I recently returned from 9 days in planet Earth’s most rapturous dreamland – the Maldives. I’ve been fortunate to visit this heaven on prior occasions, and I am struck by how its luminous beauty never dulls; on this trip, I visited the wonderful Westin Maldives Miriandhoo, a jewel in the crown of the Westin Hotels and Resorts group. I’ve worked with Westin for many years as their Wellbeing Movement ambassador and I’ve experienced several of their properties around the world; as such, I know the wellness ethos that pervades every detail of this hotel group well, and it’s one that I feel passionately about infusing into every trip I take. Whilst I was hosted at the Westin Maldives Miriandhoo (henceforth WMM), I experienced the purest expression of their Wellbeing philosophy, free from the restrictions and confines imposed by a bustling cityscape, and instead, able to indulge in the secluded tranquillity of island life. Picture-perfect postcard-style, powdery-soft sandy beaches, mesmeric sunsets, the freshest seafood and perfect temperatures, all render it an unsurprising top honeymoon destination; for me, after only a few days, I recovered the hitherto lost sensation of feeling recharged, relaxed and renewed. Thereafter, the ensuing week of pure revival left me ready to take on 2020 with gusto! Click MORE to see and read about my experience of this nirvana…
Posts tagged 'escape'
SEA TO SEA IN ISRAEL!
When first I visited Israel – a decidedly middle eastern country – I didn’t expect to find myself strolling amidst a Gay Pride parade with over 100,000 people revelling on the beaches of Tel Aviv. On my recent and second visit to Israel, I had the great honour of being invited by The Ministry of Tourism, who ushered me and two journalists on an equally unexpected – and remarkably broad – historical and cultural tour of this breath-taking country, called ‘Sea to Sea’. Israel is a delicious melting pot of religion, culture, people and food; where Mediterranean meets Middle-Eastern, and where modern meets traditional. On this expedition, I discovered some truly ancient sites, voyaged through one of the oldest cities on the planet, enjoyed exquisite Israeli restaurants, feasted my way through vegetable/fruit and fish souks, and languished in the intimate boutique hospitality of this country. The list of highlights is impractically long so I’ve listed my absolute key takeaways if you’re thinking of a trip – and at the bottom of the post, other things to do whilst you’re there, should you have time. This is an active trip to remember!
WELLNESS ESCAPE TO BORDEAUX WITH CAUDALIE
Les Sources de Caudalie is one of those rare hotels to enjoy the mysterious ‘Palace’ designation – a hyper-prestigious mark of distinction bestowed upon just 24 hotels, all of which are in France. Unclear as to what it officially means, to me it represents an endorsement that an operation has proven itself a practitioner of the finest haut hospitalité that the French call their Art de Vivre. Whilst the hotel itself is really quite special, there were two other major components to the site which rendered my stay here totally memorable and unique; the world-class ‘Grand Cru appellation’ vineyard on site, and the shrine to the French beauty house Caudalie, itself stemming from the vines. When choosing a place to stay, one must select the appropriate property for the geography; Les Sources de Caudalie masterfully bottles the essence of this region into one exceptional package. For a wellness escape to Bordeaux, it is a sublime choice, and this post reveals the magical experience I found there!
SPRING SKIING IN MEGEVE!
I recently had the excellent fortune to visit a charismatic, cozy, alpine bolt-hole named Les Fermes de Marie, nestled within the charming cobblestoned town of Mègeve, high up in the mountains of the French Alps. If you fancy going on a little ‘last-minute spring skiing weekend’, then perhaps read on to discover a little of the magic behind this outstanding traditional mountain destination!
AUSTRALIA pt 2: MY ‘SYDNEY TOP 10’
Across the world, countless bloggers have majored on Australia as a destination; there’s also a ceaseless stream of toned and fashionable Australians who dominate a casual perusal of the Instagram ‘Explore’ screen as if the algorithm is calibrated to go overweight Aussie beauty! My experiences, however, are just that; my own, not ‘new’, but just from me. That said, I sure as hell did my research before arriving in Sydney, systematically surveying every single Australian I know, then distilling their collective output into a one-week, extensive plan of attack! Indeed, having done-and-dusted with my experience in the Great Barrier Reef, pursued my full Sydney scheme precisely as it was sketched out, it gives me great joy to recount and depict the choicest of experiences here to you dear reader, whether you’re just curious or are planning an adventurous ‘Active Escape’ of your own! This post makes up Part 2 of the Australia series – and I sense there will be countless more parts to follow upon my future return to that magnificent country! I discovered an outdoor-dwelling society, predisposed to health and fitness, blessed with supreme weather and a fresh fish-based diet, in a culturally diverse and well-invested city where inhabitants genuinely smile. In fact it’s so good, this could conceivably be ‘home’ one day! Click MORE to discover my Top 10 experiences in Sydney…
WHY TO START TRAINING – NOW !!!
Amidst the snowy deluge of a brutally frosted British December, Summer is but a moribund memory, seemingly belonging to a different planet (or Sydney in the case of my shots here!). Bikinis and/or trunks are consigned to a forgotten section of the wardrobe and instead, it’s acceptable to hide under countless layers of knitted misc. The commercialized ‘beach body’ frenzy is over; we feel as though we can relax, without the pressure to get naked! It’s also a time when we naturally eat and/or drink a little more than we otherwise would; t’is festive season leading up to Christmas…
For that reason, I say TRAIN NOW; this way whatever excess you’re consuming, at least you’re burning it off at the gym! Furthermore, you’re establishing a fitness routine now rather than leaving it to January, when going cold turkey will feel like a tragic uphill struggle. By the time the equally commercialized ‘new year new you’ fallacy comes around, you’ll already have a strong, regular thing going on; new year, same you! BTW, I don’t subscribe to the January frenzy, instead I believe healthy is a lifestyle choice all year round! This post contains a few 101 tips to get started, right now!
VISITING THE ALGARVE – VILA VITA PARC…
Tucked away amidst Portugal’s sun-soaked Algarve coast lies VILA VITA Parc, an indulgent resort hotel overflowing with genuine Portuguese charm, which recently hosted me on a supremely memorable wellness escape. Having visited the Algarve in the past, my mind was at once cast back to rich warm hues and golden light; honey-toned beaches beside the crisp inky-blue Atlantic Ocean, beautifully framed by limestone cliffs and the ever-changing opalescent skies. On this trip, however, I encountered an Algarve which offers some sublime fresh ingredients and amongst others, wonderful fish recipes. I also became better acquainted with a charming inland area (unusual as we Brits tend to languish by the seaside), met with locals living close to nature, and encountered so many very old and beautiful traditions that have been magically preserved. The Algarve is a superb ‘active destination’, with sweeping coastlines offering endless water-sports, (most famously surfing, given the Atlantic fetch) and countless beach-based activities too. Throw in the beautiful natural landscapes which make for great hiking and you have the makings of a healthy, comfortable and energising trip! Here’s a little of my experience…
WELLNESS RETREAT TO ST LUCIA
Snuggled between the two talismanic Piton mountains of St Lucia on a UNESCO World Heritage site, surveying the gentle breaths of the Caribbean Sea, rests the world-renowned Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. I visited, and experienced some of the most authentically delivered and luxuriously-crafted Caribbean hospitality, punctuated by some seriously demanding and gritty fitness activities. This destination was host to a unique and unforgettable Active Escape involving ocean swims, boot camp classes, morning yoga, a bamboo massage, and a brutal hike up (& down) the larger Piton mountain. Click more to see and evaluate it for yourself!
ACTIVE ESCAPE: MONASTERO SANTA ROSA
When pondering life in a monastery, images of stoic monks engaged in the pursuit of tireless abstinence come to mind; perhaps you conjure their unfulfilled passions, heavy sacrifices, and somber dutifulness underscoring a lifetime of pious devotion. Well, you shall have to park those preconceptions to one side the moment you hear the Monastero Santa Rosa‘s bell welcome you to the Hotel – a charming and sonorous tradition ringing out from a simpler era. Whilst an ancient spirituality pervades Monastero‘s stone corridors, this is perhaps the most well-invested, immaculately finished gem on Italy’s glistening Amalfi Coast, and was the scene of my latest wellness pilgrimage. Blending the owner’s meticulous eye for detail, a masterpiece organic vegetable garden nourished by lashings of Italian sunshine, a ‘gourmet heavyweight’ chef, a heavenly infinity pool, a sumptuous spa complex, and exquisitely appointed rooms, the hotel nails the very essence of Amalfi magic. I visited in order to road-test their newly launched ‘Health & Hike’ package, and am thrilled to recount the special experiences I encountered over my 3 days. Read MORE to see all the glorious details…
WELLNESS CITY BREAK TO BATH!
Last weekend, I voyaged westward to Bath for a distinctly British wellness escape. For years, I’d sampled the Instagram candy that was geotagged from this beautiful Georgian city, once revered by the Romans as the only hot springs in the UK – but this was my first IRL trip. VisitBath asked me to pop down for a weekend to experience the wellbeing benefits of this UNESCO World Heritage site for myself, so I jumped at the chance! What I found was an intoxicating blend of fresh air, relaxing proportions, historic significance, aesthetically arresting architecture, and a pace of life so wholly different to London (yet just 1hr 20 mins away on the Paddington flyer) that it was hard not to cut loose the stresses of the working week! Click more to see the key highlights of what I unearthed!