A holiday with special ingredients : add some spice to your time away
Most of us love lounging under tropical palms or basking at the edge of a sparkling pool on our well-earned vacay, and any holiday worth its salt includes plenty of downtime. But if you're looking for a little more than just R&R, our experts can sprinkle in some extraordinary 'special ingredients' to elevate your escape to the next level.
We've introduced a range of immersive experiences to make your time away even more memorable, from soaring above lava-spilling volcanoes in a helicopter to up-close encounters with elephants. Take a look at some of these suggested itineraries to see how our experts can craft a unique holiday that stands out from the rest.
From the earth to the sky: Mauritius and La Reunion
There’s more to Mauritius than the postcard-worthy beaches. Head inland, and you’ll find emerald forests, waterfalls and secret mountain retreats; Lakaz Chamarel Exclusive Lodge is one of our favourites. A stay at this boutique eco-hotel, hidden in the Black Gorges National Park, is sure to start your holiday on a high with astonishing views, private pool suites and a back-to-nature vibe.
If you’re one for romantic gestures, you could book our new Plant a Love Tree experience while staying in Mauritius. You’ll be taken on a jeep safari in the forest before finding a special spot to plant a native tree in the earth. Not only does this mean you’re doing your bit for conservation, it’s a great excuse to come back and see how your ‘love tree’ has grown.
Next, we’ll fly you over to nearby La Reunion, where the scenery is more Hawaii than Indian Ocean. The best way to appreciate the vast beauty of this volcanic island is from the air on our Scenic Helicopter Flight. You’ll soar across the lunar landscapes before landing at a luxurious lodge for a tasty Creole lunch. For a little extra LUX*-ury and the chance to whale-watch, stay at LUX* Saint Gilles, where from June to October, you can often glimpse these mighty marine mammals from the shore of the coral-sheltered lagoon. Be sure to scour the island for a hidden ‘message in a bottle’ surprise and spend an evening watching a movie under the stars, complete with beanbags, cocktails and popcorn.
For your grand finale, return to Mauritius for a beach fix and at Belle Mare, on the East Coast, you’ll find one of the best slices of sand. Just steps from the shore is the newly-opened Sunrise Attitude, where you’ll get an insight into local Mauritian life with their Otentik experiences, including cooking classes and Creole lessons.
Scuba, spa and snorkelling safaris in the Maldives
It’s no secret that the Maldives is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary marine life. The best way to meet the Indian Ocean’s cast of aquatic superstars is to dive right in, and The Floating Resort by Scuba Spa is a remarkable way to discover the reefs, atolls, and top dive sites. This wow-factor yacht has a five-star PADI dive centre, ultra-luxe cabins and an Asian-style spa. Pick the package to suit you; scuba, spa, or a combination of both.
Following your unforgettable Scuba Spa journey, jump ship and head to the powder-white sands of an idyllic resort. Kurumba Maldives was the first island to welcome tourists back in 1972 and, over the years, has become a TripAdvisor favourite, most notably for the incredible choice of dining. Gourmet delights go beyond the doors of the six à la carte restaurants, with experiences such as sandbank picnics, cooking classes and the wonderfully romantic ‘sounds of the sea’ dinner. For those that want to continue exploring the undersea world, you can go on a snorkelling safari on the superb house reef, where you’re likely to spot stingrays, reef sharks and turtles, or visit the cultural capital, Malé, to get a fascinating insight into local life.
Adventures in the wild: Kenya
If you’re looking for more from a safari than traditional wildlife-viewing, a stay at Governors’ Mugie House gives you the chance to peek backstage and experience an authentic behind-the-scenes safari. At this luxury house in north Kenya’s wildlife corridor, you can head out with rangers to track lions, spend time with the anti-poaching units and visit the working cattle farm. Safaris’ feel exclusive as only four vehicles traverse the conservancy each day; keep your eyes peeled for rarer species such as Grevy’s zebra and Reticulated Giraffe. Speaking of giraffes, back at the house you may encounter Tala, Mugie’s tallest (and most Instagram-famous) resident, who often pops her head in windows or wanders over to curiously greet new guests.
We suggest twinning time at Mugie House with any of Governors’ properties in the Maasai Mara, where you can tick off the ultimate safari bucket list of a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Or go all out on the Governors’ Grand Safari, which also includes a few nights at Loldia House, a colonial-style farmhouse on the shores of beautiful Lake Naivasha.
Rum, rhythm and a rainforest retreat: Dominica and Barbados
A great way to pack more Caribbean flair into your holiday is on a twin-centre escape. Begin your trip in Dominica, a paradisiacal island overflowing with rainforest, remote beaches and eco-friendly hideaways. Secret Bay is one of our top picks, which has just 10 treehouse-style pool villas, innovative dining and an impressive list of curated activities. If you’re more the thrill-seeking type, you can hike the challenging Waitukabuli National Trail, go canyoning and hunt lionfish with a local fisherman. Or for calmer pursuits, there’s sunset yoga, snorkelling and bird-watching. Don’t miss the chance to kayak down the mystical Indian River with ‘Fire’, a characterful local guide who’ll wow you with his knowledge of the flora and fauna of this Amazon-esque tributary.
Next, we’ll whisk you across to Barbados for a taste of the high life. Cobblers Cove, home to one of Barbados’s best restaurants, blends English country style with Caribbean charm and is just a short drive from lively Speightstown. There’s so much to see and do in Barbados, but considering this island is known as the cradle of rum, we highly recommend booking our Mount Gay Distillery Experience. This fun-filled afternoon includes learning how to mix, shake and, of course, drink cocktails made with the islands most famous export, Mount Gay rum.
Discover the treasures of Thailand
Start your Thailand trio in enigmatic Bangkok. We love the all-suite hotel Oriental Residence Bangkok, which is why we’ve made it exclusive to Kuoni guests in the UK. Thailand’s buzzing capital can feel overwhelming to navigate, so let us take care of the sightseeing. Our experts can incorporate a couple of excursions into your itinerary, and one of our top choices is the Bangkok Street food tour. Accompanied by a local guide, you’ll explore the Old Town’s atmospheric alleyways on foot, sampling tasty treats along the way; must-tries are sticky rice dumplings and coconut ice cream.
Travel to the heart of the cultural north, Chiang Mai, for the next stop on your adventure to spend a few nights at U Chiang Mai, a boutique hotel hidden behind the city’s ancient walls. Outside the city, the jungle-clad hills are dotted with fascinating hill tribe villages and soul-stirring temples, as well as a number of ethical elephant sanctuaries. Visit one of the best on our Elephant Care Experience, where you can observe and interact with these gentle creatures in their natural environment.
The best way to round up your Thailand travels is with a relaxing stay by the ocean, and Kalima Khao Lak is a sweet spot for beachside bliss. Nestled between mangrove forests and two tranquil beaches, this edgy resort has rustic-chic villas and a jaw-dropping infinity pool. You may not want to leave this haven, but if you do, we recommend exploring the underwater world on our Similan Islands Cruise, where you’ll enjoy a day of snorkelling, diving and picnicking at pretty-named bays, our favourite being the picture-perfect Princess Bay.
We are the original experts in tailor-made holidays, tying in handpicked hotels and unique experiences alongside exclusive upgrades where possible. To start planning an escape that’s completely tailored for you, talk to our Personal Travel Experts or make an appointment to visit us in store.