Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort
What’s so special?
The Rasa Ria resort boasts a long white sand beach, a rainforest behind it and a 64-acre nature reserve where alongside deer, monkeys and slow loris, there is an orangutan sanctuary where orphan orangutans are rehabilitated. It is a very child-friendly resort with activities ranging from puppet crafting to feeding the baby orangutans.
How they rate it
Rasa Ria has two wings stretched along the three kilometre beach. “Your best bet is to stay in the newly renovated Ocean wing where the contemporary rooms come with outdoor bathtubs big enough for the whole family and jaw-dropping views of the South China Sea,” says Condé Nast Traveller.
Adults will appreciate the “divine spa menu” and the 18-hole golf course, while kids will never manage to work their way through all the activities on offer.
Restaurants range from the child friendly Coffee Terrace, which serves snacks and smoothies, to Naan – “a nod to the island’s Indian history”.
Seven nights from £1,960 per person including flights and transfers with Carrier. For more information visit www.carrier.co.uk or call 0161-826 1376.
The Gaya Island Resort
What’s so special?
Situated on a small island in the South China Sea, a short boat ride from the regional capital of Kota Kinabalu, this resort offers a fantastic base for exploring Borneo’s diverse wildlife as well as a wonderful beach getaway.
How they rate it
It is a “tropical haven”, says Matthew Bell in The Independent. The island is in a marine reserve and the owners are “ploughing a lot of money into preserving the wildlife, both in the water and on land”. There is a resident naturalist on hand to guide you around the island.
Alternatively, “you could while away days doing really not very much: the beach is Bounty-bar white, and there are even hammocks strung between the palm trees”. The spa is a “vast, light-filled sort of temple on its own, surrounded by mangroves”.
The hotel offers 120 villas “scattered along the water, centred on a pool, bar, library and restaurant complex”. Villas are spacious and private and each has its own verandah with day beds.
There are a wide array of dining options, ranging from Asian fusion to fresh seafood, or you can head off to a private beach away from the hotel for a secluded picnic lunch.
From £1,397 per person for seven nights with flights, transfers and breakfast. Find out more at www.kuoni.co.uk or call 0844-488 0490.
Off the beaten track in Paris
Instead of the big tourist boats, try a private cruise of the Seine on a classic speedboat. “A Riva boat winds a sinuous route along the Seine, its sleek lines of mahogany edged in chrome in diminutive contrast to the crowded Bateaux Mouches that ply these waters,” writes Christa Larwood in Lonely Planet Traveller.
The captain even has champagne onboard to sip during your tour of the city’s sights. A 90-minute tour costs from £225 per person for a group of four (Parisluxuryboat.com).
Head to Montparnasse on a Sunday morning to find the Marché de la Création under way. “Dozens of stalls line a short promenade, each with a display of beautiful artworks: paintings of people, nature, abstracts, intricate collages and sculptures. Every work is original and signed by the stallholder.”
A lot of the stallholders have art exhibited at far higher prices in local galleries but still sell in the market in order to chat direct to their buyers. Pieces will set you back between £40 and £1,200 (Marchecreation.com).
For amazing food, travel just east of the Bastille to Boucherie des Provinces behind the stands of the busy Marché d’Aligre. Run by artisan butcher Christophe Dru, this brilliant butcher’s also incorporates a restaurant “where diners come to savour succulent ribs, or beef onglet served with fried new potatoes dripping with rosemary butter. The menu is on the wall, but customers can choose anything they like from the counter”. Mains from £12 (20 rue d’Aligre; 00 33 1 43 43 91 64).