Magic’s in the Air
A spell is being cast and wands are being waved over a suite at Melbourne’s The Windsor, transforming it into a fantastical dwelling for witches and wizards. The Wizards Suite will be unveiled in February, teleporting guests from the ordinary non-magic realm into a spellbinding universe. Created with the team behind The Store of Requirement, The Wizards Suite will be filled with officially licensed merchandise from a certain magical world, including wands, officially licensed artwork and magical items. Guests will also have the chance to add on officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise to their stay. It will be the only one of its kind in Melbourne and is the sole chance for magical fans to live, sleep, and have a close encounter with these wondrous objects! www.thehotelwindsor.com.au
New Expedition Vessel for BC
This year Canadian ecotourism pioneer Maple Leaf Adventures will launch British Columbia’s first ship designed specifically for luxury expeditions along Canada’s spectacular west coast – the 138-foot catamaran Cascadia. Accommodating up to 24 guests, Cascadia is designed to offer a more intimate and authentic experience, one aligned with the scale of the coastal inlets and communities her guests will visit. The former South Seas boutique sailing vessel, built in 2007, has been reconditioned into a sturdy ship capable of navigating British Columbia’s challenging coastline. Her light, spacious cabins, all with ensuites, are outfitted with generous windows, while the open-air lounge is perfect for dining al fresco, and the fully-accessible bridge boasts 180-degree views. While aboard, guests will experience some of the wildest and ecologically rich parts of British Columbia’s rugged coastline; magical places that only such a small ship can access, and encounter the region’s diverse wildlife, from bears to whales. www.mapleleafadventures.com
New Maldivian Hideaway
Raffles has opened a 38-villa resort in the rare Maldivian oasis of Gaafu Alifu Atoll. A hidden gem with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean, Raffles Maldives Meradhoo is the perfect over-water escape offering two distinct experiences for those seeking a private get-away or simply to enjoy the natural pristine water surroundings.
Home to Beach Villas, Beach Residences and a Raffles Royal Residence, which opens in the second half of 2019, the luxurious property features a private pool, generous living spaces and lavish marble bathroom with a sunken bathtub and outdoor shower. A secluded collection of Overwater Villas and Residences lies adjacent to one of the vibrant house reefs which can be reached by a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat.
The resort boasts two magnificent reefs, which provide a thriving habitat for the marine life including baby sharks, turtles and a myriad of tropical fish. For those that want to learn more about the underwater realm, the hotel’s resident marine biologist and team of marine butlers are on hand to personalise guest experiences that bring unique and beautiful insights of the underwater world. At night, the moon and stars reflect on the mirror-like ocean, creating an extraordinary spectacle.
Guests can relish a range of rich gastronomic delights served at the Thari all-day diner, Yuzu, Peruvian and Japanese fusion restaurant and The Firepit where guest can enjoy various flame-grilled chef specialty dishes under the stars. A selection of tapas and freshly-prepared sashimi, original cocktail concoctions, inspired by the national drinks of South America and Japan, can be experienced at the overwater Yapa Sunset Bar or guests can explore a list of the world’s most prestigious Champagnes and wines at the popular Long Bar.
Set over the water, the award-winning Raffles Spa offers luxury facials by Biologique Recherche, a transformative body treatment using the purest extracts and essential oils by Aromatherapy Associates or the chance to indulge in manicures and pedicures from Magaret Dabbs London. Alternatively, recharge with an invigorating work-out at the over water fitness centre, a soothing seaside yoga session or choose from a selection of water sport activities to balance the physical and mental well-being. www.rafflesmaldives.com/meradhoo
The Pearl of Phu Quoc
AccorHotels has opened the Premier Residences Emerald Bay on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island. The resort features 745 stylish rooms, suites and two-bedroom penthouses with a private pool that offers expansive views of Emerald Bay. Phu Quoc Island boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and serene surrounds, making it an ideal holiday destination for travellers looking to escape bustling city life. The new family-friendly resort boasts three restaurant and two bars, including Mercato, an all-day dining restaurant serving Vietnamese and international cuisine, while leisure facilities include a fitness centre, yoga studio and outdoor pool that overlooks Khem Beach. For a complete rejuvenation of the body and soul, the resort’s Emerald Spa offers a range of signature facial and massage treatments where guests can indulge in a day of personal pampering. www.accor.com
Route 66 has been named as the most Instagram-worthy road trip in the world. The study, commissioned by Hertz in the UK, polled 2,000 adults to identify the latest trends in road trip holidays and found the top three routes were made up of US-based trips. These include the Grand Canyon and the Pacific Coast Highway, with 56 percent of respondents naming the U.S. as the road trip capital of the world. The research also identified key ingredients for a successful road trip, which include wide-open roads, driving past famous attractions and spotting wildlife along the way. Discovering views and taking in the scenery is the main purpose for adults over 38 years old (over 38s) to go on a road trip, while millennials want to enjoy a new experience. Of millennials, more than two thirds admitted the places they see on Instagram affect their choice of location, compared to only 13 percent of over 38s. In fact, 30 percent of millennials said they are unlikely to visit somewhere if they’ve never seen photos of it on Instagram. www.hertz.com
Busy as Bees
This summer, after months of preparation, Tasmanian Luxury Lodge Saffire Freycinet has launched its newest and most immersive guest experience: The Saffire Beekeeping Experience. For almost ten years, Saffire Freycinet’s range of unique and immersive experiences in Tasmania’s natural environment have received world-wide acclaim. Guests can now trade the oyster farm waders for a full-body apiarist suit and venture into a nearby private apiary, overlooking the Hazards of Freycinet. With the safety and guidance of Saffire Horticulturalist Rob ‘The Bee Man’ Barker, guests approach the hives to witness thousands of Tasmanian bees at work, and extract warm, fresh honeycomb to experience the breathtaking natural phenomenon of honey-making. The experience creates yet another link between Saffire guests and local producers of premium Tasmanian food and beverage. The Freycinet Peninsula is rich in biodiversity, and Rob’s bees forage happily on the area’s flowering native flora such as the abundant and medicinal leptospermum scoparium (manuka), fragrant kunzea ambigua, and bursaria spinose (prickly box). The flavour of the resulting honey, which is used at the Lodge, is ever-changing with the strong seasonal variation, unlike monofloral varieties found elsewhere. This results in a honey with a completely distinctive, unrepeatable flavour profile, and also has the highly sought-after medicinal qualities of manuka honey. www.saffire-freycinet.com.au