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August 28, 2008

Spirited Away

t’s nearing the end of summer and you still haven’t taken a break. To make matters worse, the Olympics are over and it will be another four years before you can watch the most toned and taut bodies in the world work their wonders in the middle of a dull day at the office. More people than you think have been toying with the idea of making a grand exit from their cubicles and taking up synchronized swimming full-time. If life as an aquatic dancer doesn’t work out, why not try something a little less drastic and treat yourself to a spirited escape to one of these new exciting hotspots…

Elephant Safari Park Lodge – Ubud, Bali
Nestled in the luscious cascading hilltops of Ubud lies Bali’s stunning new Elephant Safari Park Lodge. This luxury boutique resort will take you back to nature for a unique experience where rare Sumatran elephants reside side by side with guests. Looking for a change from your usual morning routine? Why not start your day on the leather-saddled back of an elephant for a forest trek, or enjoy breakfast overlooking tropical gardens while watching a herd of elephants meander to the lake for their morning bath. Close proximity to our larger than life friends, along with gourmet food and a deluxe spa ensure this resort has all the ingredients for a luxurious, adventure packed holiday, filled with tons (and tons!) of fun.

Sri Panwa, Phuket
Amid the tip of the scenic Cape Panwa in the southeast of Phuket, the new Sri Panwa is enticing cool movers and shakers to come and live large in one of their private pool villas set in lush tropical gardens. Glorious views over the Andaman Sea, spacious and breezy sitting rooms, private swimming pools, outdoor soaking tubs and high-end entertainment systems make it hard to ever leave the villa. However, if you do manage to tear yourself away, there are activities galore on the outside including diving, hiking, golfing, and 4×4 off-roading. Baba, the property’s restaurant is one of the trendiest on the island with the famous five-course supper constantly being innovated. The hotel’s secret weapon is the decadent Chinese spa where therapists work their intensely divine magic. You’ll come out seeing stars!

The Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing
Amanresorts are renowned for presenting the best in luxury contemporary lifestyle experiences, and their latest spectacular outpost won’t fail to impress. Situated adjacent to the resplendent Summer Palace, The Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing features a series of impeccably restored historic guest houses, most dating back over one hundred years when they were used by guests of the palace awaiting an audience with the Empress Dowager Cixi at the turn of the twentieth century. Enjoy a rare glimpse back in time while listening to a music performance in the traditional Chinese garden’s pavilion, tasting rare wines and cigars in The Bar, or learning about the art of calligraphy with the onsite wizened Chinese calligrapher. Dowager Cixi, famous for her inclination to spend days at a time getting pampered, is the inspiration behind the intense beauty rituals available in The Spa. You’ll come back rested, enlightened and may even acquire a flair for calligraphy!

Banyan Tree Desert Spa, Al Areen, Bahrain
Arabian nights meets Asian Zen in this new opulent Banyan Tree outpost. Redefining desert luxury the resort boasts the only all-villa private pool and jet-pool resort in the Middle East, three international restaurants, one of the world’s most extensive spas and hydrotherapy complexes, a complete body wellness centre and an award-winning Banyan Tree Gallery. Enjoy Moorish architecture with cool cloistered corridors and intricate arches, watch sandstorms blowing across the plains, sip fruit shakes with the sheikhs and indulge in the ultimate Arabian-chic desert experience, all without an ostentatious gold tap in sight. Kick back by the private pool at your villa while your personal chef cooks up a savoury feast and you take in the blanket of stars up above.

From bustling cities to lovely islands to star-kissed skies, there’s no doubt you’ll come back with a rejuvenated spirit. With no shortage of private swimming pools, you can still always practice your new found aquatic moves behind closed doors. . .

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