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.
Check out the rest of our page here for more travel inspiration.
The world of luxury is changing and wealthy consumers are becoming active participants to save our world from extinction. As a result, luxury travel brands are changing with the times to become more sustainable. Protecting the environment is paramount in high-end experiential travel and MATTER’s 2019 report promotes how travel brands can adapt to survive and remain connected with their consumers through three main trends:
Consumers seek self-fulfilment through the new sustainable luxury
There is a growing demand of luxury sustainable travel due to a developing demographic of socially conscious, high-net-worth consumers who are increasingly rejecting overt displays of wealth in favour of inconspicuous and responsible consumption. These elite customers value green, inconspicuous luxury and are driven by self-fulfilment and personalised experiences. And so, luxury travel and hospitality is being redefined to incorporate artisanship, authenticity and sustainability, as well as ethical living. Experience and transformation have become the new currency for these next-gen jetsetters, who seek self-fulfilment through green travel, while ‘doing good’ for people and the planet.
Future consumers will invest more in sustainable luxury travel
High-net-worth wealth is transferring into younger hands at a fast rate. According to the study, 72% of Millennials and Gen Zs would pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to social and environmental change. Therefore, these consumers are more willing to invest in sustainable luxury travel and value green brands more than their predecessors. The young elite are reshaping philanthropy by seeking more ways to give back, and the travel industry is supporting their mission through new initiatives from one-off donations to long-term initiatives and volunteering.
Successful luxury travel brands will make sustainability part of the guest experience
Innovators in luxury hospitality are stepping up to environmental and social challenges, by putting sustainability at the centre of their business model and guest experience. From addressing the rise in veganism to rethinking waste, luxury hotels and resorts are honing their offer to attract future guests. Eco-tourism and conservation brand Singita allows guests to take part in sustainable and community initiatives when on safari, guests can leave a legacy from holidaying with Singita and contribute to their 100 year purpose to preserve and protect the African wilderness for future generations.
To download the report in full, please visit MATTER’s website.
It’s human nature to crave adventure – we’re all itching to explore foreign cities, visit beautiful destinations, maybe meet a few strangers who become friends — but how can we do this responsibly, minimising the negative impact that tourism can have on the planet?
By traveling smarter, we can leverage the power of the industry to positively contribute to environmental, community, social and economic gains. Here are our top tips to achieve a more sustainable travel itinerary in 2020:
- Avoid over-tourism: it’s tempting to be lured to Insta-popular destinations (think Venice, Machu Picchu, and Santorini), but these destinations are being overwhelmed by tourists, causing a strain on infrastructure and pricing locals out of the communities. When planning your next trip, venture off the beaten track and explore somewhere new – one of our top picks for 2020 is Mongolia, which is perfect for those seeking remote adventures and eye-opening cultural experiences
- Timing is key: if you still prefer to visit a more popular destination, consider traveling outside of peak season; there will be fewer people around, and the money you spend will help businesses that may struggle during quieter periods
- Support recovering areas: another way to be more mindful when creating your destination bucket list is to explore areas that have been impacted by natural disaster or social unrest, and are relying on the economic benefits of tourism to bounce back. Sri Lanka and New South Wales are a couple of options to consider
Opt for a hotel or accommodation option that holds itself to high environmental standards. A couple of our favourites include:
- Singita: conservation brand Singita follows a 100-year purpose to preserve and protect the African wilderness for future generations through the three pillars of biodiversity, community and sustainability. Through partnerships with non-profit funds and trusts Singita implements strategic conservation projects in each of the six regions in which they are located to ensure the existence of Africa’s magnificent wildlife populations and with programmes that aim to help create economic independence within communities that live alongside their reserves.
- Capella Ubud: a luxury tented camp designed by Bill Bensley, Capella Ubud is nestled amidst the unspoiled beauty of Bali’s luscious rainforest. With the conscious idea of “minimal intervention,” thoughtful care was taken in the design of the hotel, and all trees and local plants were left untouched and protected throughout the construction process – not a single tree was cut during the camp’s creation, and as such, there are several trees intercepting the property’s accommodation, restaurants and the spa tents.
- Air travel is often the only viable way to reach some of the world’s greatest destinations, but try to fly direct as much as possible, select eco-friendly airlines and look for carriers that use sustainable aviation biofuel. To avoid air travel altogether, consider destinations that are closer to home; The Sanchaya is a 50-minute ferry ride from Singapore
- Consider the romance of rail travel and embark on an unforgettable rail journey through the likes of South Africa or Tibet
- Explore by foot – Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of tours spread across the length and breadth of Japan, focusing the development of tours on Japan’s little-known and less-visited regions. The team are keenly aware of the need for the responsible and sustainable development of Japan’s tourism resources and are widely recognised for their endeavours
Whilst you’re there:
- Disconnect from the digital world and immerse yourself into local life; ask locals for recommendations on where to eat and what to see and strike up conversations about the history and traditions of the area
- Carry a reusable water bottle to avoid unnecessary use of single-use plastic bottles. Our favourites are from bkr and byta
What are your top tips for travelling more responsibly?
Perth is a city with a plethora of beautiful restaurants, bustling cafes and vibrant bars. The V&VPR girls have selected their favourite spots of where to eat and drink:
Famous for its fresh local seafood, invigorating tipples and gorgeous sunset views across the sea, Bathers Beach House holds the key to the perfect summer evening in Western Australia. Diners can order the seafood board to share, featuring an assortment of the day’s catch including flaky grilled fish, tangy squid, buttery prawns and chargrilled octopus. The menu also boasts a fine selection of draught beers and ciders, as well as a curated selection of sundowners to sip on.
Helmed by Chef Matthew Sartori, Wildflower is perched on the top of COMO The Treasury and has gained international acclaim for being one of Western Australia’s top restaurants. Diners will be treated to a curated menu of dishes that evolve according to the seasons. Many of the offerings at Wildflower are made using local produce including wildflower honey, eucalyptus, pepperberries and a myriad of native herbs.
Down by Watermans Bay lies The Little Bay café, a charming dining establishment with lush foliage, minimalistic coastal interiors and a phenomenal ocean view. Guests can expect impeccable service, and a contemporary breakfast and lunch menu that also caters for gluten/dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Highlights include the Turkish Eggs with dill, Greek yoghurt, and poached eggs served with toasted ciabatta, and the Beef Ragu Pappardelle with beef brisket, radicchio, hazelnut, saltbush and parmesan. Dishes can be paired with the café’s curated wine and cocktail list.
Having started 25 years ago, family owned Vans has become something of an institution in Perth and a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for curating an ever-changing menu that features the freshest seasonal and local produce, Vans reinvents bistro classics with a twist for an impressive array of contemporary fusion –indulge in Vans’ healthy house made sodas, and the delicious spicy Indonesian style fried eggs. Diners will enjoy a relaxed and bustling atmosphere, with seating areas either indoors or outside.
Overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse is a coastal culinary haven that showcases modern Australian cuisine, combined with a Mediterranean influence from head chef Oliver Gould. Designed as a celebration of coastal living, The Shorehouse features a large deck, whitewashed walls and bright pastel colours for a laid-back beach-side eatery. As well as delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there is also a ‘small deck menu’ that includes oysters, sandwiches and other seaside-friendly snacks ideal for watching the waves and surfers on an afternoon.
Renowned for its sprawling vineyards, bustling markets and tasteful bars and restaurants, Perth positions itself as the quintessential holiday getaway just a stone’s throw away from Singapore by plane. Here are some of the V&VPR girls’ top picks for travellers making their first foray into this mesmerizing part of Western Australia.
WHERE TO GO
Located along the streets of Fremantle, this prominent weekend market has a rich history spanning more than a century since its humble beginnings in 1897. Open every Friday to Sunday, the market features a range of stalls selling unique and locally made gifts, products and souvenirs as well as a range of eclectic food offerings and fresh produce.
Cottesloe Beach comes alive in the summer with snorkelers, swimmers and surfers. This beloved seaside destination is a favourite for both locals and tourists alike, and boasts sapphire blue waters, stunning trails along the coast and beachside dining establishments with a view. Travellers making a trip down in March will be able to catch Sculpture by the Sea, a free exhibition on Cottesloe Beach with giant sculptures dotting the coastline.
Nestled in Caversham, Swan Valley – the oldest wine region in Western Australia, is Mandoon Estate, Western Australia’s most awarded boutique winery. Guests can take part in a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, tour the grounds of this iconic destination, or go on a 30-minute chopper flight over picturesque Perth. More adventurous travellers would enjoy the Bush Tucker Tasting, which will give them insight into the area’s history and culture whilst tasting local indigenous food.
Just 45 minutes by ferry from Perth city is a little island paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of smiley, furry marsupials – namely the quokka – Rottnest Island brings together the best of both worlds for lovers of nature and wildlife. Guests can frolic on the beach in the summer, go whale-watching in the winter, glamping on the island’s beachfront estate, and meet friendly wild quokkas (who are apparently the world’s most photogenic animal).
3-hours from Perth city by car lies the Margaret River region, an area south of Perth that’s well known for its premium wineries, picturesque coastlines, and natural limestone caves. Travellers can stop at Canal Rocks along the cape-to-cape track taking in grand views of the swirling Indian Ocean; have lunch at Leeuwin Estate, an established winery with an international reputation; or go on tours of Lake or Mammoth Cave – natural limestone caves that formed thousands of years ago deep below Australian soil.
Conscious tourism is taking root globally, with travellers more aware than ever of the impact that their holiday can have on the environment and local communities. Brands are doing their part in refocusing their guest experiences, and leading the charge is Capella Hotels and Resorts, who are recognised for offering meaningful hospitality experiences, curated for the curious mind.
Committed to the craft of the stay, Capella Ubud, Bali — as part of their ongoing efforts to contribute to a more sustainable future and environment — has pledged to donate 1% of the total room revenue that is generated from all of the bookings that are made through its website for stays from 1-31 December 2019 to Trash Hero Indonesia, a national chapter of Trash Hero World.
Trash Hero World is a global voluntary movement made up of non-profit, community-based organisations with the mission to bring communities together to clean the environment. The movement aims to reduce waste through trash clean-ups, educational workshops on the environmental impact of trash, and long-term sustainable programmes that empower communities to better reduce and manage waste.
The proceeds from Capella Ubud’s month-long promotion will be specifically utilised to support the Trash Hero Kids program, the Trash Hero Learning Center and the upcoming publication of the Trash Hero Kids Book, intended to educate the younger generation on waste management.
Capella Ubud luxury tented camp is set in the heart of a verdant rainforest, bringing the rich heritage of Bali to life in a truly remarkable natural setting. Inspired by the first Europeans to settle in Bali in the 1800’s, celebrated architect and designer, Bill Bensley, has created the stunning rainforest camp as a tribute to their spirit of adventure, while preserving the local flora and fauna through the conscious idea of ‘minimal intervention,’ meaning that all trees and local plants were left untouched and protected throughout the build process. This one-of-a-kind hidden sanctuary offers an authentic insight into the way of life in Bali, combined with today’s modern conveniences and technology.
As the end of 2019 approaches, Scott Dunn has forecasted what’s hot and trending in 2020 within the world of luxury travel. The world is at our fingertips, and travelling to far-flung places has never been so easy. Scott Dunn predicts next year’s go-to travel destinations – hosting a plethora of luxury hotel openings, and plenty of natural wonder.
Israel is one of Scott Dunn’s up and coming destinations for next year, due to more flight connections between Asia and Israel than ever, and with the increased sophistication of Asian travellers. Travellers are wanting to delve beyond the footsteps of Jesus to visit Israel’s more remote locations, such as the Negev Desert. 2020 sees the opening of Six Senses Shaharut, Arava Valley – the new cliff-top lodge will provide unprecedented clarity of the Negev’s famed night sky. Guests are invited to partake in a range of incredible exclusive activities, from discovering Negev winemaking to journeying in a hot air balloon above the desert’s expansive rocky scenery.
Scott Dunn predicts a revival of destinations with bespoke itineraries that go beyond the typical tourist traps for guests to re-discover timeless destinations such as Greece. With journeys to the less-known islands of Naxos, Milos, Paros and Sifnos for a more authentic experience of Greece, visiting secluded bays, exploring traditional villages and sampling the local cuisine. Scott Dunn is one of just a few travel companies that curate itineraries on these hidden islands and organises exclusive experiences such as a private guided gastronomical tour of Naxos, off-road 4×4 explorations of Milos’ untouched beaches and ancient chapels, and speed boat trips to uninhabited Grecian islands.
With an increasing number of guests choosing to re-visit a destination, Scott Dunn curates itineraries for a deeper journey to rediscover an old favourite in a new light. China is often associated with its major cities and well-known historical sites, however for 2020 Scott Dunn is shining the spotlight on rural China. For a chance to escape city life, Scott Dunn allows guests to reconnect with nature and be fully immersed in the country’s landscape through a new partnership with Caravan Liotard. The camp is inspired by the French writer Constantin de Slizewicz and the traditions of the Tibetan caravans along the historic Tea Horse Road, the elegant bell tents invite travellers to indulge in the simplicity and beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Singita opened Kwitonda Lodge on 1st August in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The brand new lodge and private house is positioned on an unrivalled location where a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas can be found, marking the next exciting chapter of the brand’s ongoing conservation journey in Africa. As well as supporting important conservation efforts during their stay at Kwitonda Lodge, guests will be able to enjoy awe-inspiring views across the vast Virunga mountain range and volcanoes.
Kwitonda Lodge is designed to honour Rwanda’s people and the country’s fertile land, contributing significantly to conservation efforts, community partnerships and ecotourism to preserve and protect Africa’s wilderness for future generations. Situated a ten-minute walk away from the park’s headquarters, guests can take part in a humbling gorilla-trekking experience to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitats.
Each of the guest suites are beautifully decorated and include private heated plunge pools and massage areas, as well as indoor and outdoor fireplaces for travellers to relax in their secluded haven. Singita has included a dedicated conservation room, gear room for all trekking equipment, and an extensive on-site nursery and vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the lodge’s farm-to-table food ethos.
More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in crafting features like the lava rock walks, exquisite woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork – ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into the design, while boosting local employment and business.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House are go-to destinations, offering an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. It embodies the gentle, rejuvenated spirit of Rwanda with finishes that include raw and burnished timbers, natural pigments on walls and hand-fired terracotta tiles, and long-lasting furniture pieces anchor each room and space, providing a profound sense of groundedness. Its design creates a sense of place, purpose and perspective, tying in perfectly with the serious and soul-centering experience of meeting gorillas up close on treks.
As expectant parents seek to make the most of their last few months of alone time before their new arrival, the ‘Babymoon’ has seen a continued rise in popularity. For Singapore-based families, The Sanchaya and Capella Singapore provide two of the most luxurious options, without the need for flying, making them perfect for trips up to the last trimester.
Bintan’s most sought-after estate has launched Baby Love – a 3 night stay designed especially for parents to-be. The all-encompassing experience includes one 60-minute massage for both guests, with options including the “Mum to Be,” a prenatal massage that uses gentle techniques to relieve the discomforts of pregnancy.
Also included is a traditional English Afternoon Tea, a cocktail/mocktail session, and return Emerald class ferry tickets – The Sanchaya is situated less than an hour from Singapore by boat, removing the need to fly and making it the ultimate convenient escape, even in the later stages of pregnancy.
Throughout the last decade, Capella Singapore has cemented itself as one of the most luxurious hotels in the region.
Nestled in the lush rainforest of Sentosa Island, Auriga at Capella Singapore is a peaceful cocoon for expectant parents to rest and rejuvenate ahead of their new arrival.
Priced at SGD 718, the Couple Babymoons experience includes a Prenatal Massage and Organic Rose Facial for mums-to-be, and a New Moon Swedish Massage and Gentlemen’s facial for dads-to-be, as well as a nourishing hair and scalp treatment for two. After a morning of relaxation, the pair are invited to afternoon tea at Chef’s Table, where they can enjoy an array of bite-sized sweet and savoury favourites and an extensive Ronnefeldt tea selections.
This week, the Global Wellness Summit took place in V&VPR’s home base of Singapore. Having led campaigns for the likes of The Sanchaya, Guavapass, and Capella — brands that see wellness as a core business pillar — we were particularly excited to learn more about the integration of nature and wellness into luxury travel. Read on for our summary:
With more proof than ever of the strong link between nature and wellness, people have started seeking ways to incorporate ecotherapy into their everyday lives. This has led to the boom of the nature economy and these days, wellness has become an integral aspect of luxury travel — promoting health, spirituality and a deep connection to surrounding nature.
The Wellness Benefits Of Nature
Outdoor activities have proven to be staggeringly good for the brain. A study by the European Society of Cardiology, found that brisk walking for at least 25 minutes daily could add at least three years onto an individual’s life. This simple activity helps repair DNA and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and breast or colon cancer. Those who participate in ‘green exercise’, a term that describes working out in the outdoors, will also find that it lowers blood pressure, increases creativity, decreases depression, and increases blood flow.
In a 2009 study by a team of Dutch researchers, it was also found that those who lived within about half a mile of green space had a lower incidence of getting ill with diseases such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines. Taking these insights, hospitality operators can and should incorporate a variety of outdoor activities for different health and fitness levels, into their programmes.
Applying Nature Into The Hospitality Industry
Some of the most intuitive hotels and spas take advantage of their beautiful locations to offer more outdoor programming, including highly customised packages tailored to individuals for a completely unique wellness experience. As the benefits of immersing in nature become more well-known, hotels and spas are tapping into what makes their destination unique, focusing on guest excursions to appreciate picturesque landscapes and expansive views of the destination scenery.
Biophilic design, a design concept within buildings to increase guest connectivity to the natural environment has become increasingly popular – properties far from any natural beauty have brought the outdoors inside, showcasing local flora and fauna within their establishment to reap the same health and wellness benefits.
These seemingly little steps will almost certainly have a positive effect on customers’ and employee’s wellbeing, and we look forward to seeing hospitality companies put their own creative spin on the subject. Visit the Global Wellness Summit page for the full in-depth report.