From planting tulips in the Bulb Region of the Netherlands to enjoying the Northern Lights from ultimate luxury,
here are some unique winter holiday ideas to get you packing
As winter approaches, we look into our kitty of ideas that focus on memorable experiences rather than simply checking locations off a list.
Amsterdam’s Conservatorium Hotel has created the Tulip Planting Package, an immersive experience offering guests the perfect opportunity to discover the Netherlands’ iconic Bulb Region, whilst simultaneously giving something back to the local community.
The Bulb Region has long been a popular tourist destination due to the vast multi-coloured flower fields that cover the entire area during the spring season.
Commonly referred to as ‘Tulip Season’, the area showcases millions of tulips of over 800 varieties, spread across 32 hectares, and is one of The Netherlands’ most visited attractions. Due to the short-lived seasonal nature of the attraction, mass tourism has led to some damage to the fields, which is why Conservatorium Hotel has decided to step up.
Through the hotel’s new ‘Tulip Planting’ offer, guests will have the opportunity to visit the bulb-field area and learn about its history while helping farmers plant new tulips for the forthcoming season. The package also includes a visit to the acclaimed Royal Flora Holland – the world’s largest flower auction, a two-night stay at Conservatorium Hotel including breakfast, and a digital image of the tulips in bloom.
The ‘Tulip Planting’ Package also includes transportation to the bulb-field area, half-day on the field planting tulips for the coming season, visit to the famous ‘Royal Flora Holland’ flower auction and starts from €1,385 ($,1518) per night, valid for stays till December 6.
CULTURE SOAK AT AL HOSN
The Children’s Library and Theatre at Al Hosn’s Cultural Foundation are now open in Abu Dhabi, both excellent venues for your kids to spend time in.
The Abu Dhabi Children’s Library is spread over three floors, with the 5,250 sq m facility divided into several age-appropriate, social spaces. Designed with inspiration from pop-up books in mind, the library boasts several three-dimensional learning and play spaces in which children can physically immerse themselves to become part of a story. Featuring exciting and colourful designs, each floor has a different design concept reflecting the rich and diverse landscapes of the UAE. The library is expected to become a valuable resource for school groups, young people and families from across the emirate.
The Abu Dhabi Children’s Library will also host an engaging, year-round public programme for children and their families. STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art and maths) programmes, workshops and exhibitions are designed to encourage creativity and the development of lifelong learning skills. The library offerings include writing, storytelling and filmmaking activities to help young people master presentation and communication tools, which are key for success in the 21st century workspace.
Meanwhile, the Cultural Foundation’s renovated 900-seat theatre will showcase world-class contemporary, popular and home-grown performing arts, including music, dance, and theatre, in the heart of the city. The theatre will be a prime venue for performing arts in Abu Dhabi and will host a year-round artistic programme dedicated to families and youth.
HOT SPRINGS OF TAIWAN
Few sights are more comforting than naturally steamy hot springs in the throes of winter. Taiwan beckons travellers this season with its many hot springs: from high-end hot-spring resorts in Yangmingshan to hidden hot springs in the countryside.
Just a short MRT ride from the centre of Taipei, Beitou is one of the most accessible hot spring areas on the island. Here, where the dormant Datun Volcano group provides an endless supply of thermal waters, there are scores of hot spring resorts to suit all budgets. Perhaps the most famous hot spring though is the public one located just a short walk from Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
A little further from Taipei, the aboriginal village of Wulai is also home to several hot spring resorts and a public riverside hot spring. The area is a very interesting place to visit even without the hot spring as there are waterfalls, a cable car and even a mini-train to keep tourists amused. The riverside hot spring is the most popular, and it is pretty easy to find. Walk through the village and cross the bridge and there you’ll see the public hot spring area down by the river and hot spring resorts along the river side.
IN NATURE’S LAPLAND
If having 300 hectares of private wilderness within the Arctic Circle to yourself excites you, head to Finnish Lapland. With no light pollution and the mighty Northern Lights dancing in the sky; breathe the world’s cleanest air and drink the purest water.
Octola is a private eco-luxury 10-bedroom wilderness chalet located within the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, approximately 20 minutes from Rovaniemi International Airport. Octola offers ultimate privacy and tailored luxury services including guided snowshoe excursions in search of the Northern Lights, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, husky sledding, snowmobiling, winter ice driving and private visits to Santa Claus.
Janne Honkanen, the CEO of Arctic Region Travel Operator, Luxury Action, is a pioneer of experiential travel within the Arctic Circle. Having searched for the perfect accommodation to offer his most discerning clients wishing to experience the Arctic Circle, he finally decided to build it himself.
All arrangements are tailormade to suit the individual guest and Janne had Middle East guests in mind when designing the cabin. “I am extremely grateful and happy for our returning Middle East guests, because without them, we would not have built Octola. The entire Private Wilderness is designed to meet the needs of our most discerning guests who require the utmost privacy.”
IMMERSE IN THE MALDIVES
Regardless of the season, Maldives beckons with its tropical weather, sandy beaches and the endless turquoise blue. While there are many resort options in the Maldives, OZEN by Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts is our top pick this winter.
Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts has grown with an unchanging core philosophy – the Joy of Giving, where each guest is put at the centre of their own Atmosphere experience. The brand strives to deliver a seamless and hassle-free holiday experience with its crafted holiday plan. With no hidden costs, enjoy everything from stay, fine dining, spa, underwater experience, and so much more.
Staying true to its contemporary and luxury five-star classification, the stand-alone OZEN Residence is a decadent home away from home. The over-water complex features three stunning bedrooms with accentuating interiors appointed with contemporary design and natural materials. Offering special in-villa services and amenities and some of the best sunset views from the entire island.
Located six metres below the surface – the Minus Six Meters underwater fine-dining restaurant is a female-empowered ultra-luxury experience with exotic views of the underwater marine life of Maadhoo’s thriving lagoons. Degustation menu includes exotic modern seafood cuisine paired with refined drinks and unique flavours.
Wellness being an essential part of the OZEN guest experience, the complex’s family of multilingual professionals are ready to welcome guests for an exotic wellness journey. The six over-water treatment rooms with glass bottom floors offer guests a wide range of massage services and therapies. The complex also has a fully equipped gymnasium, a salt pool, steam sauna facilities, a salon and a boutique for guests.
Part of the ELENA Spa & Wellness Complex, R.A.W offers a selection of raw cuisine options from sushi & sashimi, to wellness beverages and more – open for lunch. It’s an ideal spot for a sunny afternoon meal overlooking the eastern lagoon side of Maadhoo Island.
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