Following our blog last week looking at the best ski Bleisure options from Vancouver, Tokyo, Geneva, Paris or Zurich, this week we’re looking at the winter sun options you can add on to your business trip.
Business: New York
Leisure: With New York being a hub for flights, you have a wide range of options, from relaxed luxury in the Caribbean to enjoying the sunshine on the west coast.
St Martin, Caribbean – Known as Sint Maarten to the Dutch and Saint Martin to the French, this Caribbean island is the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two different nations. The French side is larger, but the two cultures are evident, along with the Caribbean vibe too!
Beaches, lagoons, a mountain range, luxury hotels, over 500 restaurants and a balmy tropical climate – St Martin is all about relaxing in luxury. If you want to experience all that the island has to offer, we’d highly recommend a boat trip to snorkel with the colourful tropical fish or a trip to Marigot, the French capital, to visit the daily market or climb Fort Louis for amazing views of the island. If you stay a longer than a few days, a day trip to Anguilla is a must. It is only 25 minutes by ferry and the British territory is frequently voted as having the world’s best beaches.
Why St Martin over the other Caribbean islands? What sets St Martin apart from its neighbours is its gourmet food culture. With over 500 restaurants across the relatively small island the competition, and the standard, is high. Frommers has a great article which reviews the restaurants and is definitely worth a read if you are thinking of going.
Direct flights are just under 4 hours from JFK to St Martin. Currently, there are no direct flights back to the UK so you can either return to JFK and fly from there or Delta offer a good option via Atlanta. Currency on the island is US dollars, Euros and Dutch gilders.
Sadly the island was hit by Hurricane Irma in September and although there was a lot of damage caused, a huge amount of recovery work has been done and the island is now open again and is welcoming visitors.
San Diego, California – With pristine beaches, perfect scuba diving conditions, laid back atmosphere, Hispanic heritage and myriad of local attractions, combined with warm temperatures all year round, this is a popular choice for many.
Direct flights are around 6 hrs 30 minutes from JFK, so we’d recommend at least 3 nights to be able to make the most of it. Fly back via New York if you need to pick up your return flight or directly back from San Diego with BA.
Popular attractions include the San Diego zoo, Torrey Pines State Park and Balboa Park, home to 1,200 acres of gardens, museums and performing arts venues. Go to La Jolla Cove to kayak with the sea lions and bright orange Garibaldi fish in the protected bay and in the evening, enjoy a drink at the Altitude Sky Lounge, a rooftop bar on the 22nd floor of the Marriott.
If it’s relaxation in luxury that you are looking for, the Fairmont Grande Del Mar Golf and Spa resort is highly recommend (Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond). With facilities such as the private Tom Fazio designed golf course, the Five-Star spa and exquisite dining, including Southern California’s only Five-Star and Five Diamond restaurant, it would make the perfect weekend escape before heading home relaxed and refreshed. If you wanted to extend the trip for the whole family, they also offer an Explorer’s Club for kids, nightlife and four pools, tennis courts, yoga and fitness classes. It is also adjacent to the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve which offers 37 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.
Leisure: A business trip to Johannesburg opens up a lot of different options, depending on what you are interested in.
Culture in the sunshine – A short 2 hr 10 minute flight down to Cape Town will take you to restaurants on the waterfront, spectacular views from Table Mountain, amazing South African vineyards and African penguins at Boulders Beach.
Relaxation – Alternatively, the popular honeymoon destinations Mauritius and the Seychelles are close by and offer luxury and crystal-clear waters, although it might be a little depressing to be with all those honeymooners on your own… may be one to fly your other half out for!
It’s worth noting that Air Seychelles fly direct from J’Burg in 4hrs 55mins but they only operate Wednesday to Sunday whilst South African and Air Mauritius fly direct from J’Burg in 4hrs every day.
Safari – Finally, being in Johannesburg offers a great opportunity to enjoy a few days spotting the African Big 5 and indulging at a super deluxe game reserve. Our top 3 in South Africa are all easily accessible from J’Burg:
Shamwari, Eastern Cape – Situated in the Eastern Cape, Shamwari is the furthest from J’Burg (you’ll need to fly to Cape Town and transfer from there) but it is in a malaria free zone, a big advantage if you want to avoid taking anti-malaria drugs, and they focus on responsible tourism and animal rehabilitation as well as luxury game drives. While you stay with them you can visit the Born Free Foundation sanctuaries which are on the game reserve as well enjoy the game drives to spot Africa’s Big 5. There are 5 luxury lodges, some of which include Relaxation Retreats which offer spa treatments in complete comfort.
Royal Malewane, Limpopo – Located on the Western border of the Kruger National Park in Thornybush private reserve this is the ultimate luxury experience. You can take an internal flight to Eastgate Airport in Hoedsprui in just under an hour from J’Burg. They have 7 villas and count Bono and Elton John amongst their frequent visitors. They boast the country’s most qualified guiding team as well as an outstanding spa and nightly feasts under the stars.
Madikwe Hills, North West Province – This private game reserve is another malaria free option in the North-West Province, along the border with Botswana. This reserve offers not only the Big 5 but also over 66 other mammals including the elusive African wild dog, cheetahs, giraffe and kudu. The glass fronted suites are built in to the hillside and are camouflaged by tamboti-beamed thatch roofs. The reserve offers free transfers from J’Burg airport by road or air.
Leisure: Bali (later in season)
After a business trip in Singapore, Bali is just a 4 hr 45 minute direct flight away, a great option to enjoy a few days on the beach.
There are so many places you could visit in Bali, it’s hard to narrow it down to where is ‘best’ to stay. The 5 main resort areas near the airport are Nusa Dua, Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu and Jimbaran – all of which are around 45 minutes from each other. Kuta has a lot of tourists visit and we prefer the laid-back feel and great restaurants and hotels in Seminyak.
For brunch, choose from Mulia’s Sunday brunch with free-flowing champagne or La Luciola, famous for its ocean view and Australian-inspired cuisine.
If it’s traditional luxury you’re after, Body Works offer the traditional Balinese mandi lulur which is an hour massage followed by an exfoliating scrub.
The Samaya Bali hotel is one of the highest rated hotels in the area and with it’s amazing beachfront location, 52 private villas and exceptional service, it’s not hard to see why. If you prefer to be a little closer to the nightlife, Alila Seminvak is a five-star hotel which boasts a gorgeous spa and a restaurant looking straight out on to one of the most pristine beaches around, it is also next door to ‘Potato Head’ a beach club renowned for its beach parties.
If this has inspired you to add some leisure time to your business trip, get in touch with one of our team who can give you more ideas and book everything for you.