Most of us love lounging under tropical palms or basking at the edge of a sparkling pool on our well-earned getaway, 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 to 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. Stay at Blue Margouillat, the perfect place to unwind after touring the island. This Relais & Chateaux gem is more like a beautiful house than a hotel – with a fabulous art collection hung throughout the property and quirky sculptures in the gardens. Be sure to indulge in a candlelit dinner for two at the restaurant, where renowned chef Marc Chappot creates exquisite French food using fresh produce from the island. Pair your meal with a bottle from the excellent wine list and round off the night with a homemade ‘rhum arrangé’.
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.
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 birdwatching. 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. At The Bush Camp Chiang Mai, you'll spend time in the company of free-roaming elephants and the people that care for them: the mahouts. There are just 10 African safari-style tents here, which were built by local crafters and have exceptional views out over the misty mountains. Between interacting with Thailand's gentle giants, you can listen to the jungle's wild calls while relaxing on your tent's terrace, freshen up in the infinity pool and enjoy tasty meals in the open-air pavilion.
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.