7 August, 2017

Taking the Road Less Travelled, In Style


Heed the adventurer in you and go off the grid for your travels. The roads less oft’ taken can be a tad untamed, but charming; unfamiliar but eye-opening. Besides, who’s to say you can’t do it in absolute luxury?

Alila Anji, Zhejiang
Find inner peace at the breathtaking filming grounds of Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


Where: Located in Anji county, Zhejiang province, the Alila Anji, which opened in June this year, is approximately 90 minutes away from Hangzhou and four hours away from Shanghai. The Anji county is also China’s first national ecological county and where the award-winning Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot in. Expect stunning bamboo forests and soul-lifting natural beauty.

The property: With its dark-tiled roof and stoic-white walls, you’ll find yourself immediately transported to a traditional Chinese village. Comprising of 74 villas and guestrooms, the oasis sits on a gentle hill overlooking an expansive lake. Rolling hills of tea plantations, tall swaying bamboo grooves, and the deep majestic mountains stand between the Alila property and your busy city life.

To dine: Travel out to a village nearby for a local taste, but Alila Anji’s traditional Chinese restaurant Hidden Dragon offers an elegant take on the region’s freshest. Dishes include a refreshing stir-fried bamboo shoots, and glazed cod fish. Pair it with the region’s famous white tea.

To try: Even as your senses get rejuvenated by the serenity around you, let your body be restored to perfect balance with its in-house TCM-inspired spa treatments and specialist reflexologies.

To do: Explore the picturesque Anji countryside and destinations such as the North Zhejiang Grand Canyon and the ancient Lingfeng Temple. There are packages that you can opt for, which will take you on a mountain-biking trip or a paddle-boating session down the lake. Check the availability of the Maserati Journey, an exclusive two-hour Maserati drive in the Anji countryside.

Getting there: For direct reservations, call +86 572 5133 566 or e-mail anji@alilahotel.com. For a customised reservation, speak to the Alila leisure conceige team for assistance.

Alila Anji is at The Meiziwan (Plum Tree Bay) Scenic Area Hang Gai Town, Anji County, Zhejiang Province, China 313300

Laucala, Fiji Island
Say ‘Lo-tha-la’. The sprawling Fijian island is the private estate of Red Bull tycoon Dietrtich Mateschitz, and the highly-exclusive, ultra-luxe playground of the world’s wealthiest.

Where: The Pacific Island is part of a cluster of three islands located north of Fiji, approximately an hour’s flight from Fiji’s Nadi International Airport. The 3,500 acre property is literally oceans apart from the nearest civilisation, and is a thing of natural beauty. Discovered in the 19th century, the island warrants an encyclopedia to document the natural beauty that pulsates across its grounds — exotic tropical fauna, rare species of birds, like the white-collared kingfishers, and an unspoiled marine life.

The property: Each of the 25 villas — far removed from each other across the island — is class personified. Each villa comes with its own infinity pool, private beach and private-dining pavilion. The island is surrounded by vast oceans and covered by lush tropical rainforests and silky beaches. The untamed beauty of the property was the backdrop of Elle MacPherson’s wedding, Oprah Winfrey’s BFF trip and hip-hop artist Ludachris’ couple retreat.

To dine: For an exclusive island, the five restaurants on site seem slightly excessive. But who’s complaining? Enjoy a tipple at the Rock Lounge Bar while admiring the scenery from the cliff-side bar; or delicious Thai cuisine at Seagrass, helmed by an ex-executive chef of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. All the ingredients are sourced from the island.

To try: Take the extravagant DeepFlight Super Falcon submarine — a warship now used for entertainment purposes —to catch glimpses of the underwater world.  You are technically diving without having to break a sweat.

To do: Sure, the solitude of this coconut tree-decked island is charming, but once you get on Laucala Island, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do. On site, there’s an 18-hole championship golf course, water sports facilities, and to explore. But really, think of Laucala Island as heaven on earth. You can do whatever you like — only ask.

Getting there: From Nadi International Airport, the resort has two six-seater planes that will take you straight to Laucala Island. You can also charter a 40-pax flight on Pacific Sun. Call +679 888 0077 or e-mail info@laucala.com

The Pavilions, Himalayas
A cultural haven to reconnect with your spirit being, and an ecological wonder of a resort deep within the Himalayas.

Where: Located in Pokhara, the third largest city of Nepal, and 30 min by car from the Pokhara Airport. Pokhara is surrounded by great snow-capped mountains, including the Annapurna range. The handsome 15-bungalow Pavilions Himalayas rests in a valley among Nepalese villages, farms and lakes. Far removed from the city, it is near the renowned World Peace Pagoda.

The property: The year-old boutique resort has won several design awards for its eco-friendly concepts. The site runs on sustainable solar power and taps on rain water for supply. And the respect for its environment shows. The beautifully-designed boutique resort is well-integrated with the contours of Nepalese landscape. The details are exceptional. Local materials are used here to reflect the lifestyle of the Nepalese community, like the locally-produced timbre and unique works from its local craftsmen.

To dine: A farm-to-table restaurant within the resort. Bhet Ghat harvests from the resort’s organic farm — vegetable patches, cornfield and a farm of 12 cows and buffalos, goats and boars — to prepare some of Nepal’s favourites, such as Momo, a type of traditional dumpling.

To try: Of the 15 villas, two of which provides personal butler and private chef services. Definitely opt for those to make the best of your stay in the Himalayas.

To do: Where else do you engage in yoga or meditation retreats than in Nepal? But for those keen on a Bear Grylls experience, you’re in for a treat. Pokhara is Nepal’s top trekking destination with a mature sports tourism, like white water rafting and paragliding. Take a safari tour at the Chitwan National Park, home to horned rhinos, elephants and Royal Bengal tigers, or soak in the rich cultural diversity by visiting the nearby Nepalese villages and farmlands.

Getting there: Contact +977 6169 4379 for reservations. From now till Mar 31, 2017, a special Weekend Retreat package (from US$290 per pax) is available. The rate includes two nights at the Grand Villa with daily breakfast and lounge access, a massage session and arrival and departure transfers.

The Pavilions Himalayas is at PO Box 309, Pumdi-Bhumdi, Ward No. 25, Chisapani, Pokhara, Kaski, Nepal