BOOK NOW // TRAVEL LATER TO BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES
BOOK NOW // TRAVEL LATER TO BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES
After a testing year and a prediction by the Centre of Mental Health reporting that there are up to 10 million in England who may need support for their mental health, travellers are seeking truly restorative breaks. BlueHealth – is a pan-European research initiative, that investigates the links between urban blue spaces, climate and health and proves the positive effect being waterside has on mental wellbeing. There’s no better time to book an escape to the water. Here are some top picks from across the globe for the right kind of ‘blues’…
THE DEEP BLUE OF THE UNDERWATER WORLD AT BAROS MALDIVES
Locally-owned Baros Maldives was one of the very first resorts to open in the Maldives in 1973 and lovers of marine life will revel in the resort’s Dive Centre – offering bespoke ‘Diving by Design’ programmes for divers of all levels wanting to explore the spectacular underwater world that surrounds Baros. Guests can dive amongst the un-spoilt coral reefs, teeming with life, and nearby Maldives Victory shipwreck with the chance to spot manta and eagle rays, sharks and turtles. Due to the resort’s close proximity to the sheltered waters on the house reef, ‘Fluo Night Dives’ are also possible for those seeking an alternative and unique after-dark experience of the deep blue.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Baros, Maldives from £2,100 per person based on two staying on a B&B basis, including economy flights from the UK and speedboat transfers. This includes a 15% 2021 early booking discount, valid on bookings made 45 days in advance, before 15 September 2021, and for travel between 1 May and 31 October 2021. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5020. OCEAN BLUE FROM YOUR PRIVATE VILLA DECK AT MILAIDHOO ISLAND MALDIVES
Milaidhoo’s spectacular Ocean Residence offers some of the most sought-after accommodation in the Maldives. Ideal for water babies, the 475sqm Ocean Residence features a huge freshwater infinity swimming pool with steps straight into the sea, allowing guests to explore Milaidhoo’s incredible house-reef direct from their villa. The authentically designed thatched-roof villa is perched on stilts above the crystal clear water and boasts unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean. Guests can spend the day relaxing on their villa deck complete with a swing chair and sun loungers, and there is even a ‘secret’ loft deck hidden inside the roof of the villa which is the perfect place to unwind with an aperitif and watch the sun set over the sea.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Milaidhoo, Maldives from £4,100 per person based on two sharing on a half-board basis, including economy flights from the UK and seaplane transfers. This includes a 35% discount on selected dates throughout 2021, valid on bookings made before 21 December 2021, for travel before 22 December 2021. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5020.
AQUA BLUE OF THE ANAMBAS ISLANDS AT BAWAH RESERVE, INDONESIA
With crystal-clear waters everywhere you look, Bawah Reserve is accessible only by private seaplane, the reserve is made up of six tropical islands, 13 beaches and 3 lagoons and combines high-end design with sustainability with an ‘earth first’ philosophy. Home to just 36 beautifully designed suites, Bawah is one of the only places in Indonesia to have Overwater Bungalows, which offer direct access to the clear blue lagoons. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, guests can becastaway for a day on a one of the reserve’s uninhabited islands and will fulfil their very own childhood Robinson Crusoe fantasy with only a luxury picnic and walkie talkie to hand. After being dropped off on the sandy shores, guests will have free run of the deserted island and can spend the day snorkelling amongst the untouched coral reefs, paddle boarding to the deeper blue sea or exploring in see-through kayaks.
HOW: Rates at Bawah Reserve start from $1,980 USD (approx. £1,452) per night for two people on a full board basis including daily spa treatment, laundry, in-room minibar and a host of land and water-based activities. For more information visit www.bawahreserve.com BOASTFUL BLUE VIEWS AT NIHI SUMBA, INDONESIA
For a seriously off-grid experience, guests at Nihi Sumba can add on the ‘Villa Rahasia’ experience. The journey to this remote villa begins with a sunrise trek across Sumba’s dramatic west coast and through rice paddies to the secluded Nihi Oka Valley. Staff await bearing scented towels, fresh coconuts and a bush-cooked breakfast served in a tree house. On arrival, guests are shown to their own private bale, which boasts expansive views of the coastline. Here, guests can enjoy unlimited spa treatments, with the line-up ranging from facials with ingredients harvested from the island such as coconut oil, mint leaves, green tea and red rice to treatments such as reflexology, deep tissue massage and Indonesian ‘Lulur’ body exfoliations, which are regarded as traditional medicine. There is a freshwater pool, a private cove and a spa sanctuary. The Sumbanese-inspired one-bedroom treehouse villa overlooks the Indian Ocean and allows guests to totally switch off in the wilderness.
HOW: Rates for Villa Rahasia start from £1,590 per night based on two people sharing on a full board basis including all spa treatments. http://nihi.com THE CARIBBEAN
AZURE BLUE OF ST JEAN BAY FROM VILLA MARIE ST BARTHS’ NEW GYP SEA BEACH CLUB
In December 2020, Villa Marie St Barths launched the all new Gyp Sea Beach Club – the ultimate hotspot to dine, drink and soak up the sun – cementing the hotel as one of the must visit destinations on this paradise island. The design concept is Bohemian, barefoot luxury with a laid-back Caribbean touch, in keeping with the tropical surroundings. The restaurant, set right on the beach, is adorned with breezy shades of blue, reflecting the azure waters that surround the island. Indigo tie dye blends with raw denim, while vibrant ultramarine coral-patterned fabrics and faded blue cashmere accent the white-sand, green palm backdrop. Just a short drive away, Villa Marie’s location boasts an incredible vantage point with sweeping views over the island and Flamands beach. It has 21 bungalows, four exclusive villas with private pools, a rum bar and a signature Pure Altitude Spa.
HOW: Gyp Sea Beach will open for breakfast and lunch, as well as for private dinners, on request. Rates at Villa Marie St Barths start from £400 per night for a classic bungalow based on two sharing on a B&B basis and from £900 per night for a villa including airport transfers. www.villamarie.fr
SKY BLUE SEAS AT JUMBY BAY ISLAND, ANTIGUA
Set in one of the most beautiful untouched locations in the world, Jumby Bay Island is a private island of simple pleasures located in the Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda, just two miles off mainland Antigua. Ringed with coral reefs and reachable only by boat with no cars in sight, the private isle is a one-of-a-kind hideaway known, quite simply, as the finest resort in the Caribbean. Antigua is renowned as a world-class sailing destination, home to the longest-running regatta in the Caribbean. Jumby Bay Island’s recently relaunched Sailing Academy offers aquaphiles’ the chance to feel the thrill and explore the surrounding crystal-clear waters. The Sailing Academy has been designed to teach guests the fundamentals of sailing with various courses available, tailored to all ages, from beginners looking to learn a new skill to experienced sailors honing their craft on Antigua’s famed waters. More experience sailors are invited to participate in a real yacht race around Antigua.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Jumby Bay Island, Antigua from £5,000 per person based on two sharing a Beachside Suite on an all-inclusive basis, including economy flights from the UK, private and boat transfers. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5020.
BREATHTAKING BLUES AT EDEN ROCK – ST BARTHS
The iconic Eden Rock – St Barths, is the destination of choice for those seeking the chicest getaway this year, perfectly fusing glamour, fun and service. Whether it is relaxing in the Eden Spa or sipping cocktails in the Rémy Salon and Bar, the hotel offers the ultimate island escape. Introducing an even easier way to get to St Barths is a new partnership with charter provider, Tradewind Aviation. The private jet charter option offers a safe, secure and stress-free journey from anywhere in the U.S. via San Juan, to reach St Barths. Charter from further afield is also available upon request.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Eden Rock, St Barths from £5,100 per person based on two staying on a B&B basis, including economy flights from the UK, internal flights and private transfers. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5020.
ENDLESS BLUE FROM POOL TO SEA AT SILVERSANDS GRENADA
With its heartfelt service, locally driven cuisine and ultra-sleek design, including its 100m swimming pool – the longest in the Caribbean – Silversands Grenada has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting hotels in the region. The resort is home to 43 studio suites and a mix of nine Hillside and Beachfront residential villas unobtrusively peppered throughout the surrounding landscape, as well as the artfully-designed outdoor infinity pool. Grenada itself is home to lush mountain ranges, powder-soft white sands, warm turquoise waters and balmy temperatures. Visitors can enjoy deep sea fishing, rock fishing and snorkelling and back on dry land, can soak up the sun or explore the island’s historical nutmeg factories, chocolate factories and centuries-old rum distilleries.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Silversands, Grenada from £3,200 per person based on two sharing a Silversands Garden Room on a B&B basis, including economy flights from the UK and private transfers. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5020. MIDDLE EAST
BLUE SKY PARAGLIDING AT SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY
Six Senses Zighy Bay boasts a spectacular setting guarded by the dramatic Hajar Mountains and private sandy beach. Ideal for those looking for an adrenaline rush, the resort offers a number of high-octane adventure experiences to satisfy adventure junkies young or old. The tone of the trip is set by paragliding into the resort from the top of Zighy Mountain with a professional paraglider offering guests spectacular views from 293 metres above the ground. The adventure continues with rock climbing and mountain biking, exploring the Hajar Mountains and glimpsing Oman’s rugged environment from onboard the hotel’s 90-ft traditional Omani Dhow boat. Take to the sea with paddle boarding, or explore the vibrant coral reefs and colourful marine life by snorkelling in the clear waters. Scuba diving is available for both beginners and more experienced divers looking for the next challenge.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers seven nights at Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman from £2,400 per person based on two sharing on a B&B basis, including economy flights from the UK and private transfers. This includes a 35% discount on bookings made at least 30 days in advance, for travel before 31 October 2021. For more information please visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5060. EUROPE
MEDITERRERAN BLUES AT THE ANASSA HOTEL, CYPRUS
For those feeling the pull of the irresistible Mediterranean sea, Anassa is the perfect choice for water babies, young and old. One of the Med’s most iconic hotels, Anassa offers a plethora of water-based activities from the hotel’s exquisite private beach including water-skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, parasailing and jet-skiing. Guests should not miss out on a sailing excursion to the glittering Blue Lagoon and along the stunning Akamas coastline. Since opening in 1998, this Cypriot gem has become world-renowned as one of the most exclusive and beautiful spa hotels in Europe. It epitomises Mediterranean living and exudes traditional charm, with the 166 low-rise rooms, suites and residences designed by Parisian interior designer Joelle Pleot, most offering magnificent ocean views.
HOW: Rates at Anassa start from €454 (currently approx. £405) based on two sharing a Garden View Room on a B&B basis. www.anassa.com ICE BLUE OF THE FJORDS OF NORWAY AT 62°NORD
Leading experiential travel company 62ºNORD is an extraordinary family owned company offering visitors immersive travel experiences and an array of wonderful outdoor activities – the perfect antidote for those looking to reset and spend some time outdoors. Specialising in the Sunnmøre region on the north west coast of Norway, the three-hotel circuit offers expert access to a remote and little known corner of the world. The area is renowned for its pristine nature, beautiful fjords, remote villages, spectacular waterfalls, vast glaciers and varied wildlife and 62ºNORD can organise activities for travellers to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the region in many different ways.
HOW: For more information please visit: www.62.no/en TURQUOISE BLUE OF THE LONGEST POOL ON THE ISLAND AT OKU IBIZA
Brand new lifestyle brand, OKU Hotels, launches its collection of soulful five-star hideaways with the opening of OKU Ibiza on 30 April 2021. Located on the fringe of Cala Gració bay and nestled in lush hills, OKU Ibiza is home to the island’s largest pool – one of four swimming pools at the property. The weekly brunch at the main pool will be something not to be missed. A rotating programme of some of the island’s best DJs and live performers will perform every Sunday as guests enjoy an all-day brunch, served with fresh juices and delicious cocktails.
HOW: Rates at OKU Ibiza start from €360 (currently approx. £323) based on two sharing a classic room on a room only basis. www.okuhotels.com/oku-ibiza/
BLISSFUL BLUE WATERS OF THE ZAMBEZI RIVER AT MATETSI VICTORIA FALLS
Close to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and located right on the banks of the Zambezi river, the exclusive Matetsi Victoria Falls gives a refined touch to the modern safari experience. Spacious private decks allow guests to relax under shaded sausage trees, gazing out over the Zambezi River and enjoying a cool glass of South African wine while elephants rustle nearby trees. The BlueHealth research reports that even being near the water edge can have a halo effect on your mood, this could be exactly what the doctor ordered. World class cuisine blends Zimbabwean traditions with contemporary flare for a sumptuous fusion, offering a gastronomic experience that few in Africa can rival. Benefiting from a large private wildlife concession, and exclusive river frontage, Matetsi Victoria Falls offers guests a host of activities from safaris to microlight flights. It is possible to spot a variety of animals in the surrounding area, including elephant, hippo, lion, leopard and African wild dog. For an unforgettable experience, glide through the glassy Zambezi waters on a canoe, listening to the calls of fish eagles echoing off the trees and connecting with nature on this truly tranquil experience.
HOW: Rates at Matetsi Victoria Falls start from $850 (approx. £617) per night per person staying in a suite. www.matetsivictoriafalls.com EXPANSIVE BLUE WATERS AT THE OCEANSIDE OYSTER BOX
Situated in Durban, right by the ocean’s edge, The Oyster Box is one of South Africa’s most beloved hotels. The hotel offers unrivalled views of the famous Umhlanga lighthouse, best enjoyed while sipping the hotel’s signature ‘Umhlanga Sling’ by the poolside, accompanied by freshly shucked oysters from the hotel’s very own oyster beds. The Oyster Box is home to 86 beautifully decorated rooms, each with their own balcony for guests to sit back and look out at the ocean. For a special experience, book a stay which falls on the weekly Dinner Dance. This famous event has been hosted by the same Maitre D’ since 1963 and sees locals from across Durban settling down for an elegant four-course meal before dancing the night away to a live band.
HOW: Rates at The Oyster Box start from £329 per room per night including breakfast. https://www.oysterboxhotel.com
CRYSTAL-CLEAR WATERS OF PANAMA’S CARIBBEAN COST AT ISLAS SECAS
Islas Secas is a privately-owned archipelago of 14 beautiful islands in the Gulf of Chiriquí, located off Panama’s rugged Pacific coast. Set totally off the grid, 33 nautical miles from the nearest civilisation, the resort offers thrill-seekers endless opportunities for adventure whilst also guaranteeing the utmost in privacy and exclusivity. Islas Secas is an idyllic base from which to explore the spectacular blue waters surrounding the islands. Activities include snorkelling, diving and swimming the archipelago’s fish-storied waters, as well as kayaking, paddle boarding and ‘e-foiling’. Just a short boat trip away guests will find a selection of world-class surf breaks at the renowned Morro Negrito. Back on land the spa is the perfect way to relax and refresh, with a selection of holistic treatments in open-air tents and classes such as yoga and breath work
HOW: Rates at Islas Secas start from $1,500 (currently approx. £1,106) per night on an all-inclusive basis, including all F&B, select activities on and off-island, and road and boat transfers between the city of David Airport and Islas Secas. For more information, visit islassecas.com WHITE SANDS AND TURQUOISE BLUE SEAS OF XPU-HA AT HOTEL ESENCIA
Hotel Esencia is a much-loved boutique retreat located on a private 50-acre estate set along the ivory sands of the Riviera Maya. Surrounded by lush Mayan jungle, the hotel was originally built as the private home of an Italian duchess on the most beautiful, tranquil beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coast – Xpu-Ha. Immersing oneself in nature and dedicating time to self-care has been proven to have a remarkably positive impact on mental wellbeing, and Hotel Esencia’s brand-new Rooftop Wellness Suites are perfect for just that. Launched in December 2020, the impressive new suites are complete with private fitness studios, expansive rooftop terraces with plunge pools and spectacular jungle views. The shower doubles up as a steam room with an aromatherapy option and on demand guests can have a Peloton bike or TRX suspension trainer placed on the room.
HOW: Located just 50 minutes from Cancun and 30 from Tulum, Hotel Esencia is full of character, charm and heritage. Rates in the new Rooftop Wellness Suites will start from $975 (currently approx. £719) per night. This rate is based on two people sharing on a room only basis and is subject to 19% tax and 10% service per night. www.hotelesencia.com
PICTURE-PERFECT BLUE WATERS AT BAHAMA HOUSE, HARBOUR ISLAND
Turquoise waters, pink sand beaches, and pastel-coloured houses draped with vibrant bougainvillea are sure to cast a spell on guests of Bahama House, Harbour Island. A freshwater swimming pool and gorgeous tiki bar make it hard to leave. Guests can scuba dive or snorkel, cliff jump into a sapphire blue hole, or catch their own dinner on a deep sea fishing excursion. The neighbouring islands are also within easy reach, thanks to the property’s Scorpion RIB Boat and captain. No matter how guests choose to spend the day, it will always end in true island style with a Goombay Smash sundowner in hand.
HOW: Bahama House rates start at $300 (approx. £220) per room per night based on double occupancy, or from $6,000 (approx. £4,390) per night for a private property buyout based on 22 guests. This includes pre-arrival planning with an Eleven Experience Manager, daily meals, house alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and a Pink Sand Beach experience. Guided adventures, professional photography and wellness services can be arranged at an additional cost. www.elevenexperience.com