All but essential travel might be on hold for now, but we can still dream about the bucket list adventures that are on our radar for 2021 and beyond – from diving with whale sharks and dining on disappearing islands, to discovering magical Marrakech.
Scuba with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays
For the ultimate island adventure and once-in-a-life-time experience, thrill-seeking travellers can head to Pimalai Resort & Spa in Koh Lanta Thailand, to discover the magnificent marine life of the Andaman Sea and dive alongside the largest fish in the world, the whale shark, in their natural habitat. This beautiful coastal area is one of the first to welcome the gentle giants each diving season, reaching up to 15 meters long and weigh over 40 tons.
In partnership with Scubafish, the PADI 5-Star, Gold Palm and IDC-certified dive centre, Pimalai offers divers a chance to explore the tourist-free turquoise waters of Koh Lanta when whale shark sightings are most frequent. After a day of exploration, travellers can retreat to the hidden paradise of Pimalai, with their own infinity pool surrounded by 11 acres of lush, tropical forest away from the hustle and bustle of better-known Thai islands.
Prices start at approx. £1,088. For more information or to book visit: https://www.pimalai.com/
Journey Through Moroccan History with Magical Medina Trips
For a fascinating insight into Moroccan history and culture and Marrakech, hailed as Africa’s first Capital of Culture for 2020, the five-star Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is located in the ‘Golden Triangle’ and provides the perfect base to explore the art and soul of the city. Home to over 400 works of art by local, emerging artists as well as renowned Moroccan painters from the 1960s, guests can embark on private tours of the Es Saadi Palace art gallery and learn the history behind the different works of art and the resort itself, with masterpieces situated both in the gallery and around the lavish Suites, Villas and Ksars – all designed with traditional Moroccan architecture.
For an immersion into the heart of the city, the concierge at Es Saadi can organise trips to the mystical open square of Djemma el Fna – a must visit destination filled with acrobats, magicians, traditional food and arts & crafts stools. Guests can also take a tour to the magical souks and markets of Marrakech to indulge in some retail therapy, or head to the beautiful botanical grounds of Jardin Majorelle. For the ultimate adventure experience, Es Saadi can even organise a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the African sky, ensuring an unforgettable experience with panoramic views of the bustling city beneath them.
For more information or to book visit: www.essaadi.com
Dine on a Vanishing Island
Basking in brilliant sunshine year-round, culture-rich Bahrain invites travellers from around the globe to discover its attractive archipelago of 33 islands. Located on the pristine coastline of capital city Manama, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain makes the ideal base to explore the Kingdom’s extensive array of unique activities, including a sensational dining experience on the ‘disappearing’ Jarada Island.
From a private, luxury boat, snorkel the oyster beds and partake in the world-famous pearl diving of Bahrain, once the centre of the world’s pearl trade. Those who find a pearl – deemed to be the best in the world – can take it home for a souvenir like no other. Pearls found, enjoy the ultimate castaway experience and dine on Jarada Island – a deserted strip of land, only accessiable for a few hours each day before the tide washes over its sugar-white sand. Sit on traditional, woven cushions and enjoy an authentic picnic prepared by the hotel’s resident Chef. Diners must feast and make their memories, before the island disappears under the waves.
For more information or to book visit ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/middle-east/bahrain
Visit Europe’s Most Advanced Wellness Retreat for the Ultimate Health MOT
After an anxiety-inducing time of uncertainty spent at home, those looking for a complete detox, restoration of energy, and rejuvenation of mind, body and soul can head to Chenot Palace Weggis – a brand new, full-service medical spa which brings the science behind wellness to Lake Lucerne, Switzerland – set to open in June 2020.
For the ultimate bucket list adventure, bespoke programmes are created using the latest technology and renowned Chenot Method® for every guest, visitors can expect in-depth medical and nutritional consultations and can undertake one of three signature,7-day retreats; including Advanced detox, Recover and Energise or Prevention and Ageing Well. A combination of spa treatments, detoxification, activation of energy channels, simulation of physiological functions and a tailored diet plan work to trigger preventive, repairing and regenerative actions, for the ultimate bucket-list wellness experience.
A seven-night minimum stay at Chenot Palace Weggis, including one of the extensive Chenot wellness programmes starts from 8,030CHF (approx. £6,750) per person. For more information or to book visit: www.chenotpalaceweggis.com
Eat, Sleep, Paint, Retreat in the Maldives
Drawing inspiration from its island environment, Fairmont Maldives’ new art retreat combines tours of the Coralarium – an underwater gallery and coral regeneration project – meditation, spa rituals and mindful painting guided by the resident artist. Whether it’s enhancing overall wellbeing or simply learning to embrace being in nature, the retreat encourages guests to disconnect with technology and reconnect with nature.
Dive into the crystal ocean, where over 250 species of tropical fish, manta rays and turtles patrol the resort’s 9km house reef. Snorkel the vibrant corals before exploring the Coralarium – a submerged art installation and coral regeneration project. Discover the sculptures created by British eco-artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, on an underwater art tour, accompanied by the resort’s resident marine biologist. Back on the beach, guests can create their own marine-inspired masterpiece in the art studio, under the watchful eye of a resident artist – from jewellery making and canvas painting to photography lessons. Those who prefer to leave painting to the pros can join daily yoga sessions and meditation lessons. A menu of spa treatments is available at Willow Stream Spa, offering a range of massage, facial and ayurvedic full-body rituals that are connected to local island culture.
To book and for further information, please visit Fairmont.com/Maldives
Immerse Yourself in the Natural Phenomenon of Butterfly Valley on the Greek Island of Rhodes
Boasting the perfect blend of luxury accommodation, breath-taking views and culture rich adventure experiences, the five-star resorts of Lindos Hotels provide the perfect settings for travellers to discover the beauty of Rhodes and tick this lesser-known Greek island off of their bucket-list.
A gateway to Rhodes, the hotel concierge at Lindos Village Resort & Spa, the brand-new Lindos Grand Resort & Spa or Gennadi Grand Resort can arrange horse-riding treks or guided hiking tours to areas rich in natural beauty, such as the forest of Butterfly Valley. Located nearby, this 600-acre nature reserve showcases the natural phenomenon of thousands of colourful butterflies congregating in the final stages of their lives amongst the lush greenery and beautiful waterfalls of the valley. Embark on a Jeep Safari experience, where hidden hotspots such as Seven Springs with verdant woodlands and pine-tree shaded walking trails are revealed, as well as the village of as the village of Foundoukli to visit one of the few remaining chapels on the island from the 15th century.
For more information or to book visit: www.lindoshotels.com
Live as Robinson Crusoe on the Maldives’ Most Private Island
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to escape everything? To drop everything, cut all ties, escape the hold of technology; and just breathe? At the luxurious Velaa Private Island, guests can do just that. Offering a Robinson Crusoe experience – who found that an escape from life itself was the best scenario that could ever occur – guests can experience the pinnacle of natural beauty and seclusion on their own desert island.
Set at the most Northern point of the Maldives, Velaa Private Island is possibly the most private island in the world. And, as the only resort in the Maldives that has a no drone rule, in-room dining direct to the ocean and a ratio of 1:8 guests to staff, it is privacy personified. After a private speedboat ride to the Pool Residence, complete with a dedicated butler, guests have access to a range of Bond-worthy, state-of-the-art water equipment. From Yacht Rania, one of the fastest yachts in the Maldives, to an aquatic jetpack and hoverboards, there’s something to tempt every adventure-lover. Velaa is also the only Maldivian resort with its own private, semi-submarine, offering guests the once-in-a-lifetime, underwater experience.
Rates at Velaa Private Island for the Beach Pool Villa start from approx. £2,355 per night. For more information or to book visit www.velaaprivateisland.com/