NEW YEAR, NEW DESTINATION RESORTS
These hotels are ready for you to check in to this year
CONSTANCE AIYANA, ZANZIBAR
Pemba, the second-largest island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, has a new resort – the Constance Aiyana (above). What makes this resort special is its ecological construction and nature-centric setting – it was built using locally available materials such as limestone and coconut palms, by local craftsmen over a period of eight years, and it is situated in a garden that’s in perpetual bloom.
The resort has 30 beach-front villas, a wellness spa and gym. In-house restaurant Aroma serves Zanzibari delicacies. The resort organises trips to nearby towns of Chake Chake and Chwaka, the island’s Ngezi rainforest, and excursions to clove and spice plantations. Full-board rates for doubleoccupancy villas start from Dh2,387 per night; visit constancehotels.com.
CONRAD CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA
There’s more to Colombia than Narcos and Sofia Vergara. The Caribbean town of Cartagena is skirted by glorious beaches, dotted with cobbled streets and is renowned for its historic Walled City. You can explore all of that from the comforts of the new Conrad Cartagena hotel – it’s located just off the north side of the Unesco World Heritage Site and each of its 109 guestrooms have large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the city’s colourful colonial buildings. Inside the hotel rooms, things take on a neutral tone with modern wood and marble décor and art by Colombian artists Pedro Ruiz and Kiko Kairuz (pictured left).
The hotel is the first Conrad property in Colombia and will open up an additional 159 rooms late this year as well as a 9,600 sq ft spa. It also boasts a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole tournament golf course, a semi-Olympic pool (one of five pools) and seven food and beverage outlets of which highlights are the Karibana Beach Club that serves Cartagena street food and Market Café, a Colombian coffee house. If you’re not going to be tied up with conferences or events at the hotel ballroom or flexible meeting spaces then sign up for the Conrad 1/3/5 destination itineraries that let you explore the city in one, three or five hours. From Dh694; cartagena.conradhotels.com.
London’s Brown’s Hotel has been a favourite haunt of the rich and famous since it first opened its doors in 1837 as the first hotel in London. The hotel in Mayfair has hosted Queen Victoria, George Orwell, was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s honeymoon destination and also inspired Agatha Christie’s book At Bertram’s Hotel during her stay there. You can join the 180-year-old hotel’s long list of celebrated guests by checking in with their special 180th anniversary package. Included is a two-night stay in a Deluxe Room or higher room categories with 20 per cent off room rates, upgrade to the next available room type, and afternoon tea for two, followed by a chauffeured Bentley Mulsanne ride. The package also includes breakfast and use of spa facilities (excluding treatments). From Dh2,528; visit roccofortehotels.com.
OMAN TOURISM HAS A NEW WEBSITE
Not sure what new places and things you can discover on your next trip to Oman? Oman’s Ministry of Tourism has a new website, experienceoman.com, covering all things tourism and sightseeing in the Sultanate. The comprehensive and userfriendly site covers it all, from suggestions on offbeat itineraries and experiences, hotel details, verified tour operators and other travel services such as car rentals. It also updates visitors on the latest events and metes out advice on weather, currency, history, culture and appropriate conduct, and safety help lines. Got a question about visa requirements? You’ll find the answer here.