New Year, New You

With 2020 nearly at a close, we’ve rounded up our top picks to start the new year fighting fit. From at home workout with Bulldog Online Yoga, to braving the cold waters in Cornwall and hiking in Montenegro, there is something for those wanting to hit the ground running this year (even if they choose to do so in the spa).

Find your flow with Bulldog Online Yoga

Bulldog Online is revitalising the fitness journey this New Year. Every year is the same, the ‘New-Year-New-Mes’ flock to the gyms, saturating every classes on offer. This year there is no need to fight the crowds with Bulldog Yoga helping budding yogis shake off 2020 and work up a sweat in the comfort of your own home. With the seal of approval from Gwyneth Paltrow, who has credited her impressive physique to online yoga streaming platform Bulldog Yoga,this is perfect antidote to the January blues.

The membership runs on a monthly, no contract basis and is just $12.99 (£10.45) per month.

Carlisle Bay Launches a Series of Integrative Health Retreats

Carlisle Bay, a luxury resort looking out over white sand, palm trees and turquoise water, with a backdrop of emerald green rainforest. Sophisticated and contemporary in style, this laid-back Caribbean resort has launched a series of individualised health retreats, including:

  • Initial Health Consultation
  • Daily Sunrise and Sunset Meditation
  • Morning Vinyasa Flow Practice
  • Evening Gentle & Restorative Yoga with Pranayama
  • 2 x Holistic Therapies (Physiotherapy / Acupuncture /Massage / Reiki)
  • Stunning Walks in Nature

Being on retreat is the perfect opportunity to immerse into nature as well as reflect on our own internal landscape and tuning in to the chakras provides the perfect gateway to restore inner harmony and balance. The living philosophy of yoga will be experienced through embodiment and reflection. The morning practices will offer more dynamic practices to invigorate for the day, whereas the afternoons will be reserved for slower flow, restorative practice, meditation and yoga nidra.

Retreats will start from 23 – 30 January 2021 and run on selected dates throughout the year. Integrative Health Retreats will start from US$ 4,300 (approx.. £3,218) per person for a 7-night stay in an Ocean Suite on an all-inclusive basis.

St Michaels Resort Launches Wild Sea Swimming Retreats

St Michaels Resort in Falmouth is diving into 2021 with a new series of ‘Wild Sea Swimming Retreats’ – embracing the numerous mental and physical health benefits associated with cold water swimming including boosting your immune system, reducing stress and improving circulation. In partnership with Swim Lab, each retreat will be led by swim guru and expert coach Salim Ahmed, spanning Friday to Sunday.

Retreats will run from 14 – 16 May, 16 – 18 July and 1 – 3 October 2021. Cold Water Swimming retreats with St Michaels Resort will start from £445 per person based on bed & breakfast basis in a Classic King room and will include a 3-course dinner at The Brasserie on the Bay on the first night.

Get Active in Montenegro with Regent

For globetrotters wanting to immerse themselves in the extraordinary destination of Montenegro, but not to leave their fitness regimes at home, we suggest the new Active Montenegro package from Regent Porto Montenegro which includes:

  • Outdoor guided organic fitness sessions, with stunning views of Boka Bay, at the luxurious new Porto Montenegro Yacht Club Beach
  • Guided hiking from Krstac to Kotor offering spectacular views of the bay and coast followed by picnic (healthy picnic basket provided) at a picturesque location
  • A scenic biking session along the UNESCO protected Kotor bay road dotted with old stone villages
  • Complimentary sports activities and use of sports equipment including swimming, running, yoga mat, stand up paddle boards and bicycles – available on request
  • Rest and regenerate with a Contrast Bathing session, a combination of cold and hot water to aid muscle soreness, at the award-winning Regent Spa and use of the hammam, sauna and ice shower

The Active Montenegro package starts from *€399 per person, for three-nights based on double occupancy and includes activities listed inclusive of a healthy picnic basket, return transfers to hiking and cycling locations, accommodation in a Deluxe Room, access to the Regent Spa, daily breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Feel Good Escape at La Reserve Geneva

With stunning views of the Alps on the shores of Lake Geneva sits La Réserve Geneva Hotel & Spa. A fully-fledged luxury resort set in 10 acres of beautiful parkland, it is perfectly suited for spa-goers and those who want a relaxing escape.

Home to the world’s first Spa Nescens, a destination medi-spa, guests can receive advice and treatments from a team of therapists, coaches and medical specialists with expertise in the reams of better-ageing. From daily treatments to week-long retreats, Spa Nescens offers an array of experiences for couples and groups to reconnect and recharge their physical, emotional and mental health, at their own pace.

The Feel Good Escape programme from Spa Nescens at La Réserve Geneva isa 3-day escape from the daily routine and a chance for guests to let go and freely enjoy the exceptional environment around them. Whether solo, as a couple or with friends, it is a chance to reconnect and recharge guests’ physical, mental and emotional batteries at their own pace. A balance of health, fitness and relaxation, the programme includes:

  • Signature spa treatments including a 90-minute massage and 60-minute facial
  • Two two-hour yoga sessions
  • A sunrise walk or snowshoe trail with a mountain guide with a meditation session at the peak of the mountain
  • A two-hour fitness session with a personal coach

The Feel Good Escape programme starts from 1,690 CHF (approx. £1,390) per person for two nights, excluding lunches and dinners.

Experience the very best in spa from around the world at Cottonmill

Situated just 20-minutes from Kings Cross but a world away, Cottonmill Spa features a selection of the world’s best spa experiences and treatments direct from Japan, Switzerland, California and more. To provide guests with the ultimate global spa experience all under one roof, the team behind Cottonmill Spa travelled the world to research, sample and import the experiences to the UK. 

From Alpine infinity pools and German thermal baths to hillside medi-spas, Himalayan wellness retreats and Moroccan riads to Japanese sleep pods and cliff top Californian spas, Cottonmill has taken inspiration from around the world to create a world class facility combining relaxation, connection with nature and restoration of the senses.

Book the Two Night Club Rendezvouz package which includes:

  • Two night’s accommodation
  • 2 x 60 minute Premium or Classic treatments
  • Three course dinner in The Restaurant one night
  • Three course dinner in The Brasserie on other night
  • Lunch in The Pantry on day of arrival or departure
  • Use of all spa facilities including Cottonmill and The Club – Spa Gardens, Deep Relaxation Room, Whisper Room and Garden Room from 12 noon on arrival day to 11am on departure day, bedroom check in is from 3pm.
  • A full and hearty breakfast buffet both mornings
  • Robe, towel and slippers

Price from £649.00 per person (based on two people sharing)

Let The Festivities Commence: Our Top Picks for a Seasonal Getaway

With Christmas just weeks away, we’ve rounded up our top picks for a luxurious, stress-free December. From wintry walks in the Cairngorms to roaring fires in the Cotswolds and a wellness escape on the Cornish coast, make this festive season one to remember.

City Celebrations

ONE ALDWYCH

London comes alive at Christmas and this year will be no different. Experience the magic of the holiday season with the chance to shop at the capital’s flagship stores and independent boutiques. From the beautifully decked out Covent Garden market with its 60-foot Christmas tree, adorned with over 30,000 lights to the Choose Love charity-inspired lights of Carnaby Street, it simply is the most wonderful time of the year.

Equally as dazzling, One Aldwych’s Lobby Bar has been transformed with a glittering tree and the elegant, golden-edged entrance warmly welcomes visitors. The exclusive Love London Christmas package includes a delicious Christmas cocktail or warming glass of mulled wine with a homemade mince pie, as well as a luxurious gift from local perfumery, Floral Street, to take home. Festive stays are made even better with an indulgent full English breakfast, a guaranteed upgrade, early check-in, leisurely late check-out, use of the Health Club with 18-metre swimming pool and 24-hour gym, and complimentary car parking.

Countryside Traditions

THE FIFE ARMS

This winter, The Fife Arms is bringing the swiss Alps to Braemar, transforming into an alpine inspired winter wonderland with a Scottish twist. For the ultimate alpine experience, guests can head to Glenshee, a 3,540ft mountain that beckons skiers and snowboarders alike. The Fife Arms Courtyard will be beautifully decorated with Christmas garlands and lit with firepits, for guests to sit cosily and enjoy festive gluhwein with roasted chestnuts. Traditional fondue’s will be served in The Fog House, The Clunie Dining Room will be transformed into a festive tearoom, serving a Swiss inspired afternoon tea featuring Christmas Stollen and gingerbread ‘Ghillies’, (we are in Scotland after all) and in The Library, delicious Sprungli chocolate will be paired with a dram of whisky. Overflowing with festive cheer, the pop-up Beer Tent on Invercauld Green will be illuminated by fire torches and dressed with tartan blankets and sheepskin throws, where guests can share stories with the locals over a warm mug of gluhwein or pint of beer.

On New Year’s Eve, guests can indulge in champagne and canapes, followed by a four course dinner in The Clunie Dining Room and a New Year’s Eve piping performance in the garden, all rounded off with fireworks at midnight.

SOPWELL HOUSE

Deep in the rolling Hertfordshire hills, with crackling open fires, twinkling lights and trees laden with glittering baubles, Sopwell House is offering guests a luxurious home-away-from-home for the holidays. Capturing the true magic of Christmas, the Traditional Residential Package ensures guests never go hungry, from delicious treats prepared by the talented pastry chefs to gastronomic delights served in the restaurants, and entertainment to amuse the whole family. Ring in the New Year in style with the Traditional New Year’s Package, a spectacular 7-course feast with wine pairing, Champagne, and a live DJ in the St Albans Suite. For an extra special celebration, the Indulgent New Year’s Package invites guests to a formal 7-course dinner in the elegant Restaurant, accompanied by a live duet performing throughout the evening and full access to The Club at Cottonmill’s state-of-the-art facilities.

CALCOT HOTEL & SPA

For a family-friendly Christmas, Calcot Hotel & Spa is the ideal Cotswold getaway. Offering three days packed full of festivities including champagne and mince pies on arrival, a champagne breakfast on Christmas morning, traditional Christmas lunch and walks around the 220 acres of beautiful green fields and rewilded meadowlands. At Calcot, New Year is a relaxed country house party with fine food, champagne and excellent wines. Relax at the Spa, curl up by the fire, or explore the countryside. On arrival, indulge in a delicious Afternoon Tea before taking a brisk walk in the grounds or hunker down with a good book. On New Year’s Eve, usher in a hopeful and happier 2021 with a delicious feast created by Executive Chef Richard Davies and his team and a glass or two of something bubbly. Spend New Year’s Day relaxing in the Spa or head out for a walk and dose of fresh air.

THE PAINSWICK

A picture-perfect 18th century Palladian pile in the Cotswolds, The Painswick is the perfect place for a snug countryside escape. Its 16 sweet and stylish bedrooms enjoy stunning valley views and the buzzing bar serves creative cocktails and a bold restaurant menu packed with local produce. This Christmas, guests are invited to stay for a three-night break, with freshly baked cakes, a cup of tea and glass of Champagne on arrival. Waking up bright and early on Christmas morning, breakfast will be served with a glass of Bucks Fizz to start the day in style. Following an indulgent five-course Christmas Day feast, the Queen’s Speech will be shown in the Games room, to honour tradition. Spend the afternoon playing family-favourite board games or relax in the lounge with a G&T. On Boxing Day, enjoy a leisurely lie in and devour a delicious brunch. Later that evening, dine like royalty with a three-course dinner and glass of Champagne, with Chef’s specialities in abundance. Happily bid farewell to 2020 with an unforgettable night at The Painswick. Begin the evening with Champagne and canapes followed by a palate pleasing five-course feast with live entertainment from a jazz trio – toe tapping is encouraged but no dancing on tables this year. On New Year’s Day, indulge in a hearty hangover curing breakfast, go for a stroll to take advantage of the fresh Cotswold air and kick back and relax in one of the cosy lounges.

ST MICHAELS RESORT

Escape to the coast this winter for a blissful seaside break. St Michaels Resort, Falmouth is a luxurious spa resort with the South West’s largest hydrothermal pool and the world’s only Cornish sea-salt steam room. Beyond the pool, the south-facing Spa Gardens are complete with a red cedar hot tub and Finnish barrel sauna. Burn off the Christmas treats with a bracing walk from Gyllyngvase to Maenporth Beach, take a revitalising sea-swim (something of a yuletide tradition in Cornwall!), enjoy a spot of shopping on Falmouth’s historic harbourside streets or kick back, relax and unwind in the luxury Cornish spa.

For those looking to recharge after the Holiday excitement, a Twixmas Break is the perfect opportunity to unwind for a night or two before the New Year, as well as an excuse to keep feasting, relaxing and enjoying all things merry and bright. The generous and cosy breaks include accommodation, complimentary swim and Health Club access, a full Cornish breakfast and 3-course dinner each day with views of Falmouth Bay in Brasserie on the Bay.

Ring in the New Year with a fabulous five-course tasting menu and copious amounts of fizz on New Year’s Eve before relaxing into the luxurious surroundings of the resort on New Year’s Day. Banish the cobwebs with a stroll along one of Falmouth’s beautiful beaches or rejuvenating trip to the spa before indulging in a legendary Roast Lunch with seaside views.

5 Social Media Trends to Keep an Eye out for 2021

If there’s one key lesson 2020 has taught us, it’s that brands need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital trends to remain relevant in an increasingly online world. While the past few months have shown us just how unpredictable life can be, there are some clear emerging trends to keep an eye out for in 2021 if you’re looking to up your online presence…

1. Socially Conscious Marketing

Socially conscious marketing is nothing new, however the devastating repercussions of Covid-19 have emphasised a global need for humanity and compassion. As neighbours came to the aid of isolated community members and households across the nation clapped in support of the NHS, the spotlight soon turned to businesses as consumer expectations surrounding brand ethics soared. Research suggests as much as 53% of consumers now look for brands with strong sustainability credentials – compared to just 37% in 2015.

As we move into the new year, brands will need to go beyond the traditional brand-consumer relationship, connecting with customers on a more human level. One brand who did a great job of socially conscious marketing at the outset of the pandemic is BrewDog, who paused their in-house production of craft beer in order to make hand sanitiser, which was then delivered via their distribution vans to hospitals and NHS keyworkers up and down the country.

2. Short Form Video

This year, we’ve seen short-form video content dominating our screens. From Tik-Tok to Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlight to IG Stories and now even Youtube Shorts, we expect that the demand for short-form is only set to increase as we enter into 2021.

These engaging, easily digestible videos provide snackable content that goes beyond your polished social media feed and helps keep you front of mind. Requiring minimal time commitments and just a smartphone, embracing the new age of video content has never been easier!

3. Nostalgia Marketing

Following an emotionally challenging year, it’s no surprise that more and more consumers are seeking content that helps to make them feel good and evoke happier memories. With this is mind, we expect nostalgia marketing to be a key marketing tactic in 2021 and beyond, as brands look to reignite the good times through association. A great example of nostalgia marketing is Coca-Cola’s famous ‘Share it Forward’ campaign, which brought back their iconic 20-ounce glass bottles with the hope of reenergizing the nostalgic packaging with consumers and subsequently driving sales.

4. Live Video Streaming

Widespread lockdowns and social distancing measures left many people craving the next best thing to real life interaction – live-stream video content. While we know that the reality of ‘Zoom-fatigue’ is rampant, there’s still no denying the effectiveness of a well-executed live video. Live-stream content is a great way to allow audiences to interact with their favourite people and brands in real time, however this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared. Before hitting that ‘Live’ button make sure you’ve thought out the purpose of your video – is it educational, is it showing something they haven’t seen before, is it bringing key people to the forefront of your brand? Also think about how you can promote your live before it happens to ensure it gets the traction it deserves – have you launched a countdown, do people know when and what time it’s happening and on what channel? Be sure to give your followers all the information they need and consistently remind them to tune in.

5. Innovative Ecommerce

Social media has never been just about likes or popularity. It’s always been about driving brand awareness and increasing leads and sales through visual storytelling. As we head into 2021, more social media platforms are putting a major focus on eCommerce and we expect that the brands embracing these innovative solutions will come out on top.

From shoppable tags on Stories to checking out directly via the Instagram app, social media has become the new storefront and it’s never been easier for consumers to make a purchase. Be ready to embrace a new wave of eCommerce developments such as live-stream promotions and purchasing options, and new eCommerce integrations within apps – facilitating more immediate purchase behaviour in response to your social media posts.

andBeyond Travel Live Panel: What is the Impact of Covid-19 on Conservation in Africa?

On Tuesday 17th November 2020, conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond brought together a range of industry leaders in wildlife conservation and biodiversity, led by Dr Sue Snyman, an expert in ecotourism and environmental education. The panel discussed the impact of Covid-19 on conservation, and shared thoughtful insights on how we can best care for Africa’s biodiversity whilst simultaneously balancing the needs of its rural populations. Here’s a short summary of what we learned…

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON WILDLIFE & OCEAN CONSERVATION

The biggest takeaway from the discussion, reinforced by each member of the panel, was just how much of an impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on conservation in Africa. This comes as no surprise, seeing as travel and tourism consistently remain one of the key growth drivers of Africa’s economy, contributing around 8% of annual GDP. With travel restrictions bringing tourism to a standstill, it was inevitable that the effects would be felt across the continent. This sad truth was underscored by Drew McVey, WWF’s East Africa Wildlife Crime Technical Advisor, who said that GDP for East Africa is forecasted to drop 4.6% in 2020, a devastatingly huge loss.

Barry Mthembu, andBeyond Phinda’s Habitat Manager, responsible for all aspects of conservation at the Phinda Reserve, highlighted the threat to conservation efforts posed by a lack of revenue. As a Private Reserve, Phinda relies on guests to generate a revenue stream, but with government guidelines forcing the lodges to close, this revenue has been lost entirely. Even prior to the global pandemic, Africa’s conservation areas were struggling for finance, with many protected areas sadly underfunded.

Luckily, Barry was able to share some good news, drawing attention to the strong relationship Phinda share with their local community, providing many locals with employment. When the pandemic struck, there were serious concerns that widespread unemployment caused by loss of jobs in the tourism industry would give rise to an increase in poaching and other illegal activities on the reserve, carried out by locals seeking alternative sources of income. Thankfully, this worrying prediction did not come to be, and Barry accredits this to the relationship between the reserve and the local communities, which has ensured local families continue to protect and preserve the wildlife of Phinda, despite the circumstances.

The panel also discussed the repercussions of the global pandemic on ocean wildlife, emphasising the consequences of rising levels of single use plastic, much of which sadly ends up in our oceans. As Covid-19 cases rose, global oil prices dropped, prompting a mass increase in plastic production due to the usage of oil as a vital ingredient in its production. This, combined with an increased demand for plastic to produce PPE and disposable facemasks, has given rise to new form of plastic pollution caused by the bi-products of Covid-19.

HOW WE CAN CONTINUE TO CARE FOR THE CONTINENT’S BIODIVERISTY WHILST BALANCING THE URGENT NEEDS OF ITS RURAL POPULATIONS

Looking to the future, it is clear that there is a delicate balance to be achieved between meeting the urgent needs of Africa’s rural communities whilst continuing to protect the continent’s delicate ecosystem. The two go hand in hand, for if the wildlife of Africa’s conservation areas is thriving, tourism will increase and create more job opportunities for locals.

Fran Read, Global Media Manager of African Parks, a non-governmental organisation focused on conservation in South Africa, emphasised the importance of not compromising on conservation efforts in a bid to help the economy recover. As travel restrictions ease, there may be temptation to maximise tourism in order to escalate income and restore the economy. However, it is crucial that tourism brands in Africa remain mindful of the toll that high levels of tourists take on the delicate ecosystems of Africa’s game reserves, and keep this at the forefront of their minds when resuming tourism activity.

With hopes of 2021 being a brighter year for travel, we look forward to seeing Africa’s tourism industry re-opening safely and responsibly, integrating local communities into the re-opening of conservation areas in a collaborative, and mutually beneficial effort to get Africa’s tourism industry back on its feet.

To watch the full episode and to learn more about the expert panel, head to the andBeyond website: https://bit.ly/3o364am

BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY DEALS

From luxurious spa days and countryside retreats to European getaways and bucket-list trips, we’ve rounded up our favourite Black Friday travel offers.

50% OFF THE RESIDENCE MALDIVES AT DHIGURAH

For those craving a haven of unparalleled peace and relaxation, The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah are offering up to 50% off best available rates in their Black Friday sale.

Book between 21st November and 4th December for stays valid until 31st December 2021. This offer starts from $588 USD per night (approx. £446) and includes complimentary domestic flight & speedboat return transfers, complimentary room upgrade and an all-inclusive meal plan.

For more information, visit www.cenizaro.com 

25% OFF WITH THE CALCOT COLLECTION

Boutique hotel group, The Calcot Collection, are offering 25% off overnight vouchers (excluding spa breaks) for all four of their countryside properties – Calcot & Spa, Barnsley House, The Painswick and The Lord Crewe Arms . The perfect excuse to treat a loved one to a night away or indulge in 24hrs of self-care.

For more information, visit www.calcotcollection.co.uk

25% OFF AT SOPWELL HOUSE

Just a short 20-minute train from central London, Sopwell House in Hertfordshire is the ultimate luxurious post lockdown destination for couples, friends or those needing some alone time, focusing on indulgence and seclusion.

The Club at Cottonmill Spa Day Offer’ starts from £171.38 and is available Monday – Thursday or Sunday. It includes use of the exclusive The Club at Cottonmill facilities from 9am – 6pm, a 60 minute Classic treatment and a delicious three course lunch in the Pantry, accompanies with a glass of wine or prosecco. The voucher is valid for 4 months from purchase date.

For more information, visit www.sopwellhouse.co.uk

UP TO 60% OFF SPANISH ESCAPES WITH THE BARCELÓ HOTEL GROUP

Guests heading to Barcelo’s Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel and Royal Hideaway Corales Resort’s can enjoy up to 50% off, with up to an extra 10% discount for the My Barcelo customers, early check-in and a discount on services at the hotel. Offer is valid for booking made from the 16th-29th November 2020 and for stays from 16th November 2020 to the end of 2021.

For more information, visit www.barcelo.com

20% OFF 7 WONDERS IN 7 DAYS WITH ANDBEYOND

For Cyber Monday 2020, andBeyond is offering a 20% discount on a selection of private and immersive 7 Wonders in 7 Days itineraries that promise to take you on a journey to some of the world’s most iconic wild places. These itineraries have been specially created to ensure you won’t lose time travelling between multiple destinations. A longer stay, in one destination, means that you can enjoy more time reconnecting with yourself, your loved ones, and the natural world.

andBeyond’s Cyber Monday deal includes 20% discount on  the following journeys: 7 Wonders in 7 Days at Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa, 7 Wonders in 7 Days on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, 7 Wonders in 7 Days at Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve, Namibia and 7 Wonders in 7 Days at Vira Vira, Patagonia, Chile. The offer is valid for travel on any dates up until 15 December 2021 and the booking enquiry must be received on Cyber Monday, 30 November 2020.

For more information and full terms and conditions, visit www.andbeyond.com