Luxury Short Breaks
One of my favourite pastimes is mapping out the 'vacational horizon' for the months to come. A fortnight of exploration here, a week to fly and flop on that beach there - and then all those delicious long weekends in between.
A luxury short break can be like the much needed espresso that gets you through a morning of meetings, a necessary re-energiser when time is of the essence; or the indulgent chocolate dessert you really didn't need, but which made a meal all the more memorable. Weekends away add spice to life, each 48 or 72 hours spent absorbing a different culture adding an experience to the memory bank to be savoured again and again.
As a lifestyle writer I've been whisked all over the world on mini trips designed to get to the essence of a place in as short a time as possible, be it three days in Miami or a day trip to Paris. I've come to the conclusion that there's no such thing as a short stay - no matter how pressed for time you find yourself, with the right planning and a mind that's open and ready to drink it all in, every departure can become an adventure.
Of course, the more luscious the hotel, the more fabulous your weekend wardrobe and entertaining your companion the better - so select all carefully. The diverse selection of properties in this portfolio is designed to whet your appetite for cultural travel, and put ideas in your head. Dive in, and you'll have seen the world in no time. Just don't forget your camera.
Italy and her Islands
Italy is a wonderful enigma, from the northern snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites, to the sun-kissed shores of the Amalfi Coast. Whatever you choose to stay you are bound to be treated to sublime cuisine and sensational scenery.
This magnificent country of chic cities, quaint rural villages, grand chateaux, sophisticated beach culture and of course, legendary vineyards, has a romance, charm and attitude all of its own. Regardless of the season, this multi-faceted diversity and its certain ‘joie de vivre’ is what makes France so special.
Dubai is probably the most popular destination in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Recognised as the ‘Pearl of the Persian Gulf’ it offers visitors fantastic shopping and some of the region’s best beaches. However, many of its neighbours also offer a wealth of experiences, such as ancient archaeological sites, stunning beaches and breathtaking desert.
This popular North African destination is as exotic and magical today as it has always been. From the bustle of Marrakech with its labyrinthine alleyways, covered markets and original fortifications, to the golden dunes of the Sahara and snow-capped Atlas Mountains, it is a land of mystery and dazzling contrasts.
Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Its people are proud of their rich cultural heritage and with year-round sunshine, visitors soon fall in love with its friendly charm. You can’t help but find pleasure in exploring the verdant landscapes and stunning coastline of Madeira or its delightfully cosmopolitan capital, Funchal.
Spain and her Islands
This is a country that is steeped in the historical pageantry of colonialism and conquistadors. From the great cities of Barcelona and Madrid to the Moorish magnificence of Andalucia and its islands such as Tenerife and Mallorca, Spain’s people are proud, the beaches long, and the food and drink free-flowing and full of regional flavours.
The legacies of it rich past are omnipresent in this breathtaking country, from its Roman ruins and Venetian inheritance, often evident in the eye-catching costal towns and ports that litter its shores - right through to the delicious gourmet delicacies that can be enjoyed.
Whether or not a city can be classed ‘iconic’ comes down to many factors. The look and feel of a metropolis is a good place to start - a skyline alone can tell the tale of a city’s history. And then there are the people, and the watching of them which makes for such an all-engrossing pastime.
Cities of the Orient
An ancient region of the world where the old sits happily alongside the ultra modern, the cities of the Far East offer western travellers a glimpse into a very different, culturally rich and diverse land. A trip to any is guaranteed to inspire and intoxicate the senses.
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