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Travelling Wholesome in 2012

Mexico’s alluring beaches, Tasmania’s adventure spots or Bali’s still-famous spa excursions. 2012 has a lot in store depending on how customised your trip is. But these three travel trends should bowl you over!
By: Radia El Faqir, Managing Director, Safran Travel Boutique
With each New Year, come new ideas, experiences and trends. Keeping all the resolutions aside, travel remains for everyone, the most exciting plan of the year. One thing is clear about travel trends in 2012. It is all about travelling with the best experts who push tailor-made travel to the limit and provide ‘End of the world journeys’ that bring bucket-list kind of experiences, and mind, body and soul vacations.
Here are three luxury destination picks which we think you should consider in 2012 – each providing a unique set of experience due to the nature of their offerings.

Mexico: The all-round winner

People might just wonder why someone would volunteer for such long flights to Mexico. But the answer lies right in the view outside the luxurious private villas we picked up along the coast, where a long ribbon of beach flows into the distance, all of it bathed in pleasant afternoon temperatures of 27oC and the hazy sea swelling majestically. Jetlag quickly disappears.
For those seeking a unique luxury – and highly individualized – holiday this year, considering small group travel with an expert promises to be a great experience, be it for a family holiday or a bachelor party-trip. It is not about having a guide, but the highest calibre of local details when travelling, and a promise to get the best tailor-made tour, as the expert gets to know the guests personally.
With amazing villas with rooms gazing directly onto the beach and the ocean, you will quickly feel home, although it hardly looks like it. Mexico is one of the best places in the world for that, or should I better say, The Riviera Maya, which is just a 30-45 minute ride from Cancun airport.
Seven centuries after the collapse of the Mayan civilization, a new kingdom of high-end hospitality is rising. The Riviera Maya is part of it and is an intoxicating section of Mexico’s Gulf Coast. The white sand and turquoise waters, private cabanas and moonlight massages create a sexy atmosphere that you will find it hard to leave. Your concierge service will organise everything you want – from ensuring airport transfers to tours and activities, a private party on the beach for you and your friends, spa services and making dinner arrangements to pre-stocking your villa’s fridge with delicious goodies or your favourite wine!
The Riviera Maya is perfect for Mexico’s first timers seeking privacy, yet, the destination has a lot to offer including golf and yoga retreats, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a swim with the whale shark…in short, a ‘Once in a lifetime’ experience guarantee.

Tasmania: The quirky adventure

For something quirkier and absolutely off-the-beaten-path, that provides a more thorough and intimate look at remote corners of the world, try Tasmania, Australia’s only island state. A two-hour flight from Sydney and you will find yourself at the last stop before Antarctica. Ideal for intrepid travellers looking for uniqueness, this real diamond of an island offers incredibly crystal waters and is known to have the world’s purest air!
Beaches fringed with pink granite rocks, gourmet food, jaw dropping landscapes and amazing wildlife, brooding peaks, glistening waters, thick forest and an astonishing geology – all combine to create a dramatic landscape that feels as though you’ve just stepped onto an island lost in time. Although previously connected to the mainland, it broke loose over 10,000 years ago and now sits over the Bass Straight south of mainland Australia as a floating kingdom of incredible natural beauty.
To fully appreciate the intriguing blend of heritage and lifestyle, sceneries and vibrant culture, travellers can enjoy fine wineries as the island is a real treat for food and wine lovers, aided by top luxurious hotels. Many lodges all over the island offer a clutch of luxe services available at the touch of a telephone button.
The splendour of Tasmania offers more than just a chance to tickle your adventurous side. There is white water rafting, as well as the opportunity to dive with dolphins, seals and humpback whales. On the land there are treks along the alpine core, untouched white-sand beaches and a couple hundred years of settlement history to discover. For a unique safari experience, there’s also the sight of wombats, and of course, the famous Tasmanian devil to look out for.

Bali: The soul satisfier

If you are not ready for Tasmanian adventure, and instead fancy a slice of relaxation, a focus on your body and mind within total luxury, then you can’t go wrong with Bali.  Bali’s magnetism has always been about both spiritual pursuits and sybaritic pleasures – to the point that sybaritic pleasures are reframed here as spiritual pursuits.
Travellers can indulge in restorative relaxation, and Bali has much to offer in the way of serenity due to the Indonesian island’s notable emphasis on proper nutrition and health. More than endorsing a diet, the Indonesians are extremely supportive of cultivating an entire lifestyle, the one that links the heart to the senses. Water palaces, infinity pools, silk-lined daybeds, private villas…Bali combines the best ingredients for a perfect holistic and relaxing holiday.
Bali is perfect for those who want to detox before the retox, and have a mix of relaxation and beach pleasures. It can be a relaxing Honeymoon after a long and tiring wedding celebration, or simply the break you have been waiting for so long.
Begin your Indonesian journey in the bustling town of Seminyak on Bali’s west coast. This fashionable beach spot is soaked with local culture, hip restaurants and trendy boutiques. But if you would prefer to get away from it all, let the stress release at a boutique Balinese retreat. Lots of them have ravishing villas. Each private villa comes fully kitted with its own butler and plunge pool and world renowned spa treatments that will quickly ease you into the tranquil pace of life. Spend a few days flopping on the beach, on your surf board catching a few waves or exploring the local villages of Umalas and Kerobokan.
Be it a need for a life’s journey or unmatched personalized services and the pleasures of getting pampered – dare to pick up this year the trip that resembles you the best. Once back home and encircled by your iPad, Laptop and Blackberry, make sure to take few minutes to close your eyes and let your mind step back to your destination again. That souvenir, the smile it brings on your face, is the true value of your 2012 choice.