Two-night packages to havens steeped in history, from tropical Lombok and the Mekong Delta to fabled Penang and a legendary Japanese hot-spring
Secret Retreats, the “boutique” travel specialists in discovering magical new places and experiences across Asia, has launched a new series of ‘Weekend Escapes’ to idyllic backwaters of Asia.
Along miles of pristine white sand beach, Hotel Tugu Lombok is a heavenly escape to an Indonesian island backwater where local life continues today much the same as it has done for centuries.
Framed by a majestic sunrise over Mount Rinjani, the museum-esque hotel is a monument to Indonesia’s art, history and culture, housing antiques and artefacts revealing the romantic stories and legends of its ancient kingdoms. The hotel features hundreds of beautiful artworks and ancient buildings collected and rebuilt as a loving testament to the long forgotten culture of Lombok.
The clear blue water in front of Hotel Tugu Lombok is ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and at night a picture perfect tropical dream takes over, amid sparkling waters, the boat of the hotel over the sea and shadows of whispering palm leaves floating seductively under the silvery full moon and a million stars.
With various dining options and an award-winning spa, plus pampering by staff who pride themselves for the warmest Indonesian hospitality in the country, the tropical haven also neighbours a delightful seaside 18-hole golf course and the famous Gili Islands.
The two night package priced from US$665 in a beachfront bungalow includes a traditional Balinese Massage, a deep-tissue technique passed from generation to generation, along with a lavish daily breakfast, romantic dinner and daily sunset high-tea savouring local delicacies while overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Nestled in the forests in the mountain resort of Hakone, south of Tokyo, Yama no Chaya is famed for its location over one of the province’s seven great hot springs.
Accessed by a bridge suspended over the Hayakawa River, the hideaway has been voted one of Japan’s 10 best ryokan, basking in the tranquility of nature with steaming-hot natural open air baths.
Completing the serene experience, the restaurant serves beautifully presented food using seasonal ingredients from the surrounding sea and mountains.
The two-night package is priced US$1010 for half-board in a room with its own private open air bath. A perfect time to visit is in mid-March, when the cherry blossoms bloom, and getting there is an experience in itself, aboard the fabled Romance car luxury tourist train from Shinjuku in Tokyo.
Set in the old town of Penang, the UNESCO Heritage landmark Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion is a traditional Chinese courtyard mansion, crystallising the harmonious blend of Chinese and Western architecture in Penang.
The authentic Peranakan delight in the heart of historic Georgetown is one of Malaysia’s most iconic boutique hotels, and Penang’s illustrious history can be discovered at inside its blue façade.
The mansion’s 18 guestrooms are filled with 19th century art, curios and antiques that pay tribute to its original owner Cheong Fatt Tze, a poor Chinese man who migrated from China during the Opium War in search of a fortune... Majestic rooms, each uniquely adorned and the weekend package offers two nights in The Tang Suites with opulent furnishing and a lavish private plunge pool.
In the food capital of Malaysia, Penang’s sumptuous local cuisine is also discovered on a 4-hour guided tour of street food stalls, either in the morning or evening, with a Penang-born food guide to connect with the local community. Alternatively take a trip to the highest peak of Penang Hill for a tree top nature walk and slice of cake and drinks at The Rooftop Café, with a stunning 360-degree panoramic view.
Priced US$662, the weekend stay also includes breakfast for two, airport transfer, complementary evening cocktails before dinner with a 10% discount at Indigo Restaurant.
South of Saigon, in the Mekong Delta, The Island Lodge invites travellers to experience authentic Vietnamese rural life of yesteryear, stepping back in time to explore local villages and famous floating markets.
With just 12 rooms, attentive service is akin to a small guesthouse, and a spa, 24-metre long swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and outdoor bar area complete this serene setting.
The weekend escape available from April 1-October 31 includes a 2-hour guide bike tour to discover the aromatic ‘Ile de la Licorice’, a French-Vietnamese dinner for two at restaurant Le Comptoir de Marthe et Édouard and "Sens of Aroma" massage for two.
Also including daily à la carte breakfast for two and free transfers from and to Saigon airport by private car, the two-night package for two is priced US$570.
“With local hosts who are passionate about their home, these beautiful Asian experiences are beyond the typical tourist trail,” said Secret Retreats Managing Director Stephane Junca. “Immersed in local culture, traditions, gastronomy and lifestyle, they are perfect places to experience and enjoy a real sense of place.”
To discover more, visit Secret Retreats at www.secret-retreats.com.
For reservations, please contact Secret Retreats at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Secret Retreats:
Secret Retreats is a collection of unique properties (boutique hotels, villas, boats and restaurants) throughout Asia. It is a community built by independent owners and chefs to share resources and ideas. Together, we offer our guests authentic travel experiences to the very heart of Asian culture and traditions. Our owners are vibrant advocates of their surroundings with the generosity to share special moments with travellers who are curious to experience and discover the “essence of Asia”. All properties, experiences and journeys also emphasise supporting local communities, environments and sustainability efforts in which they are based to ensure continued opportunities for both locals and travellers for years to come. Learn more at www.secret-retreats.com.