The Off-Grid Beach Escape
Jalakara, Andaman Islands
At Jalakara, switching off is positively encouraged. And when you see the paradisiacal surroundings, staring into a screen makes no sense. The remote Andamans have an undiscovered feel, so the primeval jungle and pristine beaches seem almost untouched, which is hard to find these days. Even better, foliage-clad hideaway Jalakara offers a sleek and stylish way to enjoy it.
The décor is smart with polished concrete floors, glossy teak and a tasteful colour palette, with views onto a tableau of green rainforest. Ideal for couples seeking seclusion is the Garden Suite with its pretty lily pond, outdoor bale with daybed and al fresco tub. Relax here or whizz down by rickshaw to the most perfect arc of palm-fringed white sand. Coming back to the real world will be challenging.
Making Wine and Memories
Conti di San Bonifacio, Italy
Many oenophiles may have visited the vineyard of their favourite wine. But wine-lovers should take note – we’ve discovered an experience that takes wine appreciation to a much more personalised level. At Conti di San Bonifacio in Tuscany, you can create your own vintage.
First, you’ll walk among the organic vines and learn about different aspects of wine making. After tasting from different barrels, you will then produce your own blend, and even design the wine labels for your vintage. A year later you’ll receive 120 bottles of your very own, very personalised wine. This unbelievably special experience is a wonderful gift idea, a round-number birthday, or a very romantic wedding anniversary.
The Show Stopping Weekend
Chateau Les Carrasses, France
Got a group of like-minded pals that love food, wine and fun? Take them away for a rip-roaring ride through Languedoc, sleeping at a chateau, drinking fine French wine and discovering seafood restaurants. Stay at immaculate Chateau Les Carrasses and enjoy ice-cold rosé on the terrace from the chateau’s own vines. Wake up to rural French bliss in a collection of side-by-side three-bedroom villas with private pools.
A must is a visit to Tarbouriech, where the coastal lagoon creates perfect conditions for mussel and oyster beds. Settle down at the rustic-chic oyster bar on the sunny pier to sample fresher-than-fresh seafood washed down with delicious local picpoul.
The Tropical Island Paradise
With direct flights to the Seychelles, it’s easier than ever to get to paradise. Maia, located on Mahé, is just a short 25-minute drive from the airport – so within an hour of landing you could be wallowing in warm Indian Ocean waters.
On arrival, there’s no check-in fuss, instead you’re taken directly to your spacious hillside villa that has a private pool in its jasmine-scented garden, where views reveal the curve of tropical beach below, bordered by smooth volcanic rocks. Many couples aren’t seen for days – this is a nurturing kind of place where your every need is met with mind-reading efficiency until there’s nothing left to do but relax.
The Party Villa
Villa Ezzahra, Morocco
Why celebrate at home when you could invite all your friends to Marrakech for a dazzling party? Imagine your favourite people gathered around an al fresco dinner table decorated in rose petals surrounded by flickering lanterns and swaying date palms.
At Villa Ezzahra, parties like this are part of its very DNA, allowing groups to lengthen celebrations by adding days in the souk, hikes in the Atlas Mountains or argan oil massages in the candle-lit hammam.
With seven luxurious suites, everyone has space to recover and the competent house manager has party essentials on speed dial. For a wow-factor finale – head out to the desert to dance under the stars.
The One for Wellness
Santani, Sri Lanka
Celebrating doesn’t have to be all about the excess. At modern wellness resort Santani, located in the hills above Kandy, you can truly switch off from the bustle of modern life, and give yourself the gift of rejuvenation.
Santani’s mesmerising environment makes this particularly easy: the suites and glass-fronted hub look out over the never-ending greenery of the Knuckles Range, and if this wasn’t sigh-inducing enough, there’s a range of treatments from full detox, yoga programs, hiking and traditional Ayurvedic practices. And although healthy living is very much on the agenda, no one disapproves of nightly cocktails and curry feasts. It is a holiday after all.
The Iconic Train Ride
A rite of passage for any locomotive enthusiast, this historic train ride must be taken at least once in a lifetime. It’s a very special way to celebrate an anniversary or landmark birthday – the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express does not disappoint.
Evoking the golden age of travel, you’ll travel via Paris to Venice on this gleaming train where you’ll dress up in black tie for four-course meals in the glamorous dining car with white-glove service, accompanied by the tinkle of a live pianist. Don’t let the fun stop when you arrive in Venice – stay in a marble-sheened palazzo and graze on cicheti washed down with ice-cold prosecco.
The Safari Honeymoon
Euphorbia Villas, Botswana (opens June 2020)
The ultimate of all romantic holidays – the honeymoon – is often fraught with expectation. Get ahead of the rest and ensure your post-wedding break lives up to the hype by booking into the brand-new Euphorbia Villas at luxury safari lodge Mashatu.
Be first through the door to stay in these sprawling, natural living areas that are built sensitively into the surroundings, use green energy and have heated plunge pools. Guided bush walks, jeep safaris and camouflaged hides mean close game viewing but to cement those memories make the most of photography tuition available in camp.
The Active Getaway
Palazzo Seneca, Italy
Staying at one of our favourite Umbrian properties, Palazzo Seneca, means being immersed in an Italian culture that’s very particular to this region. Located in Norcia, there are cafés, restaurants, and a pretty piazza to enjoy this unspoilt way of life. Further afield, the dramatic surroundings play host to activities such as hiking Piano Grande’s wildflower meadows to truffle hunting with dogs.
Make the most of the beautifully hilly terrain by riding pedal-assisted bikes, known as e-bikes. Now, journeys deemed only suitable for Tour-de-France-style routes are available to all of us. Even better – Palazzo Seneca will send you off with a luxury picnic to be enjoyed under the shade of an olive tree.
The Ski Celebration
Imagine standing at the top of a mountain, surrounded by the jagged peaks of British Columbia, looking down onto a swathe of pristine, untouched powder, ready for your first tracks. There are no people, no lifts, no runs – just you, the snow and an incredible mountain vista. Welcome to the world of heli-skiing in Canada, taking off-piste to a whole new level.
On this trip, a helicopter will fly you to the most perfect spots, drop you, then pick you up to do it all over again. You can even choose to stay overnight in a wilderness lodge, accessible only by helicopter, for the ultimate immersive mountain experience.
Celebrating Milestones How to commemorate those notable occasions
Read on for raft of inspiration for those special celebrations.
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