Rising from the dunes, Bab Al Shams sits in Endurance City, along a sandswept road, past thoroughbred stables and camel farms some 40 minutes’ drive from Dubai. Meaning ‘gateway to the sun’ in Arabic, Bab Al Shams offers guests an array of activities for exploring the surrounding desert, from falconry, to camel treks to dune drives.
We carry our travels with us long after we have returned and the tan has faded. A straightness of spine developed from daily rituals of guided Surya Namaskar, a seashell bracelet wrapped around our wrist which will remain until worn away by saltwater, or a silk printed scarf faded to perfection. But Alila Diwa Goa is a memory to carry for life.
Another five minutes…? The sing song voice of my therapist Pema drifts into my cubicle. ‘Why not…’ I murmur in return. A small river of droplets slip from the bridge of my nose, forming a miniature pool at my feet. I sit in my own personal steam cubicle, contemplating how quickly the minutes have already passed. I am beginning an afternoon of therapy, having signed up for a traditional Turkish hamman, followed by a signature Arabian massage at the newly relaunched spa at Anantara the Palm
Capri is enchanting – an island of blue grottos, limestone cliffs dotted with wild flower, crystal clear coves and colossal turquoise skies – a world apart. This wildly romantic paradise has welcomed auteurs and their muses from Godard and Bardot, to Shavelson and Loren. Perhaps it is the light. Or the island uniform of white linen paired with dark shades, that makes everyone appear to be a movie star. Whatever the secret is, more than a half a century later, this island retreat shines brighter than ever.
I have fallen in love, so much so, that I don’t want to leave my hotel and I certainly don’t want to leave the city. I want to stay here forever. Or, perhaps I can transport every moment back home with me, from the heavenly chocolates in the minibar, to the Florentine scent, to the perfectly plump pillows. But of course, most importantly, the view over the lemon trees in the courtyard which give way to fragments of blue sky beyond terracotta sloping roofs.
I adore the idea of stepping onto a little wooden boat and sailing away to my own private island for a few days of rest and relaxation. These three gorgeous spas offer the opportunity to float away from it all for a few precious hours. Should you choose to return, you will do so feeling rested and rejuvenated.
Source: Beyond the Sky & Earth
Why visit …. If you are in need of a change of pace, head to Kerala to enjoy India in slow motion. All the sights, sounds and smells of Incredible India, but at a languid, almost leisurely tempo. Except for the auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers who didn’t receive the ‘slow travel’ memo and approach the winding roads as if attempting to outpace a tornado. Should you make it from the airport in one piece, you will discover a slice of paradise. Literally meaning ‘Land of Coconuts‘, you can drift along on a peaceful raft, sip tea at one of Kerala’s many plantations, cycle the hill stations, go boating on Periyar Lake, or rejuvenate with a Ayurvedic massage.
Why visit … I’ve always wanted to live in a home with a built in spa. Relax, unwind, then wander upstairs to sleep. Repeat. Since this was a little ambitious, even for me, I visited Amankora Thimphu a simple and elegant retreat set in a blue pine forest in the upper Thimphu Valley of Bhutan.