The Next Travel Horizon3.07.20 | Oliver
Originally featured in Jaime magazine, read the latest issue online here.
We look at some luxurious and private breaks for the perfect post-lockdown getaway
As we sit at home and wait, many of us are thinking about what comes next. Our 2020 plans have been abruptly put on hold and, as the Covid-19 curve begins to subside, we start to plan our next move.
Many of us have rewritten our bucket lists and thought about all of the things that really matter. Spending time with loved ones, seeing the world, working less and focusing on happiness and heartfelt experiences.
You’re not the only one dreaming of that first sip from a fresh coconut on a white, sandy beach. But when? When can we get back to exploring all of Mother Nature’s beauty spots? During our collective forced pause, Mother Nature has been thriving. Jungles have grown bigger, our waters are clearer and our air is cleaner, and we have a newfound respect for our wonderful planet.
There has been a lot of talk from travel and trend experts about what the future of travel looks like. There is no clear answer, but one thing that is for sure is a need to take care of ourselves and each other. The current situation we find ourselves in has been a time for reflection and we long for those days of walking hand-in-hand on a beach, or the clink of wine glasses as we watch the sun set. For many of us, that first post lockdown trip will be to an idyllic private retreat.
For travel specialists like ourselves, although it has been a challenging time it is also a time for hope and a time to think about what our clients really want. We all still want to travel but we want to feel safe. With this in mind, we have listed our favourite hot spots that give you luxury and privacy. A safe haven, a secret hideout. That perfect, unique break.
From white sandy beaches to unique once-in-a-lifetime-moments, we present a selection of our top suggestions that may very well suit the post-lockdown travel escape.
Tropical private escapes
Private villa accommodation does not have to mean you miss out on the facilities and service offered by a hotel resort. Many of the world’s leading resorts offer residences or villa accommodations as an upgrade, as well as standard hotel rooms. A good example of this would be the Sala brand in Thailand. Our favourite is Sala Samui, but their private villas on Phuket have huge pools which are walled in for ultimate privacy.
The Anantara in Salalah, Oman, is also a great beach front property with history and culture nearby, top resort restaurants but plenty of large private pool villas suitable for couples and families. You can enjoy the service you expect with villa accommodations, without having to cater for yourself.
Thailand definitely offers the best value-for-money for private pool villas; some of the largest are at Soneva Kiri on Koh Kut (main picture above). The resort is actually close to Cambodia too and you can day-trip to Angkor Wat!
These private villas – which are usually very spacious and come with their own butler – will no doubt be in huge demand as travellers seek out privacy, space and want to relax knowing they are not in too close proximity to other guests.
Other favourite tropical island destinations of ours include Petit St Vincent (PSV) in the Grenadines. This home-away-from-home style island resort is a contrast to some of the other glitzy resorts in the Caribbean. It’s charm and authenticity really appealed to us, as did it’s ‘No TV, no WiFi’ policy in the villas!
Does the idea of white sand between your feet sound good? Jumby Bay Resort lies just off the coast of Antigua and is one of our favourite private island getaways in the Caribbean. For ultimate privacy, we recommend the stunning sea-view one-bedroom hideaway with infinity pool and outdoor garden shower and soaking tub! This is definitely a more glamorous option than PSV, and is certainly up there as one of the best resorts in the world!
For the ultimate luxury escape, Finolhu in the Maldives is a great choice. These unique beach-based bubble tents have sprung up to offer a unique way of experiencing island life. Sleep under the stars for an unforgettable, romantic night, totally at once with nature with all the comforts close at hand. The island was founded by Adidas who uses ocean plastic waste in the manufacturing of their trainers.
Closer to home, there are some wonderful, unique hotels within easy reach. Not only is Cap Rocat one of the most luxurious and stylish properties on the island of Majorca, but their Sentinel Suites are really something else. Uniquely carved into the rock face, they offer privacy and amazing views over the Mediterranean Sea. You have your own small private pool and hammocks and benefit from mind blowing sunsets!
One of the most unique collections of accommodations in the world, the Tree Hotel in Sweden offers individually designed tree house style accommodation with stunning scenery, a host of activities and the chance to see the Northern Lights. You can visit all year round too so if you prefer a summer scenic escape, it is the perfect option. You can also combine with the new Arctic Bath and the Ice Hotel in Sweden.
If you like the idea of a safari, Chiefs Camp is a luxury hideaway offering just ten bush lodges located on Chiefs Island in the heart of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It was from here that my fellow MD, Nathan, had one of his most breath-taking wildlife experiences! The hotel is spacious, and each of the stylish bush pavilions features a private dining area, a tranquil outside seating area and a terrace pool – all perfect for absorbing the surrounding plains and majestic African skies. The bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors leading to outdoor showers and generous tubs are perfect for long, indulgent soaks. Relax on your covered deck and look out for elephants, giraffes, buffalo and other wildlife as you enjoy the camp’s excellent cuisine and wines.
A great way to experience the night sky of the Jordanian desert, the Bubble Hotel features around 20 individual spacious bubble suites dotted around the desert landscape. Combined with a visit to the Lost City of Petra, these would be a perfect escape for a night or two as part of your tour around Jordan. I had the pleasure to visit Jordan a few years ago and it was one of those childhood dreams come true. I grew up watching Indiana Jones and while it wasn’t quite the same in parts, it was still very special indeed and a good introduction to this part of the world. Since Jordan, I have been back to the Middle East, most recently to Oman which had a similar charm, great scenery and culture which I would admit some of the other Arabian destinations can lack in parts. If like me, you have a sense of ‘Indy’ inside you and love an adventure, I suggest not lumping them all in the same basket though, their societies do differ greatly and it is worth exploring a few to fully appreciate their dynamic.
What could be more private than exploring in the comfort of your own car? Let your daily plan have a little flexibility so you can come and go as you please. Some of the world’s most scenic spots are easily explored by car, here are a few of our own personal favourites:
South Africa’s Garden Route and Winelands is definitely at the top of our list as a ‘must-do’ experience. Not only can you begin with one of the world’s best cities in Cape Town, but you can take in possibly the best scenery on Earth, at your own pace. We did this drive over a number of days and came into contact with very few people along the way. It was very relaxing and yet there was so much to see and do, but it felt private, special and wonderfully memorable. The driving route is easily split into small sections with only a couple of hours driving every few days. A few nights safari at the end of your trip will round it off very nicely indeed and is a great way to celebrate a special occasion.
Close to home, an often overlooked driving route is from Barcelona, over the Pyrenees to the Basque country and then back again in a loop. There’s generally very little traffic once outside of the city and lovely quant stops along the way. Our tip would be to head to Andorra from Barcelona first and enjoy lunch at Borda Vella, a local restaurant and one of the best culinary experiences of the road trip! Andorra is a popular ski destination and so it was great to see a different side to the well known resorts in the summer months.
From here we ventured into France to Pau and then Biarritz. This is foodie heaven, as is St Sebastian and Bilbao with its famous Guggenheim Museum. The drive back took us through Spain with a stop at the jaw-dropping Bardenas Reales (another opportunity to stargaze in their Bubble Tents).
Sardinia is another favourite destination to self-drive. A few nights in the north is ideal followed by a scenic drive diagonally across the island towards the south. Witness the changing landscapes and taste the contrasting changes of cuisine. The north and south of Sardinia are very different indeed and it is worth spending at least a week but preferably more to enjoy it. It’s very popular in the height of the summer so we suggest visiting slightly off-season. If time is not on your side, a few nights at the stunning Petra Segreta Resort and Spa is a must. Their private suites with pools are the ultimate indulgence. At the very least you could just swing by the dinner, but a little warning; don’t trust your sat nav – use the hotel’s specific instructions and give yourself plenty of time! It will most definitely be worth it, the views are out of this world!
Portugal is another county that lends itself well to a driving holiday. We flew into Lisbon for a few nights of culture, food and wine, then picked up our car to head to the lesser known, but beautiful Alentejo. Here we enjoyed more culture, food and wine and it was nice to escape the city and step back in time a little. A far distance from any tourist crowd, this region is well known for its, well, culture, food and wine. Our tip would be to stay in one of the many historic converted Pousadas for a really authentic Portuguese experience. If time permits you could continue to drive south to the Algarve and relax in your own private pool villa before flying home.
If you need an idea to treat that special someone and don’t want to venture too far, how about an Aston Martin 007 Experience in Scotland? This package captures the style and glamour of the timeless Bond films and lets you enjoy the thrills of driving a stylish Aston Martin through stunning Scottish scenery and around key locations associated with the films. You’ll pass by Faslane naval base, featured in The Spy Who Loved Me and the loch by Crinan, scene of a boat chase through the Bosphorus in From Russia with Love. What screams Bond more than staying on a private island? Here you’ll learn how to make the ultimate martini! This very special short break includes an exclusive speedboat trip past Duart Castle, family seat of the real-life inspiration of 007. And who could resist powering through Glencoe, setting for the dramatic finale of Skyfall?
While travel is not in our immediate schedules, the lack of movement has led to many “wish we were there” conversations and already 2021 is looking like a busy year for travel. Whether you are nervous or not we are here to help guide you back to exploring the world again with ease. Our expert knowledge and little black book can ensure you are taken care of and above all safe.Contact us