From Abu Dhabi to Hamburg, we pick the best winter destinations
Out of office
With great deals on flights out of Dubai, this is the perfect time to tackle those January blues with a trip somewhere new.
Hamburg, flight time 7h 5m
Germany’s second biggest city Hamburg is becoming one of the top European travel destinations for holidaymakers in the region. Why so? Well, there’s the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall where Karl Lagerfeld staged Chanel’s 2017/18 Métiers d’art show, as well as The Miniatur Wunderland featuring the world’s biggest model railway, and a great variety of Michelin-star restaurants. If you want to come back later in the year, we suggest booking 27-29 March for the Hamburg Beatles experience featuring an interactive tour as well as various exhibitions and seminar talks with Beatles’ experts
Stay: Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg, Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg and Grand Elysée Hotel Hamburg.
Maldives, flight time 4h 10m
If you want a slight change of scene and escape to an island paradise, there’s nothing that can match the beauty of the Maldives. With so many resorts to choose from, we have picked out an exclusive boutique island hideaway, Velaa Private Island Maldives. Royally approved by H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, the resort offers 47 private villas, houses and exclusive residences. While 18 of the 47 are built over water, the Romantic Pool Residence can only be reached by boat, allowing even more privacy and exclusivity. In celebration of the Chinese New Year, between the 24-26 of January, Velaa is arranging a number of activities including authentic cooking masterclasses, ancient art form of sugar painting by a professional artist and Guzheng player who will entertain guests over afternoon tea. On January 25 you can expect a sunset cocktail party, followed by a Gala Dinner where there will also be a live show by the Guiyan Circus Troupe.
Montreux, Lake Geneva, fight time 7h 5m
This picturesque region is located in the heart of Europe making it easily accessible from Geneva International Airport. For those who want to brush up on their skiing skills should check out Montreux Riviera Ski School that offers the most personalised skiing experience that exists in Switzerland. The entire experience is arranged, from transport, to equipment, to restaurant bookings. The ski instructor is the mountain concierge who takes care of all the details of the skiing holiday. While in Montreux you should also experience Glacier 3000 – a spectacular mountainous location situated 24 km from Montreux, that offers an exceptional experience for ski lovers.
Stay: Fairmont Le Montreux Palace
Samujana – Koh Samui, flight time 8h 55m
Indulge yourself in a trip to Samujana – Koh Samui. The private collection of 24 villas is set up to offer peace of mind thanks to in-villa amenities such as yoga mats in the living room, nutritious snacks in the mini-bar, meditation apps on the in-room mobile plus a detox menu, which can be prepared by a private chef. Villa Manager is on hand to book bespoke spa and fitness services, tailored treatments and sessions that can be offered in the comfort and privacy of your villa. For those looking to detox from the festive season should book in for the The Destination Detox package which is designed for two people and consists of the following: yoga session with The Yogarden, one-time 60-minute massage, one healthy BBQ dinner with a private chef and a hike with a private guide on the island of Samui as well as one meditation session.
Pyrenees mountains, fly into Barcelona airport, 7h 30m
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The Pyrenees mountains, serves as a natural border between Spain and France. While the 450 kms mountain range can be enjoyed all year round, in winter, the snowy slopes are ideal for skiing and mountaineering. Don’t miss the overwhelming beauty of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici and Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Parks, both Biosphere Reserves. A part of the Pyrenees mountains falls in Cataluña and is just a few hours’ drive from Barcelona – visit the well-known ski resorts of Baqueira Beret, Espot, La Molina and Masella, where families can also go sledging, and snowshoe hiking. There are also beautiful ski resorts like Formigal and Candanchu in the nearby Aragon region of the Pyrenees that are equally well known.
For more information on visiting the Pyrenees, visit www.spain.info/gcc (localised information for the GCC travelers in both English and Arabic) or www.spain.info (global website).
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, 1h 19m drive
You don’t have to venture far from Dubai to feel like you’re escaping somewhere new. W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, surrounded by iconic landmarks is located on the famed Yas Island filled with activities perfect for a quick weekend getaway. You can choose to relax at Wet Deck or Dine and Drink the night away at Garage, the hotel’s new food concept that combines five different restaurants in one space. Don’t forget to also try innovative cocktails and botanical beverages at the W Lounge.
Images: Supplied, main image instagram.com/netaporter