Zawadi Hotel, Zanzibar
While the world flocks to Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius – typical ideals of idyllic Indian Ocean islands – step away from the herd and into the heady vistas of Zanzibar. Still a secret to travellers, this cluster of gorgeous islands off mainland Tanzania is ripe for exploring with its sunny summers, cyan-blue glassy waters, coral reefs heaving with dolphins, virgin sandy beaches and tropical forests brimming with mangroves and exotic culture that’s an offspring of Swahili traditions and lifestyle borrowed from Omani and Persian settlers, colonial invaders and Indian traders.
See it all come to life in the brickwork of Stone Town. A hub of 19th-century clove trade, the scent of spices still hangs heavy over this Unesco World Heritage site’s red-roofed buildings and narrow lanes flanked by bazaars full of curios, mosques, the House of Wonders museum, 17th-century Omani palace Old Fort and the sea-facing Forodhani Gardens.
Commercial tourism hasn’t kicked in but creature comforts abound in spots like the luxurious Zawadi Hotel’s villas. Kitted out with a state-of-the-art spa and an open gym where monkey bars and jogging trails wind through manicured gardens, you’ll be at one with nature, more so when you book a mangrove tour on a traditional ngalawa boat, snorkel in breathtaking lagoons or visit a spice plantation. Variety is the true spice of life on this spice island.
Rooms from Dh2,045 per night. Visit www.zawadihotel.com.
Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City
The Westin Dubai’s #1004ForReal offer proves that dreams come true! From October 6-8, families of four can sleep on cloud-soft beds in 1,004 lavish art-deco rooms, eat your hearts out with exclusive menus at in-house restaurants, then shape up with complimentary fitness classes and spa treatments, and jump for joy in the cavernous Al Joud Ballroom where a surprise by trampoline warehouse Bounce Dubai awaits on October 7. All this for just an affordable Dh1,004 per room. Pinch yourselves if you must! Book at www.1004forreal.com.
Ireland tour by Elegant Resorts
Chug past Ireland’s green rolling hills and soak up its Celtic charms with Elegant Resorts’ bespoke Belmond Grand Hibernian package. Enjoy two nights’ stay with breakfast at Dublin’s luxe Merrion hotel – enough time to explore the city’s Ha-Penny Bridge, James Joyce centre, Dublin Castle, lively Temple Bar area and Grafton Street stores. Then board the luxury coaches of the Grand Hibernian Train and see the Giant’s Causeway’s basalt rock columns and dip into Belfast’s city delights with the two nights’ Realm of Giants tour. Dh21,725 per person, including Emirates flights from Dubai, tours, visits and meals on board. Visit www.elegantresorts.ae.
Learn Japanese crafts in Kyoto
Fold away the origami books and for a real taste of Japanese arts sign up for the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts’ artisanal workshops. The erstwhile imperial capital of Japan is still the beating heart of a centuries-old handicraft industry and artistic forms like Noh theatre. Connect with authentic artists and genuine ateliers on the Kyoto Artisans’ concierge website based on where you’re staying and gets hands-on experience of Nishijin weaving used on kimonos, Kyoto pottery, folding fans, jibari-shiki lantern making etc. When you’re not getting crafty visit the idyllic city’s many Shinto shrines and koi-pond filled gardens for a sense of Zen. Lessons from Dh139. Visit www.kyotoartisans.jp/en.
Travel book of the week
Faroe Islands by James Proctor
Between myth-filled Scotland and Iceland lie the Faroe Islands. Windy, wet and cold, these isolated Danish islands are a treasure trove of unique birdlife, rugged landscapes, and an island experience antithetical to the tropical ideal. Dh96, Amazon.ae.
Style on the go
CUTTING-EDGE CARD Campers and adventure-seekers can cut themselves out of tight spots with this credit-card-shaped Iain Sinclair CardSharp2 folding knife. Made of ultralight polypropylene its blade can help you prepare food or slice through firewood, and can slip into wallets, protecting safely thanks to the hilt. From Dh18, Amazon.com.
SUN, SAND AND SPRAY Sweat, salt and water can’t break the SPF 30 barrier of this Vitamin E and A-enriched sunscreen spray, protecting your skin during water sports. Plus it’s lightweight and non-greasy, so no slippery grips while wakeboarding or jet-skiing. Dh174 at De La Mer salon, Jumeirah.
CREASE CROSS Throw in Hackett’s Art of Travel collection’s classic suits haphazardly into luggage or wear them on cramped long-haul economy flights – the lightweight wool fabric remain resolutely wrinkle- and crease-free. Goodbye garment bags and laundry charges! Dh2,942, Hackett stores.