ANANTARA AL JABAL AL AKHDAR OMAN AS THE MIDDLE EAST’S HIGHEST FIVE-STAR RESORT
At 2,000 metres above sea level), this place must surely win the award for best new adrenaline-junkie hotel. Opened in January 2017, and perched on the canyon-edge of the Saiq Plateau of Jabal Akhdar (Green Mountain), it’s not for faint-hearted honeymooners. The location and view are both head-spinningly spectacular. And there’s so much on offer for thrill-seekers. Fancy rock climbing above a canyon with stunning views of the scenery? Tackle the Jabal Activity Wall, which has a variety of mountainside climbing routes for all abilities. If dangling from a rope isn’t your thing, why not strap yourself into a 4×4 buggy for some sand-dune dancing? Want to try yoga with a difference? Take a class on Diana’s Point (named after Diana, Princess of Wales, who visited in 1986) and you’ll be saying namaste with a real corker of a view.
Oman Map – Oman Resorts Photo Gallery
For an afternoon of exploring, head to the local villages with your expert mountain guide, Maher Al Riyami. You’ll get to see how local damask roses are smoked to create traditional Omani rose water. Worn out? Make a trip to the serene spa to wind down, or head back to the peaceful luxury of your villa with its own temperature- controlled pool (as the hotel is at altitude, it can get very cold at night). OUR KIND OF LUXE For the ultimate rush, plus an eagle’s-eye view, abseil down sheer drop-offs (look out, too, for the new Canyon Swing we’ve heard whispers of). GO A Premier Canyon View Room starts from £278 a night, on a B&B basis. Flights from London Heathrow or Manchester to Muscat start from £409 with Oman Air (omanair.com).
KWANDWE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE SOUTH AFRICA HANDS UP WHO WANTS A ONCE- IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE
That combines five-star luxury and romance with a serious buzz? Half an hour from Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Kwandwe has it all. Indulge in your very own A-list moment by taking the four-seater aircraft from Port Elizabeth to Kwandwe (the pilot will whisk you through the airport, straight to your private plane), and you’ll touch down in a 54,000-acre private game reserve straddling the Great Fish River – with lions, leopards, giraffes and elephants aplenty. What you won’t see are many other people; Kwandwe has strict limits on guest numbers. Great Fish River Lodge, one of five safari lodges at Kwandwe, offers luxurious seclusion in the heart of the African wilderness. The thatched roof and exposed beams are true to African design, while the decor is luxurious, and fabrics and furniture generous (the bed is enormous). There are nine suites, all with panoramic views of the reserve, so you can watch wildlife wander past from your veranda. Chill out by your plunge pool during the long, hot afternoons before taking a sunset drive to watch the predators do what they do best. Thrilling.
OUR KIND OF LUXE
Head out into the bush with head ranger Ryan for an exhilarating safari on foot. Brides saw two sleeping rhinos sheltering from the midday sun under a tree, and enjoyed a magical moment viewing the mother and her calf from only 25 feet away. GO Turquoise (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) offers three nights in a suite at Great Fish River Lodge from £1,905 per person, all-inclusive, including flights and transfers.
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