Think you need a man to enjoy a holiday? Think again. Whether you need some me-time or a fun-filled trip with your girlfriends, forgo romance and give your heart some TLC – travel, love and care
IF YOUR HEART DESIRES: Adventure
GO TO: Wildflower Hall, Shimla, Indian Himalayas
As the tallest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas are an Aladdin’s cave of adventure. But if you like your thrills with a side of frills, check-in to a luxury high-altitude hotel. Perched 8,250ft in the forested foothills of this rocky expanse is Wildflower Hall. There are no words to describe the scenery beyond each of its turrets: stunning, breathtaking and majestic don’t seem to cut it.
The castle is an outstanding example of colonial British architecture, and makes for an impressive sight precariously balanced on top of a Himalayan peak. Whether you’re looking to trek the mountain trails, partake in some mountain biking or simply open your drapes and drink in the beauty, this place caters for all levels of adventure.
Once owned by Lord Kitchener, the old commander-in-chief of India, the building epitomises the grandeur associated with 19th century wealth. Though it has been sympathetically restored, it comes with all the modern amenities you’d expect to find in a lavish resort. What’s more, the Oberoi Spa and Wellness Centre has won numerous awards so it’s the ideal place to kick-back after a day on the hills.
Going alone? Expect to pay upwards of Dhs1,448 per night.
Going with friends? Why not hire the Lord Kitchener Suite, which sleeps two to four adults, for around Dhs3,783 per night.
IF YOUR HEART DESIRES: Excitement
GO TO: Chalet Chloe, Saas-Fee, Switzerland
At this time of year, many of the world’s ski resorts are winding down in preparation for spring. But there are a few favoured spots with reliable snowfall throughout the warmer months. With a large array of runs at high-altitude, Swiss resort Saas-Fee is one of them.
Skinny, car-free streets make the resort feel like a tiny village, even though it has grown into a popular snow sports destination. Many slopes are 2,500m above sea level, so the scenery is truly dramatic – glaciers, sharp peaks and royal blue skies make for pretty impressive holiday snaps.
With scenes over Saas-Fee and the cascading mountains surrounding it, Chalet Chloe has panoramic views while still only within walking distance to the centre of the village. Designer fittings include a rotating Dominic Imbert fireplace suspended from the ceiling, Norwegian slate flooring and a sauna. The fully catered accommodation sleeps up to eight adults in substantial luxury. There’s no better way to unwind après ski.
Going alone? We recommend enjoying this accommodation with friends. Those flying solo should check in to one of the resort’s luxury hotels. Visit saas-fee.ch for details
Going with friends? The chalet can be hired from Dhs7,345 and sleeps eight comfortably. There’s also a room with two single bunk beds.
IF YOUR HEART DESIRES: Paradise
GO TO: Kumbuk, Buttala, Sri Lanka
Resplendent with tropical greenery, untamed wildlife and killer surf, it’s difficult to believe that Sri Lanka is a relatively new addition to the tourist map. Whether you’re looking to absorb all things natural and hang out with elephants, or indulge in man-made luxury and spa treatments, this is the place to go.
Kumbuk Hotel, on the bank of Kumbuk River, is a quiet area of paradise that’s starting to gain media attention due to one of its bizarrely shaped villas. Fashioned into a life-sized elephant, up to 10 people can kip in the belly of the 40ft, two-storey villa. Though this gimmick is, without a doubt, somewhat tacky, the eco-friendly nature of the resort, along with its reputation for quality, make it passable as stylish.
There’s a range of accommodation to suit all tastes, so whether you want to get back to basics with a villa made completely from straw and wood, or indulge in a luxury tree house with glass walls, there’s something to suit all travellers. The surrounding 16-acre water-fronted grounds are ideal for nature trails and fishing, while it’s in prime location for taking day trips to surf territory.
Going alone? Pay from US$90 per night on a full board basis.
Going with friends? The elephant villa can sleep up to 10 people. Rates start at US$150 per night for groups of four, or US$50 per person for larger groups.
IF YOUR HEART DESIRES: Music
GO TO: nhow, Berlin, Germany
With a taglines like “The only constant is change” and “Check in to the world of music”, you know this isn’t a normal hotel – it’s Europe’s first ‘music hotel’. Charmingly off the wall, nhow blends playful interior design with a luxe concept to deliver serious quirk. Located on the banks of the river Spree, one of the liveliest parts of the city, it’s where the young, vibrant and sociable go to soak up free-spirited Berlin.
Jessie J and Kool Savas are amongst the chart-toppers who’ve used the in-house recoding studios. But, if you think this treatment is reserved for the A-list, think again. The studios, as well as the music lounge and guitar room, are available for all guests to hire – you can even book a music producer to help you create your own song.
Rooms come with iPod docks, a state-of-the-art entertainment system and, of course, a musical instrument of your choice. Not that you’d want to spend much time in your room. With a five-star restaurant, bar, open mic nights and gigs, the hotel has plenty to explore. Just don’t forget to step outside and see Berlin at some point during your stay.
Going alone? Expect to pay from Dhs580 per night for a
Going with friends? Rates start at Dhs1,050 per night based
n three sharing a superior room.
IF YOUR HEART DESIRES: Rejuvenation
GO TO: Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley, California, USA
California, home to ‘la la land’ and bizarre health fads, is the ideal place to recharge dwindling batteries. Napa Valley is famed for its gourmet restaurants, homegrown vino and luxury spa retreats, so why not combine all three at Auberge du Soleil, which does just that.
The resort is all about earthy healing, without scrimping on mod cons. Aiming to create a French Provence vibe intertwined with the laidback luxe of California, the retreat is the ideal combination of extravagance and wellness. With a French cuisine restaurant for leisurely evenings and a serene pool for equally leisurely days, guests can expect their schedule to be packed with relaxation.
Overlooking the flora and fauna of the valley is the huge Auberge du Soleil Spa – which is impressive even by Californian standards. Much of the building was created using the region’s natural materials, which reflects the environmentally friendly ethos of the resort.
Going alone? Rates start at around US$850 per night.
Going with friends? Budget for around US$3,150 based on six people sharing two rooms.