LuxeGetaways Magazine – Spring 2017 | When starting to plan for your next romantic getaway, we like to know that you can look beyond the standard options out there and discover unique travel experiences that you can share with your loved ones. For the spring travel season, we have uncovered three very distinctive getaway opportunities that we know you will love.
Fiji: Unplug and Unwind at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
Looking for a romantic South Pacific vacation getaway far from the rest of the world? We suggest the award-winning, five-star resort on the island of Vanua Levu. And yes, here you can enjoy a romantic vacation with the kids tagging along.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort’s 25 spacious individual bures (Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut/cabin) are traditional thatched Fijian guestrooms with private decks and ocean or garden views. Want to unplug? There are no in-room telephones or televisions. Want something grand? The Villa is a luxurious bure that features a master suite, private indoor/outdoor patio with infinity pool, Jacuzzi tub, waterfall and outdoor showers totaling more than 2,000 square feet (610 square meters).
The Cousteau family members are pioneers in earth and ocean conservation. Located in a marine protected area, the resort practices recycling and composting, the utilization of low energy lighting, solar panels on water heaters, and uses environmentally friendly chemicals in the laundry and kitchen. The construction timber comes from certified-renewable forests, and the restaurant menu does not include reef fish or farmed prawns. The seas provide the fish served for dinner, the trees produce coconuts, rainwater flows from the tap in the bures, and an organic garden grows food for the table. Pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, and guava are all part of the edible landscaping.
Want to jump-start your relaxation? Enjoy your spa treatments in your bure, or in the resort’s beachside spa bures. Desire an active vacation or enjoy exploring? Here, you can get active and try snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, tennis, volleyball, excursions to a tropical rainforest and world-class scuba diving.
Kids will love it here! The Bula Club is a complimentary children’s program with a schedule of fun activities for toddlers to adolescents. The fun is endless with rock pool exploration, hiking and glass-bottom boat excursions with the resort’s full-time Fijian naturalist/marine biologist, Johnny Singh. The Lei Lei Bula Club Program is for children up to the age of five; the Marau Bula Club Program is for ages 6 to 12; and every child under the age of five is assigned to a designated nanny (at a ratio of 1:1) for their entire stay at no extra charge. Parents rejoice!
Why is Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort a good value? In addition to the Bula Club, there is also complimentary morning yoga, all meals, bottled non-alcoholic beverages, specialty tea and coffee, Wi-Fi, most activities and round-trip transportation between the resort and Savusavu Airport. Each week guests can also enjoy the Lovo, a traditional Fijian feast cooked in the resort’s ground oven and served buffet style.
Hawaii: Experience Old Hawaii at Ko`a Kea Hotel & Resort
The Poipu Beach area on Kaua’i has the distinction of offering endless days of sunshine, powdery sand beaches, abundant marine life, dramatic lava cliffs, varying accommodation types and great local food. It is the perfect beach getaway; and in the middle of everything, Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort is a little secret LuxeGetaways wants to share with you.
Longing for a quiet stay in a smaller resort with that “old Hawaii” feel and design, while enjoying all the desired modern amenities? Ko’a Kea is the place for you.
The low-rise grouping of buildings mandated by Kaua’i law not to be taller than the tallest coconut tree, are only steps from the ocean. Clustered around a saltwater swimming pool replete with thatched hut sit-down bar, the 121 spacious accommodations sparkle with island inspired contemporary design.
The reason a place like Ko’a Kea still exists is that it was the former Poipu Beach Hotel. It was a favorite of kama’inas (local Hawaii residents) that was built in the 1960’s – the last decade before the mega resorts came to Hawaii. Devastated by hurricane Iniki in 1992, it sat deteriorating for years until a new owner rebuilt it using the same footprint. After another change of hands (and another major renovation), this boutique hotel now perfectly recaptures the charm of yesteryear.
Tip: Oceanfront Suites are the best solutions if you want to feel like you live in Hawaii. They have a spacious bedroom, separate living room, wide oceanfront lanai with a chaise lounge, a huge bathroom with both a shower and large soaking tub made for two (all other rooms only have showers). The Spa at Ko’a Kea offers romantic in-suite baths for couples that use local salt, clay, flowers, herbs and exotic nut oils. During the whale migration, the suites also come equipped with a telescope for spotting humpback whales as they migrate to Kaua’i for breeding and birthing.
For this room type, there is a “Suite Escapes” package offered that includes a complimentary fourth night, daily breakfast for two and waived resort fee. The free fourth night is perfect since you will want to stay as long as possible!
Greece: Feel Right at Home at Elia Suites Eratini
Most travelers visiting Greece are familiar with two places: Athens and Santorini. But there is a whole country to explore, and you should make it a priority to do so. After you arrive to Athens airport, it is easiest to rent a car. In less than 3 hours you will be in the seaside village of Eratini – and less than a mile down the road are Elia Suites, an elegantly chic (but casual) property with the most divinely talented owners.
Elia Suites was “born” as the sun was setting one day in 2009, according to owner Anna Karabellou. “We were lying on the beach late in the afternoon, enchanted by the purple skies. I thought the view was something that everyone should see so I grabbed a napkin and sketched how the houses would be built in order for every guest to enjoy this view – it all started here with no architects or training; but with pure inspiration in that moment.”
Walking from your luxurious little house towards Aura Beach, you will discover Aura Café, which is a fanciful lounging area with furniture groupings, exotic plants and large art pieces. Anna and Panos live on the property so they think of this as simply being an extension of their living room. They offer coffee, breakfast snacks and drinks (and soon their own in-house chef will provide “fresh delicacies from the sea” she tells LuxeGetaways).
Here, you are just part of the family… a very cool family. Elia (which means olives) Suites is on Anna’s family land, so it is quite precious to her. She explains, “I spent my childhood summer holidays here – I love this place and used to play hide and seek among the olive trees with my friends, so I try to provide everything I can to inspire the same sense of being carefree to my guests.”
Elia Suites is open year-round so you can enjoy the ski season in Arachova less than an hour away, or have fun in the sun. Katina is a favorite restaurant across the sea in Eratini Village, which has the freshest fish and seafood. And if you are lucky, Yiayia (grandmother) will come out of the kitchen and give you a kiss. For the adventurous cooks, there are numerous markets filled with fresh seafood and ingredients to inspire your next great dish.
If a truly relaxing stay in a laid-back beachfront location with spectacular surroundings interests you, book immediately. There are only a few houses at Elia Suites, and word is spreading fast.
Tip: The website can be difficult to navigate after you click “English” so it is best to email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. For a special treat, ask Anna to also arrange a day cruise to the uninhabited islands in the area.