Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

 

Experience unparalleled luxury and comfort amid the mystic desert charm of Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter. Ride on a camel over sun soaked dunes as this foreboding landscape unwinds eternally in front of you. Soak in the freeform swimming pool while desert wildlife grazes in the shade below. Be inspired by glorious Arabian décor that channels one of the world’s most ancient and revered cultures.

Located in the legendary Rub’Al Khali, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara embraces the epic adventures of this evocative landscape by providing a luxury oasis for discerning travellers. Recline by the plunge pool outside your own private villa, or stretch out on a sumptuous day bed surrounded by rich Middle Eastern fabrics and local artefacts. Every room, villa and suite is considered to be some of the finest abodes among luxury Abu Dhabi resorts and features desert views, blending our rich interiors with the landscape.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara distinguishes itself from other Abu Dhabi hotels bringing its guests the quintessential luxury Abu Dhabi resort experience with leisure facilities to please the most demanding of tastes. A sanctuary of wellbeing that draws on an array of ancient cultures at Anantara Spa. A choice of four dining venues that offer the greatest Middle Eastern cuisine and fine gastronomic experiences from across the globe. Tailor-make your ultimate luxury holiday from our range of other facilities including fitness centre, tennis court, swimming pool, kids club, business centre and library.

Accommodation

Elegantly designed rooms with picturesque desert views at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara provide the perfect luxury retreat to spend your Abu Dhabi holiday.

This luxury desert resort in Abu Dhabi features earthy hues combined with lush Middle East fabrics adorning every room, with jewel-embedded silver and bronze chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Each room offers the finest among Abu Dhabi accommodation and comes with either a balcony or terrace from which to enjoy awe-inspiring desert views.

ROYAL PAVILION VILLAS BY QASR AL SARAB

Set against the dramatic landscape of The Empty Quarter – the world’s largest stretch of uninterrupted sand desert, the exclusive collection of Royal Pavilion Villas, is the epitome of luxury, offering stays of understated sophistication and Arabian elegance. Guests seeking a truly bespoke getaway and seclusion will create lasting memories at this unique Arabian retreat.

Take time to truly relax. Soak in a sublime rose scented bath to your favourite melodies or float in your private pool admiring the views. The choice is yours.

Decadent Arabian décor, rich fabrics and local artefacts have a sense of place in this secluded fortress palace and play homage to one of the world’s ancient cultures, where luxury blends with landscape.

The Royal Pavilion Villas is the epitome of luxury in Abu Dhabi. Personalised resort excursions complement dining experiences created to delight the most adventurous palates and discerning tastes. While the Anantara Spa provides a sanctuary for relaxation and revitalization, that embodies ancient spa rituals.

Dining

An endless choice of the world’s best cuisines is served within exquisite surroundings at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort to appease your gastronomic cravings. Traditional dishes meet with the finest imported cuts of meat and an extensive menu of wines and Champagnes in both fine dining venues and intimate cafes.

Dining at The Royal Pavilion Villas 

The Royal Pavilion Villas experience is one where every detail has been considered from the pre-arrival to the farewell. Each overnight stay includes culinary presentations for breakfast, lunch and dinner including soft beverages. On arrival, guests are encouraged to meet with the Chef to discuss their dining preferences, hear details about the ‘market list’ items fresh for the day and have a tailor-made culinary journey created exclusively for them. From the freshest Canadian lobster and Japanese Wagyu beef to simple club sandwiches and Arabian mezzeh, whatever your culinary desires may be, they can be created by a team of highly skilled chefs.

The Anantara Spa

Embracing Anantara’s philosophy, ‘without end’, which stems from ancient Thai origins, among Abu Dhabi Spa Resorts, Anantara Spa at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort offers timeless spa experiences in iconic surrounds.

Lose yourself in true Arabian luxury and admire towering dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see across the Liwa Desert’s vast Empty Quarter. Drink in a scene of total tranquillity as you indulge in traditional Arabic rituals and exotic wellness therapies from Thailand.

Soothe aching muscles and cleanse body and mind with a traditional Moroccan hammam experience. Detoxify and nourish skin with scrubs and wraps that are infused with remedial, natural ingredients. Treat your complexion to a radiant boost with decadent ruby gemstone facials. Let expert, intuitive hands revive tired muscles and unwind a busy mind with a range of heavenly massages, from advanced western techniques, to holistic Asian styles and Arabian touch.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

The world’s largest hand-loomed carpet, the fastest rollercoaster, the highest high tea, the tower with the greatest lean, the largest cluster of cultural buildings of the 21st century – UAE capital Abu Dhabi isn’t afraid to challenge world records. Welcome to an exciting city where nothing stands still…except perhaps the herons in its mangroves.

For those looking to engage with Gulf culture, Abu Dhabi offers opportunities to understand the UAE’s history through museums, exhibitions, tours and food. But thankfully Emirati heritage isn’t boxed and mothballed; it’s also experienced through strolls around the dhow harbour, haggling in markets, absorbing the atmosphere at shisha cafes and strolling its lengthy and cinematic Corniche.

United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

For most people, the United Arab Emirates means just one place: Dubai, the sci-fi-esque city of iconic skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands, city-sized malls, indoor ski slopes and palatial beach resorts. But beyond the glitter awaits a diverse mosaic of six more emirates, each with its own character and allure.

An hour’s drive south, oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, is positioning itself as a hub of culture, sport and leisure. Beyond looms the vast Al Gharbia region, which is dominated by the northern reaches of the Rub’ Al Khali desert. Its magical silence is interrupted only by the whisper of shifting dunes rolling towards Saudi Arabia.

North of Dubai, Sharjah does art and heritage best, while tiny Ajman and Umm Al Quwain provide glimpses of life in the pre-oil days, and Ras Al Khaimah snuggles against the mighty Hajar Mountains. For the best swimming and diving, though, head across the range to Fujairah to frolic in the clear waters of the Gulf of Oman.

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Credits:

http://qasralsarab.anantara.com/

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi/introduction

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/united-arab-emirates/introduction

 

 

Amanzoe Resort – Porto Heli, Peloponnese, Greece 🇬🇷

Amanzoe is an ultra-exclusive resort with an emphasis on health and wellbeing. Situated on a gentle rise surrounded by undulating olive groves, Amanzoe’s 360-degree views take in the Peloponnese countryside and rocky coves. The resort is within easy reach of a wealth of archaeological sites and bustling Porto Heli.

Amanzoe’s location is hard to beat. This region is steeped in mythology, with several important archaeological sites, including the Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus and the citadel of Mycenae; Spetses and Hydra are within easy reach; and there’s a super-chic Beach Club on the coast just below.

Amanzoe, surrounded by undulating olive groves and overlooking the turquoise Aegean Sea,  is a ten-minute drive from the tavernas and cosmopolitan stirrings of Porto Heli. The isles of Spetses and Hydra are nearby, as are countless ancient ruins, from millennia-old amphitheatres to Byzantine monasteries.

Accommodation

Pavilions

Drawing on classic Greek architecture, with strong lines and a pared-back aesthetic, Amanzoe’s standalone Pavilions all open onto terraces with private plunge pools and views of the surrounding land and sea.

Each Pavilion is accessed via a stone-walled courtyard, leading to a high-ceilinged living area and king-size bed positioned in a marble alcove with views.

Beach Cabanas

Situated directly on the beach, the spacious, air-conditioned Beach Cabanas provide all the comforts of a Pavilion, combined with a terrace, private garden and swimming pool.

Guests can enjoy a day on the beach, swimming in the sea, discovering bays by canoe and sunbathing in privacy. Meals can be enjoyed at Amanzoe’s Beach Club restaurant or in the privacy of a Beach Cabana.

Villas

Amanzoe’s Villas are cool, spacious abodes surrounded by olive groves. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, each of the four-to-nine-bedroom Villas features an open terrace with sand-coloured marble floors, traditional dry stone-clad walls and concrete columns and cornices. A chef and a host serves each one.

 Wellness
The holistic healings of Hippocrates are the inspiration for Amanzoe’s light-filled 2,850-square-metre Spa, combining diet, gymnastics, exercise, massage and sea bathing with modern natural products and treatments.
A gym is also available, and studios host yoga and Pilates sessions.
Dining
From Nama’s Japanese cuisine to the Restaurant’s Mediterranean fare, Amanzoe places the focus on simple flavours, expertly prepared.
Daily deliveries of local bass, bream, grouper and crustacean, as well as locally reared lamb, pork and rabbit, make Amanzoe a champion of produce that is local and seasonal – all served in the airy Restaurant, with its deep-blue sea views, by the pool, at the informal Beach Club, or surrounded by candles in private.

Porto Heli, Peloponnese, Greece 🇬🇷

The Peloponnese (Πελοπόννησος) is the stuff of legends. Literally. It is here that Hercules fought the Nemean lion and gods walked the earth, meddling in mortal affairs; it’s from here that Paris of Troy eloped with Helen and the Argonauts set sail in search of the Golden Fleece. Celestial and mythological charms aside, this region bears tangible traces of the many civilisations that once called it home, witnessed in its classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Ottoman, Frankish and Venetian fortresses.

The very topography that kept invaders at bay for centuries – lofty, snowcapped mountains, vast gorges, sandy beaches and azure waters – now draws visitors of a very different kind. Filoxenia(hospitality) is as strong here as anywhere in the country; the food is among Greece’s best; and the region’s vineyards are contributing to Greece’s wine renaissance. Locals claim to have the best of everything to give. And that’s no myth.

Greece 🇬🇷

Ancient sun-bleached ruins pierce blue skies as the Aegean laps at the endless coastline. And Greek culture is alive – passionate music, inspired cuisine, thrill-seeking activities.

Wildly Natural

Whether you’re a serious adrenaline junkie or dedicated beach bum, Greece will bewitch you. Days melt from one to the next under wide open skies and a sea speckled with islands that deliver the white-sand, palm-fringed beaches of your dreams. Wander along cobbled, Byzantine footpaths, hike into volcanoes, watch for dolphins and sea turtles and cycle through lush forests. Meander through olive groves, idyllic villages and petrified forests. Thrill seekers will discover world-class kitesurfing, wreck diving and rock-climbing locations that will leave you dizzy with views. Or simply hop on a boat and set sail into the glittering blue beyond.

Socially Spirited

Socialising is more than a pastime in Greece – it’s a way of life. Cafes overflow with teenagers gossiping or older locals in heated debate. Restaurants are filled will long tables for big gatherings and friends amble arm and arm down the street. Squares are the focal point, where life unfolds collectively. Immerse yourself, whether it’s a coffee, a shot of ouzo, a chorus on the bouzouki or a local celebration. Greeks are passionate and live life to the fullest, even at the most difficult times. The result is a country, seemingly riddled with challenges, yet full of people loving life.

Local Flavours

The secret to Greek cooking is often found in the chef’s garden. Basic ingredients such as feta and olive oil are at home across Greece, but the regional produce and cooking styles make travelling here a culinary adventure. Taste herbs and mountain greens you’ve never heard of, mussels steamed in ouzo, bread baked with olives and fish straight from the sea. Taste-test regional cheeses: crumbling feta, honeyed soft cheeses and sharp, hard rounds. Find Italian influences in risottos and pastas or Turkish spices woven into delicate sweets. A traditional-cooking renaissance has chefs lifting time-honoured recipes to new gourmet heights.

Cultural Treasure Chest

Standing in the shadow of the Acropolis feels otherworldly. Greece is full of such moments. Step into the ring where Olympians first competed. Climb stone-hewed steps to Meteora’s monasteries, perched atop towering rocks. Contemplate the Oracle’s insights from the grandeur of Delphi, take in a starlit drama at an ancient outdoor theatre and be stunned by massive marble sculptures dredged up from the Aegean. But then you’ll encounter bold modern art, the melancholic throb of rembetika (blues songs) and artisans creating new work from traditional techniques. Greece has endless cultural pursuits and a calendar bursting with festivals, holidays and exhibits.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://www.aman.com/resorts/amanzoe

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/the-peloponnese/introduction

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/introduction

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/greece/peloponnese/hotels/amanzoe-hotel/

Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa – Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

 

Virtually at the end of the world, Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa is set on the shores of Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego with stunning views of the snow-covered peaks of the Andes Mountain Range. An exclusive resort in an exceptionally beautiful setting, expect peace and tranquillity, gourmet dining, and a spa with a heated pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and body treatments.

Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa is built in the traditional southern Argentine architectural style with the use of lenga wood and stone.  Inside, the 54 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated in neutral tones with highlights of colour. The suites have a private balcony or deck and gorgeous views of the sea.

Sail the waters of the Beagle Channel and observe Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, sea lions, Magellanic Penguins, and over 20 different sea bird species. Or trek the ancient coastal paths to see condors, steamer ducks, red foxes, eagles and beaver dams. Return to Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa to dine on exquisite Patagonian cuisine and recount your experiences of this most spectacular of places.

Accommodation

Dreamlike views of the mountain range or the Beagle Channel, luxury amenities and lots of room to relax at the End of the World.

Senior Suite: A spacious separate living-room welcomes those willing to enjoy a spectacular first-row view of the Beagle Channel landscape in total privacy. The suite has an exclusive deck overlooking the beach and a large Jacuzzi for hours of relax, and features L’Occitane en Provence amenities, Nespresso coffee-maker; personal weigh scale and audio equipment.

Junior Suite: Enjoy the exceptional view from your private balcony and relax in this suite equipped with L’Occitane en Provence amenities and Nespresso coffee-maker. A subtle blend of modern and classic is the hallmark of its two connected rooms

Dining: Reinamora

European gourmet cuisine and one-hundred-percent Patagonian dishes like lamb and king crab await at Reinamora, ther prestigious restaurant overlooking the Beagle Channel. Inquire about our 3-night Gourmet Experience.

The Spa

Just to behold the beautiful Beagle Channel in the comfort of a warm, harmonious ambience will set off the process to achieve full body and soul relaxation. The Spa at the End of the World, equipped to meet the highest international standards, offers 24 kinds of treatments and massages with natural products.

Experiences for guests only

End of the world train, first class.

Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

A busy port and adventure hub, Ushuaia is a sliver of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped Martial Range. Here the Andes meets the famed Beagle Channel in a sharp skid, making way for the city before reaching a sea of lapping currents.

Ushuaia takes full advantage of its end-of-the-world status, and an increasing number of Antarctica-bound vessels call into its port. The town’s mercantile hustle knows no irony: there’s a souvenir shop named for Jimmy Button (a Fuegian native taken for show in England) and the ski center is named for the destructive invasive castor (beaver). That said, with a pint of the world’s southernmost microbrew in hand, you can happily plot the outdoor options: hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and even scuba diving.

Tierra del Fuego’s comparatively high wages draw Argentines from all over, and some locals lament the lack of urban planning and loss of small-town culture.

Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

On South America’s southern frontier, nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them. For the newly arrived, such emptiness can be as impressive as the sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases. In its enormous scale, Patagonia offers an innumerable wealth of potential experiences and landscapes.

Though no longer a dirt road, lonely RN 40 remains the iconic highway that stirred affection in personalities as disparate as Butch Cassidy and Bruce Chatwin. On the eastern seaboard, paved RN 3 shoots south, connecting oil boomtowns with ancient petrified forests, Welsh settlements and the incredible Península Valdés. Then there is the other, trendy Patagonia where faux-fur hoodies outnumber the guanacos. Don’t miss the spectacular sights of El Calafate and El Chaltén, but remember that they’re a world apart from the solitude of the steppe.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.loscauquenes.com/en/

http://www.slh.com/hotels/los-cauquenes-resort-and-spa/?l

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/tierra-del-fuego/ushuaia/introduction

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/patagonia/introduction

 

Rosewood Tucker’s Point – Bermuda 🇧🇲

 

The British colonial-style manor house has become a go-to for those looking to relax in luxurious accommodations. Rosewood Tucker’s Point combines the amenities and perks of a big resort with the charms and intimacy of a boutique hotel.

The center of the hotel is the manor house, which feels more like a beautifully decorated home than a hotel. A grand staircase and elegant library round out the classic but preppy vibe that reminds me of my childhood in suburban Connecticut: blue and white ginger jars, porcelain foo dogs, and antique horse lithographs. I was especially taken with the lobby’s grey and white tiles and the interesting art, including a large-scale model ship and three-dimensional birdcages with mercury glass and painted birds.

Hidden away from the island’s main port and other hotels, Rosewood Tucker’s Point overlooks Castle Harbour on one side and Harrington Sound on the other. Guests are greeted by a cheerful duo wearing a get-up best described as preppy-meets-safari-meets-tropics: traditional Bermuda shorts, knee-high socks, and salmon pink pith helmet. It’s a lovely first impression.

With its sweeping views of jewel-green hills and cerulean blue Atlantic waters, Rosewood Tucker’s Point offers an iconic tropical getaway with unexpected British charm. From the fine marble stonework in each private bath to the bone china at the Point, every element of the Bermuda hotel’s decor and service projects an effortless elegance and luxury designed to ensure guests feel like royalty. Open since 2009, this Bermuda beach resort has quickly gathered accolades and praise from travel and consumer organizations as a romantic dream getaway.

Dining

Fresh from the seas, global in vision and warm with Caribbean spirit, Bermudian cuisine is a highlight of any visit to Tucker’s Point. From chowder to lobsters, visitors will have the world on a platter.

The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, The Point, houses a museum-worthy travel artifact: an 80-foot-long mural from the exclusive Sky Club of New York’s Pan Am Building (now the MetLife Building). In 1966, artist Gerard D’Alton Henderson was commissioned by Pan Am founder Juan Trippe to paint the world’s major ports of the 1880s. After the Sky Club closed in 2005, the mural was relocated to the hotel, and Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbour was added — presumably out of respect for its new home.

The Spa

Rosewood Tucker’s Point is more than a Bermuda getaway. This relaxing sanctuary for mind, body and soul offers four swimming pools, and a fully equipped fitness center, in addition to the world-class Sense®, A Rosewood Spa, offering an array of traditional and exotic therapies from around the world.

Bermuda 🇧🇲

Bathed in the balmy turquoise waters of the Sargasso Sea, the string of islands that is Bermuda is ringed by treacherous reefs that make it one of the world’s top diving destinations. With its pastel-colored houses and stately mansions drowning in lush greenery and fragrant frangipani and bougainvillea, their step-like white roofs poised to catch rainwater, Bermuda feels like a genteel chunk of rural England lifted into warmer climes. But it’s much more diverse than that, with British, North American, African, Portuguese and West Indian influences adding to the unique cultural melange. In spite of its tiny size  just 20 miles by 2 miles – Bermuda’s museums and art galleries add touches of urban sophistication and its many forts attract history buffs, while its varied topography makes it ideal for all manner of water sports, hiking, golfing, or just lazing on a picture-perfect pink-sand beach.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/tuckers-point-bermuda

https://www.forbes.com/sites/fathom/2015/03/07/spend-a-sunny-weekend-in-rosewood-tuckers-point-bermuda/#7bf837fa1d4a

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/bermuda/introduction

 

One&Only Cape Town – Cape Town, South Africa 🇿🇦

 

An urban chic waterfront resort with unprecedented levels of luxury, One&Only Cape Town is a place of friendly calm and gracious hospitality for couples and families alike.

Nestled within a natural amphitheatre shaped by the vertical cliffs of Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head sits Cape Town in all of its coastal glory. Here, commanding an enviable spot in the city’s fashionable Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, is One&Only Cape Town, overlooking the marina with panoramic views of Table Mountain.

Accommodation

Marina Rise: A seven-storey, crescent-shaped enclave of vibrant South African style, with expansive glass doors, private balconies and inspiring views of Table Mountain or surrounding waterways.

Champagne Suite: In co-creation with the world’s most revered champagne house, One&Only Cape Town has introduced the first ever Champagne Suite Experience by Dom Pérignon in Africa.

Island Rooms & Suites: Located on a beautifully secluded and lushly landscaped island, each of the 40 guest rooms and suites features a private balcony or terrace and waterway views.

Table Mountain Suite: As its name suggests, the most breathtaking views of Table Mountain are enjoyed from expansive open terraces. An air of understated elegance embodies this luxuriously appointed suite.

Presidential Suite: The pinnacle of resplendent living.

Dining: Nobu

No stranger to international culinary influences, Nobu gives classical Japanese cuisine a contemporary twist with a Peruvian influence. Diners can indulge in fresh South African seafood and indigenous spices in mesmerising dishes such as Sake Roast Whitefish with Jalapeno or the Chocolate Bento Box; a dark chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream and a sesame seed tuile.

A sweeping fan-like staircase leads to the 104 seat dining area and sushi counter, which is framed by a textured, translucent origami light that glides along the ceiling. The upper-level Nobu Lounge features a selection of Sakes including Japanese beer and Shochu based cocktails.

The Spa

Unwind. Restore. Elevate.

These are the guiding principals around which all spa therapies and treatments are created. Each features its own specialised set of holistic programmes designed to guide guests in choosing the experiences best suited to their particular needs.

Cape Town, South Africa 🇿🇦

A coming-together of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, there’s nowhere quite like Cape Town, a singularly beautiful city crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park.

Natural Wonders

Table Mountain National Park defines the city. The flat-topped mountain is the headline act, but there are many other equally gorgeous natural landscapes within the park’s extensive boundaries. Cultivated areas, such as the historic Company’s Gardens, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Green Point Park, also make exploring the city a pleasure. Follow the lead of locals by taking full advantage of the abundant outdoor space: learn to surf; go hiking or mountain biking; tandem-paraglide off Lion’s Head; abseil off the top of Table Mountain – just a few of the many activities on offer.

Art & Design

Human creativity is also self-evident here – it’s one of the things that made the city a World Design Capital in 2014. From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap and the bathing chalets of Muizenberg to the Afro-chic decor of its restaurants and bars and the striking street art and innovation incubators of the East City and Woodstock, this is one great-looking metropolis. The informal settlements of the Cape Flats are a sobering counterpoint, but these townships also have enterprising projects that put food from organic market gardens on tables, or stock gift shops with attractive souvenirs.

Beyond the City

Wrenching yourself away from the magnetic mountain and all the delights of the Cape Peninsula is a challenge, but within an hour you can exchange urban landscapes for the charming towns, villages and bucolic estates of Winelands destinations, such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Hermanus is a prime whale-watching location, and also a base from which to organise shark-cave diving. Further afield, the delights of the Garden Route unfold, with more inspiring scenery to be viewed on thrilling drives down the coast and over mountain passes.

People & Culture

Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and traditional African beliefs coexist peacefully in this proudly multicultural city. Given South Africa’s troubled history, such harmony has been hard-won and remains fragile: nearly everyone has a fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking story to tell. It’s a city of determined pioneers – from the Afrikaner descendants of the original Dutch colonists and the majority coloured community to the descendants of European Jewish immigrants and more recent Xhosa (isiXhosa) migrants from the Eastern Cape. They all bring unique flavours to Cape Town’s rich melting pot.

South Africa 🇿🇦

Black-maned lions framed against Kalahari dunes; powdery beaches lapped by two oceans; star-studded desert skies; jagged, lush mountains – this truly is a country of astounding diversity.

Dramatic Landscapes

South Africa’s landscapes are stunning, from the burning Karoo and Kalahari semideserts to the misty heights of the Drakensberg range and the massive Blyde River Canyon. Even in urban Cape Town you need only look up to see the beautiful fynbos (indigenous flora) climbing the slopes of Table Mountain while, nearby, two of the world’s most dramatic coastal roads lead to Cape Point and Hermanus. Add the vineyards carpeting the Winelands, old-growth forests along the Garden Route and Tsitsikamma, Indian Ocean beaches and Lesotho’s inspiring mountains, and there is a staggering variety to enjoy.

History

To visit South Africa without learning about its tumultuous history is to miss a crucial part of the country’s identity. Museum visits, many of which include exhibits on the apartheid era, might not be lighthearted, but will help you to understand the very fabric of South African society and to appreciate how far the country has come. Continue your history lesson with a visit to one of the townships, taking time to chat to locals and to learn that despite a heart-wrenching past, there is great pride here, and an immense sense of promise for the future.

Wildlife

South Africa is one of the continent’s best safari destinations, offering the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) and more in accessible parks and reserves. You can drive right into the epic wilderness at Kruger, Kgalagadi and other parks, or join khaki-clad rangers on guided drives and walks. But it’s not all about big game sightings – wildlife watching here also teaches you to enjoy the little things: a leopard tortoise ambling alongside the road, a go-away bird chirping its distinctive chant in the trees, or on the coast, an encounter with seals, whales or a great white shark.

Outdoor Adventure

South Africa’s ever-changing scenery is the perfect canvas on which to paint an activity-packed trip. Try rock-climbing in the craggy Cederberg, surfing off the Eastern Cape coast, abseiling from Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain or bungee jumping from a Garden Route bridge. If adrenaline sports aren’t your thing, opt instead for a hike: options include multi-day treks through wildlife reserves, dusty day walks in the semi-desert Karoo, catered “slackpacking” trails along the Cape coast or an overnight hike into the sometimes snow-capped peaks of the Drakensberg.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-cape-town-south-africa

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-africa/cape-town/introduction

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-africa/introduction

 

 

7 Secrets Resort and Wellness Retreat – Lombok, Indonesia 🇮🇩

 

There’s a sense of exclusivity about 7 Secrets Resort and Wellness Retreat that starts the moment you check in. You’ll be greeted with a fresh cocktail from the ‘molecular mixology’ bar menu. Spa therapists will offer a welcome head, hands and shoulders massage, while your butler readies an aromatherapy suite for you. Set beside the glittering sands and turquoise seas of Nipah Bay, this luxury hotel promises a made-tomeasure escape.

The temple-like suites bring together traditional Indonesian architecture with contemporary, technology-filled interiors. Sink into your very own Jacuzzi, or head for the 7 Secrets Resort diving centre to discover a vibrant underwater world. While away afternoons in the spa or stretch out on a stylish lounger beside the pool, chilled drink in hand. For dinner, feast on imaginative gourmet fine dining, overlooking the shore.

The hotel staff can have personalised excursions ready for your arrival at 7 Secrets Resort. You could see the island from above on a helicopter ride, charter a luxury catamaran for a sailing trip or factor in some relaxation time on the talcum powder beach and colourful reef that curve around Nipah Bay. To finish the day in style, your private butler can arrange a romantic dinner-for-two on your suite terrace.

Accommodation

Authentic influences and modern, minimalist style come together in the 7 Secrets suites. Expect a crisp, calm colour scheme with gold accents, rich wood and traditional sculptures. Each has an open-air bathroom with Grohe fittings and luxury spa products – plus a private terrace with Jacuzzi. High-tech features sit alongside the plush furnishings, from BOSE docking stations to computer-controlled curtains.

Dining

The Gourmet Head Chef at The Majesty creates innovative tasting menus with contemporary flair. Discover 21st-century takes on classic French and Mediterranean flavours as you watch the sun set over Nipah Bay. This fusion of science and art continues to the bar, where award-winning bartenders practice molecular mixology – or ‘liquid art’. There’s also a breezy beach restaurant serving tasty breakfasts, lunches and pool-side snacks.

Lombok, Indonesia 🇮🇩

Long overshadowed by its superstar neighbour across the Lombok Strait there’s a steady hum about Lombok that catches the ear of travellers looking for something different from Bali. Blessed with exquisite white-sand beaches, epic surf, a lush forested interior, and hiking trails through tobacco and rice fields, Lombok is fully loaded with equitorial allure. Oh, and you’ll probably notice mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, its summit complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake.

And there’s much more. Lombok’s southern coastline is nature on a very grand scale: breathtaking turquoise bays, world-class surf breaks and massive headlands. Development on these splendid beaches is just around the corner, but until that moment comes, they are still natural wonders to explore over much-improved roads.

If you’re going to the Gilis, a Lombok stopover is a must. It’s easy to get around the Lombok–Gilis–Bali triangle.

Lombok and the Gilis

Almost as big as Bali, Lombok is the completely different island right next door. From its volcanic centre to idyllic beaches such as Mawun, it rewards travellers who want to explore. Many are drawn to mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano. Rivers and waterfalls gush down its fissured slopes, while its summit – complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake – is the ultimate trekker’s prize. In the south, you may need to hold your jaw in place as you encounter one superb beach after another.

Meanwhile, off the west coast, the fabled Gili Islands are three exquisite droplets of white sand sprinkled with coconut palms and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with marine life. Each has become a full-blown destination in its own right with oodles of great places to stay, eat and celebrate.

Indonesia 🇮🇩

Indonesia’s numbers astound: more than 17,000 islands, of which 8000 are inhabited, and over 300 languages are spoken across them. It’s a beguiling country offering myriad adventures.

Beaches & Volcanoes

Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see a dramatic landscape, as diverse as those living upon it. Sulawesi’s wildly multilimbed coastline embraces white-sand beaches and diving haunts, while Sumatra is contoured by a legion of nearly 100 volcanoes marching off into the distance, several capable of erupting at any time.

Rich Diversity

The world’s fourth most populous country – 255 million and counting – is a sultry kaleidoscope that runs along the equator for 5000km. From the western tip of Sumatra to the eastern edge of Papua, this nation defies homogenisation. It is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, artworks and foods that it is like 100 countries melded into one.

The people are as radically different from each other as if they came from different continents, with every island a unique blend of the men, women and children who live upon it. Over time deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the utterly non-Western belief system of the Asmat people of Papua.

Great Adventure

This ever-intriguing, ever-intoxicating land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, idling away time on a ferry bound for Kalimantan, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the mystifying corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through wilderness you’re sure no one has seen before – you’ll enjoy endless exploration of the infinite diversity of Indonesia’s 17,000-odd islands.

Amazing Spectacle

Dramatic sights are the norm. There’s the sublime: an orangutan lounging in a tree. The artful: a Balinese dancer executing precise moves that would make a robot seem loose-limbed. The idyllic: a deserted stretch of blinding white sand on Sumbawa set off by azure surf breaks. The astonishing: the mobs in a cool, glitzy Jakarta mall on a Sunday. The intriguing: the too-amazing-for-fiction tales of the twisted history of the beautiful Banda Islands. The heart-stopping: the ominous menace of a Komodo dragon. The humbling: a woman bent double with a load of firewood on Sumatra. The delicious: a south Bali restaurant. The shocking: the funeral ceremonies of Tana Toraja. The solemn: the serene magnificence of Borobudur.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.7secretsresorts.com/en

http://www.slh.com/hotels/7-secrets-resort-and-retreat/?l

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/lombok/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/

 

 

Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa – French Polynesia 🇵🇫

 

Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa is a 5-star property, located on a “motu” islet, a 35-minute navigation from the Raiatea Airport and a 5-minute boat ride from the village of Tapuamu on the main island of Taha’a.

The refined beach villas and over-water bungalows feature thatched roofs and wood furnishings, along with flat-screen TVs, sitting areas, and tea and coffeemakers. Beach villas offer private plunge pools, cabanas, outdoor showers and bathtubs. Upgraded villas have 2 bedrooms and bathrooms, plus private gardens. Room service and Wi-Fi are available (fee).

Amenities include 1 fine dining and 2 casual restaurants. There’s also a spa and an outdoor pool with a swim-up bar. A tennis court, a gym and a free island shuttle are on-site.

The Owners’ wish was to keep the resort as natural and as green as possible. The whole resort was built around the existing vegetation. You will discover beautiful old trees, colorful flowers and plants, something quite unusual on a “motu”, thanks to the use of seaweed as fertilizers.
You will see no club cars travelling around the property. The setting is all harmony with nature.

All suites and villas at Le Taha’a are built in the pure Polynesian tradition, exquisitely blending thatched pandanus roofs, bamboo, exotic woods, stones, corals, Marquesan “tapa” cloths, and woven coconut “nape” ropes. Whether on the beach or above the shimmering lagoon, you will enjoy the idyllic surroundings and the tropical outdoor lifestyle Le Taha’a offers. Refined elegance and bare luxury.

 French Polynesia 🇵🇫

French Polynesia, more commonly known as Tahiti and her Islands, has, of all times, been considered the most perfect and unique getaway for travelers in search for hedonism, beauty, romance, authenticity, life experiences, emotions, adventures. These incredibly stunning islands seduced and captivated many navigators, artists, and writers.

French Polynesia is comprised of 118 islands spread over a surface as wide as Europe, and divided in 5 archipelagoes: the Society Islands, the Tuamotu archipelago, the Marquesas, the Austral islands and the Gambier. 5 archipelagoes, 5 identities… Making Tahiti and her Islands a fantastic multi-destination.

The island of Taha’a, formerly called Uporu, is located in the Society Islands and shares the same lagoon as the island of Raiatea. Raiatea played a major role in Polynesian migrations throughout the Pacific Ocean and is still an important historical and cultural center, witness of well-alive civilization and traditions.

Taha’a is symbolically called the Vanilla Island. It is on these fertile lands that the Tahitian vanilla is cultivated to become one of the best and most fragrant one, sought after by the best Chefs around the world. Tahitian pearls are also produced in Taha’a. A few pearl farms have found their shelter in the island’s pure waters.

Ra’iatea and Taha’a are encircled by a common lagoon, but the two islands couldn’t be more different. Ra’iatea is high, imposing and fiercely independent, has the second biggest town in French Polynesia after Pape’ete and is considered by many to be the spiritual seat of the Polynesian Triangle. Taha’a, on the other hand, has graceful low hills, is famous for its sweet-scented vanilla and is arguably the quietest of the Society Islands. Both islands are ideal places to explore a mysterious and wild-feeling Polynesia.

The islands have few beaches but the reef is dotted with motu, secluded white-sand, palm-fringed, blue-lagoon islets. Within the vast lagoon itself is a never-ending aquarium perfect for diving, snorkelling, kayaking or just splashing around. On land, the mountains, particularly on Ra’iatea, make you want to hike off in search of breezy vistas, waterfalls and one of the world’s rarest flowers, the tiare apetahi.

A sojourn in Taha’a is an experience out of the ordinary. The island is blessed with lush mountains and valleys, turquoise lagoons, virgin “motu” islets. Taha’a has it all! The Vanilla Island has kept this Polynesian flair, and its inhabitants share a way of life that has remained truly authentic, away from busy Tahiti… Fishing, vanilla, pearl farms, agriculture and tourism are part of their daily lives. There is something magical and poetic about Taha’a, and it just seems like time has stopped, allowing each and everyone to enjoy this land of beauty at their own pace

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Credits:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tahiti-and-french-polynesia/raiatea-and-tahaa/introduction

http://www.letahaa.com/

Kokomo Private Island – Fiji 🇫🇯

 

Kokomo Island is the type you’d happily be marooned on. The pearl-like sand and palm trees paint a tropical picture from the moment you arrive by seaplane. Beneath the sea is an underwater treasure chest of coral reef and marine life. Spend days lounging beside the infinity pool or letting go with a spa treatment. After the sun goes down, torches light up, leading the way to gourmet dining beside the ocean.

Whether one-, two- or three-bed – your Kokomo Island retreat will come with a lounge, bar, private deck and pool. Designed for stylish seclusion, villas are carefully spaced out, putting you just a few steps from the water’s edge. Just think, with such privacy and a long stretch of beach, yours might be the only footprints you leave in the sand.

With kaleidoscopic Astrolabe Reef edging this beach retreat, you won’t have to go far to experience one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful coral beds. Kokomo Island has its own PADI 5-star Dive Centre – your jumping-off point for scuba and snorkelling adventures. Then there are paddleboards, fishing boats, kayaks, Hobie Cats, wakeboards and water-skis to try. Inland, go rainforest roaming on a walking trail. The higher you climb, the more spectacular your view.

Accommodation

All the luxury suites at Kokomo Private Island  are designed for privacy, comfort and relaxation. All with private infinity pool, you can choose from the beachfront luxury residence, one of the four luxury hilltop residences, elevated amidst tropical rainforest with striking views of the lagoon, or opt for one of the 21 exclusive beachfront Villas. Featuring sustainable design and traditional Fijian nuances, your home at Kokomo is alive with both opulence and character.

Dining

Sourced locally and prepared by Fiji’s finest, every meal on Kokomo Island is simply unforgettable. Renowned guest chefs comes to visit and inspire seasonally refreshed menus that promises to tantalise the tastebuds. Private catering is also available in your villa or residence.

The Spa

Leave the world behind and enter a realm where time doesn’t exist. Highly-skilled therapists draw on Fiji’s natural elements to help you relax, restore and rejuvenate. With a range of blissful treatments available, this is your place to take a moment – and return to the world completely transformed.

At the heart of Kokomo Private Island. Embracing Fijian nuances, Yaukuve Spa Sanctuary was designed to connect to the natural beauty of the island. The Relaxation Pavilion is located at the centre of Yaukuve Spa Sanctuary and serves as a place to start your journey, transition and relax between treatments, and finish your experience in a tranquil environment.

Experience the long practiced healing traditions of the Pacific Islanders while in paradise. This sanctuary offers divine local therapies, known for their restorative properties, delivered in our Yaukuve Spa Sanctuary or in the privacy of your residence or villa.

Kokomo Island, Fiji 🇫🇯

A private island on the edge of the celestial Kadavu Island Group, Kokomo is a true undiscovered paradise. Encircled by the famous Great Astrolabe Reef and dotted with pockets of lush rainforest, Kokomo is one of the few rare islands in Fiji with stretches of stunning white sand beach.

Fiji 🇫🇯

Set your internal clock to ‘Fiji time’: exploring the archipelago’s exquisite beaches, undersea marvels, lush interiors and fascinating culture shouldn’t be rushed.

Wetter is Better

Fiji’s calm seas belie the riot of life going on within. With seemingly endless stretches of intensely coloured reefs and more than 1500 species of fish and colossal creatures Fiji’s underwater world is worth the plunge. Seasoned divers and snorkellers will find plenty to excite them, while first-timers will be bubbling excited exclamations into their mouthpieces. Anywhere a fin flashes or coral waves, you’ll find a diving or snorkel day trip and there are excellent live-aboard journeys for those after a truly immersive experience.

Throwing Down the (Beach) Towel

Dazzling sands, perfect palm trees and waters so blue they glow – Fiji’s beaches look airbrushed. While stunning stretches abound, it’s on the islands of the Mamanucas and Yasawas that you’ll find heavenly heavyweights. These beaches are the poster-child for paradise, luring thousands of visitors keen to discover their own South Sea idyll. The appeal of the islands stretches beyond holiday snaps; the reefs, bays and sublime sands have provided cinematic eye candy to films including Cast Away with Tom Hanks and 1980 teen-dream classic The Blue Lagoon.

Beyond the Beach

While it’s easy to spend your holiday in, on or under the water, those who take the time to towel off will be rewarded by a wealth of terra firma treats. Fiji offers ample opportunities for hikers, birdwatchers, amblers and forest-fanciers, particularly on the islands of Taveuni – known as ‘The Garden Island’ for its ludicrously lush interiors – and Kadavu, a less-travelled slice of prehistoric paradise with almost no roads to speak of. If urban wildlife is your thing, Suva boasts a surprising nightlife scene, while towns like Savusavu entice with rollicking taverns and meet-the-locals haunts.

A Warm Welcome

Fijian life revolves around the church, the village, the rugby field and the garden. While this may sound insular, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more open and welcoming population. Though the realities of local life are less sunny than the country’s skies – many regions are poor and lack basic services – Fijians are famous for their hospitality and warmth, which makes it easy to make friends or immerse yourself in Fijian culture on a village homestay.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://www.kokomoislandfiji.com

http://www.slh.com/hotels/kokomo-island-fiji/?l

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/fiji/introduction

 

El Alma Soul Retreat – Costa Rica 🇨🇷

 

Wake to the melody of exotic bird-song. Stroll onto the floating deck, hovering magically over the gardens. Sip fresh local coffee or juices while gazing across the Pacific. Then while away your days at El Alma Soul Retreat around the pool, on secluded beaches or with a round golf next door. Whether it’s a soul, yoga or tango retreat – or you come for the incredible setting alone – this hilltop hideaway is ideal for recharging batteries.

El alma is Spanish for ‘the soul’ – and this luxury villa is all about re-connecting with yours by de-connecting from the world. There is WiFi, but you won’t find a television. Instead, you’re invited to discover pura vida through massages, walks, or simply absorbing the tropical views. Inside this is a serene, designer escape. Expect open spaces, a soothing palette of neutral earth tones and bespoke artisan furniture such as Balinese wood screens.

El Alma puts you on a hillside on the Península Papagayo, arguably Costa Rica’s pride and joy. Most of it is untamed national parkland, bursting with wildlife. From the air, the contrast between emerald rainforest canopies and sapphire seas is a hint at the paradise beneath. Think picturesque bays, quiet beaches, manicured fairways and scuba diving with rays and turtles.

Accommodations

Whether you book the entire villa or one of the three luxury rooms, you’ll feel at peace at El Alma. A blissful blend of beach house, tree house and art gallery, every furnishing and ornament has been chosen with care. Wood and stone breathe warmth and life, while open spaces and glass walls fill rooms with sunshine and Pacific breezes. Each bathroom offers spa-like relaxation and interiors. While private terraces connect you with nature. Try a yoga or meditation class and for the ultimate in relaxation, follow it up with an in room massage.

Costa Rica 🇨🇷

All trails lead to waterfalls, misty crater lakes or jungle-fringed, deserted beaches. Explored by horseback, foot or kayak, Costa Rica is a tropical choose-your-own-adventure land.

Outdoor Adventures

Rainforest hikes and brisk high-altitude trails, rushing white-water rapids and world-class surfing: Costa Rica offers a dizzying suite of outdoor adventures in every shape and size – from the squeal-inducing rush of a canopy zip line to a sun-dazed afternoon at the beach. National parks allow visitors to glimpse life in the tropical rainforest and cloud forest, simmering volcanoes offer otherworldly vistas, and reliable surf breaks are suited to beginners and experts alike. Can’t decide? Don’t worry, you won’t have to. Given the country’s diminutive size, it’s possible to plan a relatively short trip that includes it all.

The Pure Life

And then there are the people. Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they prefer to call themselves, are proud of their little slice of paradise, welcoming guests to sink into the easygoing rhythms of the pura vida (pure life). The greeting, farewell, catchy motto and enduring mantra gets to the heart of Costa Rica’s appeal – its simple yet profound ability to let people relax and enjoy their time. With the highest quality of life in Central America, all the perfect waves, perfect sunsets and perfect beaches seem like the pura vida indeed.

The Peaceful Soul of Central America

As the eco- and adventure-tourism capital of Central America, Costa Rica has a worthy place in the cubicle daydreams of travelers around the world. With world-class infrastructure, visionary sustainability initiatives and no standing army since 1948 (when the country redirected its defense funds toward education, healthcare and the environment), Costa Rica is a peaceful green jewel of the region. Taking into account that more than a fourth of the land enjoys some form of environmental protection and there’s greater biodiversity here than in the USA and Europe combined, it’s a place that earns the superlatives.

The Wild Life

Such wildlife abounds in Costa Rica as to seem almost cartoonish: keel-billed toucans ogle you from treetops and scarlet macaws raucously announce their flight paths. A keen eye will discern a sloth on a branch or the eyes and snout of a caiman breaking the surface of a mangrove swamp, while alert ears will catch rustling leaves signaling a troop of white-faced capuchins or the haunting call of a howler monkey. Blue morpho butterflies flit amid orchid-festooned trees, while colorful tropical fish, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales thrive offshore – all as if in a conservationist’s dream.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://www.elalma.com

http://www.slh.com/hotels/el-alma-soul-retreat/?l

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica

 

Kandolhu Maldives – Malé, Maldives 🇲🇻

 

An exhilarating seaplane journey from Malé takes you to Kandolhu Maldives, an exclusive resort of just 30 villas, some with private pools.

This tiny private island has a beautiful white sand beach and a pristine coral reef. With beach and over-water villas, four great restaurants, a spa and a wealth of non-motorised water sports, this could be your temporary Maldivian home.

A diver’s paradise, Kandolhu Maldives provides day and night dives from on board a Maldivian dhoni. Swim among turtles, Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, snappers and jacks through caverns and overhangs. Take sailing lessons, or enjoy hours of pampering in the spa. Go on a sunset cruise and return later for Mediterranean cuisine in the Olive Restaurant or fresh seafood at the Sea Grill, right on the beach.

Accommodations

Choose between beach villas or over-water villas, some with a Jacuzzi and others with a private plunge pool.

All have daybeds, a sundeck and sun loungers to make the most of the outrageously beautiful sea views. Grab your complimentary snorkelling gear and discover Kandolhu Island’s colourful house reef encircling the island.

Dining

For a small and intimate island, Kandolhu offers plenty of ways to wine, dine and be merry. You have a choice of four à la carte restaurants, a bar, beach dining experiences as well as in-villa dining options available.

The Spa

Situated in the heart of Kandolhu Maldives there is an hidden secret: Varu Spa.

Varu, meaning ‘energy’ in the local language Dhivehi, forms the basis of every living soul, creating emotional responses and movement… and when this energy is unbalanced or met with resistance due to stress, it can leave us feeling anxious and fatigued.

At Varu Spa it the focus is to realign and unite the mind, body and soul by helping to rebalance and strengthen this energy, not only leaving you feeling at one with yourself and in harmony with your beautiful surroundings, but relaxed and energised, healthy and happy.

Maldives 🇲🇻

Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make the Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.

Unbelievable Beaches

The Maldives is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; they’re on almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands and are so consistently perfect that it’s hard not to become blasé about them. While some beaches may boast softer granules than others, the basic fact remains: you’ll find consistently whiter-than-white powder sand and luminous cyan-blue water like this almost nowhere else on earth. This fact alone is enough to bring over a million people a year to this tiny, remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise.

Resorts for Everyone

Every resort in the Maldives is its own private island, and with over 100 to choose from the only problem is selecting where you want to stay. At the top end, the world’s most exclusive hotel brands compete with each other to attain ever-greater heights of luxury, from personal butlers and private lap pools to in-room massages and pillow menus. It’s not surprising that honeymooners and those seeking a glamorous tropical getaway have long had the country at the top of their wish lists. But there’s choice beyond the five- and six-star resorts. Other islands cater for families, for divers, for those on a (relative) budget, and anyone wanting a tranquil back-to-nature experience.

Independent Travel

In the last few years, these incredible islands have finally started to open to independent travellers, meaning you no longer have to stay in resorts and remain separate from the local population, something that has kept backpackers away for decades. Intrepid individuals can now make their own itineraries and travel from island to island by public ferry, staying among the devout but friendly local population. With a fast-growing number of privately run guesthouses on inhabited islands, the Maldives and its people are now more accessible than ever.

Underwater World

With some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, the clear waters of the Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life. The richness and variety is astonishing; dazzling coral walls, magnificent caves and schools of brightly coloured tropical fish await you when you get down to the reef. In deeper waters lurk manta rays, turtles, sharks and even the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. The best bit? The water is so warm many people don’t even wear a wetsuit.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

Kandolhu Maldives

http://www.slh.com/hotels/kandolhu-island-resort/?l

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives/introduction