Bitesized guide: Winter holiday treats

Published on: Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Bitesized guide: Winter holiday treats - feature


You’ve worked hard all year so why not treat yourself this winter with a special break. From mammoth cruise ships to private islands, we’ve hand-picked the five best luxury holidays for some well-deserved self indulgence.

Biggest is best: Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruises

If size matters, a holiday on Royal Caribbean Cruises’s newest vessel, Oasis of the Seas, is something to boast about. The world’s largest cruise ship features 16 decks, 21 swimming pools, an aqua park, rock-climbing wall and science lab among its myriad attractions. Its 6,360 passengers can enjoy strolling through seven themed neighbourhoods, including a verdant Central Park, the Royal Promenade for boutique shopping, the Entertainment Place and the Youth Zone. Perfect for families and couples, the ship is due to make its maiden voyage from Florida in December.

Sultan chic: Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

Arrive by private helicopter or glide up the drive in a Rolls Royce; when you reach the Burj Al Arab Hotel, you’ll know you’ve arrived. One of the best hotels in Dubai, this glitzy property – a favourite among royalty – offers seven different types of suites, each with Jacuzzi bath fixtures, butler service, and stunning views of the Persian Gulf. If you can tear yourself away from your room, pamper yourself in the indulgent Assawan Spa or hop on the express panoramic lift to the Al Muntaha restaurant. Situated at 200m (656ft) above sea level, it offers eye-popping views.

Island for let: Muscha Cay, Bahamas

Explore the private island of millionaire illusionist David Copperfield. With five lavish guest houses available, Muscha Cay features all-inclusive dining, plus exclusive access to 60 hectares (150 acres) of unspoilt paradise, including 40 sugar sand beaches. In addition, you’ll be looked after by a team of 30 highly trained staff and a world-class chef. Located 136km (85 miles) from Nassau, the island is perfect for reunions or a getaway with friends; only 24 guests can stay at any given time, making this an intimate retreat. Provided, that is, you can afford the US$325,000 weekly hire cost.

Beach glam: Karma Kandara Resort, Bali

Sun-worshippers looking for a stylish beach break should look no further than the private villas of Karma Kandara Resort in Bali. Each beautifully appointed villa is fitted with Jacuzzis, roof gardens, an infinity pool, and top-of-the-line kitchen facilities. In addition to the decadent abodes, there is also the rooftop bar Temple Lounge, and the Karma spa where you can nourish both body and mind.

Quintessential: Banyan Tree Hotel, China

If there’s one hotel chain that is sure to impress the other half, it’s Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. Stunning locations and rooms that blend in with local surroundings ensure this premier hotel chain is in a league of its own. Take the Banyan Tree Lijiang Hotel in China, for instance. This property offers sophisticated villas and suites dressed in oriental palettes of red, gold and black, traditional roof designs and modern trimmings. Close to the dramatic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Lijiang’s old town, criss-crossed with canals and quaint bridges, this hotel is worth splashing out for.