7 Last-Minute Eid Escapes Under Dhs2,000
HOW MUCH: From Dhs1,942 with flydubai (direct)
FLIGHT TIME: 4h30
Being based in the UAE means that we’re just a stone’s throw away from some of the best holiday destinations in the world. And if you’ve entertained fantasies about being marooned on a desert island, the Maldives is the Eid escape for you.
Hundreds of the islands that make up the Maldives have been converted into resorts, and each one offers a heady mix of water sports, fine food, endless ocean and deluxe spa treatments. At all Maldivian resorts, the surrounding waters form a playground for holidaymakers. Diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing and even kneeboarding are all on offer, so take your pick.
WHERE TO STAY:
The popular Sheraton Maldives is only 15 minutes away from the airport by boat, and has three fine-dining restaurants open on rotation for dinner. Don’t fret if you overindulge at dinner, because you can make up for it in the spacious, air-conditioned gym, equipped with weights, cross-trainers, treadmills, and a rowing machine. On-site Shine Spa should be your next port of call, to help ease those muscles with the 90-minute Asian Journey, combining Thai and Balinese massage techniques to winning effect. Be sure to book an Ocean Villa, named for its sea view, which comes with a private pool, sun loungers and a hammock, plus indoor and outdoor bathroom suites. It’s postcard-perfection on the Indian Ocean.
Amilla Fushi, offers 67 Miami-meets-Maldives houses and residences with up to eight bedrooms with clean lines and gleaming white surfaces that are framed with lush jungle interiors, pristine sands and crystalline lagoons.The resort literally means “My Island Home,” lures guests into the unspoilt island paradise, with the best offers during the upcoming Eid al Fitr Holiday. From June 25th 2017 to July 25th 2017, visitors will be able to enjoy a series of specially curated activity and experiential packages that appeal to a variety of tastes. Guests can take advantage of attractive summer and Eid rates, starting from Dhs13,407 for three nights from now until September 30th 2017.
INFO : amilla.
Finolhu is bringing back the allure of a vintage beach vacation with its retro-inspired décor and array of activities which have proven to be popular with the Delevigne sisters and global jetsetters.A beach resort oasis in the heart of the beautiful Maldives, is offering the Middle East the perfect destination to indulge this Eid al Fitr.
Summer and Eid escapes start from Dhs11,360 for 2 people in a Lagoon Villa for getaways for three nights between now and 30 September 2017. Between 25 June until 25 July, guests can enjoy discounts on all of Finolhu’s most exciting activities, such as Private Sunset Cruises, Sunset Fishing, Scuba Diving, spa treatments at The Cove Club as well as special dining offers. The 1 OAK Beach Club brings nightly entertainment and events to the island’s magnetic two-story Beach Club bar crowned by a 360 degrees’ panoramic lounge. The 1 OAK Beach Club brings a retro-inspired burst of fun for the region alongside the best DJs, live acts and most fabulously chic parties in the Maldives.
INFO : finolhu
BEST FOR: Water sports, relaxation and quiet time in one of the most isolated and and beautiful destinations in the world.
HOW MUCH: From Dhs641 with Swiss (direct)
FLIGHT TIME: 1h05
The Caribbean is famous for its tropical weather and perfect beaches, but sadly it’s about an 18-hour flight from the UAE. If you’re looking for something similar but much closer to home, the beaches of Oman are a good alternative. Atop its Hajar mountain range, Oman offers cooler climes during summer, making it a sound option for escaping the heat.
WHERE TO STAY: There’s no better way to see neighbouring Muscat than from the unrivalled comfort of its five-star luxury hotel, The Chedi. All 158 rooms in the resort feature traditional Omani architecture fused with Zen, Arabic, Japanese and European influences. The Chedi Club Suites give grand panoramic views of the Gulf of Oman, Hajar Mountains, tranquil ponds and the shimmering swimming pools.
BEST FOR: A nearby and affordable Eid escape that includes stunning beaches and outdoor adventures.
HOW MUCH: From Dhs1,820 with Royal Brunei (via Brunei)
FLIGHT TIME: 11h20m
Singapore, fondly known as the Little Red Dot due to its size, is often overlooked as a corporate city. It’s a popular business hub, yes, but it also has a rich culture of its own, and enough attractions to keep an entire family entertained. And while you can easily spend a few weeks travelling the likes of Thailand and Indonesia, you only need a couple of days to see the best of Singapore, which makes it a perfect Eid escape.
No visit to the city is complete without stopping by Gardens by the Bay, a magnificent showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry that presents the plant kingdom in a way you’ve never seen it before.
WHERE TO STAY: The magnificent Fullerton Hotel is a grand neoclassical landmark built in 1928. Now a national monument, it was once home to Singapore’s General Post Office, the Exchange Room, and the prestigious Singapore Club. It’s also located right next to the city’s famous Merlion statue.
BEST FOR: Shopping, street food and exciting theme parks and zoos.
HOW MUCH: From Dhs1,759 with Kenya Airways (via Nairobi)
FLIGHT TIME: 10h40
Ever imagined what paradise looks like? Well, the archipelago that is Zanzibar should give you a good idea. Fringed by turquoise sea, coated with rich vegetation that is the root of its nickname of Spice Island, and embraced by white sandy beaches, it’s no surprise that Zanzibar has become one of the world’s top island destinations in recent years.
Water sports here are a must. Whether you’re just heading out for a pleasure cruise to soak up the sun and take a quick dip in the turquoise waters, or you’re strapping on the aqua gear to do a bit of reef diving or snorkelling, the abundant beauty found beneath the waves never fails to impress.
To truly get to grips with Zanzibar’s tumultuous history, it’s best to head down to Stone Town, its Unesco Heritage Site. A maze of white-washed walls, quaint homes and vibrant bazaars, it’s still a hub of culture and life for the locals.
Little known fact:
Queen’s Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar. Be sure to swing by Mercury’s Bar in Stone Town, which is a tribute to legendary singer.
WHERE TO STAY: Stone Town is full of boutique hotels, many of which are historic conversions like Jafferji House, the century-old ancestral home of photographer Javed Jafferji’s family. Located in the maze that makes up Stone Town’s old quarter, vibrant crimsons and opulent ochres make for an dynamic yet intimate space. Choose one of the 12 individually designed rooms.
BEST FOR: Quiet and relaxing beaches and rich African history.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
HOW MUCH: From 1,620 with Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa)
FLIGHT TIME: 13h05
The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is a buzzing metropolis like no other. Offering its visitors a truly African urban experience, Jo’burg (or Jozi) as it’s often referred to by locals, is a wholly unique and diverse city. With a rich cultural heritage and a buzzing nightlife and restaurant scene, this often underrated African travel destination is perfect for an Eid pit stop. Highlights include the famed Lion Park (home and sanctuary to a number of different African wildlife species), the Cradle of Humankind, the Apartheid Museum and the world-famous Soweto township, which Nelson Mandela once called home.
WHERE TO STAY: The luxurious Saxon is one of the city’s top hotels and has counted Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga among its guests. The hotel is an exclusive haven of peace in the bustling city, and is conveniently located close to various malls and tourist sights.
BEST FOR: food, shopping and wildlife experiences. What more could you want?
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
HOW MUCH: From Dhs1,209 with Jet Airways (via Mumbai)
FLIGHT TIME: 6h50
Sri Lankans know how to party. The capital city Colombo has some of the trendiest venues around, offering a beachy vibe with a sophisticated twist.
A trek through the rainforest is well worth the effort and allows you to get up close with Sri Lankan nature, from ancient trees to incredible wildlife, for an all-natural experience you’ll never forget. And, after a day of adventure, relax with a traditional Ayurvedic massage and a relaxing cup of Sri Lankan Ceylon tea
WHERE TO STAY: The Taj Samudra is Colombo’s most well-known hotel and once you’ve stayed there, it’s easy to see why. If you ask any taxi driver or tuk tuk operator where the famous landmark is, they’ll know its location exactly – facing the historic Galle Face Green. That’s how much of a staple the beautiful hotel has become.
BEST FOR: The city’s great for shopping and fresh seafood, but be sure to head a bit further out to the country’s lush green hills and picturesque beaches.
HOW MUCH: From Dhs1,402 with Oman Air (via Muscat)
FLIGHT TIME: 10h55m
Jaipur is a vibrant and colourful city. Like a good bargain? The markets offer an opportunity to explore the vivacious culture of the region and pick up souvenirs from your trip, including handicrafts, antiques, jewellery, gems, pottery, carpets, textiles, metalwork, leather goods and spices, essentially representing the arts and crafts of Rajasthan.
Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, is also a must-see. The grand Rajputana architecture still speaks to the glory of the royal family, and you can find glimpses of Mughal architecture, too. It has 953 small windows, known as jharokhas, decorated with latticework in a honeycomb-style. Hawa Mahal was built for the women of the royal families, since they had to observe strict purdah, or covering, as the people of the town weren’t permitted to see them. These small windows allowed the women inside to watch processions and other street activities without revealing themselves.
WHERE TO STAY: The former residence of the Prime Minister of Jaipur, Jai Mahal, comprises regal rooms, pretty pavilions and charming colonnades, set amid 18 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. This heritage site has been painstakingly restored and recently refurbished as part of the luxury five-star Taj group, with modern-day comforts. There are 100 palatial rooms, including six suites, with colonial-style furniture, miniature paintings, gold-hued silks and sheer curtains. Perfectly located in the heart of the Pink City, it’s close to the main shopping areas and historical sites such as Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal and City Palace. Plus, the airport is just 30 minutes away by car.
BEST FOR: With its rich history and culture, affordable shopping and abundance of tasty cuisine, Jaipur is a perfect Indian pit stop.