28 March 2017
In need of a little peace and quiet? Here, we've chosen 5 hideaways to escape to. Perfect for recharging your batteries!
Oman: Alila Jabal Akhdar
If you’re hoping for solitude, dramatic landscapes, and a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this exquisite hotel might just be for you.
Tucked in the incredible landscape of the Al Hajar mountain range in Oman, Alila Jabal Akhdar overlooks a dramatic gorge and is surrounded by canyons, caves, breathtaking mountains, and hamlets. It’s perched 2,000 metres above sea level and the panoramic views seem to go on forever.
Travel Counsellor Lisa escaped to Alila Jabal Akhdar after seeing photos of the mesmerising infinity pool: “It is a little piece of heaven on earth. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to escape the heat of Dubai, anyone who loves being outdoors in nature or even for adventure travellers.
The setting is breathtaking. Surrounding the hotel are lots of hiking paths for beginners right up to experts. The concierge service is very helpful and they offer everything from cultural experiences to cooking lessons. Or if relaxation is what you are after, you can indulge in some treatments in their spa.”
Why not combine a stay here with a trip to Dubai? You could explore glittering Dubai and then head to Alila Jabal Akhdar to unwind.
USA: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
Whilst this picturesque area is bustling during the summer months, this doesn’t take away from its enduring charm. Imagine long stretches of sand and weathered, white lighthouses, and colourful cottages. And don’t forget the food! This area is renowned for its mouthwatering seafood dishes, so be sure to tuck into clam chowder and lobster.
There are plenty of places to escape to in these areas, from magical seaside hotels to lovely B&Bs in the delightful towns. Travel Counsellor Mark rented a house with his family in Cape Cod after spending a few days in New York and driving up through Connecticut and Rhode Island.
On crossing the bridge that spans the canal across the entrance to Cape Cod, Marks says “We were struck by how we felt transported in a time warp to a different era of maybe 30 - 40 years ago and a much less frenetic pace of life. This was perhaps after the hustle and bustle of New York and it was refreshing to visit somewhere with an almost old fashioned but quintessentially American seaside feel to it.
There are so many beautiful beaches dotted along the Cape Cod peninsular that even in the peak of summer it never felt crowded. I loved the weatherboard clad houses located alongside the beaches with fantastic views looking out to sea and some amazing sunsets. We often hired bikes and this was great for exercise as well as for getting around the towns we visited. This also helped us build up an appetite for another great reason for visiting Cape Town, which is for the excellent restaurants and seafood in particular.”
Australia: Lord Howe Island, Rottnest Island, Phillip Island
If your idea of a hideaway involves glorious weather, dazzling white sands and bright blue waters, hop over to one of these breathtaking islands in Australia!
There are lots of stunning islands to visit in Australia but Travel Counsellor Julia highlights Lord Howe Island, Rottnest Island, Phillip Island as places “bursting with wildlife, beaches, and adventure.”
Julia sums up the islands as: “Lord Howe Island (New South Wales) is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed area off the coast of New South Wales, east of Port Macquarie. Lord Howe Island is characterised by its twin peaks, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife. Visitors access the island via a flight that takes less than two hours from Sydney. Once there they can snorkel the world’s most southerly coral reef, home to 500 species of fish and more than 90 coral species. Hikers will be enticed by the trek to the summit of Mt Gower, often cited as one of the world’s best one-day hikes, plus visitors can hire bikes and cycle around the island. Wildlife fans can discover the island’s endemic plant and animal life, including one of the world’s rarest bird species, the endangered woodhen.
Fondly referred to as “Rotto” by locals, car-free Rottnest Island is 30 minutes from Perth. With 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays, beach lovers will have their work cut out, while wildlife fans can spot quokkas – marsupials found only in Western Australia – and pods of bottlenose dolphins. Snorkellers can try a guided trail taking in Rottnest’s natural underwater sculptures, 400 species of fish and 20 coral species at Parker Point.
Just off Australia’s southern coast, Phillip Island is home to the country’s largest colony of little penguins. Visitors can watch the nightly Penguin Parade, when thousands of the world’s smallest penguins waddle out of the sea, back to their homes in the sand dunes. The island, which can be visited as a day trip from Melbourne or included with an overnight stay, is also home to the country’s largest colony of Australian fur seals.”
Langkawi: The Datai
On Malaysia’s west coast, Langkawi is nestled in the Andaman Sea and is an archipelago of 99 islands. Travel Counsellor Jeanette escaped to this spectacular Malaysian island said Langkawi is “surrounded by white beaches, rainforests, waterfalls and jungles with a wide variety of wildlife.” The variety of activities - from cable car rides to animal spotting in UNESCO Geoforest Parks to watersports - mean that a holiday here should delight everyone travelling, from little ones
Jeanette combined her stay in Langkawi with a trip to Kuala Lumpur, and stayed at the 5* The Datai while she was in Langkawi. Tucked away in the northern tip of the island, this exquisite hotel lies in tropical rainforest, with the dazzling white sands of the beach in front: “The Datai is in the heart of an ancient rainforest (10 million years old is pretty qualifying!) above a stunning bay. It is a captivating, luxurious resort that blends effortlessly with its natural surroundings and provides a true hideaway. Each room, suite and villa enjoys the embrace of the lush rainforest - this is a place where you can reconnect with nature, rekindle your spirit and reignite your soul in a serene natural haven!
The jungle surrounding the resort is full of wildlife - we spotted dusky leaf monkeys, geckos, wild pigs, flocks of hornbills and flying lemurs during our stay. A 10-minute walk through the lush private grounds (or a ride on one of the hotel’s many buggies!) brings you down to the spectacular beach of Datai Bay.”
The Faroe Islands: The great outdoors
Made up of 18 islands, The Faroe Islands lie in the North Atlantic Ocean, nestled between Iceland and Scotland. Although the islands have been self-governing since 1948, The Faroe Islands are under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark.
And what can you expect from a trip to this remote archipelago? It’s a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. Bird watching, hiking, fishing, diving, and cycling are just a few of the activities for adventurers. It’s also something of a treat for foodies, with restaurant KOKS awarded a Michelin star in 2017, having previously been awarded the best restaurant in the Nordic countries, The Nordic Prize, in 2015.
Travel Counsellor Sue spent a long weekend on The Faroe Islands in late summer and had a wonderful experience: “The scenery was spectacular and the islands very different from any other islands I’ve been too. They reminded me slightly of the Kauai in Hawaii - certainly a lot nearer to travel, but perhaps not the same weather unfortunately!” [Sue is based in the UK]
Sue hired a car to make the most of her time on the islands, saying: “We stayed in Torshavn the main town, which was very sweet with its harbours and the lovely old town packed with small houses with grass covered rooves. We ate at Barbara’s fish restaurant in the old town one night and I can certainly recommend it. Because we were only there for a short while, we decided to hire a car, to make the most of our stay and see as much as possible. The Buttercup routes are recommended when possible as they are the most scenic but all of this is relative as all the roads are very scenic!”
Ready to head off to your hideaway? Whether you're tempted by one of these 5 escapes or are thinking of somewhere else, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to find your place of peace and quiet!