If your travel bucket list is anything like ours, it features a fair few grand adventures involving Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and skydiving. Exciting stuff, but let’s not forget the little things. The perfect G&T at sunset, a different kind of diving or finally learning Spanish – we’ve found the life-enriching experiences you can tick off on your next holiday.
Learn to cook the perfect dinner party dish
Everyone needs a signature dish. It needs to be delicious, impressive but apparently effortless, and you can cross it off your bucket list at The Sarojin in Khao Lak, Thailand – with a great story to go with it. Learn the secrets of Thai cooking in stunning surroundings, from river banks to waterfalls in the jungle. Discover new ingredients and cook under personal tuition, before inviting others to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Become a tea connoisseur
Become an expert on the nation’s favourite and expand your tastes beyond the humble cup of English breakfast tea. And where better than the Waldorf Astoria? The beautiful tea lounge in the Waldorf Ras Al Khaimah serves more than 150 specialist loose leaf teas, with tea specialists on hand to help you find the perfect one. Try everything from Indian Darjeeling to Moroccan mint, and enjoy as part of high tea for added luxury.
Taste the perfect G&T
Want to experience the perfect G&T in your lifetime? Majorca’s Illa D’Or is the place. The hotel bar, Sunset Illa D’Or, takes its gin and tonic very seriously. Expect generous measures and plenty of choice, from the traditional to ginger and pink pepper-flavoured varieties, with a focus on fun and freshness. As the name suggests, it’s best experienced at sunset. Cheers!
Enjoy dinner with a difference
Not many people can say they’ve done this… dine in the atmospheric ‘Cave for Two’ at La Gomera’s beautiful Jardin Tecina. This luxury clifftop hotel provides a romantic spot for dinner, in unique surroundings by the hotel’s Club Laurel restaurant. Relax in your own cosy cave and enjoy fresh seafood and cocktails while you gaze out over Playa de Santiago, in the utmost comfort and privacy.
Dive in bioluminescent waters
A night dive reveals mesmerising sights hidden by daylight, and there’s nowhere more beautiful than the bioluminescent waters of the Maldives. Constance Moofushi Hotel can arrange for you to explore the glowing depths of the South Ari Atoll, one of the best diving spots in the world. Marvel at the explosion of colours from reef and the ethereal glow of bioluminescence – a totally unmissable experience for divers.
Learn a language
Learning a language is on most people’s ‘must-do’ lists, but exclusive lessons on the Mexico’s Riviera Maya might give you the push you need. The magnificent Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita offers an enrichment programme that includes Spanish lessons in beautiful surroundings. You may not be fluent in a fortnight, but going home knowing more than you came with will feel like a huge achievement.
Learn news skills in Cyprus
The Troodos Mountains at the heart of Cyprus show another side of this renowned beach-break island. Nestled deep in the mountains, Casale Panayiotis has a range of activities for guests to try their hand at. Make your own halloumi, enjoy wine tasting and even go fishing for your own lunch. And at the end of the day, the Myrianthousa Spa, complete with a hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam bath, offers plenty of opportunity to relax.
Ride the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
This is no ordinary train. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is arguably one of the most luxurious experiences on the planet. Go back in time to the roaring 20s (what I would give to have lived in this glamourous era) and travel and dine among art deco details. Sip on Champagne as you venture from London to Folkestone (firstly on the Belmond British Pullman, which is equally luxurious), before boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express on arrival into Calais to Venice.
See in the New Year in Madeira
Experience a once-in-a-lifetime New Year from the beautiful island of Madeira. Forget Sydney – Madeira is famous for giving some of the best New Year’s fireworks and festivities in Europe. Make it extra-special with a stay at Belmond Reid’s Palace, an iconic hotel in Funchal Bay that offers a six-course New Year’s Eve gala dinner and one of the best vantage points for watching the fireworks.