Five luxury holidays from Hong Kong: Memorable hotels for utterly lavish trips
By Rebecca Bisset
27 October 2014
There are often occasions that call for something truly exceptional. Whether you're planning a proposal, birthday treat or simply need to unwind in total privacy, here are a few travel destinations I have been to in the last couple of years that I can recommend. We're talking the luxury end of budget here - if money is no issue and you're looking for something spectacular.
Click through the above for a large selection of photos from the gorgeous resorts below...
Hayman Island - Australia
I travelled here a few years ago and it was fantastic then, so I can't even imagine how lovely it is now that the new owners (One & Only) have invested 50million dollars into the Whitsundays resort. This is a brilliant holiday with or without children.
My favourite bits:
- The whole island is owned by the resort, so there's so much space to walk around and explore in private.
- The layout of the rooms, especially the ones that are right next to the pool.
- You can stay active with the tennis courts and driving range.
- The weather was perfect when we went in winter. Plus, because the water is cold, there are no stingers in the water (as there are in summer).
- It’s right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef – you can’t get better than that!
- The boat ride to get to the resort is a real high. Optional seaplanes and helicopter rides are pricey, and only worth it if the sea is calm and visibility good, but don't cough up if it has been raining or the sea is choppy.
Kauri Cliffs – New Zealand
Deservedly at the top of Conde Nast Traveller lists, Kauri Cliffs is one of a family of three American-owned resorts in New Zealand. You can take kids along on this trip, but I'd recommend avoiding it if they're too little, as I don't think there are any adjoining rooms if they are young.
My favourite bits:
- They have the most comfortable beds in the world, with gorgeous bedding you won't want to leave in the morning. Probably why they make the breakfasts so good!
- It was the best food I have had in any hotel anywhere – hence why it's food is ranked in the top 10 by Conde Nast Traveller.
- The private beaches are wonderful, there's hectares of farmland, plus a spectacular golf course overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You basically have the best of everything here.
- Their mix of home and resort décor works really well and is different from your standard hotel fabrics and materials.
- If you’re a golfer then this course is exceptional, it looks out to sea, plus the fairway looks like the greens. It’s so lovingly looked after.
W Resort - Maldives
The seaplane over the islands of the Maldives should be on everyone’s bucket list, it’s probably the best part of the experience in my opinion. I haven't been for a few years, but this place has a sense of individualism. You'd probably want to leave any little ones at home for this trip.
My favourite bits:
- The water villas and ocean oasis rooms are perched above the sea, plus the bathrooms have glass floors. The living room also has a glass hole for checking out the beautiful sea life below. Better yet, it has underwater lights so it's even more amazing at night.
- You can step out of your verandah right in to the sea.
- The Bose surround sound and wifi means that you’re really in the land of cool
- You can get into the groove at their underground disco. It used to be only one in the Maldives, plus you can drink shots made from glasses made from ice – perfect!
Tea Trails - Sri Lanka
It’s a bit of a trawl to get there from Colombo - we spent about eight hours winding our way there in a car at night (with the horns beeping madly) and we felt a bit sick. But so worth it. Kids can join you in this peaceful destination, but they need to cope with a long car journey (or you can look into getting a train across).
My favourite bits:
- Beautiful colonial cottages with gleaming floors of old wood.
- After dinner glass of Port in front of an open fire is rather hedonistic and colonial. Just very special
- Everything is included in the price, so there’s no surprises at the end of the stay. This includes tea in bed in the morning (brought to you by the butler!) and lots of divine food in general.
- Lovely, gentle staff from another world.
- The rolling tea plantations are covered in mist in the mornings, and waking up to find a beautiful lake in front of your window is amazing.
- There are lots of lovely walks and this trip feels like a real retreat.
- There's golf, white water rafting and a tea plantation tour (which is actually very interesting!).
- You can travel onto many places from there like Kandy, elephant parks or the beaches around Galle.
Tip: If you're looking to move on, do remember that the map is deceiving and it will probably take you twice as long to cover the distances as there are few roads and they get so busy. The east coast has a fabulous new highway so stick to that if you have time limits.
The Datai, Langkawi
This hotel is so easy to reach from Singapore and has won quite a few awards. You can take kids if you stay in a two-bed, but the one-bed villas are so romantic.
My favourite bits:
- The Beach Villas are one or two bedroomed and right on the beach – with your own little back ‘garden gate’ leading to the sea.
- The layout is really special. You have a large living and dining room (that seems a bit superfluous for a couple!) which is very luxurious if you want to dine there in private. A little garden, outdoor lounge and pool are all encased in bamboo fencing and pretty private (well, I sincerely hope no one could see in). The huge bedroom opens up out onto the pool, and also leads to an enormous bathroom and outdoor shower.
- It’s right in the middle of native forest and taking a nature walk is a must! The guide was full of fascinating facts.
- There’s hardly any traffic on Langkawi and it’s easy (but not that cheap) to get a driver to take you around. Although you might not feel the need to explore beyond The Datai's hectares of land and beach front.
- The Datai also has four restaurants, each offering different cuisines, so there really is no pressure to go anywhere.
- You can hire kayaks and little sailing boats for free, although beware of the waves when you are coming in to shore (I lost the only expensive pair of sunglasses I’ve ever owned when we flipped).
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