Have you spent the last 20 years holidaying on a campsite, staying with relatives, or booking resorts close-to-home because it’s easy with the kids? If you’re planning your first holiday without them, take 5 and start dreaming about the kinds of things you’d like to do with your precious relaxation time… Although you might want to keep quiet about your plans – even if your kids have reached the age where it’s not ‘cool’ to go on holiday with you anymore, they may well change their minds once they hear about these amazing adventures…
Travel Around Thailand in 5 star Style: Phuket, Khao Sok & Krabi
Stay 5 nights at The Shore by Katathani in Phuket + 2 nights at Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Camp + 5 nights at Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort.
Thailand is the stuff of bucket-list dreams. Picture yourself tending an elephant in the Thai jungle, kayaking down a river in an ancient rainforest, and strolling across expansive white sandy beaches. And forget mosquito-ridden lodgings; there’s no need to forgo a few little luxuries during your travels and still have some unforgettable experiences.
Thailand is such a diverse country that travelling around when you’re there is a must. There’s plenty of affordable luxury accommodation, too. It’s also a great destination if you often struggle to get travel insurance elsewhere – since healthcare here is not as expensive as places like America, you’re likely to find an insurer who’ll cover you.
Begin your holiday in Thailand with a relaxing stay at 5?+ The Shore at Katathani, in Phuket. Kata Beach is widely considered to be the most beautiful in all of Phuket. This hotel is exceptional. It’s made up entirely of pool villas, each with its own infinity pool and sunken lounge. There’s an adults-only restaurant, where you’re dinner is served alongside sensational sunset views.
Next comes the adventurous part of your trip – staying 2 nights at 4 star+ Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Jungle Camps. The highlight here is washing and caring for elephants in the Khao Sok National Park. You’ll also have the option of taking part in some soft adventure activities – nothing too strenuous, but memorable! Think lazily paddling down a river in a canoe, exploring jungle lakes dotted with striking limestone rock formations, and discovering deserted beaches – just like Leonardo di Caprio.
Finish your holiday with 5 nights at the 5 star Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort. Enjoy fantastic breakfasts, the beautiful beach and exploring the gorgeous scenery of Phang Nga Bay.
Dazzling City Sights & Beachside Bliss: Dubai & The Maldives
3 nights at Sofitel The Palm, Dubai and 7 nights at Atmosphere Kanifushi, The Maldives
For an indulgent luxury getaway, pairing Dubai with The Maldives is tough to beat.
Break your journey to The Maldives with a few days enjoying the buzz of Dubai. Splurge on designer goods at Dubai Mall, and head up to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (especially good at sunset). Take a trip into the desert and take some incredible photos against the red dunes – and if you’re feeling brave, have a ride on a camel. Then enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars, before being dropped off back at your hotel.
Both Dubai and The Maldives are notoriously expensive when it comes to food and drink, so consider going all-inclusive on this trip so you can relax knowing you’ve already paid for everything you need. All-inclusive hotels in Dubai are not as common as you might expect since the concept is relatively new here, so make sure you do your research and choose a hotel close to all the main attractions. 5? Sofitel The Palm has just introduced an all-inclusive package – which generously includes a choice of 7 restaurants and it sits in a great location on the world-famous Palm Island next to Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis The Palm (you know, the one where Dannii Minogue took the girls for judges houses back in the early days of the X-Factor!).
In The Maldives, there are numerous all-inclusive resorts to choose from. Let’s face it; you can’t exactly go anywhere else for dinner once you’ve been marooned on your chosen island – so going all-inclusive becomes a no brainer. You’ll find one of the most generous packages at 5 star Atmosphere Kanifushi – which gives you a staggering choice of 80 wines on the all-inclusive – as well as everything in the minibar restocked twice daily. Even champagne! There’s also a lovely spa here, where you can truly relax and enjoy being pampered with the gentle sounds of ocean waves lapping in the background… the definition of a stress-free afternoon. You can take up the complimentary snorkelling excursions to see some incredible underwater scenery, or take part in a host of watersports if you’re an activebod. This resort is also home to the award-winning Just Veg restaurant. The menu here is so good; it’ll convert even the most die-hard carnivores to the virtues of veganism.
Hot & Cold: Barbados & New York
Spend 4 nights staying near Times Square in New York & 10 Nights at Sugar Bay Barbados
If you can handle taking lots of luggage, this makes a fabulous pre-Christmas combo. Begin your holiday wrapped up warm in New York – stocking up on Christmas gifts. You could even coincide your trip with the Black Friday Sales (end of November, after thanksgiving). Stay near to Times Square and you’ll be in the heart of the action, as well as all the theatres on Broadway if you want to catch a show while you’re there.
Then, just as you’ve had your fill of snowy Central Park scenes, hop on a plane and whizz down to Barbados for some well-earned R&R in the sunshine (it’s only a 5-hour flight, their equivalent of the Canaries). Average highs in Barbados at this time of year are a pleasant 29° – and it’s less humid than summer, making it the best time to visit weather-wise. There are loads of hotels to choose from depending on your budget, but if you’re looking for a decent all-inclusive, Sugar Bay Barbados is hard to beat for the money. Located on the island’s south coast, it’s close to the best restaurants and shops but benefits from a gentle sea breeze to keep you cool on the beach.