We mightn’t have travelled much in 2020, but we’ve all done plenty of dreaming about our next holiday! Once the time for booking a stay is back, and we can turn our mental itineraries into reality, here are some superb beach escapes within easy reach from Hong Kong as recommended by the experts at Lightfoot Travel.
Best For A New Beach Escape
One & Only Desaru Coast – Malaysia
One & Only had to delay the opening of its first Asian-based resort due to COVID-19. But this secret slice of heaven is definitely worth the wait! A beachfront haven on the southeast coast of Malaysia, this is nothing short of a personal oasis. There’s something for everyone. Young ones can play, discover and learn at KidsOnly while mum and dad surrender to blissful seclusion. Expect only the best from the resort, from chic stylish rooms and delectable fresh cuisine to first-class experiences illuminating some of the secrets of the East.
Bawah Island – Indonesia
A barefoot, back-to-nature beauty, Bawah Island is set across six, lush, forest-canopied islands, three sheltered lagoons and 13 beaches. There are no TVs here to remind you of the outside world. Only clear turquoise waters and pristine coral reefs. Stays at Bawah are fully inclusive, and you can spend your days snorkelling, kayaking, visiting the open-air spa or trekking through the tropical forests. Coming soon to the resort are some very cool new infinity pool villas. And also the Elang Private Residence, which sits on its very own private island!
Best For Rejuvenation
The Datai – Langkawi, Malaysia
The newly refurbished Datai is a tranquil retreat ranked as one of the Leading Hotels of the World. With its exclusive sands, abundant tropical wildlife and excellent reputation, it’s a haven for those looking to reconnect with nature and soothe the mind. There’s an army of staff on hand, and you can learn from the resident marine biologists and naturalists, embrace the healing elements of the rainforest at the spa, and choose between four tempting eateries and two bars, before retiring amidst a 10-million-year-old rainforest cocooned in silence.
Best For Off The Grid
The Brando – Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
If you’re looking to escape the crowds (who isn’t these days?!) and really get off the beaten path, The Brando, a 20-minute flight from Tahiti, is the ultimate in private island exclusivity. There are just 35 villas dotted around the picture-perfect island of Tetiaroa. Each comes with your own private plunge pool and beachfront access. The resort is also a pioneer in sustainability. It’s a true eco-friendly paradise with a negligible carbon footprint, no plastic and a passion for supporting Polynesian culture and traditions.
Best For All-inclusive
Nay Palad Hideaway – Siargao Island, The Philippines
There’s something so liberating about a holiday where you don’t have to sign a bill every time you enjoy a glass of wine, a massage or an excursion. Nay Palad Hideaway, with its nine exclusive villas on the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao, allows just that. Activities range from surfing the famous Cloud 9 surf break, island hopping on the resort’s signature yacht, stand-up paddle boarding in the nearby mangroves or exploring the raw, rustic beauty of this lesser-visited Philippine island. The food is exquisite and, more importantly, thoughtful, with no two meals the same as you move through unique and whimsical dining spots around the resort set up just for you.
Best For Families
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort– Fiji
As a holiday destination, Fiji is exceptionally family-friendly with its beach-front bungalows, gently lapping waves and plethora of activities. That said, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort takes an extra step with its strong dedication to education, immersion and promoting environmental awareness. The resort’s bures (“houses” in Fijian) are traditionally designed, with no televisions. The focus is on the island itself and getting outside. At the kids’ club, activities are designed to encourage young ones to better understand, appreciate and protect the world around them, while learning about the distinctive Fijian culture.
Best For Romantic Beach Escapes
Gili Lankanfushi – Maldives
Picture some of the largest overwater villas in the Maldives hovering over a crystal-clear lagoon. Now, imagine if some of these villas were only accessible by boat and you’ve got your ultimate couple’s getaway. Gili Lankanfushi, just a 30-minute speedboat ride from Male, is the epitome of barefoot, rustic and sustainable luxury. The service is a standout. Staff really go above and beyond to tailor your stay to suit your preferences. You can enjoy a couple’s massage, set sail on a sunset dolphin cruise with champagne and canapés, make use of the PADI diving school or do a sunrise yoga session. Or, simply kick back and enjoy the isolation without ever leaving your Robinson Crusoe hideaway.
Best Private Villa
Samujana Villas – Koh Samui, Thailand
Set in a stunning bay overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, Samujana Villas. are beautifully designed and the ultimate beach escape for families or groups of friends. There are 27 privately-owned villas that offer a range of three to eight bedrooms, each one with its own unique wow-factor. Close the door behind you and you’ll be the proud owner of an outdoor kitchen, dining terrace, seawater infinity pool. And – for some – a hot tub, private cinema and gym. Personal hosts are on hand to attend to everything you want, whether it’s a massage or a Muay Thai boxing session!
This article first appeared in the City Guide 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
Like this? See more in our Travel section!