While most of you focused on calorie-counting New Year resolutions, we focused on the most important resolution – more travel! Fortunately for us, 2016 has paved a path for a host of long weekend getaways and we have curated a list especially for you!
Here are our suggestions for this year’s 5 long weekends:
When to go: March 24 to March 27 (Holi: 24th March, Thursday) and (Good Friday: 25th March, Friday)
Why go: Kashmir is our version of Switzerland, especially the cool summer air, alpine scenery and Srinagar’s romantic houseboat accommodation. For most foreigners, J&K’s greatest attraction is the Himalayan land of Ladakh, whose friendly Tibetan people are predominantly Buddhist. Their timeless monasteries are set between arid canyons and soaring peaks with emerald-green villages nestled photogenically in highland deserts.
Stay where: Vivanta by Taj – Dal View
Sitting 1,730 m above sea level, the luxurious Vivanta by Taj Dal View enjoys majestic views of the mountains and Dal Lake. The breathtaking scenic beauty and the views are second to none. The Villas on the far side of the hotel have unprecedented views of the Dal. The signature Kashmiri Menu should definitely be tried.
Ko Yao Yai Island (Thailand)
When to go: April 13-17 (Baisakhi: 13th April, Wednesday) and (Ram Navami: 15th April, Friday; Take leave on Thursday)
Why go: Koh Yao Noi may not have any particular landmark or stunning view point, nevertheless, while driving around, one discovers a place of true peace and simplicity for the traveller. Wooden houses all along the roads and the beauty of the mangrove with its trees standing in the middle of the sea are just a few of the natural charms of this simple island. The laid-back feeling of the island is contagious, time slows down and nothing seems to pressure the inhabitants who spend a lot of time chatting in small groups, lounging in the afternoon under salas or in hammocks.
Stay where: Six Senses Yao Noi
Six Senses Yao Noi boutique hotel can’t help but appeal to your inner child. Staying in one of the island resort’s private pool villas feels like residing in a plush tree house. Perched on a cliffside, with jaw-dropping views over Phang Nga Bay’s fantastical limestone pinnacles, they’re built using local teak, topped with a palm-leaf roof, decked out in stylish bright linens and simple mango-wood accessories. This is a rustic, cosy escape in one of the world’s most beautiful locations.
When to go: August 13-15 (Independence Day: 15th Aug, Monday)
Why go: Udaipur’s tag of ‘the most romantic spot on the continent of India’ is not one given that easily. Besides shimmering Lake Pichola, with the ochre and purple ridges of the wooded Aravalli Hills stretching away in every direction, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India. Fantastical palaces, temples, havelis and countless narrow, crooked, colourful streets add the human counterpoint to the city’s natural charms.
Stay where: Oberoi Udaivillas
Pavilions and domes feature at The Oberoi Udaivilas, which boasts grand architecture inspired by the palaces of Rajasthan. Located on the banks of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola, it has 3 restaurants, 2 heated outdoor pools and a luxurious spa.
When to go: October 8-12 (Durga Puja/Dussehra: 10th and 11th Oct, Monday and Tuesday) and (Muharram: 12th Oct, Wednesday)
Why go: Maldives is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; they’re on almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands. This fact alone is enough to bring over a million people a year to this tiny, remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise. What’s amazing is that every resort in the Maldives is its own private island, and with over 100 to choose from the only problem is selecting where you want to stay. At the top end, the world’s most exclusive hotel brands compete with each other to attain ever-greater heights of luxury, from personal butlers and private lap pools to in-room massages and pillow menus. Other islands cater for families, for divers, for those on a (relative) budget, and anyone wanting a tranquil back-to-nature experience.
Stay where: One&Only Reethi Rah
One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives lives up to its name: it sprawls across its own island, and has the Maldives’ first PADI National Geographic dive centre, sun spa and climbing wall. Did we mention the eight dining spots, the tennis courts and the 12 beaches?
When to go: November 12-14 (Guru Nanak’s Birthday: 14th Nov, Monday)
Why go: Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene. Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies Dubai Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On man-made islands just offshore is Atlantis, the Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks.
Stay where: Anantara The Palm
Managed by Bangkok-based Anantara Hotels, this is the newest resort (for now) on the Palm Jumeirah. In a city of superlatives, Anantara Dubai has a few of its own: the only overwater villas in the UAE and, when it opens towards the end of March, the biggest spa in Dubai. Anantara Dubai has 260 contemporary and spacious rooms on the lagoons, 12 beach pool villas and three two-bedroom villas.