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April 15, 2020

2020’s Top Travel Trend: The Off-Season Surprise

Savvy travellers know that certain hotspots are superior offseason.  For while travelling during high season may be the norm, airline tickets are more expensive, trains are crowded, hotels fill up quickly, and you are more likely to bump into other tourists than locals.

Going off-season is one of this year’s biggest trends. Offering a far more intimate travel experience with less tourism, you are also likely to be authentically welcomed by locals. So instead of summer in Ibiza, head to the White Isle in spring when coastal paths are blooming with blossoms and the legendary beach bars are laid-back, not packed. And while tourist numbers subside and the flight costs fall, Mallorca’s balmy temperatures remain long into the Autumn.

Here is 2020’s travel calendar on how to pull off the art of the off-season this year.

March: Bahrain F1 and a stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

When to go? Bahrain is an all-year-round destination, but summer is warm. Opt for March, when the weather is perfect and the Kingdom’s capital, Manama, is buzzing over the F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix (taking place 22nd March at the Bahrain International Circuit).

Where to stay?  The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain is unquestionably the country’s loveliest hotel. It is a haven of relaxation where guests can enjoy luxury accommodation,  VIP experiences and incredible cuisine.  From the award-winning spa to the fully equipped gym, there is plenty to do – including paddle boarding on the private lagoon, beachfront tennis and squash in the air-conditioned indoor squash court. Younger guests can also immerse themselves at Ritz Kids, experiencing the natural wonders and rich cultural traditions of Bahrain.

What’s special about the Bahrain Grand Prix? It is a race for everyone: travellers can enjoy family entertainment, music performances by world-famous artists and the warmth of Bahraini hospitality.

Room rates at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain start at £338 per room per night

April: Estepona, Marbella

When to go? While many beaches on the Costa del Sol are bustling with busy beach clubs and overcrowded restaurants in spring, the little fishing town of Estepona is only just making its mark on the map. Visit in early spring to enjoy a quiet palm-lined promenade, authentic Andalusian architecture, stretches of empty golden beach and seafood restaurants only the locals know about.

Where to stay? Kempinski Hotel Bahia is perched on its own sliver of the seafront, just steps from the sand. Its terracotta turrets house luxury rooms and suites with panoramic sea views, or a panorama of the hotel’s landscaped laws, home to gardens of lemon and olive trees, a tangle of swimming pools and tennis courts. Children are kept entertained at the newly-refurbished Kids Club – with educational workshops, arts and crafts and sports – while adults take advantage of the Kempinski Spa, offering a range of treatments, an indoor pool and wellness area.

What’s special about Kempinski Hotel Bahia? The luxury hotel recently launched El Paseo Del Mar, a dining destination comprised of three restaurants and bars, serving up fresh seafood from the market in Estepona, traditional Andalusian dishes and local wines. Spiler Beach Club, set to open for its first full season in April, serves-up artisan pizzas, zesty tapas dishes and fresh-from-the-ocean fish, with stylish indoor and sun-dappled outdoor dining areas.

May: The other Ibiza: relax and recharge at Amàre Beach Hotel Ibiza

When to go? Forget the overcrowded beaches and noisy streets that characterise Ibiza in July and August: make the most out of your Balearic break by travelling to the White Island in May. Not only is the island peaceful, but the weather is perfect to experience the tremendous nature of this magnetic place.

Where to stay? Set to reopen for its first full season on May 1st, the beachfront Amàre Beach Hotel Ibiza, located just in front of the Bou Cove, is an adults-only paradise where guest can take a break from their busy everyday life. The hotel is home to Belvue Rooftop Bar, a rooftop panoramic infinity-pool, the Hayaca restaurant curated by Michelin-star Chef Mauricio Giovanini,  a state-of-the-art gym overlooking the Mediterranean and a spa by luxury skincare brand Germaine de Capuccini. The hotel wellness team will take guests on a fitness journey involving inspiring yoga on the beach, personal training and a range of organic treatments for the face and body. An extensive choice of healthy yet yummy meals – like the Green Vegan Wrap, Healthy Toast and Acaì Bowl – complete the offer.

What’s special about wellness at Amàre?  On the spa menu are specific rituals aiming at counteracting the negative effect of techno-stress: book the Balance Concept – a complex treatment that combines Detox, Serene and Energy rituals – to restore the physical balance of your body and mind by inducing sleep.

Room rates at Amàre Beach Hotel Ibiza start at £125

September: Off-season Morocco at Es Saadi Marrakech Resort. Moroccan dance lessons, henna art, traditional local food and hot air balloon rides over the African Sky

When to go? With Marrakech hailed as Africa’s first Capital of Culture and a mere three-hour flight from London, with sunshine all year round, this Moroccan city is the perfect place for visitors to explore offseason. High temperatures during the summer months mean that shoulder season (March-May and September-November) is the perfect time to visit Marrakech, with temperatures in September hovering around the late 20s.

Where to stay? A virtual oasis set in acres of flowering gardens; Es Saadi Marrakech Resort is located in Marrakech’s’ ‘Golden Triangle’. Looking out onto the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, near the bustling souks and Jemaa El Fnaa square, this majestic palace offers luxury suites and villas dotted around the gardens, as well as several Ksars (two-storey Berber-style cottages well suited to families) surrounding the pool. Their 2400 square metre lagoon swimming pool is the largest in the city, with an immersed palm tree and the resort boasts an expansive and award-winning spa set over three floors which boasts the only Dior Institut outside of Paris.

Why stay at Es Saadi? A cultural hub for the region, Es Saadi is home to over 400 works of art by young and local emerging artists, including its own large gallery, located above the entrance foyer. For traditional Moroccan cuisine, guests can dine in the beautiful La Cour des Lions restaurant located on the top floor of the Es Saadi Palace with panoramic views of the iconic city.

Junior suites start from £270 per night. Villas start from £800 per night. Buffet breakfast and Airport transfers included.

W: Es Saadi

October: Cycling, running and golfing in Mallorca with Zafiro Palace Hotels

When to go? With warm temperatures ranging from around 17 º to 24º and no rainfall, the island of Mallorca is a playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts and it is genuinely better to visit in fall to avoid insanely hot temperatures and weather conditions that negatively affect performances. This is why the island’s most important competition – Palma Marathon – is organised on the 11th of October.

Where to stay? Perfectly located to easily explore what the island has to offer Zafiro Palace Palmanova (15’ away from Palma) and Zafiro Palace Alcudia (in the North-Eastern village of Alcúdia) are the preferred options for an active holiday. Both hotels offer five-star services and stylish accommodations, beautiful spas and wellness centres as well as incredible dining.

What is special about Zafiro Hotels? As a sport-friendly brand, Zafiro Hotels offers unparalleled amenities to those looking for an active vacation in Mallorca. Up to 11 golf courses are located close to Zafiro Palace Palmanova and the hotel offers services for golfers, such as special rates for a tee time and therapeutic massages in the Zen, Spa & Wellness Centre. Both Zafiro Palace Palmanova and Zafiro Palace Alcùdia offer services for cyclists – like storage space, rental, washing area and tryouts – and heated outdoor pools with a special four-lane training area just in low season. And on the occasion of the Palma Marathon (11th October) the first 100 people that book at Zafiro Palace Palmanova will get free access to the competition.

Rates at Zafiro Palace Palmanova start from £205 in a Junior Suite
Rates at Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcúdia start from £160 in a Junior Suite

November: truffle hunt in Istria – The Croatian Riviera

When to go? Visit Istria in October, November or December, when you can join the local truffle hunters in their search for the treasured white truffle – the most valuable, sought-after variety. Although travellers can join truffle hunts year-round for black truffles, the winter months are the only time you can forage and eat delicacies made with the white truffle. The rolling, truffle-rich valleys are also rich in autumn hues, and the cobbled streets of nearby towns are almost deserted.

Where to stay? Stay at the newly-opened San Canzian Village and Hotel, an authentic heritage property with custom art and local design, distinctive architecture, luxurious accommodation and a traditional restaurant, serving up an array of Istrian specialities with locally-sourced ingredients.

What’s special about the experience? Truffle aficionados with a truffle treasure hunt at the top of their autumn agenda can join one of many family-owned experiences peppered throughout the forest. During the Karlić Tartufi truffle hunt, the family invite travellers to learn about the delicacies’ origins, before embarking on a hunt with some of the region’s most well-trained dogs in tow. Back at the house, a traditional feast is prepared, with a platter of truffle honey, truffle cheese and biscuits and a home-cooked meal paired with local Teran and Malvazija wines. An undeniably distinctive aroma, the truffle is used in restaurants and taverns throughout the peninsula to fineness a number of dishes, whether its grated over a handmade pasta dish, infusing olive oil to drizzle over a pizza or incorporated into local cheeses.

December: Hot Air Ballooning over the snow-covered hills of Argos in Cappadocia. A must-visit destination for hot air ballooning and wine-tasting overlooking the ancient ruins of Turkey

When to go? Set in the heart of ancient Turkey, Cappadocia is famed for its backdrop of multi-coloured hot air balloons that drift across the sky at sunrise. Visit this destination in December to be enchanted by the one-of-a-kind snow-covered and serene landscape.

Where to stay? Nestled amongst honeycomb hills, the charming rooms and suites in the heritage style hotel Argos in Cappadocia is built from a 2000-year-old historical network of ancient ruins, caves and underground tunnels, all 51 rooms are unique in design, style and perspective. Authentically Anatolian, with rustic, cosy interiors, and fireplaces in almost every room, Argos in Cappadocia provides the perfect base for winter travellers.

What’s special?  Visitors will soar at sunrise and soak up views of languid plains, towering boulders, through valleys scattered with archetypal pigeon houses and over the region’s most picturesque vineyards. Guests interested in history are also in invited to explore famed underground city, a network of tunnels and caves, as well discovering the area’s unique rugged topography on an ATV speeding through valleys, revving up dunes and gliding through the ancient monastery ruins.

After peaceful days spent curled up by the warming log fires in fireplaces, there are wine tastings in the evening, sampling wines from the hotel’s in-house wine cellar, which holds more than 20,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines. Wines are expertly and deliciously paired with local and regional cheeses and dishes. Complete with restaurant, cocktail lounge and underground wine cellar, Argos in Cappadocia is an idyllic basecamp for unforgettable Cappadocian adventures.

Rooms start from £210 per night. Daily flights are available from Istanbul to Nevsehir Airport (30 mins drive) and Kayseri Airport (1-hour drive). For more information and to book visit Argos in Cappadocia

Written by Ashley Pearson for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International

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