If your weekdays are beginning to feel too long and your weekends, incredibly fleeting, you might be overdue for some time-out. We have some great off-the-beaten-track recommendations right here in Asia, for your next trip out of town.
Sustainable holidays with Song Saa Private Island Resort
This little-known gem in Cambodia on the turquoise waters of the Koh Rong Archipelago is home to 27 rustic villas, complete with modern-day creature comforts (so you would never be far from high speed Wi-Fi or satellite television). If the lure of cocktails on boat rides or fresh seafood under the stars is not tempting enough, take respite in the fact that your retreat is built on sustainable ecological practices. The resort was developed with a view towards conserving ecology and empowering local communities, with your food being sourced from local farms and sustainable fisheries. Wine and dine in the world-class Vista restaurant, which serves up traditional Khmer cuisine and offers stunning views of lush seascapes and dramatic sunsets. Of course, while you’re at the resort, you’ve got to experience the signature Karuna Kaya Massage held in an outdoor sala at the resort’s Spa and Wellness Sanctuary, as you calm your thoughts and sync your breathing to the rhythmic sound of crashing waves.
For more information, visit www.songsaa.com.
Detox your mind and body in The Farm
The top choice in the 2014 Asia Tatler Readers’ Choice Awards, wellness retreat The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines is a wonderful haven to purify your mind and body. Inspired by nature, each stunning villa is unique, and gives you the elegance and comfort you crave. What is special about The Farm is their Specialized Healing Retreats, a week-long personalised purification program that includes Environmental Detox, Holistic Skin Therapy and Heart Health and Stress Reduction. The 2015 Detox Cleanse program offers holistic therapy sessions and activities such as yoga, meditation and circuit training. Special outdoor private areas are also located throughout the beautifully landscaped gardens for relaxing and communing with nature.
For more information, visit www.thefarmatsanbenito.com.
Enjoy family fun in Samujana
If you are looking for a gorgeous family-friendly escape, Samujana in Koh Samui would not disappoint. All 27 luxurious villas are perched on a hillside overlooking a coral cove, and boast private infinity pools with an unobstructed view of the sea. The resort is minutes away from the breathtaking beaches of Choeng Mon ad Chaweng, with the added bonus of private beach access. Experience the “Bonding and Balance” package that comes complimentary with any five-night family booking, and features treats such as group Muay Thai session, elephant rides, and kayaking along the Koh Samui coastline. With plush accommodations and most villas housing a private cinema, you might never want to leave your room! Enjoy a night in with a poolside BBQ – you can choose to grill fresh seafood by yourself or book a private Thai chef to do so. On the same note, if you’d like to steal time away for yourself, experienced babysitters and nannies are available at hourly or daily rates so you can sneak out to a pampering spa for some much-needed me-time.
For more information, visit www.samujana.com.
Sail across Eastern Indonesia with Luxury Castaway
There’s no better way to get away from your worries on land than taking a voyage out to sea. With Secret Cruises, you can embark on your own Luxury Castaway on a private cruise along Eastern Indonesia. Choose between Alila Purnama or Silolona Sojourns, two beautiful vessels built in the traditional style of a Phinisi, a 10-cabin private charter yacht. The Phinisi, once used by Bugis seafarers from south Sulawesi in Indonesia, now offers spacious and unique dwellings complete with complimentary Wi-Fi. Find your inner Zen in the deep waters of Raja Ampat, home to 70% of the world’s coral species. You are guaranteed to spot wobbegong sharks, blue ring octupuses and crocodile fish as well. Join wild dolphins for a swim near Castle rock in Gili Lawa Laut. The stunning blue waters and white beaches would be a treat as you cruise along the Spice Islands. Between waking up to the gentle laps of the sea and having a personal chef preparing you incredible cuisine every day, you may never want to leave!
For more information, visit www.secret-collections.com/secret-cruises.
Rejuvenate in the city with Banyan Tree Macau
If you’d like to seek sanctuary without leaving the city, Banyan Tree Macau is just the place as it gives you the rejuvenation of a resort right in the heart of Cotai city. The first high-rise urban resort in Macao offering spacious indoor pools as well as villas with private pools and gardens, Banyan Tree delivers Asian hospitality at its best. Extensive spa facilities that granted Banyan Tree Spa Macau the title of Best Luxury Destination Spa in the 2014 World Luxury Spa Awards, along with numerous other accolades, are guaranteed to be a treat for your senses. Indulge in the spa’s signature Rainmist experience, crafted to invigorate your senses and prepare you for a selection of skillful massages. Work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym as you enjoy the city skyline from the 31st floor. While you are in Macau, be sure to hit up the Macau Arts Festival in early summer, which brings together an eclectic mix of dance, music and visual arts across a range of exciting events.
For more information, visit www.banyantree.com/en/cn-china-macau.
Explore new lands on Nikoi Private Island
You might be surprised to know that just 50 miles from Singapore lies a pristine island paradise perfect for a quick weekend getaway. Opened in May 2007, this island is a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan, and is fast becoming a popular destination for Singaporeans and tourists alike. Driftwood beach houses inspired by Robinson Crusoe creates ecofriendly yet modern accommodations that line the white beaches. Spend your day reclining under plantation umbrellas reading a book or simply taking in the view of vast oceans. Stay on till nightfall for a beach bonfire as you stargaze, or enjoy movie nights at the open-air cinema. Stroll along two-thirds of the island that is left untouched by development. With the tagline “Relaxed by Nature, ” you can be sure that Nikoi keeps up sustainable development goals. So while there may be no air-conditioning units, you can relax knowing that the island was developed with natural landscaping and no trees cut down, minimal use of plastic and protection of the species in the area.
For more information, visit www.nikoi.com.
Sun, sand and sea at Pangkor Laut Resort
Pangkor Laut Resort is the perfect location for you to unwind without leaving the cushy comforts of the luxury resort. After all, it is one resort on one island. A privately owned island located off the West Coast of Malaysia, there are only pristine beaches, seclusion and serenity that await you on these 300 acres of land. Accommodations blend seamlessly into the surrounding jungle habitat, with signature villas nestled within lush forestry or above the tides. Enjoy a variety of spa treatments in the resort’s Spa Village, ranging from traditional packages to Malay or Chinese treatments, or customised packages specialising in stress reduction and detoxification. Feeling hungry? The various dining options provide you with a flavourful history of the place. Alternatively, you can choose private dining to enjoy a uniquely crafted culinary experience under the stars.
For more information, visit www.pangkorlautresort.com.
Experience a little India in The Dune
The Dune is a refreshing take on the eco-friendly movement. Most of the resort was built from recycled materials, and The Dune relies on support of the local community as they employ local staff and established an onsite academy and studio providing sponsored vocational training. Fifty-five unique bungalows are spread over 35 acres of beach, each having been designed and created by artists and architects from all over the world. Indulge in Ayurvedic massages and treatments, an ancient natural healing system of India, at the Paradise Spa. Ayurveda prescribes routines including meditation, cleansing processes and rejuvenation therapies are just the right mix to restore your peace of mind. Alternatively, try the Watsu treatment, the practice of floating in warm water combined with light acupressure to rebalance your energies. Take a walk around the grounds of The Dune, or explore nearby towns such as Puducherry, an ex-French colony that still retains its quaint old-world charm.
For more information, visit www.duneecogroup.com.