REST AND REJUVENATE
Put that cocktail down, think twice about all-night parties and all-you-can eat buffets ... our love for healthy holidays is growing. A survey by travel search app Skyscanner shows about one in 10 Australians, stressed and exhausted by work, are planning on taking a break to concentrate on their wellbeing this year. Other than rest, travellers are looking to improve their health and lifestyle and to reconnect with themselves.
And mental wellbeing is our main concern. The top picks for wellness getaways that Aussies are planning include mindfulness/meditation retreats (33 per cent), followed by fitcation type holidays such as yoga retreats (16 per cent), weight loss centres (11 per cent), detox retreats (9 per cent), and fitness boot camps (6 per cent),
A Skyscanner recommendation for a healthy getaway is Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Thailand, a top tip backed up by wellness professionals this week. For the second year in a row, the retreat, set amid the lush island landscape of Koh Samui, has been named Worldwide Health & Wellness Destination of the Year at the World Spa & Wellness Awards. Kamalaya was the only Asian resort in the shortlist of five properties in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. It ticks all the wellness retreat boxes, mixing eastern and western healing therapies, wholesome food and fitness practices such as yoga.
The One&Only Spa at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, in NSW, was named hotel spa of the year for Asia and Australasia.
MARVEL AT DISNEYLAND PARIS
Attractions based on a new generation of movie favourites are part of a $3 billion makeover announced for Europe’s top tourist destination, Disneyland Paris. Many of the French park’s attractions were renovated in preparation for its 25th anniversary last year, but the new project, slated to begin in 2021, marks its biggest transformation since it opened in 1992.
Disneyland Paris has two theme parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park – and seven themed Disney hotels. The new development will expand Walt Disney Studios Park, adding three new areas based on Marvel, Frozen and Star Wars, along with new attractions and live entertainment. The park has had 320 million visitors since 1992 and represents 6.2 per cent of France’s tourism income.
The Marvel magic starts early; if you’re visiting this European summer, you’ll see a new seasonal attraction, the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes.
$1M HARD TO CATCH
The big prize barra has eluded the line in the Northern Territory’s third annual Million Dollar Fish contest.
From October to February, eager anglers try to catch one of 101 tagged barramundi released into Top End waters. One hundred fish carry a $10,000 prize tag and one comes with $1 million. That’s the one that got away this time around, though 13 eagle-eyed anglers have caught a $10,000 fish including a chef from Kakadu, a financial adviser from Humpty Doo, and a Darwin-based boilermaker.
AIRBED TO PLUSH COMFORT
It’s a far cry from the airbed on the floor that started the whole thing.
To mark its 10-year anniversary, Airbnb has revealed a raft of changes, including new levels of accommodation designed to compete with luxury hotels.
Airbnb Plus is the newly introduced top tier of the accommodation site, with inspectors personally checking each home against a 100-plus point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design. The criteria include ease of check-in, a fully equipped kitchen and availability of entertainment such as Netflix.
According to the company, Airbnb Plus “is intended for guests looking for beautiful homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind”.
Sydney and Melbourne are among the 13 launch cities around the globe.
Prices start from $77 a night for a room in a St Kilda apartment and range up to $1401 for a luxury fourbedroom home with a pool on Sydney’s North Shore
The company also flagged plans to add more B&B and boutique hotel listings, with dedicated listing types to be added to accommodate those categories in the coming months. New collections will also be added to the site, including family stays, weddings and honeymoons.
Capital city competition is healthy in Australia, but which one works out as the most affordable place to take a holiday? Well, it turns out Melbourne not only carries the often-spruiked title of most liveable city in the world, it’s also top value for visitors.
According to booking site Wotif.com, Melbourne is the winner, only marginally, over its next closest rival, Brisbane. The Victorian capital’s $633 price tag is based on the average cost of flights from other capitals, the average price of a night’s accommodation and comparisons of basic cost-of-living data for holiday essentials such as a coffee, public transport ticket, a beer and restaurant meal.
Brisbane averaged out at $635, Adelaide $654, Sydney $669, Hobart $672, and Canberra $759. The more distant Perth and Darwin logically came in at the tail end at $898 and $939 respectively.