There’s nothing more deflating than heading back to work after the build up to a jam packed festive season and long Christmas break, so this month, we’re visiting the top places to beat the New Year blues. Whether you’re looking for a weekend European break, a week on a hot beach, a mountain to skii down or a swanky New York shopping spree we’ve got it covered thanks to Secret Escapes.
Five-star luxury in sight of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Once the much-loved summer spa residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco Stefano of Lorena, Bagni di Pisa was famous across the region and attracted the great and the good of 18th-century Tuscan society. Today, it’s a masterpiece of loving restoration, offering five-star luxury, a keen sense of history and an element of intuitive contemporary design. Unsurprisingly, it scooped a coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
It’s located close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. So close in fact, you can even see it in the distance. However, it’s not just the view that makes this place so special - the hotel sits on top of several thermal springs dating back to Roman times, and offers a full-spa service experience with one of the most extensive treatment menus around. Inside the hotel, it’s a feast for the eyes, with 18th-century interiors, vaulted ceilings and marble floors. In the restaurant, it’s a feast of an entirely different kind - the unmissable, delectable, Italian kind.
From £129.00 per night
London - Pisa from £32
Hudson New York - a super hip, legendary New York Hotel with Philippe Starck interiors.
A glowing beacon for what's effortlessly cool and chic in Gotham City, The Hudson New York is one seriously hip hotspot. Begin your stay through an electrifying entrance and ascend the neon yellow escalator to a dimly-lit lobby with exposed brick walls covered in ivy. Designed by Philippe Starck, this boutique bolt-hole perfectly marries converted industrial architecture with grand, Art Nouveau interiors.
Although Hudson New York is a stone's throw from some of the city's most iconic landmarks, there's plenty to do right at the hotel. Make like a swanky New Yorker at the sophisticated Library Bar, grab a bite and a craft beer at Hudson Common, or soak up some sun while admiring views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty on the hotel's rooftop terrace.
From £67.00 per night
London to JFK from £251
Park Hyatt Zanzibar - A luxury hotel with a blissful beach-front location.
Contemporary comforts meet 17th-century style at this blissful beachfront resort, set right by the water in Zanzibar's Stone Town. Park Hyatt Zanzibar fuses a typical Zanzibari mansion with an up-to-date additional building so guests can enjoy the best of both worlds. The old and the new seamlessly combine here, with gilded mirrors, carved wooden furniture and traditional fabrics bestowing a unique elegance throughout.
The ideal retreat for those in search of total relaxation and simple luxury, Park Hyatt Zanzibar boasts an authentic spa, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a beach-facing infinity pool with mesmerising sea views. You'll also find impeccable guest rooms, each with their own private balcony, and a selection of restaurants and bar lounges designed around the mansion's original rooms.
From £221.00 per night
London - Abeid Amani Karume International from £457
Five-star Andorra Ski Holiday with half board, all travel & ski pass to Grandvalira
Wedged between France and Spain, Andorra packs a lot of skiing and shopping into its picturesque Pyrenees location. For the best of both, the five-star Hotel Plaza Andorra has you covered thanks to its Andorra la Vella address at the heart of the action. You'll also find the Perfume Museum and Caldea Spa within walking distance from here, if you prefer a spot of pampering to the fresh white powder.
Not that the Hotel Plaza Andorra hasn't got plenty of that too, thanks to its own spa complete with hot and cold water circuit. Comfortable lounges with designer touches from Paul Smith and guest rooms promising fresh flowers and lightweight linens add to the relaxing atmosphere, while the cafeteria's impressive coffee selection provides the perfect post-powder pick-me-up. For something more substantial, there's a restaurant serving gourmet local produce, too.
From £529.00 per person for 5 nights including flights
For more Secret Escapes visit www.secretescapes.com
Feature in The Journal, January 2017