There’s still time to book…
Swap the concrete jungle for the real jungle on these last-minute Chinese New Year breaks. Boutique hotel specialist, Mr & Mrs Smith is here to help you take your pick from a whole load of luxury. From the best of a Malaysian island, to a Thai beach resort, or a spa hotel on Vietnam’s central coast. All easily accessible from Hong Kong, they guarantee you’ll celebrate the year of the dog in style. Plus, flight times are so short, you won’t have time to finish the movie…
One of the most ecological resorts in southeast Asia, Gayana Marine Resort is dedicated to taking care of its surroundings – which just so happens to be a delightful combination of the South China Sea and lush tropical jungle. Giant-clam-breeding and coral-restoration programmes organised by the onsite Marine Ecology Centre will delight little ones, while the Solace Spa is the ultimate destination for grown-ups to relax and enjoy the long weekend (note to mamas, the Bamboo massage works wonders). For the most boast-worthy CNY Instagram posts, book one of the Palm Villas, which have direct sea access, plunge pools and water-facing bathtubs – you can even have your meals served on your private deck. Kota Kinabalu’s location as the hub of Borneo means there are regular flights from Hong Kong, but something tells us that you won’t be in any hurry to leave…
Considering becoming a member of Mr & Mrs Smith? BlackSmiths get a 45-minute guided trek or kayaking trip, SilverSmiths get a cooking class for two, and GoldSmiths get a 45-minute spa treatment for two.
How to get there: There are regular flights between Hong Kong and Kota Kinabalu International airport, and then it’s just a 15-minute car journey to Jesselton Point Wharf.
Family attractions in the area: The Marine Ecology Centre is part of Gayana Marine Resort, and you can also take a free ferry to nearby sister resort, Bunga Raya, where jungle treks and zip-lining escapades are on offer.
Kids will love: The huge range of activities, including educational visits to the Marine Ecology Centre.
Parents will love: The fact that your first round of sundowners at Latitude Bar is free. Drink up!
Located a 15-minute – very scenic – drive from Phuket International airport, and with return transfers (by private limousine, no less) included in room rates, you don’t need to worry about practicality when it comes to booking a long weekend at Trisara. This boutique Thai bolthole is nestled in its very own private bay, with magnificent ocean views from every villa and suite. If you grow tired of your private pool, head to the 45m saltwater one, which stretches along the resort’s stunning beachfront. Despite its high-end offerings, Trisara is very accommodating to children: a dedicated kids’ club offers everything from rock-pool exploration sessions to Thai dancing, leaving Mr & Mrs free to enjoy the expansive sea views from the resort’s luxurious spa.
Families and couples get a bottle of champagne and 10% off food and soft drinks. GoldSmiths also get 30 %off spa treatments.
How to get there: You can fly direct to Phuket International airport from Hong Kong, which is just a 15-minute drive away from the hotel. Return transfers are included in the rates, and there’s free parking, in case you decide to hire a car.
Family attractions in the area: Charter one of Trisara’s yachts and cruise around the nearby island of Koh Wae, stopping to swim and snorkel en route.
Kids will love: Beach activities, including swimming, kayaking, snorkeling and exploring rock pools.
Parents will love: The fact that Trisara is a high-end resort but also very accommodating to children. The staff are a joy to be around!
For the ultimate wellness break away, head to Fusion Maia Da Nang: an indulgent resort in the centre of Vietnam’s S-shaped coast that offers all-inclusive spa treatments to all guests. The hotel’s ‘Seven Practices of Natural Living’ programme is an excellent stress-buster, and incorporates spirit-boosting activities, nourishing cuisine and practical wellbeing inspiration. Kids won’t be left out, either – the Mini Maia programme offers mini spa treatments from foot massages to pedicures, so they can relax and pamper themselves, too. Each room has a private courtyard and plunge pool, making this a particularly opulent place to unwind. The short journey from Da Nang airport (via either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi) is also a breeze.
Stay three nights or more and get a fresh spring roll tasting for two at Fusion Café in Hoi An.
How to get there: Fly direct to Da Nang airport, or stopover at Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi before a short domestic flight to Da Nang airport. All are flight times under three hours from Hong Kong.
Family attractions in the area: Up-and-coming Da Nang, to the north, is fast earning a reputation for food. Further south, Hoi An’s atmospheric Old Town is also lined with inviting restaurants and tailors, which are great for picking up one-of-a-kind suits and dresses. Plus little leather sandals for your mini-me.
Kids will love: Splashing around in the stunning infinity pool, which has a shallow end and a pool attendant keeping a careful lookout.
Parents will love: Indulging in the modern fusion cuisine served at Five restaurant, washed down with tea-infused cocktails at Tonic Bar.
Once amid the paddy fields of Cambodia’s quiet countryside, you’ll find it hard to believe that your journey consisted of only a two-hour flight from Hong Kong and a short cab ride. The rustic-luxe Phum Baitang consists of stilted villas perched high above tropical gardens. Children will be fascinated by the hotel’s two resident water buffalos, as well as the many activities on offer at the kids’ club. For adventures with the whole family, tours of the Angkor Wat temple complex and meanders through the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake are both easily arranged. Following a day exploring rural Cambodia, take a dip in the resort’s freshwater infinity pool, which overlooks the paddy fields, before heading to Hang Bay for internationally-influenced fusion cuisine.
One bottle of sparkling wine on arrival for all guests! GoldSmith members also get a dinner for two and a bottle of Zannier Wine.
How to get there: Fly directly to Siem Reap – the hotel provides free airport transfers for the 15-minute onwards journey.
Family attractions in the area: Nightly performances in town by Phare Circus and tours of Angkor Wat.
Kids will love: Staying in the Pool Villas, which come complete with private plunge pools.
Parents will love: Making the most of the babysitting services by booking treatments in the couple rooms at the hotel’s spa. All treatments use organic, indigenous ingredients such as ginger, mango and raw honey. It’s every bit as delicious as it sounds.
Reaching Sayak airport involves transferring through either Manila or Cebu, but the sense of barefoot luxury achieved once you arrive at Dedon Island Resort makes the journey worthwhile. Days here are spent lounging on the white sand and paddling over to the Sea Pagoda – a thatch-roofed platform that sits 800 metres off the coast, which acts as a picturesque staging point for snorkelling adventures. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the resort, do so at low tide, when Janoyoy Island can be reached by foot, or explore the nearby caves of Tabon and Magpupungko rock pool. Come dusk, an outdoor screen strung between two coconut trees showcases a range of movies, which guests can watch while roasting marshmallows on an open fire. Needless to say, a stay at Dedon Island Resort will leave you refreshed and ready to face the new Chinese year.
A piece of Dedon-fibre jewellery for each guest, made by the Compostela Project.
How to get there: Sayak airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel, and is served by flights to Manila and Cebu, both easily accessed from Hong Kong.
Family attractions in the area: Explore Siargao Island, including the Tabon cave system, the village of General Luna and Magpupungko rock pool.
Kids will love: The calm, clear waters are perfect for swimming and learning to surf with the qualified instructors.
Parents will love: A romantic three-course dinner for two in the resort’s lantern-lit gardens.
With Mr & Mrs Smith you’ll enjoy a best-price guarantee, as well as a Smith Extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.
All images courtesy of mrandmrssmith.com.