Average holidays are overrated, especially for those of us who've been waiting patiently for more than two years now. We round up five memorable travels from places around the world that will make the trip worth your while.
Get a Turkish hammam at Six Senses Spa Kocataş Mansions in Istanbul
An oasis of calm in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, lies the new Six Senses Spa Kocataş Mansions. Situated along the Bosphorus, a naturally-forming narrow strait separating Anatolia and Thrace, the resort is built in a repurposed 100-year-old stone house.
Sustainability is put front and centre as the three-storey spa utilises as much as of the original structure as possible and partnered with local designers EzraTuba for ethically-made uniforms for all staff. On the 1,500 square meter estate are an assortment of treatment rooms, hammams, steam rooms, saunas, pilates studio, nail bar and an infinity pool overlooking the Istanbul strait.
For more information, visit https://www.sixsenses.com/en/resorts/kocatas-mansions-istanbul or call +90 212 355 55 00 .
Admire the beauty of nature at Conrad Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan
Forget about mala peppercorns when you come to Conrad Jiuzhaigou, a modern luxury resort in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve. The nature reserve and national park sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, known for its colourful lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and snow-capped mountains.
The hotel itself is located 46km from the Fairy Pool Scenic Area and is surrounded by Amdo Tibetan villages. It has borrowed some Tibetan elements in its design, displaying sword handles and Tibetan motifs around the estate. Each room has its personal terrace that opens up to a panoramic view of the mountains and the in-house M'EAT restaurant offers yak meat and other local ingredients.
For more information or hotel reservations, visit www.conrad.hilton.com.cn/jiuzhaigou or call +86-837-8198000.
Take part in marine research at Kisawa Sanctuary in Mozambique
A "research to resort" idea brought to life, the establishment is part of philanthropist, creative director and entrepreneur Nina Flohr's goal for sustainable tourism. The resort launches alongside the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies, its own research centre and Africa's first permanent ocean observatory, and helps support the marine research and conservation done there.
Much consideration has been given to the impact its construction has had on the land. In the building of 22 bungalows across 12 residences, they ensured that no heavy machinery was used, and enlisted the aid of local craftsmen. A group of weavers, thatchers, carpenters and textile makers were involved, as well as 220 hired staff of which 90 per cent are African.
Every facility has been given equal thought too. A Natural Wellness Center offers Ayurvedic medicine-based programmes, a Japanese Iyashi dome sauna for infrared heat healing and a fully equipped gym. While the food programme focuses on produce grown in-house, seasonal gardening methods, and a zero-waste policy. But the highlight would have to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see how research work is done upclose, such as riding along on the deck of the research vessel to help with shark tagging.
For more information, visit https://kisawasanctuary.com/.
Soak up the sun at Naladhu Private Island Maldives
Reopening after a six-month refresh, this private luxury resort now wears a different look thanks to New York-based designer, Yuji Yamazaki. The 20 'houses' on the island are offered ultimate privacy and seclusion, and overlook the lagoon or the ocean. Its largest suite, the Two Bedroom Beach Pool Residence is decorated with Indonesian teak furniture and comes with a 20-metre private beach.
Service is what makes the Naladhu experience, as every 'house' gets their own Kuwaanu or butler and guide. Leave the heavy lifting to your Kuwaanu as they ensure your morning breakfast is prepared the way you like or arrange for a snorkeling day-trip. Executive chef Philippe Wagenfuhrer takes care of all meals but the when and how are left up to your imagination; you can choose to have it at The Living Room, while lounging by the pool or under moonlight at the beach.
A large part of the entire experience is, of course, the beauty of Maldives' underwater ecosystem. With its own marine biologist, you'll get a guided snorkeling tour to learn about the resort's reef restoration programme.
For more information, visit naladhu.com/en, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +960 6644 111.
Immerse in art at The Opposite House in Beijing
As the best hotel in China, this establishment in Sanlitun is worth a visit just for its public spaces alone. It recently underwent extensive renovation, 13 years after its completion by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, and reopened in October this year with new art installations in its vast gallery-like spaces.
The first thing you will see is Kuma's Origami installation of Tyvek, a translucent textile akin to paper, which creates a screen of light and shadows. Artwork is also sprinkled throughout the compound, seeping into the in-house restaurant Superfly, Michelin-starred Jing Yaa Tang, Italian restaurant Frasca, cocktails at Union bar and the occasional pop-up event.
For more information, visit https://www.thehousecollective.com/en/the-opposite-house/ or call +86 10 6536 0601.
This article was first published in thepeakmagazine.