South­east Asian Ex­otic Ho­tel Des­ti­na­tions

Maxx-brides Honeymoon - - Tips - Text by Ar­vada Haradi­ran

So, you’ve sur­vived your wed­ding. Af­ter months of pulling your hair out over the myr­iad plan­ning and pres­sures for your spe­cial day, it’s fi­nally over: Con­grat­u­la­tions. Now it’s time to es­cape all that chaos and un­wind in a truly ex­otic place – prefer­ably at a haven where no one knows where to find you and where mo­bile phone is prac­ti­cally nonex­is­tent. We show­case some of South­east Asia’s most ex­otic ho­tel des­ti­na­tions.

Cubadak Par­adiso Vil­lage, Padang, In­done­sia

For­get the Mal­dives or Bali. For a truly ex­otic hon­ey­moon that you can brag about to ev­ery­one – not how ‘un­der­the-radar’ the lo­ca­tion is, but also in terms of cost – look no fur­ther than one of In­done­sia’s 17,000 is­lands spread across this vast ar­chi­pel­ago. Cubadak Par­adiso Vil­lage cer­tainly fits the bill as a rav­ish­ing In­done­sian hid­den par­adise, yet is lo­cated just two hours away from Padang In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The se­cluded is­land of Cubadak is a haven of tran­quil­lity and peace­ful­ness, thank­fully re­moved from the daily grind of the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life. The is­land is un­in­hab­ited, ex­cept for a few iso­lated fish­er­men’s huts. Cubadak Par­adiso Vil­lage is the only re­sort in the is­land con­sist­ing of 12 wooden bun­ga­lows, a suite bungalow over wa­ter, a restau­rant, a com­mu­nal area, a pier with ter­race and bar and a staff house.

All of its cot­tages, with the ex­cep­tion of the suite, are built on stilts on two storeys and are made of lo­cal wood, re­flect­ing the area’s Mi­nangk­abau her­itage and giv­ing guests an au­then­tic feel. The bun­ga­lows and suite all face the sea, stretched along 1.5 kilo­me­tres of white sandy beach, giv­ing you di­rect ac­cess to the riches of the seas off Cubadak, which is com­pletely sur­rounded by su­perb co­ral reefs and nu­mer­ous va­ri­eties of mul­ti­coloured reef fish. In ad­di­tion, the is­land, lo­cated just a few miles off Su­ma­tra, is won­der­fully shel­tered from strong waves, mak­ing wa­ter-based ac­tiv­i­ties such as div­ing (PADI cour­ses are avail­able), snorkelling, wa­ter-ski­ing or wake-board­ing truly to die for.

Or you can sim­ply set off on a land ad­ven­ture at the is­land’s na­tive rain­for­est, where many kinds of birds and big­ger an­i­mals live in this for­est: horn­bills, king­fish­ers, mon­keys, mon­i­tor lizards, deer, wild boar and many oth­ers. Al­ter­na­tively, ar­range for a spe­cial ex­cur­sion in Su­ma­tra , such as to the Ker­inci vol­cano. Elec­tric­ity runs 24 hours a day and no bot­tled wa­ter is nec­es­sary – wa­ter flows di­rectly from a source of pure min­eral wa­ter lo­cated on the hill. Cubadak is truly one of the last par­adises on earth. Cubadak Par­adiso Vil­lage, Cubadak Is­land, Ke­ca­matan XI Taru­san, Kabu­paten (Re­gency) Pe­sisir Se­la­tan. www.cubadak-par­adis­o­vil­

Kura Kura Re­sort, Karimun­jawa Is­lands, Java, In­done­sia

Set amid Karimun­jawa Ar­chi­pel­ago Ma­rine Na­tional Park, Kura Kura Re­sort boasts an exclusive re­treat sur­rounded by one of the largest la­goons in the area and 22 hectares of trop­i­cal par­adise. The pri­vate is­land of Menyawakan is home to the re­sort, the only re­sort there. Guests can ex­pect pris­tine white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and the amaz­ing colours of the sea.

Div­ing is the most pop­u­lar recre­ational ac­tiv­ity here, al­though there are many oth­ers for the ad­ven­turer and fam­i­lies such as Robin­son Cru­soe trips, which drop guests to one of the de­serted is­lands for a day to ex­plore, and daily div­ing and snorkelling trips to the best co­ral reefs around Karimun­jawa Is­lands. To get to Kura Kura Re­sort, the pri­mary mode of ac­cess will be on a pri­vate air char­ter pro­vided by the re­sort. From the city of Semarang, the 40-minute flight will land you in Karimun­jawa; you will then be whisked on a speed­boat to the re­sort. The re­sort can also ar­range a pri­vate over­land trans­fer. Kura Kura Re­sort, Karimun­jawa Is­lands, Java. www.ku­raku­

Pu­lau Pangkil Ke­cil, Riau Is­lands Ar­chi­pel­ago, In­done­sia

Pu­lau Pangkil Ke­cil (Lit­tle Pangkil Is­land) is a de­light­ful lit­tle is­land lo­cated close to Sin­ga­pore in In­done­sia. To stay on this par­adise on earth may be a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity, and un­for­get­table mem­ory – as the whole is­land is avail­able to rent! Pangkil the is­land and Pangkil the re­sort are one and the same. When you rent Pangkil – and you can only rent it as a whole – you get all the bells and whis­tles that come with the is­land: all the Drift­wood Palaces (its ac­com­mo­da­tion), the bar, the sound sys­tems, the pool, kayaks, snorkelling equip­ment, speed­boats, kitchen and an en­sem­ble of more than 20 staff. This could be your very own ver­sion of Sur­vivor – but with maids and but­lers, of course. The pri­vate is­land re­sort is pop­u­lar with both honey­moon­ers and fam­i­lies and their friends who travel long dis­tances to cel­e­brate spe­cial oc­ca­sions, such as – what else? – wed­dings. If you can’t af­ford Prince Wil­liam and Kate Mid­dle­ton’s GBP 4000-a-night pri­vate hon­ey­moon at the Sey­chelles, then this is just as good an al­ter­na­tive. Pangkil of­fers nine el­e­gant, de­tached Drift­wood Palaces, all of which have un­ob­structed sea views. None are more than five paces away from the beach. The Sin­ga­pore ‘jump-off point’ is Tanah Merah Fast Ferry Ter­mi­nal, which is about 10 min­utes from Changi Air­port. Pu­lau Pangkil Ke­cil, Riau Prov­ince. www.

Misool Eco Re­sort, Raja Am­pat, In­done­sia

Think you’ve seen par­adise? Think again. Raja Am­pat, lo­cated in the north­west­ern tip of In­done­sia’s Pa­puan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” is an ar­chi­pel­ago com­pris­ing over 1,500 small is­lands, which lies in the heart of the co­ral tri­an­gle, the most bio-di­verse ma­rine re­gion on earth.

Misool Eco Re­sort, an en­vi­ron­men­tal­lyfriendly and exclusive dive re­sort and con­ser­va­tion cen­tre, is lo­cated in the pri­vate re­sort is­land of Batbitim. The is­land and the re­sort’s scuba dive sites are sur­rounded by its very own 1,220 sq kilo­me­tre “No-Take Zone”, or a 400 sq kilo­me­tre area of its sea in which all fish­ing, shark finning, har­vest­ing of tur­tle eggs and shell­fish are strictly pro­hib­ited. Need­less to say, scuba div­ing is the re­sort’s most pop­u­lar at­trac­tion, with the Dive Cen­tre de­signed to meet the needs not only of divers, but also pro­fes­sional videog­ra­phers and pho­tog­ra­phers. To get to the re­sort, fly into Sorong Air­port in West Pa­pua and a pri­vate speed boat will trans­fer you to Misool Eco Re­sort. Due to its seclu­sion, it is rec­om­mended that you ar­rive in early in Sorong from Jakarta, de­part­ing at 5 am and ar­riv­ing 11:50 am, as the boat trans­fer can only wait for one flight. Misool Eco Re­sort, Raja Am­pat, West Pa­pua. mis­oolecore­

Sof­i­tel Leg­end Metropole Hanoi

For those of you savvy ur­ban­ites with a pen­chant for crea­ture com­forts, the

“it’s time to es­cape all that chaos and un­wind in a truly ex­otic place “

first Sof­i­tel Leg­end is per­fect for you. This his­toric heavy­weight has been around since 1901, and, like any true lady, has be­come even more grace­ful and al­lur­ing with her 110 years of Metropole his­tory. In 2009, the ho­tel be­came the first in the Sof­i­tel lux­ury ho­tel chain’s port­fo­lio to ac­quire the distinc­tion of the ‘Leg­end’ ho­tel brand­ing. Since then, the Sof­i­tel Leg­end Metropole Hanoi has eas­ily taken the crown as Viet­nam’s Grand Dame and as one of South­east Asia’s most iconic ho­tels.

The 364-room ho­tel was com­pletely ren­o­vated in June 2009. Its his­toric Metropole Wing fea­tures suites named af­ter Char­lie Chap­lin, Somerset Maugham and Gra­ham Greene, each of whom stayed at the Metropole dur­ing his time in colo­nial In­dochina. The ho­tel’s restaurants in­clude Spices Gar­den (Viet­namese), Le Beaulieu (French) and An­gelina (Ital­ian). Le Spa du Metropole opened in late 2009 and im­me­di­ately set a new stan­dard for nos­tal­gic el­e­gance in Viet­nam. And some of Viet­nam’s most fas­ci­nat­ing tourism at­trac­tions, such as the Tem­ple of Lit­er­a­ture or the Tor­toise Hill Tower on Hoan Kiem Lake, are within easy reach from the ho­tel. Not to be for­got­ten, of course, is the Opera House in Hanoï’s French Quar­ter, which is close to the steps of the Sof­i­tel Leg­end Metropole Hanoi.

For the ic­ing on the cake, his­tory buffs will also cer­tainly rel­ish the fact that this amaz­ing slice of his­tory even fea­tures a real bomb shel­ter in its back gar­den. Re­cently dis­cov­ered by chance and sub­se­quently re­opened not long af­ter its dis­cov­ery, the shel­ter has been left largely as it was found and reg­u­lar ho­tel tours will usher ho­tel guests through the 40-square-me­ter space. Ev­ery­thing has been pretty much pre­served in its orig­i­nal state as a trib­ute to the ho­tel’s war­time em­ploy­ees, who ush­ered guests to safety at the very same space, from the mid-1960s to the Christ­mas Bomb­ings in 1972. Sof­i­tel Leg­end Metropole Hanoi, 15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Viet­nam. www.sof­i­

Cubadak Par­adiso Vil­lage

Kura-kura Re­sort Karimun Java

Misool Eco Re­sort

Misool Eco Re­sort

Pu­lau Pangkil Ke­cil

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