5 perfect Gulf getaways this Eid

Jet away for the Eid holidays, you know you deserve to... 

July 2, 2015

Gstaad, Switzerland

Renowned for beingshrouded in snow and invaded by the winter sports fraternity, Switzerland is equally enchanting in the summer. The Alpine village of Gstaad offers breathtaking mountain scenery and boundless nature to enjoy as a contrast from the dusty heat of the Gulf in July, and the region’s attractions are myriad.

There is exceptional food and chic luxury shopping on the famous pedestrianised promenade; eye-catching Alpine architecture; great day trips to the likes of Montreux and Gruyere; a range of healthy outdoor activities; and, for the children, the spectacular Glacier 3000, with its year-round toboggan runs, husky sledding and unrivalled views of Mont Blanc. 

Where to Stay: The unique Alpina Gstaad is beautifully executed, a relatively new hotel that feels stately and traditional. Archetypal Alpine woods are employed throughout, and the vistas from pretty anywhere in the hotel are jaw-dropping.

But despite this cosy feel, there are also contemporary luxuries such as The Six Senses Spa, a Kid’s Adventure Room, a selection of swimming pools (indoor and out), and great cuisine from Switzerland or Japan!

Masai Mara, Kenya

For wildlife lovers, there is arguably no more impressive and enticing spectacle than the Great Wildebeest Migration of East Africa. Every year, thousands of wildebeest (along with plenty of zebras and other ungulates) follow a well-trodden path that criss-crosses Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Following in their wake are a host of hungry predators attracted by this relatively easy pickings, and the cinematic river crossings, where large groups of the wildebeest suddenly bolt across the river to brave awaiting crocodiles. A spectacle on every safari connoisseur’s must-see tick-list. 

Where to Stay: Although it is far from an exact science, in mid-July the bulk of the migration tends to be somewhere close to the border between two countries: where Kenya’s Masai Mara meets Tanzania’s Serengeti.

Conveniently located in just this area is Sala’s Camp, a beautiful and authentic luxury tented camp that brings to mind Out of Africa while offering great facilities and comfort for guests of all ages.

Bodrum, Turkey

The Turkish Riviera, and Bodrum in particular, is becoming the place to be seen during the summer months, with a trendy St Tropez-style atmosphere complete with yachts, nightlife and fine dining. The top luxury hotels have taken note and are moving in; including the recently opened Jumeirah Bodrum Palace. July is beautiful, with great weather and beaches, but the area is also fantastic for sightseeing, especially the old town of Bodrum and the nearby Roman ruins of Ephesus. This mix of sun, sea and cultural exploration combines easily with a few days in magical Istanbul.  

Where to Stay: The lavish Amanruya is situated on a hilltop overlooking the breathtakingly blue Aegean Sea. With only 36 spacious Pool Terrace Cottages, the resort is designed with the usual Aman elegance and style. It is the perfect place for couples looking to get away from the bustle of Bodrum, whereas families might prefer to head to the Mandarin Oriental.

Bali, Indonesia

One of the most popular destinations in Indonesia, Bali ticks all the boxes when it comes to planning a tropical island holiday. There are beautiful beaches that are perfect for surfing or sunbathing; the scenic, cultural interior with galleries, wellness retreats and brilliant boutique hotels; the untravelled north, dotted with coffee plantations and some of the island’s best dive spots; and trendy areas along the coast that feature beach clubs, fine dining and stylish boutiques.

Recently launched direct flights between Dubai and Bali with Emirates have just made this one of the most popular destinations for the summer months. 

Where to Stay: Alila Manggis is nestled between the beach and Bali’s most sacred peak, Mount Agung. Guests can choose between rooms facing the vibrant colours of the rice paddies behind the resort, or out towards the volcanic black-sand beach in front. Most choose to change rooms halfway through their stay, to get the best of both worlds!

Maldives

Less than a five-hour, direct flight from the UAE, the Maldives makes for one of the most exclusive and sought-after beach breaks on the planet. Most properties occupy their own private island, and these can be a quick speedboat ride from the capital of Male, or located in remote atolls requiring a scenic seaplane or domestic flight transfer.

Indulge in an ocean-front spa treatment; rise early for a relaxing session of beach yoga at dawn; dive and snorkel in some of the clearest waters in the world; or embark on a dolphin cruise at sunset. 

Where to Stay: Anantara Veli is a rare adults-only resort in the Maldives, making it perfect for couples and honeymooners looking for that romantic and peaceful escape. It features 36 overwater bungalows, some with plunge pools, and all with spectacular views. Ocean Pool Bungalows are located on a secluded cliff edge with private pools and breath-taking views over the Indian Ocean.

Lightfoot Travel is a Dubai-based luxury tour operator specialising in tailor-made family holidays, honeymoons, private villas and corporate travel to countries spanning seven continents. Visit lightfoottravel.com.