Your final 2017 travel guide: Where to go for the year-end holidays

Wanderlast for the year


By Rachel Au

Your final 2017 travel guide: Where to go for the year-end holidays

You’ve worked hard for 2017. Now, it’s time to truly let it go and reward yourself with an escapade. There is still time. If you’re worried about planning itineraries, fret not because we have a handful of destinations that will settle everything for you. Breathtaking scenery—tick. Adventure and activities—tick. Gourmet food—tick. Relaxation and rejuvenation—tick. A place to call home away from home—tick. Just make sure you’ll have the heart to leave.


FOR A WINTER WONDERLAND HOLIDAY: Scott Dunn at Six Senses Residences, Courchevel

After getting a taste of a ski resort holiday earlier this year, we’d definitely recommend everyone to try it and one of the best places to do so is the Courchevel valley which is a part of the world’s largest lift-linked ski area, the Trois Vallées. Courchevel has a collection of resort villages and out of the best known-four, the highest one is Courchevel (1850) where the new Scott Dunn at Six Senses Residences Courchevel is located. It is here where your dream ski holiday can be realised. 

scott dunn six senses residences Courchevel

Designed to offer the ultimate combination of five-star ski-hotel facilities with the independence of a serviced residence, you’ll find all your needs satisfied with their full suite of services. For a seamless ski experience, guests will have access to the Scott Dunn Guest Relations Manager, on-site 24-hour concierge on-site, a ski rental shop and a boutique that stocks a selection of ski equipment and clothing. What’s even better is that you won’t have to lug your skis to and from the residences thanks to the ski concierge which means you can enjoy the cafes and bars in town before catching the shuttle bus back. 

scott dunn six senses residences Courchevel

After a thrilling day out on the slopes, opt for some R&R at the renowned Six Senses Spa. As for the kids, they’ll be well taken care of and entertained at the new on-site Scott Dunn Explorers kids club—they’ll learn how to ski with the help of qualified ski instructors—and the first ever Stargazers club—relieving parents to go enjoy Courchevel’s après ski. Alternatively, just staying in the chalets aren’t too bad either. Designed in traditional alpine style with the comforts of modern technology, every apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, Organic Pharmacy products, Apple TV, unlimited Wi-Fi and integrated iPads. 

For more info, visit the website.


TO DISCONNECT: Alila Yangshuo

Alila is known to be ‘Surprisingly Different’. The locations they choose for each property is unique and newly opened Alila Yangshuo continues to shine in the brand’s philosophy. Newly reopened and restored in late October 2017 (they closed shortly after opening in July 2017 due to torrential rains), Alila Yangshuo’s key character lies in its past as a retro 1960’s sugar mill redesigned into a gorgeous hotel while maintaining most of its original architectural elements. For example, the sugarcane dock has been transformed into a swimming pool. 

alila yangshuo

Breathtaking interiors aside, its landscape is even more impressive with picturesque karst mountains, rolling green hills and meandering rivers—enough to really put away your digital distractions and focus on the surrounding natural and cultural wonders. The concierge will handle your itinerary with a wide variety of the Alila Yangshuo Experiences to choose from. Explore the Fuli Town Market, an ancient bazaar where local merchants steer their way through the streets with their bamboo raft of goods; and where you’ll find Yangshuo specialities such as honeysuckle or myrtle and traditional foods such as baba, fried rice noodles and oil-tea camellia. For the thrill-seekers, try rock-climbing at the resort’s very own karst hill in its backyard. For the curious, try your hand at traditional sugar-making and bring home your end products. For nature lovers, go on a scenic bicycle ride along the Yulong River with a guide. 

alila yangshuo

Last, but not least, the most tempting one of all: Spa Alila. Housed in a unique underground location where the walls and floors are made from underground volcanic rocks unearthed during construction, guests can enjoy their spa experience in the intimate indoor spaces or outdoors in the Villa garden. Depending on what kind of traveller you are, Alila Yangshuo does offer a variety of packages to suit your interests. 

For more info, visit the website


GO ON A CRUISE: Belmond Road to Mandalay

If you’ve yet to witness the untouched beauty of Myanmar, the Belmond Road to Mandalay luxury cruise is a good way to start. Available only till March, there are several journeys for you to choose from, ranging from three-day journeys to eight-day ones. We’d suggest the latter since it’s close to the end of the year—the exclusive New Year Celebration Cruise which will take you through the heart of Myanmar along the Ayeyarwady River. 

belmond road to mandalay

Throughout the eight days and seven nights trip, you’ll enjoy both the facilities onboard as well as the unique excursions and experiences on land; including the spectacular ancient city of Bagan, the royal capital of Mandalay and the sacred Sagaing hills. On the river cruiser, however, there are five types of cabins, an array of beauty and massage treatments available, a swimming pool and an alfresco Bar & Grill Restaurant situated on the Observation Deck for stunning views of the river.

belmond road to mandalay

Alternatively, you can opt for their 3D2N Christmas Celebration on the Ayeyarwady journey which includes a sensational Christmas Feast accompanied by a live band; onboard activities such as sunrise yoga sessions, longyi-tying demonstrations and cookery demonstrations; guided tours of Ava and Bagan; a visit to Ananda temple; and a torchlight tour of a rarely-seen pagoda.

For more info, visit their website.



The Maldives are great but so is this private Palawan island resort in the Philippines. Boasting white, sandy beaches, beautiful coral reefs and the clear, turquoise Sulu Sea, Amanpulo is a tropical island paradise. Come this year-end holidays, it’s an even better time to visit as the resort has created a unique festive programme to tie in with their 25th anniversary. Not to mention, Pasko sa Pilipinas—or Christmas in the Philippines—is the nation’s favourite holiday after all. 


Expect gourmet events such as Chef Michele’s ‘Bacaro on the Beach’ on 22 December and 1 January, a magnificent Italian antipasti spread and seafood BBQ; a Mediterranean-inspired dinner at the Picnic Grove on 28 December; and regular classes including Sunset Cocktail Making at the Beach Club, Cheese & Wine Pairing; Organic Herb & Cocktail Making; and a Rum, Chocolate & Cigar tasting. On Christmas Eve itself, there will be a ‘Noche Buena’ Dinner, a Christmas-centric affair with classic Filipino fiesta dishes such as roast suckling pig and pancit noodles. If you’re there for New Year’s Eve, the Clubhouse will be serving a five-course wine-pairing degustation menu featuring caviar, lobster and Wagyu beef. 

amanpulo christmas 2017

The programme is extensive but outside of these special festive events, the list of activities is just as exciting. Amanpulo has a number of professional watersport and fitness experts such as kiteboarding lessons with Mike Hirooka, sailing classes with Ridgely Balladares, tennis coaching with Richard Louie, personal training with Elmer Munar and Pilates with Victoria Mendoza. If you love diving or snorkelling, the clear, blue waters are perfect, if not, too good to be true. 

For more info, visit their website.



Missed the annual Christmas Tree Lighting weekend at Cameron Highlands Resort? Don’t worry. There’s always next year but otherwise, the resort is always great for a quick getaway from the warmer temperatures in the city and its accompanying hustle and bustle. Besides, the place is still decked in Christmas lights and decorations. 

cameron highlands resort christmas

There’s much to do even within the resort itself—from getting some much-deserved pampering via their spa treatments (Fresh Strawberry Escapade, anyone?) to indulging in the English Afternoon Tea to going on the Jim Thompson Mystery Trail with their Resident Naturalist. One of their packages even includes a steamboat dinner for two!  

cameron highlands resort spa

For more info, visit their website.

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