NEW YEAR, NEW DES­TI­NA­TION RE­SORTS

Th­ese ho­tels are ready for you to check in to this year

Friday - - THE FOOD CULTURALIST -

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.

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