Chez Maggie, Morondava, Madagascar
Far from the madding crowd in Madagascar lies one of the world’s most visually arresting roads: Avenue of the Baobabs. This stretch of dirt lane lined with around 25 ancient baobab trees – this African island’s first natural monument – is its magical most at sunset when the sheer height (up to 30m) and breadth (up to 11m) of these upside-down trees (so called for their root-like branches) are thrown into relief. Even more magical are the myths associated with this ‘tree of life’, which introduced this romantic and ecologically rich island nation in the Southern Hemisphere to the rest of the world much before the animated movie Madagascar did.
It’s a few hours away, but a visit to the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is worth it to witness the film’s rich animation come to life as you trek through unique limestone formations and mangrove forests populated by exotic animals and eight species of lemurs that may or may not include King Julien.
Want to enjoy some laid-back luxury here? Chez Maggie, a quaint little hotel in the seaside town of Morondava, organises guided tours to the Avenue and the Park. Sleep, eat and relax in traditional thatched chalets and bungalows shrouded in a blissful combination of sun, sea, sand and scrumptious seafood. Temperate winters (until October), hospitable Malagasy people and a rich culture will leave you raving mad about your Madagascar holiday.
Room rates start from Dh143. Call 00 261 20 95 523 47 or email email@example.com.
Grand Millennium Dubai
Spirit yourself off to the Grand Millennium hotel located near the Internet City metro station in Barsha Heights, with an exclusive offer where you can enjoy the luxuries of a Superior Room, inclusive of breakfast and Wi-Fi, starting from Dh365, and valid until August end. This five-star hotel features a range of award-winning restaurants, a beautiful rooftop pool, and a health club with nine treatment rooms to unwind away from Dubai’s blazing heat, guaranteeing a relaxing weekend staycation! Call 04 429 9999.
The Langham, London
For the perfect London getaway that ticks every quintessential British experience, head to The Langham this summer. Located on Regent Street, it has earned a nod of approval from the royals (the Prince of Wales inaugurated it in 1865). Its Palm Court restaurant is the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition, and it’s a stone’s throw away from West End district where you can catch classic productions such as Les Misérables, as well as shop until you drop at the retail haven that is Oxford Street. The 115 new guest rooms and 25 suites added to celebrate the hotels 150th anniversary overlook the iconic BBC building. About Dh1,530 per night. Call 0044 (20) 7636 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Detox Boot Camp
Kick up your heels at the island of a thousand temples this summer and get that body grooving with the Komune Resort and Beach Club’s Fitness and Detox boot camp. Stretch out all those unused muscles during rejuvenating sunrise beach runs, boxing, power spin and yoga classes. Later, explore Bali adventurously when surfing the rolling waves of the seaside town of Sanur, cycling through cultural Ubud’s lush rice paddies or hiking up the majestic volcanic Mount Batur. Including full board, fitness classes, three spa treatments, return flights and transfers, this six-nights package starts from about Dh7,206. Call 0203 397 8891 or visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com
Travel app of the week
Can’t bear to leave old Fido alone for the holidays? This app lists canine-friendly hotels, restaurants, dog parks, trails, and a variety of other options world over categorised on the basis of distance, pet fees, type of property etc. You can even make in-app reservations. Free on iOS.
Style on the go
FOOT REST Walk easy on your travels with 3M Futuro compression socks. The open toe and heel design is easily concealed under slippers, while its compression increases circulation and relieves aches caused by cramped economy seats and walking tours. From Dh80, Dubai Duty Free
BAG OF TRICKS On offbeat trips that take you away from civilisation, charge up while the sun shines with this solar-powered EnerPlex Packr backpack. Its roomy compartments stuff to the brim with worldly belongings without damaging the lightweight built-in solar panel that powers up gadgets in up to five hours. Dh539, www.jumbo.ae
SIP SHAPE Stay hydrated on your summer sojourns with this sleek Reebok water bottle. Its light plastic body won’t weigh your bag down, plus the clear lid safeguards the sipper from contamination. Dh20, Stadium Sports