Sheraton Addis Luxury Collection, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Synonymous with drought and famine for most, the east African nation of Ethiopia has no scarcity of culture, cuisine and history. The capital Addis Ababa is considered the place of origin of modern humans and the coffee bean, and Ethiopia is the only African country that defeated colonists in the 19th century.
Lock horns with this nation in the Horn of Africa and discover its spicy cuisine that’s slowly taking over the global dining scene, its sparkling music, and a plethora of archaeological sites staying at the Sheraton Addis. Located in the central Taitu street, luxe well-furnished rooms offer up creature comforts of flat-screen TVs, speakers in the bathroom and fruit baskets. Wildly different from the Ethiopia you thought of, right? Step out and the bustling capital continues to surprise with its underground music clubs like Fendika where home-grown genre Ethio-jazz and traditional eskista dancing merge.
A sip of a jebena (coffee in tin mugs) is a must, and the Tomoca coffee house – the city’s oldest – adds nostalgia to its caffeine that pairs well with injeras (sourdough pancakes) soaked in wats (spiced stews). Then dip into some culture with strolls in Merkato (Africa’s largest open-air market), the octagonal-shaped St George’s Cathedral and the fountain-filled gardens of the Ethnological Museum to discover Ethiopia’s cultural wealth. It’s priceless.
Rooms from Dh1,010. Call 25111 5171717 or email email@example.com.
Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
As the weather cools down, take walking tours of the capital’s treasures – Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Corniche. Make a staycation of it with the Hyatt Capital Gate’s UAE resident package. The five-star hotel’s modern rooms have unique sizes and shapes due to the building’s tilted architecture but similar comforts – floor-to-ceiling windows, rain showers and grand beds ensure you’ll wake up full of beans for the free breakfast. Includes 20 per cent F&B, spa discounts. From Dh473. Call 02 596 1234.
Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Denver, Colorado, USA
There’s something about Colorado and haunted hotels; the state is home to The Stanley Hotel – the inspiration for Stephen King’s Shining – and 10 others you want to avoid for a nightmare-free sleep. This Halloween book into capital Denver’s 124-year-old Brown Palace Hotel’s Enduring Guests of Brown package. A guided tour takes you through the hotel’s sinister sites where things go bump in the night – an erstwhile music hall where a string quartet still rehearses and Room 904 from where the lobby receives phone calls from a socialite’s spirit. If that hasn’t spooked your interest the Dh275 F&B discount will. Rooms from Dh767 per night. Visit brownpalace.com.
Snorkelling with manta rays in Maldives
Maldives’ coral reefs have more spectacular secrets than just shoals of colourful fish. The majestic manta rays congregate in the Baa Atoll, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, to feed during their migration season until November end. The Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas’ Kihavah Ocean Discovery package lets you dive off the shallow end of the Hanifaru Bay and coast silent blue waters with these massive creatures from the shark family (they have a wingspan of seven metres). The package offers diving lessons for beginners and review courses by Padi-certified instructors, five-nights’ stay, breakfast, 30-minute seabob experience and local island visit for two. From Dh4,709. Call 00960 664 4111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel app of the week
Tripscope Stop daydreaming and start planning your vacation with this nifty app – it connects you to travel agents who will create a bespoke itinerary including flight and hotel bookings. It stores all reservations in one place and lets you chat with your agent anytime, anywhere. Free on iOs and Android
Style on the go
CLIP CLAP Turn amateur clicks into professional artwork with this lightweight 4-in-1 clip-on Lens for iPhone 6 range that enhances the built-in rear and front camera’s focus and capture videos and photos in fisheye, wide-angle, macro 10x & 15x. The wearable pendant feature ensures quick access. Dh293 at Olloclip.com
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND This vibrant infinity scarf will save your necks from the biting cold of autumn. Measly luggage allowance? The on-trend print and cheery colours are a great way to change your holiday look when repeating the same outfit! Dh249, Scotch and Soda
MATS MATTER Bring back only the memories and not the sand from beachside holidays thanks to this CGear sand-free mat. Dirt comes off its double-layer plastic body like water off a duck’s back and the d-ring hooks help it stay its ground on windy days. From Dh150, amazon.com