VENICE-SIMPLON ORIENT EXPRESS,
LONDON TO VENICE
S’You can never be overdressed on the Orient Express,’ says the brochure. The journey starts on the British Pullman, enjoying brunch as we whizz towards the Channel crossing. And that’s when the real fun begins. Once in France, we’re helped aboard the Orient Express by our cabin steward, wearing that distinctive blue uniform. The cabins themselves are all vintage luxury, lots of polished oak and mahogany, crystal glassware, silk lampshades and art deco luggage racks. During the day, relax on banquette seating, which converts to luxury bunk-beds at night, with your own Orient robes and slippers to complete the look. Your experience on board will largely depend on how sociable you’re feeling — we wiled away hours in the bar, trying to wrestle the 12 secret ingredients in the famous Agatha Christie cocktail out of the barman, and comparing notes with other passengers about the amazing views. And, of course, long, indulgent dining experiences are central to life on the Orient Express. Lobster, scallops and caviar, we tucked into them all in the stunning dining car (pictured). How the chefs achieve the Michelin-starred presentation at speeds of up to 140mph we’ll never know. WOW FACTOR Sipping Bellini after Bellini in the cocktail bar as the resident pianist played classics on the baby grand piano from sunset to sunrise. GO Two days and one night costs from £1,920 per person (vsoe.com). Includes journeys on the British Pullman and Orient Express, as well as table d’hote meals but excludes drinks.
JADE MOUNTAIN, SAINT LUCIA
We bet nowhere you’ve ever stayed before compares to this. Would madam like to take breakfast in bed? Ooh, yes please. A mojito brought up? You know us too well. The record for a couple not leaving their room is six days, and it’s easy to see why. If you do manage to make it out, head up to the Celestial Terrace, at the top of the resort, to watch the sunset. Dinner at the Jade Mountain Club is worth the climb, too, or, the chef can conic to you and you can try to beat that six-day record.
WOW FACTOR There are no TVs, telephones or radios here so this really is the perfect opportunity to disconnect.
GO The Turquoise Holiday Company (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Sky Jacuzzi Suite from £2,799 per person, B&B. Includes flights and transfers.
SONG SAA, CAMBODIA
You thought the Maldives were beautiful? Well, you haven’t seen Song Saa. The resort, which is situated on two inter¬linked, rainforest-covered islands (the name means ‘the sweethearts in Khmer) is surrounded by white sand and virgin coral reefs, and marooned in the untouched Koh Rong archipelago off the coast of Cambodia. Owners Rory and Melita Hunter have created a unique blend of style and sustainability in the 27 luxurious villas, which are dotted over water, on the beach and tucked up in the rainforest-shrouded hillside. No detail has been overlooked, from the driftwood and timber furniture made from old fishing boats, to the Aesop toiletries beside your window-surrounded bath (pictured). The always included’ rates mean you can indulge, safe in the knowledge that everything from sunrise to sunset is covered.
WOW FACTOR The stunning over-water, alfresco restaurant, where chef Neil Wager conjures up a modern take on local flavours.
GO Original Travel (originaltravel.co.uk) offers seven nights from £4,450 per person, full board. Includes flights to Sihanoukville via Phnom Penh and transfers.
VILLA D’ESTE, ITALY
Say goodbye to flash and bling, and hello to old-world elegance, as you unwind lake-side under a parasol in the gardens of a 16th-century palace, with a martini in hand and white-jacketed waiters ready to serve you. Villa d’Este has long since earned its place in the history books as the hotel of choice for empresses and film stars alike, during its 140-year reign as one of the grand dames of the hotel world. It remains impeccably turned out, with its 152 rooms furnished with gleaming antiques and paintings, heavy silk curtains and beds clad in luxurious linens. Views from our bedroom on to the Italian lakes made this luxe hideaway complete. The food is exquisite, from the dress-up dinners at the Veranda, with its homemade pasta and fresh seafood, to the regional specialities at the Grill. In between eating, we floated in the glamorous outdoor pool — itself floating on Lake Como. We could get very, very used to this life…
WOW FACTOR Waterskiing past the villas on Lake Como knowing you might see George Clooney holidaying in his hideaway (a girl can dream!).
GO Kuoni (kuonixo.uk) offers seven nights in a Double Superior Courtyard View from £2,540 per person, B&B. Includes British Airways flights to Milan and transfers.