Travel

5 MINUTE READ

Quintessentially Travel’s chosen boltholes

Words by Keven Amfo

20 December 2023

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Looking for 2024 holiday inspo? Here are the top picks of where to go from Quintessentially Travel’s team.

As the year winds to a close, we decided to check in with our in-house experts at Quintessentially Travel to hear what their favourite travel experiences of the year have been. Read on for some choice picks and insider tips to make the most of your holiday, should you venture out in 2024.

The Temple House in Chengdu, China

Chosen by: Alice Cunningham, UK Travel Team Sales Manager

What makes it special? A tale of two stories. The Temple House encapsulates the term ‘urban sanctuary’. Located in the Taikoo Li part of the city, set on former temple grounds, the property is made up of old and new. The entrance is through a Qing Dynasty building that has been preserved and brought back to life – walking through the doors, you are captivated by traditional Chinese culture, with an almost mythical feel. Chengdu is a metropolis of skyscrapers and attracts the ‘cool’ younger set, and the Temple House is the perfect hidden gem in this quickly evolving city.

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The Temple House in Chengdu, China

Insider tip: Select a Deluxe Courtyard Suite that looks over the inner city private garden – morning Tai Chi sessions by sunrise are a must.

Wa Ale, Myanmar

Chosen by: Lily Carey, Head of Product & Partnerships

What makes it special? Few places on Earth match up to this isolated island in the Andaman Sea. Three hours by private speedboat from the mainland, a stay at Wa Ale is going off-grid at its finest.

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Wa Ale in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago

Insider tip: This is not your typical fly-and-flop private island experience. This is one for adventurers – call it safari-by-sea. Eco-chic tented villas lead directly to the private beach set amidst a 9,000-acre wildlife reserve. Dive coral reefs and sea caves, kayak and paddle board through mangroves and rivers, hike jungle trails, and visit local villages by boat. Plus, 20 per cent of the resort’s revenues go towards protecting the marine park, so it’s a safari with soul, too.

29/2 Aurland, Norway

Chosen by: Sam Mullen, Managing Director

What makes it special? This is a boutique hotel at its best. Perfectly charming with eight individual suites, it is a cosy, restored historic farm with cabins dating back to the early 18th century.

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29/2 Aurland, Norway 

Insider tip: Get out and explore the nature on your doorstep – be it angling in the River Aurland, fjord skiing, or remaining closer to home to enjoy the sound of the waterfalls whilst luxuriating from the private wood-fired hot tub.

Sinner Paris, France

Chosen by: Adrien Abella, Travel Manager

What makes it special? This is an avant-garde boutique hotel designed by Tristan Hauer is cosy yet elegant and is in a very desirable and central location. You can sense the playful yet luxurious atmosphere the moment you walk in; the lobby area and restaurant are peaceful and chic during the day, but this changes at dusk when the whole floor transforms into a club. Suddenly, the hotel gets filled with glamourous Parisians sipping cocktails and dancing to the DJ’s set.

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Sinner Paris, France

Insider tip: Explore the local area and the many independent fashion designers’ shops, and have lunch in a gorgeous courtyard at Grand Coeur, Mauro Colagreco’s secret restaurant.

Aethos Monterosa, Italy

Chosen by: Tae Bennett, Operations Executive

What makes it special? The only five-star hotel in the area. It’s an all-suite hotel and doesn’t feel pretentious at all.

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Aethos Monterosa in Champoluc, Italy

Insider tip: It’s not exactly what you would expect from an alpine hotel – although it does have the views and cosy feel, it does have a few unexpected elements such as rock climbing and an ice wall. It’s a generally active hotel with not a huge number of rooms and so would be great for groups. Champoluc’s terrain is best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers. The resort itself feels very authentic.

Son Bunyola, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Chosen by: Jamie Hardinge, Operations Executive Team Leader and Private Jet Specialist

What makes it special? Nestled in a valley, you feel disconnected from the world around you and the hustle and bustle of other tourist hot spots on the island. Perfect for those wanting an escape and to enjoy what nature has to offer.

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Son Bunyola, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Insider tip: This is not your typical Mallorca beach holiday, but rather an idyllic sanctuary to escape. Enjoy what the property has to offer including expansive grounds and trails. Before dinner, relax by the pool or enjoy a massage to restore your energy, ready for dinner with a view over the valley and sea. Wanting to explore further? Take a short drive to the marina and spend the day on a yacht soaking up the sun before popping into a local village for a delicious seafood feast.

Château de Fonscolombe, France

Chosen by: Abi Treweeks, Travel Manager

What makes it special? Located in the heart of Provence, surrounded by vineyards and lavender fields, it is a well-kept secret for a couple of days away in the countryside.  

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Château de Fonscolombe, Provence, France 

Insider tip: The biggest draw is the gastronomy. La Table de l'Orangerie, run by chef Marc Fontanne, is an intimate fine dining experience overlooking the historical gardens. Its dishes focus on the changing seasons and local French produce and are all presented with tasteful theatrical flair. Everything has been exquisitely designed, from the lovingly refurbished terracotta-tiled floors to the hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and intimate wine cellar-turned-cocktail bar.

Sowaka, Kyoto, Japan

Chosen by: Francesca Venturi, Head of Travel Sales and Training, UK

What makes it special? For more than 100 years, Sowaka was an ancient tea house; now, it's been reimagined as a modern Japanese Ryokan. It perfectly blends old Japanese architecture with contemporary design, making for a luxurious and comfortable stay (words not often associated with Ryokans). Sowaka feels like a finely tuned maze, with sliding doors and weaving corridors. A unique opportunity to step back in time and fully immerse yourself into Japan’s ancient old traditions whilst still feeling the expert line between tradition and luxury.   

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Sowaka, Kyoto, Japan

Insider tip: Make the most of your stay and pair this overnight with a traditional Geisha dinner in the unmissable Michelin-starred restaurant, La Bombanc. A must-do when visiting Kyoto.

Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, Formentera

Chosen by: Gabs Russo, Travel Manager

What makes it special? It’s a very understated property, with the perfect location right on Migjorn beach. It’s easily accessible from the port and all corners of the island. It offers amazing value for money and is very impressively built with a sense of luxury in the 30 rooms and suites – the largest has a massive terrace overlooking the beach with its own pool. Enjoy complimentary yoga classes and an amazing list of non-alcoholic beverages and smoothies.

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Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, Formentera

Insider tip: Low-key, laidback Formentera makes the perfect two-centre trip with Ibiza. Either go party for a few nights in Ibiza and then detox at Gecko, or for a completely chill holiday, you could stay at Six Senses Ibiza after a few nights at Gecko.

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Our global network of dedicated travel specialists plans one-of-a-kind, tailor-made travel experiences to make every trip your best yet. Find out more about Quintessentially Travel here.

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