Hot off the press…
Stay up to date on the latest hotel and resort happenings in the region. Some of our favourite accommodation has had an upgrade and there are some fabulous new openings to try as well. In Sri Lanka, it’s all about sustainable tourism, while the Middle East is entertaining the whole family. A little closer to home there are some good excuses to head over to Macau (new cocktail and spa menus!) or you could search for some spirituality in Japan or Laos. It’s never too early to start planning the next holiday!
Pullman Maamutaa is the newest five-star resort to open in the Maldives. Its 122 decadent villas are set over the serene lagoon or on the beach. For a real treat, book into one of the exclusive Aqua Villas (which feature bedrooms submerged beneath the turquoise waters)! When not in the water, you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation, a natural lake and sun-kissed beaches. Bliss! The kids can occupy their days at the Playground and Skillz Sports Centre or by hitting the nature walks, getting into treasure hunts and outdoor sports.
Special opening offer: Enjoy complimentary return transfers (valued at $360 USD pp) when booking a stay of five nights or more. Valid until Monday, 23 December 2019.
Luxury hotel Aman has been busy setting up its newest offering in a secret garden at the heart of a 32-hectare forest. Opening on Friday, 1 November 2019, the resort is a secluded retreat where moss-covered boulders glow in the lush undergrowth, winding footpaths link tranquil forest glades and streams provide a soothing soundtrack broken only by birdsong. Use this base to explore all the cultural wonder that Kyoto has to offer.
Take your teenagers on an active adventure (they need to be able to walk three to four hours, or six to 12 km comfortably). Easily reached from Tokyo, the Izu Peninsula is one of the most unique geological areas on earth. Each day you’ll traverse mountains and forests, go past natural springs and along the coast (fresh, local seafood features heavily in the provided meals). Most of the accommodation along the way is in coastal onsen towns, so you can relax with a steamy bath at the end of your daily hike.
Essential info: This 7 day/6 night tour runs seasonally from September to November and February to May. Costing JPY376,000 per person for a group tour departing on set dates. Single supplement applicable for solo travellers and private custom tours available.
Walk Japan, www.walkjapan.com
Eco-savvy mamas searching for environmentally-sustainable hotel options in Sri Lanka should look at the Jetwing Hotel Group. For over 45 years these hotels have been providing outstanding service and pioneering the way in sustainable tourism. Initiatives include in-house food production (with rice being grown in the paddy fields at Jetwing Kaduruketha in Wellawaya), air-conditioning units run from energy generated by biomass and desalinated water being used to keep the lush gardens in prime condition. With 34 properties spread over 17 destinations, you’re sure to find an eco-option that’s just right for your family.
The landmark Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has officially reopened following an extensive six-month restoration. This historic hotel (it first opened in 1932) has been welcoming discerning travellers for over eighty years (including the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama!). The property has retained its colonial style while giving all the rooms and suites an upgrade. You’ll enjoy the modern touches like coffee machines, USB charging stations, pillow-top mattresses which are combined with heritage features, brass rotary telephones and grand claw-foot bathtubs. At just a 20-minute drive to the gates of the UNESCO World Heritage Temples, this is a great place to base yourself the next time you want to explore Siem Reap.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Siem Reap, Cambodia, +855 23 982 598, www.raffles.com/siem-reap,
In need of a group holiday? Grab your friends and look at the brand new, five-bedroom Mandala. The Bay. on the island of Nusa Lembongan. Along with luxe bedrooms (all with ensuites!), you’ll find a gorgeous swimming pool, outdoor dining area, library and cinema rooms. Breakfast is prepared daily and there’s also a maid service included in all stays to help tidy up. This is the newest property to join the Mandala group and the first on Nusa Lembongan. It’s just a 30-minute boat ride from Bali but feels another world away.
At the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, Luang Prabang, you’ll find the Amantaka Resort. Laos is a deeply Buddhist country and in Luang Prabang, in particular, seeing monks on the streets as well as at temples is a common sight. The Amantaka (which means “teaching of the Buddha”) has recently launched the Buddhist Learning Centre, with the aim of educating guests on the practice and principles of Buddhism. You can expect daily private teaching, a chance to ask all those pertinent questions, along with meditation sessions. There is also the opportunity to be guided through the Wat Siphoutthabath temple by Senior Monk, Sombath Watsiphoutthabat. This is a great opportunity for some spiritual enlightenment while you relax.
At Jumeirah properties across the Middle East, there is a renewed focus of fun and adventure for all the family. Relax in style along the sprawling private beaches of Jumeirah Al Qasr, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, all in Dubai. Create family memories to last a lifetime with activities like tug of war, badminton, football or volleyball on the beach. Children also have the chance to meet some of the UAE’s most treasured animals, with camel rides across the golden sands or feeding rescued sea turtles recuperating at Jumeirah Al Naseem’s lagoon. It’s not just for the kids. Parents can get some alone time (guilt-free!) while the kids are occupied at themed supervised nights three times a week. When you all want to come together as a family, there’s a beach cinema (complete with butlers serving popcorn, ice-cream and milkshakes).
Closer to home: Hong Kong and Macau
Can’t face a flight with the family? Take advantage of one of the many staycation packages on offer around Hong Kong at the moment. Take a short drive from Central, but feel a world away at Le Méridien in Cyberport. Be sure to check out its family staycation package which includes thoughtful child-friendly extras like an extra bed (or an exciting teepee tent!), fun kids’ amenities and a pair of Baia Baia Paris flip-flops, as well as breakfast at Prompt restaurant (for two adults and one child under 12 years). Spend your days lazing around the pool, or get out and explore the area!
Le Méridien, 100 Cyberport Road, Cyberport, Hong Kong, 2980 7788, www.marriott.com
The beautiful and sleek The Upper House is celebrating its tenth anniversary this October and inviting you to come and celebrate. Book its “10 Year Journey” room package (available until 31 December, 2019) and receive a three-hour Hong Kong Safari led by a member of the guest experience team (choose your “guru” – food, explorer, connoisseur, shopping or local!), a bottle of 2009 vintage wine from Café Gray Deluxe and a welcome gift from Matches Fashion. Go on, treat yourself!
Looking for a luxury hotel in Macau that doesn’t offer gambling? Is there even such a thing? The Mandarin Oriental is the perfect place to stay and rediscover Macau (it’s just a short walk to the historic centre) without the casinos onsite. Visit now and discover the new eco-initiative to eliminate single-use plastic with the introduction of Nordaq FRESH to purify and bottle (in reusable glass) still and sparkling water in-house. Looking for another excuse? Schedule a visit to the Vida Rica Bar to try out the delicious new “Movies & Cocktails” menu as part of the Art of Mixology series. The creative menu takes its inspiration from local Macanese art-house movies and will be raising money to support the local cinematography industry.
Leave the kids at home and head over for some parents-only indulgence with the new spa menu at the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa Macau. The new treatments feature enhanced signature therapies drawing on Asian traditions to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. With a focus on “high-touch, low-tech,” treatments use all-natural ingredients and celebrate the art of human touch. Go on, Mama, you deserve a treat!