Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

From the Maldives to Germany: 10 enticing Eid Al Adha holidays from the UAE

From short-haul city breaks to surfing in Sri Lanka, these trips are worth considering this Eid Al Adha

Get up close and personal with wildlife in Zambia. Courtesy Avani Victoria Falls
Get up close and personal with wildlife in Zambia. Courtesy Avani Victoria Falls

With Eid Al Adha just around the corner, many of us are looking forward to enjoying a five-day weekend. If you’re not keen on spending those days hibernating with a box set at home, here are ten destinations to consider for a last-­minute Eid break. From an African safari in Zambia to a hot air balloon ride over Amsterdam, these escapes all include special offers that are valid over the Eid season.

Be one of the first to visit the Maldives' newest resort

Check-in at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi this Eid. Courtesy Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Check-in at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi this Eid. Courtesy Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Conceptualised in New York at the turn of the 19th century, the Waldorf Astoria is renowned for its ultra-luxe offering and celebrity fans. Now you can enjoy this luxury treatment in one of the world’s most stunning archipelagos, at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Spread across three interconnected islands, the brand new all-villa resort has huge private infinity pools, sun terraces and BBQ areas with amazing views across the Indian Ocean. Eleven restaurants, one of which is up in the treetops and another that’s in a cave, colourful marine life and an endless choice of water sports will keep you entertained, while kids have their own waterpark and children’s club. Just 30 minutes by boat from Velana International Airport, the resort is celebrating its launch with opening rates that coincide with Eid. ­Travellers get daily breakfast for two, $100 (Dh360) daily dining credit per person, return luxury yacht transfers, a 30-minute massage and a snorkelling experience for two.

Prices over Eid start at around $2,133 (Dh8,733) per night for a two-bedroom beach villa; www.hilton.com/en/waldorf-astoria

Appreciate art in Beirut

The Phonecia Beirut is offering Eid travellers an art-focused stay. Courtesy Phonecia Beirut
The Phonecia Beirut is offering Eid travellers an art-focused stay. Courtesy Phonecia Beirut

Flight prices to Lebanon are down 28 per cent this year according to recent data from Skyscanner, which makes Lebanon a great idea for an Eid escape. It’s also less than four hours from the UAE, so you can take advantage of a two-night Eid Al Adha package at one of the capital’s most famous hotels – Phoenicia Beirut. This offer includes a stay in a premium sea room with views of the Mediterranean, early check-in, and free transfers to and from the airport. What’s more, you’ll get the chance to take part in a bespoke tour of the hotel’s fine art collection, accompanied by an expert who will provide details about the pieces on display. When it comes to dining, breakfast is covered and you can enjoy dinner for two in Rossini Osteria e Caffe, as well as two complimentary beverages at the Amethyste pool bar.

The package costs $1,300 (Dh4,774) and is valid until the end of Eid Al Adha; reservation@phoeniciabeirut.com

Take to the waves in Sri Lanka

Surf & Soul Sri Lanka offers seven-day escapes inclusive of surfing, yoga and more. Courtesy Surf & Soul Sri Lanka
Surf & Soul Sri Lanka offers seven-day escapes inclusive of surfing, yoga and more. Courtesy Surf & Soul Sri Lanka

Fancy focusing on yourself this Eid? Book a seven-day stay at Sri Lanka’s Soul & Surf Retreat and you can do exactly that. Located in a boutique hotel in the jungle near the small southern town of Ahangama, this spot offers daily vinyasa flow classes, yin yoga sessions, pranayama and meditation. There’s also a first-class surf school catering to everyone – from those who’ve never stepped on a board to ­serious wave catchers. August on this southern tip of Sri Lanka can bring heavy tropical ­showers, but they’re mixed with bright sunshine, ­making it ­perfect for surfing the shallows or heading out to try some wilder waves. Packages are all inclusive and include daily breakfast, lunch and ­dinner, several surf coaching sessions and yoga classes, all equipment and a guided Sup session or canoe ride down the river.

Rates start from Dh2,816 per person for a week; www.soulandsurf.com

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Read more:

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Experience Amsterdam from above

Soar above Amstedam in a hot air balloon this Eid Al Adha. Courtesy Set Hotels 
Soar above Amstedam in a hot air balloon this Eid Al Adha. Courtesy Set Hotels 

One of Europe’s most-visited cities, Amsterdam makes for a great city break that’s filled with art, culture, fantastic food and waterside cafes. Make your Eid escape extra special by checking in to the Conservatorium in the city’s Museumplein district, where you’ll be just steps away from the Van Gogh and Moco museums, and just five minutes from the iconic Rijksmuseum and Vondelpark. Book the Amsterdam from Above package to bed-down in the luxurious I Love Amsterdam Suite, which has a private terrace with 360-degree views over the city. This ­package also includes a one-hour hot air balloon ride, whisking you up and above the city’s pretty rooftops and intricate canal network, away from the crowds below. You’ll also get a rooftop culinary experience and tickets to Europe’s highest swing on the A’dam Lookout observation deck. The package is available over Eid and until September 23, but bookings must be made 14 days in advance.

Rates start from €2,970 (Dh12,126) per night; www.conservatoriumhotel.com/rooms/i-love-amsterdam-suite

Road-trip around Germany

Arrive at Villa Kennedy in style with a roadtrip through Germany and Rocco Forte hotels. Courtesy Rocco Forte Hotels
Arrive at Villa Kennedy in style with a roadtrip through Germany and Rocco Forte hotels. Courtesy Rocco Forte Hotels

Germany’s roads are known for being super smooth and scenic – and there’s the world-­famous Autobahn where, on some sections, drivers are free to travel at whatever speed they like. This makes it a ­fantastic driving holiday ­destination and is why Rocco Forte hotels are offering roadtrips around the country this Eid. ­Starting at The Charles Hotel in Munich, you’ll begin by taking your pick of a set of luxury wheels – will you go for the Aston Martin DB11, the Ferrari 488 Spider or the Porsche 911 GTS ­Cabriolet? From here, you’ll drive to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, then ­follow the ­country’s oldest scenic drive, complete with medieval castles, as you speed towards Frankfurt. After two nights at the five-star Villa ­Kennedy, you’ll take to the road again, headed for Berlin via the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam. In the capital, there is time to explore the ­Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag before checking into Hotel de Rome. If you’d rather sit back and relax, a chauffeured tour is also available.

Prices start from 7,950 (Dh32,478) for four nights, driving a Porsche, but vary depending on which car you pick and the accommodation you chose; www.roccofortehotels.com

Unwind under Table Mountain

Located in Cape Town's Bishopscourt’s neighbourhood, Arambrook is an all-suite boutique hotel where unwinding comes as standard. Courtesy Arambrook 
Located in Cape Town's Bishopscourt’s neighbourhood, Arambrook is an all-suite boutique hotel where unwinding comes as standard. Courtesy Arambrook 

The recently opened Arambrook Boutique Hotel is a luxury retreat in one of Cape Town’s most idyllic neighborhoods. At one of the first hotels in Bishopscourt, you’ll feel like you’re staying with a friend in their country mansion, rather than checking in to a hotel. Suites come with views of Table Mountain and the dining options are fantastic, with fruit and vegetables picked fresh from the hotel’s gardens. Close to the city centre, but far enough away to escape the daily hustle, Bishopscourt is steeped in history – it began life as a farm, played a key role in protecting the cattle of the Cape colonists and is where former South African president Nelson Mandela spent his first night of freedom after 27 years in prison. Spend days hiking scenic trails, visiting nearby waterfalls or wandering the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

Prices in a superior queen suite start at 17,460 South ­African rand (Dh4,512) for three nights for two people over Eid, ­including breakfast; www.arambrook.co.za

Go glamping in Ireland

Go glamping at Dromquinna Manor in Kerry on Ireland's southwest coast. Courtesy Dromquinna Manor
Go glamping at Dromquinna Manor in Kerry on Ireland's southwest coast. Courtesy Dromquinna Manor

Ireland’s south-west coast is gloriously pretty – and County Kerry is one of its most cherished gems. Connect with nature during a stay at The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor, a place that might just offer the country’s most luxurious camping experience. Forget rolled up sleeping bags and tent pegs; here, you’ll sleep in a fully furnished tent that opens onto amazing views of the waters of Kenmare Bay. As well as your own outdoor deck overlooking the rolling countryside, you’ll enjoy a daily breakfast basket delivered to your door. UAE citizens don’t need a visa to visit Ireland, so this is a great choice if you’re planning a last-minute trip.

Rates start at Dh1,440 per night including breakfast; email admin@dromquinnamanor.com to book

Head to Thailand’s largest island

Save 25 per cent this EId and stay amidst the lagoons and gardens of Bang Tao Bay at Banyan Tree Phuket. Courtesy Banyan Tree
Save 25 per cent this EId and stay amidst the lagoons and gardens of Bang Tao Bay at Banyan Tree Phuket. Courtesy Banyan Tree

Head to the limestone cliffs of Phuket and check in at the all-pool-villa Banyan Tree Phuket for some nature-­immersed ­relaxation. Located to the north of the island at the ­popular Laguna Phuket, this resort is clustered around a salt-water lake and Eid ­travellers can take advantage of a special offer to celebrate the property’s 25-year ­anniversary. As well as ­saving 25 per cent on the best available rates, stay for at least two nights and you’ll get a complimentary experience where you can pick from an afternoon tea or a tree planting community excursion, or opt to improve your alignment in a body awareness posture workshop. Away from the hotel, you can visit Khao Khat for the best views on Phuket, marvel at the impressive 45-metre-tall white Buddha, and wander the old town discovering its ancient temples, shrines and narrow-laned streets.

Eid rates start at Dh1,242, ­inclusive of the 25 per cent discount; www.banyantree.com

Explore Azerbaijan's treasures

Gobustan in Azerbaijan offers a UNESCO Cultural Landscape of more than 6,000 rock engravings. Courtesy The Azerbaijan Tourism Board
Gobustan in Azerbaijan offers a UNESCO Cultural Landscape of more than 6,000 rock engravings. Courtesy The Azerbaijan Tourism Board

Less than a three-hour flight from the UAE and with airfares starting from just Dh1,060 with Flydubai, Azerbaijan is an ideal option for Eid. The “land of fire” is a smorgasbord of contrasts, with glistening skyscrapers, an ancient old town, towering mountains and sandy deserts. Summer temperatures average around the low thirties, making Baku perfect for outdoor activites like horseriding, hiking or sunbathing. Take some time out to see history at Gobustan, a Unesco cultural landscape made up of more than 6,000 rock ­engravings. Stay in the Four Seasons Hotel Baku, and you’ll be in a good spot to explore the city. Right on the waterfont in the heart of the Azerbaijani capital, this luxury hotel is ideal for a family stay. If you book three nights here this Eid, you’ll get a fourth free of charge.

Rates start at $200 (Dh734) per night for a deluxe city view room; book at www.fourseasons.com/baku

Go on safari in Zambia

Visit the thundering Victoria Falls, just five minutes from the Avani Victoria Falls resort in Zambia. Courtesy Avani Hotels 
Visit the thundering Victoria Falls, just five minutes from the Avani Victoria Falls resort in Zambia. Courtesy Avani Hotels 

It’s peak season in Zambia this Eid, which means lovely daytime temperatures and very little rainfall. If you’re after unexplored wilderness, then the Avani Victoria Falls Resort is for you. Set in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, staying here gives you the best chance of getting up close with some of Zambia’s amazing wildlife. It’s also just a five-minute walk to the thundering Victoria Falls, where adventure fanatics can bungee from the bridge or go river rafting down the Zambezi. Take the pace down a little and enjoy a trip on the Royal Livingstone Express, where you can feast on traditional food while spotting wandering zebras and giraffe below. You’ll have to fly from Dubai to Lusaka before taking an internal flight to Livingstone, but it’s worth the effort. Book two or more nights over Eid and you’ll get a complimentary room upgrade, late check-out, daily breakfast and signature drinks for two. Reserve online and you’ll also get a complimentary spa treatment and free use of the resort’s bicycles.

Prices start at Dh1,125 per room per night; www.avanihotels.com/en/victoria-falls

Updated: July 30, 2019 06:04 PM

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