Fall for Africa
After Will Smith fulfilled a lifelong dream of bungee jumping at Africa’s Victoria Falls, what’s stopping you from ticking it off your bucket list? The adventure hub between Zambia and Zimbabwe is now available on camping itineraries ranging from four to 58 days from Acacia Africa. The safari specialist is promoting tourism between the two countries after the Kaza uni-visa for the two countries was reintroduced recently.
A typical tour is the 23-day Kruger, Victoria Falls and Zanzibar overland tour from a discounted price of $2,044 per person (about Dh7,507) with an extra Adventure Pass at $230 per person payable on-site. Included are transport, camping accommodation, most meals and services of a tour leader/driver. Departures are on May 4 and June 15 for this tour, which starts in Johannesburg and ends in Dar es Salaam.
Details: Acacia Africa’s April Adventurer promo has 20 per cent discounts on 45 of its camping overland tours in May and June, provided bookings are made before April 30. Email Info@acacia-africa.com or check out Acacia-africa.com.
Come to the Kasbah
You may have seen everything Morocco has to offer but have you been to the Atlas Mountains? Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot (which translates as soft breeze in the local Berber dialect), in the foothills of the North African massifs showcases the best of this beautiful country in a romantic setting.
Its 28 rooms and suites boast magnificent views, while an indoor pool, spa and hot tub, two tennis courts and beautiful gardens offer the perfect getaway from everyday life while making a cultural discovery of Moroccan food and customs in the tiny town of Asni.
Details: Packages are available from 5,300 Moroccan dirhams (about Dh1,946), including accommodation, a Moroccan breakfast, a fully stocked mini bar and taxes. Rates are quoted per room, per night and are based on twin occupancy. From June 1 to August 31, guests booking stays of four nights or more receive a complimentary final night. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to Virginlimitededition.com to learn more.
Write a princess diary
Retrace the footsteps of Princess Diana with an exclusive tour of Kensington Palace as the world marks the 20th anniversary of her death this summer. Her former residence is hosting an exhibition of her style throughout 2017, and the gardens have been redesigned to complement the exhibition with newly planted flowers and foliage inspired by the memories of the princess’ life, image and style.
The five-star Milestone Hotel nearby has exclusive access to the palace with insider tours that are not readily available to general visitors. With views of the palace and gardens, it is minutes away from London’s museum district and glamorous shopping in Knightsbridge.
Details: A two-night package at £475 (about Dh2,235) per room per night includes accommodation for two, a pair of tickets to a private guided tour of the palace and the exhibition, English breakfast for two, a private walking tour of the area’s highlights and a Royal Afternoon Tea for two with a bubbly sabrage demonstration. Email Bookms@rchmail.com or log on to Milestonehotel.com.
Steal a sailing deal
Cruise through the summer on a Mediterranean journey from Italy to France and Spain without breaking the bank! Exclusively for Middle Eastern travellers, Celebrity Cruises has sailings through July and August, taking in Rome, La Spezia, Nice and Barcelona. The trip on the Celebrity Reflection can either serve as a short summer break, or combined with stays at either end, it offers the opportunity to holiday in two of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities. Just sitting on board is an immersive experience, with entertainment for adults and children alike.
Guests can enjoy broadway-style theatre productions that blend dance, comedy, musical and concert-style performances, or choose to play a game of croquet or bocce on the half-acre of real grass on board. Other activities include trivia contests, Zumba classes, summer camps for kids, a range of sport and fitness, and over a dozen bars and restaurants.
Details: Sailings are on July 10 and 31, and August 21, and are priced from $641 (Dh2,354) per person based on double occupancy, not inclusive of taxes and fees. Availability is limited, so Celebrity Cruises advises booking before May 10. Call 04 553 0949 or email Res@celebritycruisesme.com to avail this price.
Go Dutch in style
Amsterdam is often considered a student destination with cheap eats, drinks and window shopping. But the Conservatorium Hotel argues it can be much more. The Dutch luxury aesthetic focuses on quality experiences, high design and intimate environments, and to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the hotel has launched a Big Five package, combining the five most thrilling must-dos in the city — without the pesky crowds.
These include a private canal boat tour with Michelin-star snacks, a private tour of the Van Gogh Museum, a tour with one of the hotel’s ambassadors, the sensational A’DAM Lookout Skyline Experience and a helicopter tour of the city. Over three nights in its 155-square-metre I Love Amsterdam Suite, the 19th-century hotel also offers breakfast, private airport transfers in a Bentley, lunch with the hotel’s general manager, a butler service, the five steps to perfection treatment in Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre for two people, an eight-course Omakase meal in Taiko restaurant and late check-out.
Details: The Conservatorium’s Big Five Package is available until December 31 and costs €11,555 (about Dh45,507) inclusive of VAT and exclusive of 5 per cent city tax. Reserve via email at Reservations@conservatoriumhotel.com or visit Conservatoriumhotel.com.
Turn back time
Those looking for a city break could head to Istanbul, where the fabled Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah is celebrating its 125th year anniversary. Agatha Christie allegedly wrote Murder on the Orient Express within its walls, Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene set portions of their work at the hotel, and Greta Garbo shot a movie while living it up at this legendary property.
A special anniversary package includes accommodation in a Deluxe Pera View Room, breakfast for two at Agatha Restaurant, the 125th Year Degustation Menu for two at Belle Epoque restaurant and spa discounts. Visitors to the hotel can also enjoy a new high tea in the Kubbeli Saloon Tea Lounge. The Pera Palace is where the first afternoon tea in Istanbul was served.
Details: Prices depend on availability — at the time of going to press, rooms were available from €130 (about Dh518) per night in May. This promotion is valid until May 31 and can be booked at Jumeirah.com.
Drive the West Coast
UAE residents and their love of the open road are well catered for in The O Classic, a new package from Orange County, California. Its visitors association has rolled out packages that include a one-day classic car self-drive experience, free passes to a classic and/or vintage car fair in The OC, complimentary VIP shopping experiences and exclusive discounts worth more than $2,000 at the OC’s premier shopping destinations, luxury accommodation at premium hotels and resorts and private transfers to Los Angeles International Airport.
Details: The O Classic starts from Dh5,000 (Dh18,365) and is valid until October 15. Call Al Rais Travels to book on 04 393 3333.
Walkabout on the fine side
If you’ve never gone walkabout in Australia, now’s the time. World Expeditions is offering a range of six guided walks across the continent, from the Great Ocean Road in Victoria to Tasmania’s Bay of Fires. New for 2017 and sure to appeal to lovers of the fine life is its Cape to Cape in Luxury walk in Western Australia, which combines spectacular views with gourmet food and luxury spa accommodation.
The trip features lunch with matched grape beverages at an award-winning local viticulturist, private chef dinner showcasing local produce, sunset cliff-top drinks and a private didgeridoo performance with one of the region’s traditional owners.
Details: The four-day tour includes a professional guide, track transfers, all food and drinks, three nights’ accommodation in an oceanfront private pool villa and more. It is available for departures through to June and from September to November. It is priced from £1,640 (about Dh7,725) per person. Visit Worldexpeditions.co.uk.
Break for the beach
Get away from it all by jetting to the Maldives, where you and your family can be whisked away by seaplane to the blissful resort of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, conceived to cater to both families and couples with a spilt island design. One side is aimed at couples and the other at parents and young children. It delivers inspired experiences — from navigating aquatic gardens to swimming with whale sharks to undersea dining — all available with the family in mind.
The hotel also creates a daily schedule for children — allowing parents to have time to themselves at any point in the day. Activities range from arts and crafts lessons using natural material on the islands such as shells and leaves, to being taken out to sea to learn about the aquatic ecosystem and environment. The hotel is now offering a promotion where kids under 12 eat free and have complimentary access to club activities.
Details: Rates begin at $630 (about Dh2,313) per night for a beach villa to fit two adults and two children. Log on to Conradmaldives.com for more information.
Let Georgia do it
Budget-watchers looking for cheap breaks could take advantage of deals from Musafir.com. The online travel agency is promoting a three-day break in Georgia from Dh1,599 this summer, centred mostly around Tibilisi, the capital of this storied land.
On the banks of the Mtkvari river, Tbilisi is known for its historical monuments, museums and art galleries. Colourful alleys, a local cuisine bursting with flavours, and the sulphur baths make Tbilisi a perfect family holiday spot.
Details: Package prices start from Dh1,599 through July. A special three-day Eid deal departing June 23 costs Dh2,149. Typical inclusions are free travel insurance, return flight tickets with Air Arabia, accommodation, breakfast, half-day city tour and return airport transfers. Log on to Musafir.com.