As the world works together to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Capella Hotels and Resorts pledges to support the youths of their community with the launch of their Capella Youth initiative, just ahead of the festive season.
Focused on empowering younger generations to create a better tomorrow, the Capella Youth initiative Is an ongoing programme, whereby each property within the esteemed portfolio will work with long-term charitable partners to give back to the community. The initiative was born out of the recognition that opportunity arises from education. Now, more than ever, the Capella Hotels and Resorts team wishes to galvanise their local communities and enable them to thrive for years to come.
Capella Singapore is making this festive season all the more special by working with the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) on two unique initiatives, which will allow guests to support a worthy cause while standing a chance to spend the festive season at Capella Singapore with their loved ones. Working synergistically with Association for Persons with Special Needs (ASPN), the property empowers youths to harness their full potential through curated mentorship opportunities.
Capella Singapore’s first festive initiative will be an online auction to raise funds for APSN, whereby guests will be able to bid online to win an exclusive staycation package over the festive season, which will include seasonal epicurean experiences. Four stays are up for grabs, with two on Christmas Eve and two on New Year’s Eve. In addition to the online auction, Capella Singapore will be inviting long-stay residents and colleagues to play ‘Secret Santa,’ and ensure that the children protected by APSN receive a special gift this year.
Having welcomed its first guests in October this year, Capella Bangkok is committed to a longterm partnership with “Wat Wang Pla Cheed” school in Nakhon Nayok district. In December, Capella Bangkok will kickstart the collaboration by supporting the renovation of the school’s canteen, with members of the culinary team curating a healthy menu for the students.
Guests of Capella Bangkok are invited to support the initiative over the festive season by purchasing star ornaments, which will adorn the hotel’s Christmas tree.
Throughout December, Capella Ubud, Bali pledges to donate 5% of room revenue from direct bookings to the English for a Brighter Future initiative, which supports elementary students and youths in the Keliki village with complimentary English language classes.
As English is the language of tourism in Bali, Capella Ubud hopes to enrich the lives of the local children and nurture them to become the hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Students are empowered to take charge of their education by collecting plastic waste in the neighbourhood in exchange for a place in the classroom; this, in turn, fosters love and respect for the environment. Proceeds from recycling the discarded plastic bottles are reinvested to purchase school books and further educational tools for the community.
Capella Shanghai is kickstarting a collaboration with Shanghai Young Bakers, an empowering charitable initiative that provides French bakery training to marginalised Chinese youths who have been forced to drop out of school due to family circumstances and are unable to find stable employment.
Capella Shanghai is offering two 10-week internships, whereby students will receive one-on-one mentorship from Executive Chef Romain Chapel of one-Michelin-star le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire. Over the festive season, a portion of all proceeds from Capella Shanghai’s Boulangerie will also be donated to Shanghai Young Bakers.
With the long-awaited Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble launching this weekend, we share V&VPR’s favourite places to eat, sleep and play in the Fragrant Harbour to help you create your ideal itinerary.
Our favourite places to stay
The Upper House is an urban wellness destination nestled between Hong Kong’s skyscrapers with a 24-hour gym, yoga and fitness classes on a stunning lawn and in-room treatments using organic Bamford products. The spacious baths overlooking the city skyline is the ultimate cherry on top for a relaxing stay.
The Langham, Hong Kong is renowned for its trademark European Luxury and its great location in the heart of the city. The property features 498 stylishly appointed rooms and suites that exude an undeniable timeless elegance.
L’hotel Island South, Hong Kong’s first Geopark Hotel, brings guests to the quaint Southern District on Hong Kong Island, where the richness of nature serves a stunning backdrop to their contemporary ocean inspired rooms. Inspired by the style of the boutique hotel, the 37-storey modern Hotel offers 432 spacious guestrooms and suites that redefine conventional notions of comfort, service and style.
Soaring over Victoria Harbour, Rosewood Hong Kong is a new centre of gravity on the Kowloon waterfront; the crown jewel of the Victoria Dockside arts and design district. The 413-room vertical estate offers eight restaurants and lounges complemented by recreational facilities including Asaya, a fitness centre and swimming pool and standout meetings and event space.
Our favourite restaurants, bars and cafes
Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.
MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.
A Modern European grand café of the 21st century, Café Gray Deluxe is a Hong Kong institution famed for killer views and locally inspired continental cooking. They also do some of the city’s best non-alcoholic cocktails, including Empty Pocket with black tea, lemon, passionfruit, elderflower and red dates.
Ranked 33rd in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Lobster Bar & Grill offers a creative take on your usual non-alcoholic beverages. The Cranky Crusta is a blend of Lyre’s American Malt, Seedlip spice, fresh lemon juice, orange marmalade and pineapple gum syrup, while Reds Are Roses features Seedlip grove 42, Lyre’s Dry Vermouth, red rose shrub, chamomile tea and cherry syrup.
Nailing both their beans selection and café aesthetic, NOC Coffee Co serves up fragrant coffee and nutritious food at their impeccably-designed outlets in Sai Ying Pun, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tin Hau and Whampoa.
Our favourite cultural and nature spots
Located on Po Fook Hill at Pai Tau Village sits one of Hong Kong’s most famous Buddhist temples. The temple was founded in 1949 by the Reverend Yuet Kai and completed in 1957, renowned for housing over 12,000 of statues of Buddha, with no two exactly the same.
A crossing of Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry has been named by the National Geographic of Traveler as one of the “fifty places of a lifetime”. Take the trip at night to soak in the panoramic views of Hong Kong’s glimmering skyline.
For something relatively easy with stunning views, head to Dragon’s Back. Located in Shek O, in the south-east of Hong Kong Island, the Dragon’s Back meanders through Shek O Country Park, with gorgeous vistas of the beaches below and the South China Sea.
The highest peak in Hong Kong at 957 metres, Tai Mo Shan is renowned for its breath-taking sunrises. Head off before dawn to catch the sun’s slow ascent as its rays light up the city.
Ideal for more seasoned trekkers, this hike will take you along the east coast of Sai Kung Country Park past four stunning beaches: Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan. You’ll be rewarded with uninterrupted views of turquoise clear waters, lush greenery and sparkling white sand.
Our favourite places for a workout
PURE Yoga is dedicated to serving the yoga community in Asia by offering diverse yoga practices – Vinyasa, Hatha, Hot, Wall Rope Yoga, Pre-Natal and more. Try a class with Patrick or Jenny and you can opt for a complimentary trial if you’re only in town for a few days.
H-Kore’s unique training methods will ensure that all your fitness needs are met. Try the MegaKore classes which are 45 minute Lagree Fitness classes performed on the state of the art Megaformer machine will strengthen and tone your whole body.
Asia’s first articulation of the new wave of indoor cycling, XYZ is the best spinning experience in the city, designed to help you escape the intensity of day-to-day life, reset your compass and engage with your sense of purpose.
In a year where very few of us are travelling much outside a few miles of our home, V&VPR is honoured to see 12 of our clients ranking among the top hotels in the Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards – and there is one very good reason why these properties were amongst the chosen few.
With travel planning off the cards, this year has been a time for the industry to pause and reset, evaluating what is truly important. Despite a tumultuous 2020, the teams at Capella Hotels and Resorts, Singita, and Swire Hotels have each made a conscious effort to better their local and international communities, through a range of initiatives designed to make the post-pandemic world a slightly better place.
Capella Hotels and Resorts: Properties within the Capella Hotels and Resorts portfolio launched a number of CSR initiatives, such as a ‘Solitude in Nature’ experience at Capella Ubud – a portion of the funds from which were donated to local families in the Keliki village who had been impacted by the pandemic – and complimentary stays for healthcare professionals at Capella Shanghai.
- Capella Sanya – #21 Top 30 Resorts in Asia
- Capella Shanghai – #16 Top 20 Hotels in China
- Capella Singapore – #2 Top 20 Hotels in Singapore
- Capella Ubud – #16 Top 20 Resorts in Indonesia list
Singita: Sadly, the halt in tourism is having a devastating ripple effect on conservation efforts across Africa. Throughout this period, Singita’s conservation teams and partners are ensuring their ongoing conservation and community programmes continue to thrive, making sure that areas, animals and surrounding community are happy and safe, with anti-poaching canine units and fundraising efforts for the relocation of endangered rhinos.
- Singita Sasakwa Lodge – #1 Best Hotels and Resorts in Africa
- Singita Pamushana Lodge – #5 Best Hotels and Resorts in Africa
- Singita Boulders Lodge – #2 Best Hotels and Resorts in South Africa
Swire Hotels: Continuing their CSR efforts this year, Swire Hotels launched several new initiatives; The Upper House worked with Foodlink Foundation to help reduce hunger as well as the pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills, whilst The Opposite House launched a ‘Top Sanlitun Picks’ initiative to shine a spotlight on local independent businesses during these trying times.
- The Temple House, Chengdu – #3 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Opposite House, Beijing – #4 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Middle House, Shanghai – #17 Top 20 Hotels in China
- The Upper House – #5 Top 10 Hotels in Hong Kong
- EAST, Hong Kong – #8 Top 10 Hotels in Hong Kong
The awards are compiled by Condé Nast Traveler readers, who rate each property according to their personal experiences. Particularly in 2020, the awards highlight the restorative and transformative power of travel.
We cannot wait to return to these wonderful properties.
The full Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards Results can be found here.
As we have experienced first-hand, the ‘new normal’ is marked by unprecedented uncertainty. For PR professionals in the travel industry, this means that storytelling in a post-pandemic world will have to grapple with unpredictability and the upheaval of emotions in society. Consumers will be drawn to stories that address this new normal, yet also point to a more hopeful future, stressing how they can be a part of it. This is a great time for brands to assert themselves, refocusing on what matters most.
The V&VPR team share our top tips on how brands can navigate these challenging times:
Determine what readers and journalists want
Aside from putting out amazing products and packages, there is a new expectation placed on brands to be more in tune with current trends and social issues. This is especially important to ensure your brand is always adapting, as the media landscape is ever-changing and must be consistently monitored. When the pandemic started to pick up pace around the world, scheduled stories on travel trends for 2020 immediately went out the window. Instead, brands had to look ahead and anticipate new trends that would arise in the new normal as a result of COVID-19, including a rising demand for personal wellbeing and social responsibility.
Appeal to and connect with a more eco-conscious and culture-conscious audience
What matters to you? The Earth is in need of love now more than ever. Sustainability is not just a choice, but a moral imperative, and consumers have begun to realise this. The same goes with culture-conscious choices, like the need for racial representation and gender equality. The most effective stories arise when the beliefs and motivations of your brand resonate with the desires and lifestyle of your consumers. This does not mean that brands have to hop on the bandwagon for every trend, but highlights the importance of maintaining your brand identity through combining it with the news around the world that matter to your target audience.
Highlight how your brand ties into the consumer’s journey
Cookie-cutter experiences will be less desirable, and meaningful content and experiences will hold more impact in the new normal, especially as consumers become more mindful of the privilege it is to buy or travel. What are your brand values, and how can you set up touch points for consumers to interact with your brand so that they know exactly who you are and what you stand for?
Think outside the box
What are you able to offer that stands out from the crowd? Do your research, gather your team, and think of something different. A great way to come up with new ideas is through the free association technique where random ideas are thrown out in an attempt to force connection between your current questions or challenge –– this usually results in ideas far separate from the mainstream.
Read the rest of our blog here.
While we won’t be travelling for the foreseeable future, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your first trip once international travel is a reality again. Of course, that first trip will have to be a trip of a lifetime and if it’s not on the ‘gram, did it really happen? Undeniably, this generation of travellers curate their itineraries like they do their feed. From stunning nature views to breath-taking architecture — there’s no Instagrammable destination quite like Sydney. You have the sand, surf, city and nature all rolled into one amazing, unforgettable destination. Bookmark these locations for your next visit, you’re going to want to get them all.
1. Bondi Icebergs
Sydney is renowned for its incredible ocean pools but none are as iconic as Bondi Icebergs. The 50 metre stretch of turquoise is set against the backdrop of the expansive ocean and crashing waves, and is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re getting a shot in the water or a bird’s eye view from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi Icebergs is arguably the most photogenic pool in the world and worth a visit.
2. Bronte Bath Viewpoint
Already captured your iconic Bondi Icebergs shot? Why not do the scenic Bondi to Bronte Walk and get yourself to the Bronte Baths? Nestled between the well-loved Bondi and Coogee beaches in Sydney’s east, Bronte Beach is where the locals go. The hidden gem is a pictorial haven, offering balmy seaside parks for picnics, a crystal-clear aquatic reserve for snorkelling and diving, as well as an ocean pool for protected swimming. Built into the rocky cliffside in 1887, the Bronte Baths can be found at the beach’s southern headland and travellers can access the panoramic viewpoint by heading to the end of the walkway and climbing up the rocks. From the semi-shaded cove, soak in the sweeping views of the bay and the ocean horizon; early birds will be rewarded with a remarkable sunrise.
3. Mrs Macquarie’s Chair
Mrs Macquarie’s Chair has some of the best views of Sydney’s iconic skyline – you’ll be able to get the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge all in one frame for that money shot. Located east of the Sydney Opera House on the edge of The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, you can set up picnic rugs alongside the western side of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and if you’re there at dusk, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the sun setting behind the Sydney Opera House. This is a sight for sore eyes, and one sure to satisfy your followers and get the likes rolling in.
4. Manly Wormhole
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is the Queenscliff Tunnel, also known as the Manly Wormhole. The tunnel is said to have been dug out a century ago by local fishermen as a shortcut between Freshwater Beach and Manly. Follow in the fishermen’s footsteps down the 50-metre long tunnel that burrows straight through the cliff. There will be a few boulders to climb over but the view of the expansive ocean framed beautifully by the opening of the tunnel is truly worth the trip. Budding geologists can also appreciate the rock formations and cross-section of the rock layers along the way.
5. Queen Victoria Building
Dating back to 1898, the Queen Victoria Building replaced the original Sydney markets on the site and spans an entire block along George Street. The elaborate Romanesque architecture – with its semi-circular arches, stained glass windows and mighty domes – was planned specifically to employ many out-of-work craftsmen during the recession. Now, these heritage architectural features make the landmark hard to miss as you walk down George Street and its many nooks and crannies provide a magnificent backdrop for that perfect Instagram shot.
6. Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is a popular spot for locals. Nestled in the Lavender Bay Parklands, the garden is a whimsical oasis that allows you to escape the busy city and get a good dose of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Get lost amongst the towering foliage, lush plantings and meandering paths, while stopping for the occasional artwork and sculpture along the way. The myriad of green tones and pops of colours from the native flowers will have you snapping away.
7. Forgotten Songs, Angel Place
An ethereal cluster of over a hundred cages is suspended above Angel Place, a pedestrian lane that runs between George Street and Pitt Street. The creator of this artwork, Michael Thomas Hill, explains how the striking installation explores how Sydney’s fauna has evolved and adapted to co-exist with increased urbanisation. Once you’ve captured your shot, take a second to listen to the bird calls, which change as day shifts to night.
8. Paddington Reservoir
A short drive from the CBD, the Paddington Reservoir is a heritage-listed public park. Built in the early 1800s, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1914 and has since then been transformed into a Romanesque sunken garden with a lake of contemplation at its centre, a hanging garden canopy around the perimeter and an eastern chamber left empty but for the wall art. The preservation of much of its original architecture – think towering archways, brick and iron structures – make for a rustic Instagrammable spot.
9. Bare Island, La Perouse
One of the many hidden gems in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Bare Island is a small atoll that houses a 19th-century fort and old wooden footbridge connecting the island to the mainland. With dreamy coastal views of Botany Bay, this photo spot is the perfect blend of history and nature. Fun fact: the fort features in Mission: Impossible 2 as the hideout of villain Sean Ambrose.
10. Green Square Library
Boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with a multicolour array of books, Green Square Library seems to have been made for the ‘gram. Besides the impressive rainbow book wall, the library also has reading nooks tucked within the bookshelves, as well as 40 skylights to make sure you get all the natural light you need for your shot and your reading! The photogenic library is a short 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
As global travel restrictions continue across the world, the prospect of a holiday still seems very far away. However, according to research, cabin fever can be cured by looking ahead and planning a future trip – here are a few of Scott Dunn’s dreamworthy destinations to inspire wanderlust for your next vacation!
Destinations that offer wide-open spaces, nature and off-grid adventures are poised to be popular amongst travellers when travel resumes. Bespoke travel operator, Scott Dunn offers a hassle-free vacation for guests with every detail is looked after by their expert Travel Consultants – from flights to visas and packing lists! Travellers can look forward to journeying to a range of inspiring destinations with Scott Dunn’s exclusive itineraries that offer unforgettable encounters such as witnessing the magnificent Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, getting up-close-and-personal with Canada’s diverse wildlife and trekking through Chile’s breathtaking landscapes. Prepare to be inspired!
Discover Africa’s magnificent wildlife: Scott Dunn’s Tanzania and Rwanda in Ultimate Luxury itinerary combines two bucket list wildlife experiences, the great migration of wildebeest in the Serengeti and trekking to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Guests will enjoy stays at Singita Faru Faru Lodge in Tanzania and Singita Kwitonda Lodge, which opened last August on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Scott Dunn advise that travellers should leave plenty of time to plan this trip and book at least 1 year in advance as the annual migration crosses the Serengeti in the summer months and there are only a finite amount of annual trekking permits through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park.
Encounter Canada’s Bears and Whales: Scott Dunn’s Whales and Bears of British Colombia itinerary takes visitors off-the-beaten-track to spot some of Canada’s diverse wildlife including black bears, sea lions, migrating whales and grizzly bears. Another itinerary that is best booked a year in advance as this trip includes staying at small, boutique hotels with limited rooms – don’t miss out on your opportunity to witness these incredible animals!
Delve into Israel’s Past: Steeped in history, Israel is a melting pot of history, culture and religion. Scott Dunn’s A Week in Israel allows guests to journey to Israel’s key sites including Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. Guests will enjoy exclusive activities including a cable car ride to the impressive Masada Fortress, where travellers will marvel at the breathtaking views across Israel’s desert landscape and the mesmerising Dead Sea.
For more travel inspiration on destinations to visit post-pandemic, visit our blog here!
We’re all raring to book the next flight out of here for that holiday we’ve been dreaming of, however there is no question that the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world of travel on its head. Travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and extreme sanitisation protocols are in abundance. Few countries have been spared from the detrimental impact of Covid-19, and even when its effects begin to wear off, we can only expect a new normal to surface in the way we travel, and with it new changes to adapt to.
What will travel look like in a post-pandemic world? The V&VPR team spoke to industry experts, and gathered top travel trends to look out for:
The Creation of Travel Bubbles to Boost Regional Tourism
As there is little clarity as to when a vaccine for the virus will be produced, several countries have begun to look into ‘travel bubbles’ to promote regional tourism. “The general consensus is the local market will recover first, as we’ve seen in China, then regional travel, then international,” says Raini Hamdi, Editor-at-Large of Skift, the global travel industry intelligence platform.
Australia and New Zealand have already begun discussing plans for a ‘Trans-Tasman bubble’ between both countries, and an article by The Guardian noted that this travel bubble could come into effect as soon as September 2020. What does this mean for the average traveller? Well, the good news is that we might be jetting out of here sooner than we might expect, but epic across-the-globe holiday plans might have to be put on hold for now.
Meaningful and Down-To-Earth Experiences Will Be Greatly Sought After
The pandemic has certainly shifted our priorities in many ways. While most placed emphasis on activities and experiences promoting self-fulfilment and self-actualisation in the past, many are now realising the value of time spent with family and loved ones, having meaningful experiences and moving through the world with purpose.
“We’ve already noticed a change in the consumption of content (digitally) where fans are actively seeking inspirational content, and we believe that the value of luxury in the future will focus on a far simpler way of life,” notes Lindy Rousseau, the CMO of Singita – the conservation and ecotourism brand that has been preserving African wilderness for the past 26 years. “We believe that when travel returns to normal, tourism will rebound quickly, especially to places such as Singita, where guests can immerse themselves in nature and connect with each other, appreciating the simpler things in life – travel, family and peaceful solace in nature.”
Travel Journalist Grace Ma echoes similar sentiments. “Such difficulties would make us cherish cleaner air, greener spaces and clearer seas at our destinations even more,” she remarks. “Because the journey takes so much effort, we’d pick imbibing the spirit of the destination over being superficially impressed by ostentatious displays of luxury.”
There Will Be a Demand for Wellness & Health-conscious Travel
Taking a proactive approach to health has jumped up on the list of priorities. Pre-Covid-19, wellness tourism was already booming, with the Global Wellness Institute reporting in 2018 that it is now a $639 billion industry out of the overall $4.5 trillion wellness market. With no vaccine available yet, wellness tourism is poised to grow even more as travellers place emphasis on making choices that benefit physical and mental wellbeing – and the travel and hospitality industry will have to continue to evolve to meet the demands. Does this mean more balanced and nutritious hotel and restaurant menus? Hiking excursions in the great outdoors? Yoga and other forms of meditation to clear the mind and soothe the soul? Absolutely.
“People are taking a much more proactive approach to wellbeing – far more preventative rather than treating the issue,” observes Lynda Williams, Founder & Managing Director of VIM & VIGOUR PR. “Boosting the immune system isn’t just about diet and vitamin C tablets, but a balanced lifestyle which includes better sleep, less stress and the right exercise. Wellness resorts can offer all of this in a transformative way but the best ones, also equip guests with the right tools to carry on their new habits way after check-out.”
High Standards of Hygiene & Safety Will Be An Expectation
As the luxury travel and hospitality industry prepares for reopening, it will be an expectation that health and hygiene measures are taken seriously in order to establish trust between guest and organization. Such measures are already being communicated through various communication channels and will become the norm for the foreseeable future.
“Privacy and sanitization throughout the consumer journey as well as contactless service (where possible) will be a key focus,” says Mike Harlow, the General Manager of Scott Dunn Singapore. “Destinations need to assure travellers that they are open for business and are upkeeping high standards for safety and health with well-equipped and functioning medical facilities, essentially abating fears and reinforcing that it is safe to come explore.”
Dean Winters, Managing Director of Swire Hotels whose properties predominately span across Greater China comments: “We are prepared to be welcoming back our guests and our top priority will centre around providing a safe and comfortable environment while delivering uplifting experiences,” he says. “We believe this is of utmost importance, as travellers will place an emphasis on safety and cleanliness more now than ever before.”
Anticipate a Rise in Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism
Conscious travel will be on the rise as tourism recovers. In recent years, travellers have already begun to take notice of the impact that their jet setting habits can have on the environment – but now coupled with the visible positive benefits the lockdown has had on pollution levels, clearer seas, flora and fauna, it is hoped that consumers will travel responsibly and think carefully of how they want to move through the world.
“Luxury travellers will be more discerning about the places they go and accommodations they stay in. They would gravitate towards those that are thoughtfully local – made with materials from the locality, reflective of local culture, and supportive of the immediate community, ” says Grace Ma.
Check out the rest of our blog here for the latest updates on travel and wellness.
With all of us practicing social distancing and staying at home, livestream videos have become part of our everyday life. Companies and brands are now offering armchair travellers a virtual travel experience to some of the world’s most far-flung places. Here are V&VPR’s top picks to make isolation more thrilling:
Journey into the wilderness with Singita
Singita brings the stories of Africa to your home. Wildlife enthusiasts can either enjoy the calming sounds of Singita and listen to Africa’s enchanting bird song, or journey into the bush for a virtual game drive – allowing guests to get up close with some of Africa’s incredible wildlife. Curating the ultimate safari experience, Singita’s lodges are placed in 6 different regions of Africa and each lodge employs the very best guides and trackers to teach guests about the African wilderness and it’s magnificent inhabitants. Accompanied by Field Guides Ross Couper and Johan Ndlovu,
viewers can enjoy an African safari in either Sabi Sand and Grumeti Reserve, whilst sitting on their sofa, Singita’s virtual game drives are available for everyone to enjoy. Visit Singita’s Vimeo channel here and see what you find!
Witness the animals at Australian Reptile Park
The wildlife sanctuary on the Central Coast of New South Wales closed their doors back in March. However, keepers are still hard at work feeding and looking after all the animals. This award-winning wildlife park is making educational videos for school kids to assist parents who are now homeschooling their children. Named ‘Animal Tales With Tim Faulkner’ the live-streaming videos are of zookeepers showcasing their favourite animals and answering viewer questions. This includes feeding Elvis, the MASSIVE Saltwater Crocodile, play time and cuddles with dingoes, feeding cuddly koalas and virtual tours of different areas within the Park. Staff at the wildlife sanctuary are extremely excited to bring their animals into everyone’s sitting rooms. Live streams are available on the Australian Reptile Park’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.
Hike the most iconic rock climb in the world
Yosemite, located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is a diverse, natural landscape. Home to more than 400 species of animals, including the magnificent American black bear, rare snowshoe hares and endangered bats. The park’s iconic, El Capitan, stands over 900 metres tall, with a vertical cliff face. From the comfort of your sofa, you can now Scale the mountain with top climber Lynn Hill and her team. The experience promises to teach more climbing skills, techniques and the necessary equipment needed to ascend this incredible height. Explore the park with these 360-degree images, accompanied with sound effects from the Ahwahnee Meadow and Nevada Fall.
Wonder at the Northern Lights
Renowned for its magnificent beauty, the aurora borealis is a dazzling natural phenomenon. The northern lights are visible from countries at northern latitudes, including Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. Lights over Lapland takes travellers on a journey through a series of stunning 360-degree videos, starting at the famous Icehotel before venturing into the wilderness on a reindeer sleigh past sights such as Lake Torneträsk and an Arctic birch forest. Explorers will wonder at a series of time-lapse videos, showing the lights dancing overhead with vibrant colours and impressive arcs of deep green.
Escape with these virtual travel experiences, or Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration!
We can’t physically run wild right now, but that doesn’t mean our imaginations can’t. To help ward off cabin fever and help you kickstart the planning for the wondrous trip you’ll be desperate to take when the world recovers, we’ve rounded up some of the places we’d love to travel to right now…
Go on a history and culture-rich hike across Tajikistan
The Walk Tajikistan itinerary with Scott Dunn showcases breath-taking landscapes with an insight into the country’s colourful history and culture. This itinerary is crafted for the discerning traveller – hiking across the remote mountain system of the Fann Mountains, renowned for its phenomenal panoramas and stunning azure alpine lakes. Visit two of the less famous Silk Road destinations, including one of Asia’s oldest cities, Khujand, and venture to Iskanderkul, nicknamed the ‘jewel in Tajikistan’s crown’, home to the Iskanderkul Lake with ethereal blue and green waters and a magnificent waterfall.
Encounter gentle gorillas on a trek through Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park
For a truly immersive experience in the Rwandan wilderness, we recommend a stay at Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Set on 178 acres at the edge of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the lodge was named after a legendary silverback gorilla, known for his humility and gentle nature. This is where you’ll be able to take part in life-changing gorilla treks for a humbling, soul-centring experience of encountering gorilla families in their natural habitats. Surrounded by greenery, the lodge also has on-site nursery which has provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for Singita’s extensive reforestation initiative to increase the range and numbers of the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Spend a weekend on an island paradise in Indonesia
The exquisite island of Sumba is an hour’s flight from Bali – a bucolic haven far removed from tourist hotspots. From plunging waterfalls to pristine beaches with world-class surf spots, this amazing destination is replete with plenty of #InstaWorthy sights and activities for your travel bucket list. If you’re looking for the ultimate island getaway experience, Nihi Sumba Resort is your dream accommodation. Placed first in Top 10 Hotels for Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Awards, the property boasts a selection of off-script experiences that are hard to beat – including swimming with horses, surf lessons at Coconut Cove and watching turtle hatchlings released into the ocean.
Explore the best of Australia’s nature in the Blue Mountains, NSW
Just a 3-hour drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is known for its dramatic scenery, cascading falls, lush valleys and greenery – a true paradise for ecophiliacs yearning for fresh air and open spaces. The Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort is a luxurious eco-retreat that will sweep you off your feet if you’re looking to stay and explore the area. Ensconced in 4,000 acres of natural wonder, go for a horse-riding session through winding trails and native eucalypt woodlands, or take part in an authentic ‘walkabout’ in one of Australia’s untouched stretches of natural, protected bushland. Unwind at the end of a long day in your own private plunge pool – we won’t tell if you decide to go for a skinny-dip!
Immerse in a unique modern safari experience in Tanzania
For the true adventure seekers, it doesn’t get any wilder than this – located on a dramatic riverbend in the remote Lamai triangle in Tanzania, Mara River Tented Camp is a permanent camp with a modern take on the classic East African safari. Set on 98,000 acres of untouched wilderness in northern Tanzania, guests will have access to some of the world’s most prized and private game-viewing opportunities, including breath-taking views of the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than a million wildebeest. Get involved in game drives, guided bush walks and stargazing in the evening under the African night sky.
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With travel restrictions in place, cabin fever setting in, and stress and anxiety levels rising, keeping wellness a priority has become more important than ever. Take a mental vacation to some of the world’s most beautiful destinations –– visualising a stress-free place is a simple way to help your whole body calm down and give you the boost you need for the day.
We’ve put together a series of stunning visuals featuring rolling landscapes, ethereal views and remarkable sights that will be just the pick-me-up for you.
Golden rays of sunlight lighting up the sand and sea at Zenith Beach in Port Stephens, NSW.
Plumes of steam rising from chimneys across a coastal town along the Oita Hot Spring Trail with Walk Japan.
A leopard taking a well-deserved rest up on a tree at Singita Boulders Lodge, Singita’s privately-owned reserve within Sabi Sand in South Africa.
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