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February 28, 2008

Prison Break

Okay, we know it’s a bit much to say that we feel like inmates, but Hong Kong has been pretty cold, dark and dreary these past few months, and we can’t stop dreaming of making a great escape. The warmth of the sun on our faces, the crystal blue of the water, the crunching of the sand beneath our feet…aah, the pleasures only a free man can enjoy. Luckily, we found a secret map, which leads to the most stunning, undiscovered beach resorts throughout the region.  Follow us, it’s time to break out!

La Veranda Resort & Spa – Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Miles away from the
hustle and bustle of Saigon, lies idyllic Phu Quoc island with it’s sleepy villages set among stunning scenery and miles of soft sandy beaches.  Just at the water’s edge stands the island’s most sought after accommodation, La Veranda Resort and Spa, a 43-room colonial-style charmer recalling a bygone era of beachside simplicity. Relish in the resort’s tropical gardens, venture out on a diving or fishing expedition, tour the local villages in the hotel’s vintage jeep, or while away the afternoon sipping fresh coconuts on one of the sea-facing porches. (
It’s worth serving a second sentence to experience this untouched island before it becomes overrun with tourists and mega-hotels.

Qualia – Hamilton Island, Australia
Australia’s once laid back Hamilton Island has been given a luxury wake up call in the form of Qualia, an uber-stylish, ultra-luxe beach resort on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Set amongst the native eucalypts, 60-one-bedroom Zen-inspired pavilions provide the perfect place to unwind with private pools and breathtaking water views, plus your own private electric buggy for cruising around the resort. The dream project of Rosemount Estate wine magnate Non Oatley, Qualia’s culinary offerings will satisfy even the most discerning palates.  After an indulgent meal, relax in the resort’s stunning spa with a traditional hot stone massage using ancient ‘Bularri Yarrul’ stones. (
It’s worth serving a second sentence to enjoy a glass of Rosemount Estate’s award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot in the wake of the Great Barrier Reef.

Rayavadee – Krabi, Thailand
Only accessible by boat and spread across 26-acres of coconut groves bordered by three white sandy beaches, Rayavadee offers the ultimate luxurious retreat into nature.  A two-story pavilion will be waiting to envelop your overworked bones upon arrival and a masseuse will be on hand to perform the royal Thai massages this country is famous for.  Now that you’re relaxed, it’s time to board one of the property’s luxuriously appointed speedboats and venture through the stunning limestone cliffs of the crystal-blue Andman Sea or the enchanted diver’s paradise of Phang Nga Bay.  In the evening, heat things up with dinner under the stars at Krua Phranang, the resort’s Thai restaurant offering freshly caught fish and spicy curries. (
It’s worth serving a second sentence to kayak through the pristine waters and some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

The Beach House at Manafaru – Maldives
A private jet and speedboat await to transport you to this far-flung island idyll. Comprised of 68-bungalows ranging from sleek beach villas to sublime glass-bottom water pavilions, The Beach House at Manafaru is set to enchant you with privacy and luxury at it’s most decadent.  Refresh beachside as a sorbet butler scoops out your favourite flavours, view the lush jungle as you soar through the skies on the resort’s bungee trampoline, or speedboat over to the nearby Utheem Palace, which is said to make visitor’s wishes come true.  On second thought, perhaps they already have! (
It’s worth serving a second sentence to stay in one of the over-water bungalows with glass-paneled floors and a full view of the marine life below.

Only one thing could make these illicit escape plans more alluring…a secret rendezvous with the show’s smokin’ cast!

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