Hotel Saratoga, Havana, Cuba
As the stringent trade embargoes unravel, so too will the charming time-warp that has blanketed Cuba for decades. So visit the Caribbean nation before globalisation erases the nostalgia of the Dirty Thirties – Cuba’s golden era. Temperate November is an ideal time to make the most of Havana nights and days. Take a break from Western modern life in the capital city with its pastel colonial buildings, vintage cars in ice blues and canary yellows, and crumbling alleyways dotted with guayabera-clad trumpeters. Thirties decadence exists in all its glory and glamour in the colonial Hotel Saratoga, which was casa to Beyoncé and Jay Z when they visited. After you’ve sampled the hotel’s gorgeous restaurants, claw-footed bathtubs, luxe rooms and rooftop pool with views of Old Havana district and the El Capitolio building, do what the celeb power couple did: discover Old Havana and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and passionate rhythm of Latin life. Old-world Spanish grandeur is alive and well at baroque Plaza Vieja. The National Museum of Fine Arts and the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (former residence of governors) are well-preserved relics of the colonial era. But to feel the heartbeat of Havana, head to the waterfront gardens of Club Jardines de 1830 on a Friday night. The passion and pulse of live dancers will have even those with two left feet moving.
Deluxe patio rooms from Dh1,858 per night. Email email@example.com
Yas Viceroy Hotel, Abu Dhabi
You’ve nabbed those coveted Grand Prix and after-race tickets but are wondering where to make a pit stop after the high-octane night instead of the long drive from Yas Island? Race to book the Yas Viceroy’s ‘Bed and Breakfast’ offer and make a weekend getaway of it. Drift into deep sleep in plush neutral-coloured rooms with Marina Circuit or waterfront views. Come morning, the delicious buffet breakfast at Origins restaurant will swing you into high gear and spirits! From Dh757. Call 02 656 0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anantara Hoi An Resort, Hoi An, Vietnam
Every full moon, there’s magic in the waters of Vietnamese port town Hoi An when the Thu Bon river lights up with thousands of lanterns. This enchanting phenomenon is the ‘Full Moon Lantern Festival’ where it’s tradition to wish upon a candle-lit lantern and float it down the river. The Anantara hotel’s Full Moon Lantern Festival offer makes every globetrotter’s wish come true with accommodation, breakfast for two, airport transfers, F&B credit, 60-minute Thu Bon River Cruise in a lantern-decorated sampan. Dh734. Available every month during the full moon (November13-14, December 12-13). Hoi-an. See Anantara.com/Full-Moon-Lantern-Festival.
Trekking in Oman’s Hajar Mountains
Oman’s dhow cruises and banana boating trips are famous. But the sultanate’s magical coastline has tough competition when it comes to scenic views and thrilling activities in the spectacular Hajar mountains’ snaky trails. On your next trip, stay at the Alila Jabal Akhdar’s resort in the historic town of Nizwa and reach new heights of adventure with the Aqbat Steps trek package. The guided five-hour fairy-tale trail will see you tread sheer canyon rock faces and explore the abandoned village of Masirat Al Jawamid on a Wadi floor, before Bedouin steps lead you to gardens and a cascading waterfall. From Dh286 per person. Email email@example.com
Travel app of the week
Dark Sky Weather
Avoid letting the weather rain on your vacation parade with this clever app. Accurate hyper-local forecasts of rain and snow give you the exact start and finish times of downpours. Also track rainstorms and blizzards with global weather maps and custom alerts. Free on iOS and Android.
Style on the go
AQUA DUCT Thirsty trekkers and backpackers can dip this Life Straw Go bottle into any body of water for relief. The gravity powered purifier kills virus, protozoa and bacteria instantly, leaving only crystal, potable water to guzzle. From Dh150, amazon.com
GO DENTAL For road and camping trips where hotel amenities are scarce, store oral care products in this quirky Legami cotton case. It’s conveniently toothpaste tube-shaped, preventing spillage, is washable, and has a cheeky reminder so you have pearly whites and minty-fresh breath throughout your holiday. Dh49, Virgin Megastores
RAISE YOUR GARDE Samsonite’s expandable Garde backpack offers safe travels – hidden compartments with Radio Frequency ID shields protect sensitive documents while padded pockets keep gadgets intact. The ventilation system cleverly ensures clothes never smell musty. Dh625