Forget listing your resolutions – the start of the New Year only calls for one thing and that’s some holiday planning. With 11 public holidays and four long weekends set for 2018, it’s time to dust off that planner and start looking at destinations that take you away from your office cubicle.
Island hop your way around our islets
Perfect for a 2D1N holiday
Thailand and Indonesia aren’t the only countries with beautiful offshore islands. We have our own islets to show off too – five to be exact – and it’s all less than an hour away from the mainland. Go back to our kampong days at Pulau Ubin, enter cat lover’s heaven and meet the feline residents of St John’s Island, and get your Insta-worthy beach vacay shots at Lazarus Island.
WHERE TO STAY Be one with nature and pack a tent or a sleeping bag – some of these islands have designated camping grounds where you can stay overnight and sleep under the stars. Check with each island for its permit.
Check into the beautiful beaches of Bintan
Perfect for a 3D2N holiday
Only a three-hour boat ride away, Bintan offers white sandy beaches that are so soft you’d think you’re on the shores of a French Polynesian island. You won’t encounter hoards of tourists here either, so you can pretend you’re on a private beach all you like. Other than water sports, the Indonesian island also boasts world-renowned golf courses and ATV rides for adrenaline junkies.
WHERE TO STAY The Banyan Tree Resort offers luxurious treetop villas and a body pampering session at its award-winning spa. Restaurants on dry land too mainstream for you? Have dinner on a ‘kelong’ (a wooden offshore platform built on water) and indulge in a seafood spread.
Go on an epic journey to Westeros
Perfect for a 10D9N holiday
It looks like the final season of HBO hit television drama Game of Thrones is only set to return in 2019. And with a whole year to fill, why not go all out and visit the grounds where Jon Snow, Arya and Daenerys once walked? Make a trip to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland and immerse yourself in the fantasy world as you tour spots used as backdrops for Winterfell and The Stormlands. If you’ve got the luck of the Irish, you might even catch the stars in action.
WHERE TO STAY Complete the trip by checking in at the swanky Malmaison Belfast. Housed in a former warehouse, the hotel is located at the corner of the bustling Victoria Street.
No time to hop on a plane to paradise? These hotels are the perfect escape from your busy schedule
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway then Andaz Singapore should fit the bill. Set in the vibrant arts and cultural district of Bras Basah Bugis, the hotel features a sleek façade and houses more than 300 rooms. Each room’s furnished with a warm colour palette and comes with free wifi. And you don’t have to go far to enjoy date night – sip on cocktails at its rooftop bar Mr Stork while you enjoy a view of the city’s skyline or head over to Alley on 25 to indulge in atas Singaporean street food.
Can’t leave your work behind? Then get those creative juices flowing in a different environment at Yotel. Inspired by first-class airline travel, the luxurious yet affordable accommodation dubs its rooms as ‘cabins’, which are all fitted with a smart bed that allows you to adjust its position to your liking. Get work done at its co-working studio or sweat the stress out at its 24-hour gym that features equipment like a rowing machine and treadmills.
Sticking out in the midst of shophouses along Little India is Park Hotel Farrer Park. It offers five different types of lofts, including the Superior room and the Crystal Club room. But splash some cash on its Premier Loft, a duplex space that fits the entire family, complete with a sofa bed, high-speed internet and a rain shower. Have a feast at its halal certified restaurant Blue Jasmine as it whips up authentic Thai dishes like green curry and prawn tom yum.
Everything about this hotel is stylish. From its exterior down to the design of each room, the Courtyard by Marriot Singapore Novena exudes modern chic. Equipped with cable TV and premium movie channels, the rooms here offer floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the city. Take a dip in its infinity rooftop pool or fuel up at Sky 22 – an all-day dining space that doles out international delights.
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Kan cheong spiders – beat your colleagues and get a head start on planning your annual leave for 2018. You can thank us later.