Vila Vita Parc, Algarve, Portugal

Frosty fingers of fall never quite manage to reach the sun-drenched, golden beaches and aquamarine waters of the Atlantic in the coastal region of Algarve, in south Portugal. As most of Europe prepares to transform into a winter wonderland, this rustic region remains a sunshine state where you warm your bones under cloudless sapphire skies where seagulls are the only shadow-casters.

Inertia is delicious when enjoyed at the luxe Vila Vita Parc. Book into one of its whitewashed Iberian rooms with the two-night autumn break offer’s deluxe room, daily breakfast and access to pampering facilities like sauna, spa bath, ice-grotto and 9-hole putt nestled between manicured lawns and pools. When your appetite hauls you out of sunbeds try Feijoada (a thick bean stew) and Cataplana (a seafood stew) at one of 10 restaurants (two of which are Michelin-starred).

When the hunger for sightseeing gnaws give the water parks and golf courses a skip and make a beeline for the Moorish Silves, a red-roofed town 30 minutes away that’s home to the Arab-built citadel Castelo de Silves. Do swing by the Ria de Alvor, a national park edged by lagoons, flecked pink with flamingos and dolphins that you can catch in action with one of the many boats. Algarve is the epitome of a holiday that’s idyllic and idle. 

Call 0035 1282 310161 or email reservas@vilavitaparc.com.


Armani Hotel, Dubai

Finish a night at the (Dubai) Opera in the same vein of dramatic grandeur with a stylish staycation at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa. When opera ticket holders avail any of the four show-stealing packages – Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum, swanky avant-garde rooms in the world’s tallest building set the stage for a one- or two-night stay. Gorge on a free dinner for two at an Armani restaurant, spa treatments and handmade Dolci chocolates based on the package. Price on request, valid on Opera Nights only, until December 23. Call 04 888 3999 or email reservations.dubai@armanihotels.com.


Jumeirah Frankfurt, Germany

As the leaves in financial Frankfurt’s botanical gardens turn golden and fall, golden arias and concertos rise from the 18th-century Alte Oper’s Italian Renaissance concert hall in the bustling Bankenviertel (banking quarter). The nearby Jumeriah Frankfurt hotel’s VIP opera package gives you a VIP view of performances by international acts such as London Philharmonic Orchestra, German jazz pianist Michael Wollny etc. – with top-notch seats when you stay in a luxe Deluxe Room. It includes a reserved table at Albert Mangelsdorff Foyer during intervals, free programmes and cloakroom use and a welcome gift. From Dh1,026. Call 0049 69 297 237 4444 or email jfreservations@jumeirah.com.

Exciting escapes

Treasure Hunt in Prague

Your little princesses and knights have an exhilarating quest outlined with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Prague’s two-night Treasure Hunt package. Unearth fairy-tale Prague’s treasure trove of fascinating legends. Sleep in the former 14th-century monastery’s rooms imagining dragons. Then armed with daily breakfast, a parchment scroll of instructions and a camera hit the city’s cobbled streets chasing clues across Prague Castle, the Gothic Charles Bridge, the Nostalgic 91 Tram and more iconic spots. Successful adventurers are granted a key to the city. From Dh5,976 for a family of four. Call 00420 233 088 888.

Travel app of the week


Clever bite-sized lessons by this language app will turn you into a polyglot with grammar, speaking, reading and listening lessons for over 10 languages. Go on and gabble in French, Vietnamese, Spanish or whatever the lingo of the land you visit is. Free on iOS and Android

Style on the go

TORTOISE SHELL OUT Blanket red-eye flights’ purple circles with these Karen Walker sunglasses. The retro tortoise shell frame’s universal appeal will camouflage make-up-free faces so you can rock up to arrivals in Portugal, Frankfurt or Prague like the global fashionista you are. Dh1,039, Stylebop.com

BLUE BOOM BOX The wireless, Bluetooth-enabled Target TS-B060 portable speaker is a world of sharp, amplified music that fits in your palm. Two multifunction buttons are user-friendly and its battery lasts hours. If your smartphone or MP3 players run out of juice, stay tuned-in with the inbuilt FM. Dh49, Wadi.com

GIVE IT A REST Bookworms, write off cricked necks and bad posture with this reading rest that gives adequate support to your tomes, Kindles and tablets while you’re on-the-go. It folds flat, fitting easily into handbags, and wipes clean. Dh199, Virgin Megastore