25 October 2016Last updated


Must-visit destinations

Friday brings you the hottest deals and dream destinations for your next holiday

Shreeja Ravindranathan
20 Sep 2016 | 11:50 am
  • Source:Supplied


Uma by Como Paro, Paro Valley, Bhutan

Before the end-of-summer blues creep accost, travel to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The happiest nation in the world will have you grinning ear-to-ear. Joy is a constant here, but this landlocked nation’s topography is marked by highs and lows of imperious peaks and verdant pine valleys.

Enriched with as much beauty and a lot more history than the others is the Paro Valley, where the majestic Rinpung Dzong fortress monastery tells the story of invading Tibetans, while the iconic cliffside structure Tiger’s Nest or Paro Taktsang monastery of myths is built around an 8th-century meditation cave 3,120m high, enveloped in mists and mystery. The tiger that myths mention doesn’t exist here but snow leopards prowl the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk national park.

Whether you’re an ardent trekker or a leisure seeker Uma by Como Paro hotel is ideal. The resort’s traditional sloping-roof rooms and villas offer plenty of creature comforts. And the five-night Himalayan Explorer package includes treks to Paro and Thimphu Valleys, visits to DochuLa pass, Tiger’s Nest Monastery and a day in the bustling capital Thimphu. In Paro drop by the Ugyen Perli Palace, the visiting home of Bhutanese royals, and the 15th-century Dungtse Lhakhang Temple to catch the mesmerising dance of black hats.

Holiday in this kingdom in the clouds and you’ll leave walking on cloud nine.

From about Dh24,500. Call 00975 8299 999 or email



Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai

Too good to be true must surely feel like Pullman JLT’s Bed and Brunch offer that transforms weekends into a party packed with perks. Sleep in the Pullman’s snazzy rooms on a Thursday or Friday night, then gorge on a delish Friday Jazz Brunches or Traditional Roast brunch on Saturday. Kicking it up a notch are free passes to Riva Beach Club, Palm Jumeirah, and access to the rooftop pool with panoramic marina views. From Dh299 per person. Until September 30. Call 04 5671 100 or email



Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

Towering steel and glass skyscrapers, functional clean roads and a thriving financial hub define Singapore, but there’s an art, design and cultural heart to this Lion City – with its rainforest zoo, botanical gardens, Michelin-starred street food stalls like Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and stunning National Gallery museum. Take inspiration from this new Unesco City of Design and curate your stay from scratch with the Mandarin Oriental’s one-night Design Your Stay package. Pick an Ocean View, Marina Bay or Mandarin room, a 90-minute therapeutic massage and enjoy a one-time dining credit of Dh817. From Dh3,680. Call 0065 6885 3030 or email

Exciting escapes


Cooking classes in Banyan Tree Samui, Thailand

Did you know Thailand’s gorgeous Eastern island of Koh Samui produces the world’s best coconuts? See them bordering the picturesque Banyan Tree Samui resort’s private sandy beaches, then taste its creaminess at their cooking classes – a delicious lesson in the culture, geography and history of the land of smiles. In-house chefs train you to cook Geang Kiew Wan Gai – chicken green curry with farm fresh vegetables – tom yam kung using prawns from the island’s fresh rivers, etc. You’ll leave well-fed and culturally hungry. About Dh310 per person for two hours including Thai dessert classes and local market trips. Call 0066 77 915 333 or email

Travel app of the week



Hop, skip and fly around the world on cheapest airfares (even during peak season) as this app monitors prices and intimates you to book tickets to dream destinations when rates drop. It gives you personalised deals and advice on booking immediately or after a wait. Free on iOS and Android.

Style on the go


GHOST OF A CAMERA With the Drift Ghost-S action camera, float underwater or on the fly on bikes, assured in the knowledge you’ll have prefect vacation pictures thanks to slow shutter mode, 3.5-hour battery life, video tagging option, and 10x zoom. Dh1,275, Stadium store at The Dubai Mall


KEY CHAIN REACTION Hook these leather personalisation strap key rings on to your travel bag for some colourful personality, or use them to lock in all the important keys to your life. From Dh250, Aspinal of London


SUITCASE IN POINT Be the envy of all eyes at security check when you jet set with Globe-Trotter’s centenary wheelie in purple leather and blue straps. Vintage in detailing and modern in convenience, it’s just perfect. Dh5,512 at

Shreeja Ravindranathan

Shreeja Ravindranathan

Lifestyle Writer