Make your holidays count: 13 trips of a lifetime
Splashing out on a big celebration holiday? We have your back covered!
Have a big celebration coming up? Sometimes a few bottles of warm Prosecco and a knees-up down your local just won’t cut it. An exotic getaway with your nearest and dearest however…. um, YES PLEASE! As always, we are here to help with some celebration hols travel inspo for you (and even if you’re not going anywhere beyond Waitrose for the foreseeable, it makes for rather nice travel porn). Here are some suggestions to whet your appetite for fun times ahead.
FOR A BIG BIRTHDAY
Safari so good
A milestone birthday is a great excuse to do something a bit different and blow the cobwebs away. If going on safari is something you’ve thought about doing since your gap year but have never quite managed, now’s the time. This 12 day trip takes in Ngorongo, Serengeti and Zanzibar – and the unforgettable sights of 1.5m migrating wildebeest. Certainly beats a 3 day hangover.
Bali spa luxury
On the quieter, less touristy north-eastern corner of Bali, the clue is in the title with Spa Village Resort. A holiday here comes complete with daily spa treatments – well, it is your birthday after all. There’s also complimentary wood carving, weaving and candle-making sessions. Who knows, you could come home with a whole new career…
Tropical beach decadence
This secluded seafront resort in Khao Lak, Thailand is a laid-back as it is beautiful. Want to eat dinner by the side of a jungle waterfall? Picnic by candlelight on a private beach? Or have breakfast at 3pm because you can’t be bothered to get out of bed? You got it, birthday girl.
FOR A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY
Fijian island retreat
I stayed at Yasawa Island resort a few years ago with him indoors and my then-toddler, and it was probably the most perfect hotel experience of my life. You have to take a transfer flight from Nadi (it’s about an hour) and then you arrive to white sand, turquoise waters and teaming staff. This is a real showstopper of a treat, with your own private stretch of beach outside your room, outdoor shower, huuuuuuge outdoor deck. Central to the hotel’s success though are the Fijians themselves – supremely friendly, awesome with children and justifiably proud of their stunning island.
Mexican massage fun (with extra hot sauciness)
Three reasons to love this 41 villa luxury resort just outside Playa del Carmen (where I went on my honeymoon as it happens – can totally recommend this stunning stretch of Mexico). The weekly tequila and ceviche-tasting sessions (yum), the fact they don’t allow children under the age of 14 (ideal if you’re trying to escape your little darlings – and everyone else’s), and the spa’s signature massage that uses the resort’s exclusive ‘love oil’. Ooo-er – that’ll certainly reboot your romance.
OK, back to Fiji – well, if you insist – to one of Matangi Private Island Resort’s stunning treehouses. With their views of the beach, Horseshoe Bay and across to other islands, plus an outdoor shower, Jacuzzi and day bed, they’re as gorgeous as they are romantic. You can also book a private candle-lit dinner at a secluded spot on the island… you could even take him indoors along, arf!
Action stations in Thailand
Taking the whole gang with you? This Koh Kood resort has 6 bedroom villas that’ll sleep up to 12 people so they’re brilliant for bigger groups. There’s a million and one activities to keep everyone happy, from star gazing to jungle walks to cooking classes to every watersport under the blazing sun. Us? We’ll be mainlining popcorn at the outdoor cinema.
Floating villa paradise
This Leading Hotel Of The World in the Maldives is a collection of family-friendly thatched villas that stand on stilts in the ridiculously blue waters on the Indian Ocean. So basically, it’s a 2 second commute down the steps to the sea – or if that’s too arduous, you can relax in your private plunge pool. For more active family members, there’s loads of brilliant diving, plus kayaking and windsurfing.
St Lucia? White sands? Mojitos on tap? We’re there. Relaxed modern beach resort The Landings has 1-3 bedroom villa suites, with kitchens and living/dining areas. The kids club is for ages 3+ and there’s tennis, golf and watersports aplenty.
PUSHING THE BOAT OUT (quite literally – to a private island)
Thanda Island, Tanzania
Private island? Oh, go on then. Tanzania’s Thanda Island is a 40 minute helicopter ride from Dar Es Salaam off the east coast of Africa. And it is STUNNING. The villa sleeps 10, with space for another 8 in two Tanzanian bandas (cute thatched houses basically) nearby. There’s a dedicated team of butlers, chefs and housekeepers to cater to your every whim, a Steinway grand piano and indoor aquarium. Get you!
Jumby Bay, Antigua
Antigua a bit *sniff* busy for you? Head two miles north to this 300 acre private 40-room resort, which is one of the most exclusive in the Caribbean and only accessible via boat. Previous celebrity guest? That’ll be Christopher Columbus, who discovered this divine coral reef in 1493.
Azura Quilalea, Mozambique
This diddy 86 acre uninhabited island twinkles prettily in Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago. It’s super-exclusive, with just nine beachfront villas, world-class diving and the opportunity to spot humpback whales. The perfect spot to play out all your Robinson Crusoe fantasies – if Robinson Crusoe had a butler and infinity plunge pool, that is.