Let these travel buzzwords lead the way to your next escapade
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas BY KENNETH GOH
On the Maldivian Baa Atoll island archipelago sits a luxurious, private idyll that you will want to return to time and again
The spa on the beach
Sunset Over Water Pool Villa
Search “smultronställe” online and images of breathtaking seascapes and far-ﬂung destinations will come up. The Swedish word represents a special paradise discovered and treasured for its blissful tranquility, which perfectly epitomises Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas. Pristine white beaches amidst treasured reefs within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Uninhabited islands and spectacular sunsets. All this in waters so blue, your eyes will hurt from the clarity of the ocean. Surrounded by the azure waters of Baa Atoll, it’s the natural atoll of Hanifaru Bay, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve that is a peaceful haven for protected marine life—and an idyllic sanctuary for weary city dwellers.
With over 79 villas and residences to choose from, either ﬂoating over the water or along the beachfront, you’ll adore the Over Water Pool Villa, which gives you an endless ocean vista, while clear windows on the bathroom ﬂoor give you glimpses into aquatic life 24/7. Enter your private pool from the bedroom, bathroom or outdoor deck, or simply laze on the hammock with a book and catch some rays. In-room dining is a gastronomic feast with cuisine from the Mediterranean to Arabia, Malaysia to Shanghai. Delivered piping hot (or lusciously cold for fresh salads), enjoy the ocean breeze and delectable bites by the patio of your own villa. By nightfall, arrange for a sleep guru who will come by to draw up your own rose-petal bath, drop some champers on ice by the bathtub, and lure you onto a massage table to soothe away any aches with the most blissful and relaxing massage.
Food takes the form of unparalleled over- and underwater dining experiences. Set inside a natural coral reef, watch all manner of sea life swim by while you dine at Sea, the world’s ﬁrst underwater cellar. Head upstairs to Fire for an intimate teppanyaki experience complete with stunning ocean views, under a theatrical high dome ceiling and Edo roof shaped like the bone of the cuttleﬁsh. Over at Salt, the chefs whip up red snapper or tender lamb on a Himalayan salt block, giving depth and complexity to a variety of intense Asian ﬂavours. For the truly indulgent, nothing beats Dining By Design, where you can tuck into Maldivian and fusion cuisine at a location of your choice, be it on the beach or on a yacht. A private chef and butler will attend to your every whim and fancy, all set under the twinkling constellation of the open skies, as you thank your lucky stars that all this magic is happening right before your eyes.
The ultimate dinner under the stars
Bag, Michael Kors
Sandal, Louis Vuitton
More over-water accommodations to soak up that vitamin sea
PANGKOR LAUT RESORT
The Sea Villa at this luxury resort on stilts—considered one of the world’s most precious jungle island gems—will have you lounging in the ultimate hot tub over the emerald waters off Malaysia’s West Coast.
Wake up to a panorama of the South China Sea in sublime, minimalist white suites designed like modern mansions. And with larger accommodations complete with a kitchen, dining and living areas, and a balcony plunge pool perfect for siestas or star gazing, there will be no reason to leave the room.
LAGEN ISLAND, EL NIDO RESORTS
Wrapped in one of the Philippines’ densest forests over limestone cliffs, this eco-sanctuary has 18 (out of 50) elegant Water Cottages that stretch over a surreal cyan lagoon, perfect for paddle-boarding or just going with the ﬂow into the azure ocean ahead.
Not-so-budget travel for today’s afﬂuent backpacker
Sleek spaces at Cube Singapore
They don’t need ﬁve-star accommodations, but they aren’t going to settle for a bed and backpack either. Today’s new breed of “ﬂashpackers” are nomads with a bigger disposable income who seek out an updated list of elevated basics: High-speed WiFi; buffet breakfasts; and a private space with multiple power points to charge gadgets safely. That, and a cool communal space to connect with fellow travellers. In Paris, Les Piaules is a hostel housed in a 1930s Art Deco building with trendy dorms, a hip bar frequented by locals, and four rooftop rooms overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Southeast Asia, too, has seen a luxury hostel boom. Singaporean chain, Cube boasts 24-hour concierge, airport shuttle and housekeeping services—on top of private cabins with a queen-size bed and foldable dressing table. Then comes the best kind of “ﬂashpacker” option—the homely boutique hotel. The Henry Hotel is one of Cebu’s most charming, with art murals and eclectic furniture ﬁlling 38 individual rooms, an artsy café and cosy Reading Room; plus, staff who pride themselves on curating local experiences for you to savour around the neighbourhood.
Henry Hotel in Cebu’s quirky environs
Jacket, FENTY PUMA by Rihanna. Sunglasses, Chloé
Les Piaules in Paris
Journey to the real-life sets of your favourite TV shows
Twin Peaks’ Snoqualmie Falls
A global survey shows that one in ﬁve travellers have visited a destination because they saw it on television. That is a signiﬁ cant 20 percent of the market, which is why tour operators have taken to curating itineraries that let you walk in a character’s footsteps and into these memorable scenes. Luxury travel provider, Black Tomato has released a series of Favourite Box Sets-themed tours like The Crown in England and Game of Thrones in Ireland and Iceland; each comprising an expert guided tour, meals in restaurants and luxury accommodations at properties as seen on screen. One can even traipse across Seattle in pursuit of Twin Peaks-like adventures in Olympic National Park.
Get into the Game of Thrones in Ireland
From top: Backpack, Louis Vuitton. Boot, Chloé
Responsible travel to support the conservation of the wild
Beautiful blue-greens scintillate at COMO Maalifushi
Descending upon COMO Maalifushi in the Thaa Atoll of the Maldives, you almost have to pinch yourself to realise that what lies in front of you is real. It is surrounded by 65 land and over-water vistas, while the rest of the property sits on white strands of beach ﬂanked by an azure lagoon and a healthy house reef. But beyond the bucolic setting and activities encouraging tropical fun and restorative mindfulness, it is their new marine experience that is truly one of a kind. Resort guests can join a Whale Shark Excursion to the nearby feeding area to discover these majestic, docile creatures up close—an opportunity made possible through COMO Maalifushi’s partnership with ECOCEAN, a not-for-proﬁt organisation committed to conserving the world’s whale sharks. Be it from the boat or in the water snorkelling alongside them, you can be part of ECOCEAN’s daily monitorings, where a photo-identiﬁcation method is used to track how many are in the area and their migratory patterns. Who knew whale sharks have unique markings akin to the way humans have individual ﬁngerprints?
An extended work trip with much-deserved time for play
Park Royal Darling Harbour’s Club Room
You have a vacation, staycation and then there’s the workation: A trip that speciﬁ cally pens down both business and leisure—thus “bleisure”—on the itinerary. Channelling its strengths to cater not just to the business traveller, but one who is looking to ﬂip the switch to holidaymaker overnight, is Park Royal Darling Harbour. Smack in the centre of Sydney, this 340-room urban sanctuary fuses a luxuriously minimalist aesthetic in a palette of neutral tones and soft textures, creating a calming residential-like environment to focus and work, or unwind after a long day. And if a nightcap is in order, the Club Lounge is there to please.
Charging planner, kikki.K
Fresh minimalism ﬁ lls its lobby
A wellness experience that lets you be one with nature
Spa treatments are best surrounded by nature
For serious wellness junkies, Nihiwatu has long been the luxury benchmark for holistic escapes in the untouched Indonesian island of Sumba. But beyond the resort’s tranquility and mind-body balancing experiences, it is the Nikioka Spa Safari that takes pampering to a new level. Guests get to journey across Sumba Island’s sparkling west coast to experience a day of healthy cuisine savoured against uninterrupted views of the sea; yoga sessions taught by international experts, which can take you from a cliff -top pavilion overlooking 2.5km of privately-owned beach to under a 100-foot waterfall; and locally-inspired spa treatments, like a ache-relieving and detoxifying herbal Lulur wrap, in open-air private bales surrounded by rice paddy ﬁelds.
BY DANA KOH. PHOTOGRAPHY: FACEBOOK; BLACK TOMATO