Intercontinental, Wellington, New Zealand
It’s hard to choose what part of New Zealand to visit. The island country in the Pacific Ocean has a unique landscape like none other – sharp peaks of the Southern Alps, emerald green lakes of volcanic Mt Tongariro and a stunning coast made this remote country the magical Middle Earth of JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series. Dubbed the middle of Middle Earth, the capital Wellington is as good a starting point as any on your New Zealand trip. It’s also the hometown of LOTR director Sir Peter Jackson and his Miramar studios and Weta special effects workshop.
But there’s more than hobbits and elves to this city that is a great autumn getaway. Compact enough to be explored on foot, take a sip of its famed hip café culture at Cuba Street’s many cafés. Burn those calories off with a stroll across the waterfront Writers’ Walk, where giant sculptures of quotes by celebrated Kiwi writers stand. Soak in this big city’s bucolic charms at the glorious Botanic gardens – 25 hectares of native gardens that rage red and gold in autumn (March to April). When you’re tired out call it a night in the centrally located Intercontinental Wellington’s spacious rooms. You’ll need the rest to wander around without getting lost in this cool Kiwi capital.
Standard rooms from about Dh774 per night. Call 0064 4472 2722 or visit www.ihg.com.
Tilal Liwa Hotel, Abu Dhabi
The four-star Tilal Liwa’s Spring Package has put a spring in our steps and weekends. Located off the Empty Quarter, this fort-like resort’s airy arabesque rooms are ideal to relish the UAE’s fleeting spring season, with breakfast, 20 per cent discounts on meals and spa treatments and free access to various activities. From Dh349 per night, until April 30. Call 02 894 6111 or email email@example.com.
Corinthia Hotel, London, United Kingdom
Thanks to Corinthia Hotel’s Family Friendly package, both kids and adults can live it up in London. Stay in adjoining rooms decked out with game consoles and children’s amenities, along with kids’ spa hours and hearty English breakfasts. Picky teens in tow? The Crafty Concierge service will direct them to outdoor pillow cinemas, Imagine Children’s Festival, etc. From Dh3,241 per night, www.corinthia.com.
Travel app of the week
Keep your wanderings upbeat with this streaming app. Identifying your fave genres via hashtags, it lets you stream playlists, recommends local bands and lets you follow accounts of artistes. Free on iOs and Android.
Style on the go
UP IN THE AIR There’s more reason to fly the ladies in your life in First and Business Class on Emirates Airline this Mother’s Day/Women’s Day. Along with flatbed seats and gourmet meals, the Bulgari amenity kits guarantee stylish arrivals with its colognes, hairbrush, mirror, dental set, lotion and face emulsion. On select flights. Visit www.emirates.com
BEST (EAR) BUDS Including an in-ear heart monitor, Jabra Sport Pulse wireless gel earbuds fit so snugly, neither jogging, drives nor crowds can shake them out. A tap controls the sound, playlist and calls. Dh799 at Sharaf DG
LA LA LAUNDRY Laundromat bills can take the fun out of globetrotting, but this cheeky laundry bag will hold your dirty secrets (read garments), fits easily into suitcases and will make you smile. Dh159 at Virgin Megastores