1. COCO BODU HITHI
Make sure you’re marine-minded at Coco Bodu Hithi. Honouring the pristine ocean habitat that surrounds the five-star resort, the Maldives Marine Offer is designed to immerse guests in the intricacies of the reef. All features are designed for two adults, including champagne and gourmet canapés served in your villa, a morning excursion to watch dolphins dance in the waves, a guided exploration of Muthaafushi reef with the resident marine biologist and a sunset fishing trip in a Maldivian dhoni vessel with a team of island fishermen. The package also includes seaplane transfers, 50-minute Balinese massage and a five-course dinner under the stars for some added bliss.
North Male Atoll, Maldives
2. JOALI MALDIVES
The Maldives is hard to leave but even harder to forget. One of the archipelago’s newest and most spectacular destinations, JOALI Maldives, is going to make memories all-the-more poignant with its Unforgettable Journey offer, which provides two complimentary nights when you book for seven – including half board catering and a one-hour spa treatment for you and your partner.
Raa Atoll, Maldives,
3. CAPE WELIGAMA –
RELAIS & CHATEAUX
Thirty minutes east of Galle, Cape Weligama sits within 12 tropical acres above a striking 40-metre plunge to the Indian Ocean below. Unsurprisingly, the resort is a prime location for stunning panoramas, and the 39 private retreats are also a feast for the eyes, designed by one of Asia’s most celebrated architects, Lek Bunnag. The hotel’s dining venues all capture Weligama’s sunsets, as does the 60-metre crescent-shaped infinity pool that appears to flow seamlessly into the sea. To make the most of lofty seaside escape, you can now save 20% when you stay seven or more nights.
Weligama, Sri Lanka
4. JA MANAFARU
On the heels of Chinese New Year, JA Manafaru has cooked up a unique partnership with world-renowned Beijing-based chef Dong Zhenxiang, commonly known as “Da Dong”. An exclusive Da Dong pop-up experience will be served throughout 2019 at the resort’s award-winning signature restaurant White Orchid. Da Dong Roast Duck has expanded to nine locations around Beijing and two of four in Shanghai have Michelin stars. What’s more, GCC residents can take advantage of up to 30% off their stay when booked through www.jaresorts.com using promo code WINTERSUN.
Upper North Province, Maldives,
5. THE OBEROI, MAURITIUS
Spanning 20 acres of Mauritian coastline near Port Louis The Oberoi, Mauritius is home to four national monuments that date back to 19th-century French Colonial times. The luxury resort sits on the white sandy shores of Turtle Bay, a natural marine park with a vibrant coral reef on the northwest coast of the main island. Why not linger a little longer with the Exotic Escape offer, for a minimum stay of five nights, which includes daily three-course dinners, BMW airport transfers and a host of complimentary activities, such as sports, art classes and wellness sessions?
Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius
6. SIX SENSES LAAMU
We all know that the Maldives offers another level of serenity but can you imagine being the only resort within an entire atoll? The aqua-topia is a combination of on-land and over-water villas constructed of sustainable materials and set around the palm-fringed paradise. And sustainability is paramount – the resort boasts a 10-member marine biologist team called Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI, which means ‘pearl’ in the local language Dhivehi), and carries out research, education and community work in pursuit of long-term conservation in Laamu Atoll.
Six Senses Laamu is in partnership with the Manta Trust, whose onsite team monitors the Laamu population and helps raise awareness of the importance of the manta ray conservation. The team has identified 121 reef manta rays that frequent two cleaning stations year-round. This compares to most sites in the Maldives where manta ray sightings are seasonal. Thorough research into behaviour, pregnancies and diver interactions is currently underway.
A mid-water coral nursery was installed in 2018 and sits eight metres deep, providing a sanctuary for around 800 coral fragments of more than 10 different species to grow to a larger size, before being planted back on our reef. This initiative aims to accelerate recovery of Maldives reefs, which were affected in 2016 by a mass bleaching event. Guests can participate in coral restoration with our ‘Restore the Reef’ programme.
The emphasis on sustainability will also impact your taste buds. The island’s Leaf Garden grows organic herbs, vegetables, lettuce, micro greens and sprouts. These include unique species such as stevia, small burnet and golden nettle that help the chefs achieve delicious flavours in the restaurant kitchens and bars. Nestled at the back of the garden is also a mushroom hut, where delicacies such as oyster and abalone mushrooms are grown. Hosts are offered extensive training from induction level in order to raise awareness of marine and environmental conservation.
Laamu Atoll, Maldives
7. KUDADOO MALDIVES PRIVATE ISLAND
Equally committed to the well being of both guests and planet earth, Kudadoo has sought to take sustainability to the next level. Powered 100% by the sun, the luxury hideaway makes eco-conscious choices that intertwine the design, conceived by architectural mastermind Yuji Yamazaki. Of the myriad offers and experiences available, perhaps the most thrilling is the opportunity to dive with sharks, via underwater scooters. Have your dive butler teach you how to operate an underwater scooter and embark on a incredible, effortless adventure. With favourable currents, you’ll glide past reef sharks, see squadrons of eagle rays and “feel the heartbeat of the ocean”.
Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives
8. THE ST. REGIS MALDIVES
UK fitness expert Matt Robert is providing fun and fitness in the sun at St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort this month. Taking place March 17-22, the ‘Matt Robert’s Wellness Retreat’ is a mix of luxury, relaxation and fitness and is limited to just 12 guests. In addition to energising workouts and gourmet dishes, the package also provides guests with the very best accommodation The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort has to offer, as well as special additional extras provided by Matt and his team of health and fitness experts to make your stay as memorable – and as healthy – as possible.
Dhaalu Atoll Vommuli, Maldives
9. HILTON SEYCHELLES NORTHOLME RESORT AND SPA
This uniquely located eco-hideaway is the perfect gateway to tropical scenery. With vivid panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Hilton Northolme evokes a passion for weaving the journey of a lifetime. With a dedication to impeccable service, the resort connects you to a blend of relaxation, adventure and local flavours. Ian Fleming wrote ‘For Your Eyes Only’ in this secluded five-star hideaway. Small and intimate, charming and beautifully equipped private romantic villas are raised on stilts to provide uninterrupted views of the ocean. Surrounded by white beaches, tropical gardens and crystal waters, the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa is a stunning escape.
Peace is paramount: this is an adult only resort where guests have to be aged over 13. The hotel features great attention to detail in the stunning wooden interiors featuring contemporary décor and original artwork. The new Grand Ocean Pool Villas are truly spectacular with an infinity private pool set into the sun-washed decking of each villa. The Eforea spa is perched on granite boulders and overlooks the ocean where you can relax on the sofa or large armchair with ottoman in the living area. Whether you unwind in the whirlpool or step onto the balcony to admire the sweeping sea view there’s a real sense of peace that has seeped into the resort.
10. HILTON SEYCHELLES LABRIZ RESORT AND SPA
Escape to a unique piece of paradise on the longest white sand beach in Seychelles. It is the only resort located on Silhouette, the third largest Island in Seychelles – once home to pirates – and just a 40-minute speedboat ride from Mahe. The eco-friendly resort is a secluded haven surrounded by a National Park. Nestled in lush mountains, it’s a nature lover’s dream with its breath taking scenery. The 111 villas on this island paradise are spacious, comfortable and chic, scattered throughout the resort lining the eastern hillside and coastline. Choose a Garden or Beachfront Villa, or upgrade to a Sanctuary Pool Villa and you will also have your own pool and a private dining pavilion, ideal for couples who enjoy the privacy and intimacy of dining alone.
Families are welcome with the Jungle Fun Kids Club for youngsters. There is plenty of fun to be had: rent a bike to explore the island, try a diving course at the PADI Dive Centre, snorkel in the Marine National Park or hike through the rainforest and experience the abundance of birdlife, flora and fauna. The eight unique dining experiences showcase some of the best food found in the Seychelles and the eForea Spa is also not to be missed. Surrounded by the jungle and incorporated into the cliff, its stilted treatment rooms immerse you in nature and offer magical views.
Silhouette Island, Seychelles
+248 429 3949
11. SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON
Passion and felicity – two words that are appropriate for Six Senses’ Seychelles resort. Six Senses Zil Pasyon on the island of Felicite houses 30 pool villas and three- and four-bedroom residences, offering total serenity among the dense foliage and turquoise waters of the surrounding ocean. The resort’s Ultimate Félicité Stay is available for earlybird bookers who plan more than 120 days in advance – with 20% off and an all-inclusive package when staying five nights or more. Thinking of going all out? Guests who stay for 10 nights are eligible for free helicopter transfers.
12. OUTRIGGER KONOTTA MALDIVES RESORT
A sanctuary of over-water bungalows, authentic Maldivian cuisine and the rejuvenating Navasana Spa, Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort is composed of 21 beach pool villas, 8 two-bedroom beach pool villas, 21 overwater villas with private pools, two lagoon pool villas and the ultra lavish Grand Konotta Villa. Book direct from the Outrigger website and you’re guaranteed VIP treatment throughout your stay, including a complimentary massage at the spa. Foodies will also be delighted this Easter when acclaimed chef Eyck Zimmer hosts two five-course dinners in the resort’s Driftwood restaurant. This will be the chef’s second stint at the resort, following a successful pop-up in 2017.
Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
13. THE RESIDENCE ZANZIBAR
The palm-lined beaches of Zanzibar are an essential consideration for an Easter escape or spring retreat. Home to 66 luxurious stand-alone villas, The Residence Zanzibar is the perfect launchpad for adventure; kite surfing, swimming with dolphins, Jozani Forest exploration and Swahili cooking classes are all at hand. While the resort is a haven of peace, the island is ripe for exploration. Teeming with natural beauty, at the heart of island life lies the capital of Stone Town, where your journey will likely begin, and once home to the iconic Freddie Mercury. Back at the resort, there are two delicious options for foodies. Overlooking the ocean, The Dining Room offers a range of international dishes with some Zanzibari twists, while the Pavilion Restaurant combines Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisines in a picture postcard setting.
Zanzibar City, Tanzania