by STELLA magazine writers, The Telegraph, October 30, 2017
Chase winter sun and ultimate serenity at one of these tropical spas. First you have to decide: Bali or the Maldives?
The low-down: Hurawalhi sits on a private atoll in the sparkling azure waters of the Maldives and is as close to paradise on earth as you’re likely to get. The resort is committed to its focus on environmental issues and sustaining and supporting the vibrant sea life that’s so renowned in the area. Make sure you pack snorkelling gear – there are several reefs to explore around Hurawalhi, including its own ‘house reef.’ The service is as exemplary as you'd expect from a luxury enclave and the hotel has been sympathetically designed to blend with the natural surroundings.
Out and about: The hotel will arrange adventures for you, whether it's snorkelling or dolphin watching, as well as watching your own Japanese chef whip up works of wonder at the Teppanyaki bar.
Stella loves: The magical arrival with music and champagne, and watching pink sunsets as manta rays swim by your private terrace on the lagoon.
Rooms from £350 per night; hurawalhi.com
Words by Stephen Doig
• Read the full expert review: Hurawalhi, Maldives
Hurawalhi sits on a private atoll in the sparkling azure waters of the Maldives.
Alila Seminyak, Bali
Best for…lazy foodies
The low-down: A big hotel with boutique vibes, Alila Seminyak is set slap-bang on the Indian Ocean – designed to wrap around a beach temple still used as a shrine by local fishing families. The clean lines and vertical gardens of the open-air lobby lead through to stylish ocean-view suites, which blend luxurious tropical minimalism with traditional Balinese touches. At the quieter end of Seminyak, the immediate neighbourhood is still bustling with chic shops, organic restaurants and prohibition-style cocktail bars. Though the resort’s multiple infinity pools, full-service spa, complimentary yoga, chilled beach bar and gourmet pan-Asian restaurant mean you could easily while away a week without even wanting to leave the grounds.
Out and about: Seminyak’s original sunset destination, bar and beach club Ku De Ta, has some serious competition in the newly-opened La Laguna – a quirky, sprawling bar on Berawa Beach (on the way to Canggu), which serves tapas and cocktails in an Instagram-worthy fleet of vintage gypsy caravans.
Stella loves: Alila’s bespoke bar – or boutique-hopping VW Kombis, complete with minibar.
Red Savannah offers a week in Bali from £2,132 per person based on two people sharing. Includes seven nights in a Studio room on bed and buffet breakfast basis at Alila Seminyak, return private airport transfers, return international flights with Singapore Airlines. Price includes a special offer of 25 per cent discount when booked 60 days prior to arrival; 01242 787800, redsavannah.com
Words by Rachel Cocker
• Read the full expert review: Alila Seminyak, Bali
The style at Alila Seminyak is a blend of tropical minimalism and traditional Balinese touches.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
The low-down: Could there be a more Instagrammable spot? Perched high on the cliffs above Bali’s rugged Bukit peninsula, Alila Uluwatu’s panoramic infinity pool stretches straight out to the Indian Ocean, while the Jenga-like ‘sunset cabana’ (perfect for cocktails beneath those kaleidoscopic skies) floats in the air alongside.
Besides the show-stopping architecture, choice of fine-dining restaurants and one of the best spas on the island, each individual villa comes complete with its own private pool and personal butler, whose service can be dialled up from discreet to indulgent at the push of the in-room iPad.
Out and about: Tourists flock to the cliff-top Uluwatu temple to watch the theatrical fire dance at sunset, but Alila can organise a bespoke trip to some of the holiest and lesser visited temples on the island’s south coast, where you can learn how to make a traditional offering and join the temple priests in prayer.
Stella loves: The traditional Balinese treatments in the holistic spa (easily one of the best on the island)
Red Savannah offers a week in Bali from £2,932 per person based on two people sharing. Includes seven nights in a One Bedroom Pool Villa on bed and breakfast basis at Alila Villas Uluwatu, return private airport transfers, return international flights with Singapore Airlines in economy, 24-hour butler service, 24-hour use of the gym, complimentary mountain bike hire, complimentary scheduled yoga, Wi-Fi; 01242 787800; redsavannah.com
Price based on travel in shoulder season and includes a special offer of 20 per cent discount if booked 30 days prior to arrival.
Words by Rachel Cocker
• Read the full expert review: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Each villa at Alila Uluwatu in Bali comes complete with a private pool and personal butler.
Best for…total recharge
The low-down: If you want to sleep in the Maldives’ biggest beds, make a beeline for Dhevanafushi Luxury Resort. Each of the ultra-luxe villas has a private pool, butler service and breathtaking panoramic views. Be sure to book a massage at Talise, where treatments take place in state-of-the-art spa suites that floats above the sea.
Out and about: Fishing, diving and windsurfing are all at your doorstep.
Stella loves: The luxury double sunbeds, which float on the infinity pool with uninterrupted ocean views.
Villas from £860 per night, b&b; accorhotels.com
Words by Sarah Biddlecombe
Fishing, diving and windsurfing are among the numerous activities available to guests at Dhevanafushi.