With border restrictions easing, hotels are rolling out the red carpet to receive travellers again. From idyllic resorts to city hotels, here are some choice accommodation for your next vacation 

Avani+Samui Resort, Thailand

Thailand is welcoming fully vaccinated international travellers to Koh Samui. For those who want some rest and relaxation, Avani+Samui Resort offers you accommodation on a secluded beach fringed by palm trees. Activities organised include kayaking where you can explore the beautiful blue bays and enjoy a picnic basket filled with sourdough bread, spreads and bubbly. Other fun things to do are cooking classes, kite-flying and workshops with a wellness consultant should you suffer from insomnia or find it hard to de-stress. 

The Datai Langkawi The Beach Club - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia

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If you don’t feel like hopping on a plane, you could simply drive up to Malaysia, our closest neighbour, to visit the many natural attractions it has. One of them is the beautiful The Datai Langkawi that is nestled in a 10 million-year-old virgin rainforest. The view from the rooms will take your breath away; imagine waking up to the sparkling blue waters of the Andaman Sea as well as the verdant green of the lush rainforest. The one- and two-bedroom beach villas offer complete privacy with private gardens and access to the beach as well as a full butler service that is perfectly designed to give you a dreamy vacation. 

Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives

After about two years of working from home, we all need to treat ourselves to a lavish getaway. Cheval Blanc Randheli takes guests on a sensorial journey that begins with a ride onboard a dhoni (traditional sailing vessel of the Maldives) whisking you off to spa island. What awaits is a menu of pampering massage treatments conceived by Guerlain. If you want to snorkel, Noonu Atoll’s tropical paradise offers underwater diving excursions showcasing the rich fauna and flora surrounding its shores. After the dive, you can opt for the After-Diving Experience, a soothing treatment that restores muscles after a day spent underwater.

La Esperanza Granada Spain - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

La Esperanza, Granada, Spain

The venue for those planning a destination wedding, La Esperanza is located in a private estate with eight guest suites so you can be sure of the best service. The 4.5ha property is filled with organic gardens, ancient orchards and olive groves. The hacienda-villa overlooks Lecrin Valley (named “Valley of Happiness” by Arab settlers hundreds of years ago), a picturesque region at the foothills of Sierra Nevada mountains.

This is what you will get for your wedding: numerous terraces, courtyards and gardens that provide a magical setting. Wedding parties will have full use of the main house with a master suite and up to seven en suite bedrooms in the guest wing, plus a wide range of indoor and outdoor venue options. In addition to the gorgeous landscaping details such as shaded pergolas and secluded gazebos, the estate also boasts a large swimming pool, infinity jacuzzi and tennis court. 

The Hari Hong Kong - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

The Hari Hong Kong

City sights and delicious Cantonese cuisine will require a good night’s rest and The Hari Hong Kong is the per- fect place to wind down after a day of adventure. Opened in December 2020, the hotel marries modern luxury and social dynamism by bridging the commercial pulse of Causeway Bay and the creative design scene of Wan Chai. The Hari Hong Kong creates a refined and personal guest experience by paying attention to every detail, no matter how small. The 30-storey hotel comprises 210 guest rooms including three signature rooftop suites showcasing design by Tara Bernerd, founder and CEO of Tara Bernerd & Partners, a leading international interior architecture and design practice based in London. 

Winter is coming - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

Winter is coming

Here’s the next big thing on two skis—and the gear you’ll need to try it.

By Gordy Megroz Bloomberg

“Uphilling,” the slightly masochistic practice of waking up before dawn and trekking up a mountain in special boots and skis before swooshing back down, was already gaining popularity among intrepid adventurers before Covid-19 lockdowns forced chairlifts to stop turning in early 2020.

 

Fast-forward 18 months, and the heart-pumping strategy to scoring first tracks has become such a phenomenon that many mountain resorts are betting it won’t go away. According to the National Ski Areas Association, 57% of the 462 ski areas in the U.S. now allow uphilling, up 27% from 10 years ago.

 

Although the pastime has been largely unregulated, Aspen Skiing Co., Winter Park Resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana, and a handful of others have started selling uphilling season tickets, charging guests a nominal fee to “earn their turns,” as enthusiasts put it. The sport is just one version of alpine touring, a catchall for climbing disciplines that also includes backcountry skiing, which focuses on accessing ungroomed, avalanche-prone slopes. Uphilling, by contrast, sticks to maintained trails within ski areas.

 

The proof that the sports are here to stay, however, is the market that’s grown around the gear, which is used by both the daredevils and their more conservative counterparts. That’s because it’s impossible to go uphilling without a few additions to a ski kit. Specifically, you need special bindings that unlock the heels of the boots from the skis to walk uphill, as well as compatible boots and nylon skins that coat the skis’ bottoms so they can glide forward (but not slip backward) when climbing. For snowboarders, brands such as Burton and Jones sell “splitboards,” which divide into skilike halves for the way up.

 

It may not be surprising that online sales of skins spiked in March 2020—a month when they were suddenly needed. But in November 2020, as winter sports enthusiasts were gearing up for a more normal season, U.S. sales of alpine-touring gear hit $10 million, up 132% from the year before. Over the course of the 2020-21 winter season, alpine touring equipment became a $91 million industry in the U.S.—a 122% jump from two years prior—according to market research company NPD Group.

 

Those numbers are largely driven by people who are staying in bounds. “Five years ago, most people were looking for gear to take into the backcountry,” says Doug Stenclik, co-owner of Cripple Creek Backcountry, a sporting goods store with four locations in Colorado. “Now the vast majority of people coming into the shops are uphilling at a resort.”

 

That’s likely to continue as more ski areas greenlight uphilling and more people catch on to its many advantages: It’s relatively inexpensive, gives a turbocharged cardio workout, and doesn’t require waiting in long lines. Maybe best of all, the practice can yield exclusive run of the slopes—if you get started early enough.

 

Resorts aren’t planning on making significant money off uphill ski passes, at least not all of a sudden. Eldora Mountain, near Boulder, Colo., led the field by becoming one of the first resorts to sell uphill passes when it did so in 2016. At $199 for the season, it charges one of the highest prices for them. (They’re valid for certain days of the week starting at 7 a.m., two hours before the lifts start spinning.)

 

For most resorts, though, this move to legitimize the activity is less of a revenue play and more of a way to deflect liability if uphillers get injured. “Signing the waiver used to be on the honor system,” says Jen Miller, communication manager for Colorado’s Winter Park, which charges just $15 for a season uphilling pass. “Now, when people buy a pass, they sign a waiver.”

 

Aspen Skiing Co., likewise, added a season pass for uphilling this year for a still-modest fee of $69. “Uphillers use our bathrooms and parking lots and other facilities,” says Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications. “It helps offset costs, but we’re not profiting off it.”