celebrate, and a chauffeured MINI drive to the Hong Kong Observation Wheel at the Central waterfront is the best place to nurture romance while you welcome a fresh new year ahead, especially with a complimentary upgrade to a suite and a free extra bed for families.
PRICE: On request
AVAILABLE: “Celebrate Chinese New Year Sweet Upgrade” is available until February 28, 2017 – blackout dates may apply
6. BELIZE FOR THE BEST
Picture plunging into crystal-clear water for intimate chartered snorkelling trips and rummaging around Mayan Ruins among dense vegetation. The new four-night “Exclusive Belize Explorer Package” is certainly apt for adventurous couples, especially ones who appreciate the finer things in life. Guests will arrive at the five-star Las Terrazas Resort via a private helicopter transfer, which is the best way to view manatees, dolphins, and sharks swimming around the Belize Barrier Reef below. Then the island’s most exclusive experiences await, such as swimming with stingrays, tropical fish, and nurse sharks, and a private flyover of Ambergris Caye’s most famous wonders, such as St. George’s Caye, the Booby Bird Sanctuary and various shipwrecks.
The package also includes indulgent dining experiences such as the beachfront three-course dinner with wine under the stars, daily in-room breakfasts and a romantic rooftop dinner with views of the Caribbean Sea. Accommodation will undoubtedly be on par with the excursions, given that guests will be staying in the 149-sqm one-bedroom penthouse, featuring furniture handcrafted from Belizean wood and a private plunge pool or Jacuzzi tub on the balcony – but if you’ve not had your fix of water, Las Terrazas has the largest private beachfront on the island, as well as a 21-metre infinity lap pool.
PRICE: “Exclusive Belize Explorer Package” is US$10,000 based on a couple sharing
7. PEAKS AND PLEASURES
With panoramic vistas of Andermatt and the surrounding Ursern Valley, more fireplaces than rooms and wood panelling galore, the Jean-Michel Gathy-designed Chedi Andermatt already ticks every box for a luxury Alpine getaway, but the resort has curated a two-night package that includes an extraordinary day in the mountains of Andermatt, filled with luxurious winter activities and gastronomy. The “Exclusive Mountain Experience – You & The Peak” begins with a train ride and chair lift from Andermatt to Nätschen, where you will be whisked via snowcat to Gütsch where a charming horse-drawn sleigh carriage awaits to transport you to Platten.
After witnessing so much spectacular mountain scenery, it’s time for a Champagne cocktail and Alpine platter, served by Chedi’s own Ski Butler, followed by a hearty, four-course lunch at the Bergrestaurant Nätschen, a mountain restaurant set at 1,841 metres, with a sun-drenched terrace overlooking the peaks. After your day exploring, it’s time to head back to the resort where the spoiling continues with a mulled wine cocktail in The Courtyard and an exclusive four-course dinner at The Wine Cave. There’s more decadent dining with a cosy fondue in The Chalet and breakfast during the rest of the stay, not to mention the award-winning 2,400sqm The Spa and Health Club, where you can disappear for a few well-earned hours to indulge in mountain-inspired spa treatments, or swim in the stunning 35-metre indoor pool – pure perfection.
PRICE: “Exclusive Mountain Experience – You and the Peak” from CHF 1,580 ($1,580) per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of four guests
AVAILABLE: Upon request