Songkran escapes to beat the April heat
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Songkran escapes to beat the April heat

Holi-cations to splash out on this Thai New Year

Songkran escapes to beat the April heat

Whether you’re choosing to spend the Thai New Year in Thailand or abroad, Guru By Bangkok Post’s got you covered.

European design with Lanna charm 

Le Meridien Chiang Mai has recently been rebranded as the Chiang Mai Marriott Hotel, after a complete renovation and refurbishment. 

Each of the hotel’s spacious 383 rooms and suites have been thoughtfully re-designed to reflect the modern needs of travellers while being mindful of the authentic and rich culture of northern Thailand. New and improved are a resort-style swimming pool and bar, a new lobby bar, state-of-the-art conference facilities, a spa and numerous dining outlets. Rooms offer views of the Doi Suthep Mountain, as well as the distant ring of mountains, which surround the city.

Chiang Mai Marriott Hotel’s many kitchens offer the best of local northern Thai and Thai cuisine, as well as treats from all over the world. Sourcing produce from sustainable farms surrounding Chiang Mai, The Ping Cuisine and Bar all-day dining restaurant celebrates fresh ingredients and authentic flavours of cherished family recipes passed down through generations. Favola Restaurant specialises in Italian regional recipes, while Han, showcases the centuries-long relations between China and Thailand. The casual Pool House bar and restaurant serves healthy and comfort bites throughout the day, while the glittering Ping’s Bar at the lobby shakes up cocktails and serves up tapas late into the night.

The hotel is in the centre of Chiang Mai’s vibrant tourist and business district, and a short walk away is the ancient brick walls, which surround the 7th century city on one end and the meandering Ping River, whose banks are peppered with some of the most popular shops, restaurants and bars on the other. In the evenings, step out of the hotel straight into the popular Night Bazaar. Visit the hotel’s website. 

Songkran party stay

The Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park is unveiling a package for revellers of the “Shangay-La World of Fantasy Songkran 2024”, Asia’s largest LGBTQ+ dance festival. The package includes a stay in a deluxe room, daily breakfast at Goji Kitchen + Bar and a lazy late 2pm check out guaranteed on the day of departure. Book until April 11. Visit the hotel’s website. 

Escape to paradise

Immerse in luxurious accommodations, breathtaking scenery and unparalleled hospitality at Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort & Spa, Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi Resort & Spa, or Aleenta Retreat Chiang Mai. Stay three nights or more and enjoy a 15% off the total stay. Extend to seven nights or more and receive a 20% off. For the ultimate retreat, stay 14 nights or more and get 25% off. Stay 30 nights or more, receive an exclusive special rate, complimentary laundry service, private butler, roundtrip airport transfer, resort credit per day to be used toward any activities, food and beverage or spa. Visit the resort group’s website. 

Rayong’s first beach club 

Rayong's first and only Beachfront and Hillside Pool Villa, along with Bambu Beach Club has recently opened. The design promises a retreat that seamlessly blends style and serenity, capturing the essence of luxury intertwined with the laid-back charm of coastal living. This addition will enhance the living experience within Amatara Residences Rayong, catering to the needs of its residents. Furthermore, the beach club will be open to tourists, offering delectable cuisine, refreshing beverages, and a tranquil ambiance, all against the backdrop of breathtaking panoramic sea views.

The essence of Songkran

From April 13-17, immerse in the heart of these joyous festivities at Amanpuri in Thailand, Amansara in Cambodia, and Amantaka in Laos, where an enchanting array of special Songkran activities, cultural immersion experiences, and culinary delights await. 

Amanpuri: In Phuket, the festivities can span up to a week, offering an extensive experience of blessings and prosperity for the year ahead, with Amanpuri ready to provide an immersive Songkran adventure. Nestled on a serene private peninsula, embraced by the tranquil waters of the Andaman Sea, the itinerary includes festive dining, spiritual blessings, cultural performances, and guided excursions, both on-site and beyond, ensuring a truly enriching Songkran celebration.

Amansara: Celebrated with great joy across the country, Moha Sangkran marks the first day of Cambodia's New Year festivities, which take place annually in mid-April, the fifth lunar month. Usually a three-day affair with roots stretching back to the Angkor Era, Khmer New Year is brimming with beautiful traditions, engaging rituals and family togetherness. It is the perfect time of year to encounter the soul of this ancient kingdom and to experience its culture firsthand. Encompassing spiritual blessings, captivating performances, festive feasts and immersive cultural experiences for all ages. From first light jasmine ceremonies to the wet and wonderful cleansing of Buddha statues, symbolic of new beginnings, celebrations at Amansara will provide cherished memories with loved ones.

Amantaka: Pi Mai marks the Buddhist New Year celebrated throughout Laos with an emphasis on family connection, introspection and fresh beginnings. Festivities include joyful water purification rituals, flower-bedecked elephant parades, almsgiving and various vibrant traditions that provide a sense of peace while delving into the rich history and culture of Luang Prabang. Situated on a historic garden estate, at the heart of this Unesco-protected town, Amantaka is delighted to present a festive programme of feasting, spiritual blessings, performances, cultural experiences and guided excursions beyond the property.

An autumn off-peak guide

In April, New Zealand enjoys some of the most settled weather of the whole year. Soak up long, sunny days and golden leaves with hiking, cycling or kayaking. With temperatures ranging from 7-21C, autumn in New Zealand paints a breathtaking canvas across the country. A visit to New Zealand is highly recommended during this period as the landscapes transform into a kaleidoscope of warm hues, inviting locals and visitors alike to embrace the cooler temperatures and explore the diverse natural wonders blanketed in a tapestry of falling leaves. With an abundance of fresh produce and unique events and festivals, it is the perfect time to spend time outdoors. Visit the New Zealand tourism website. 

An idyllic hideaway 

Making its debut in Spain, Tivoli Hotels & Resorts recently opened the Tivoli La Caleta Tenerife Resort. Located on southern Tenerife’s picturesque coast, nestled between the mountains and the Atlantic’s deep blue, Tivoli La Caleta offers an idyllic hideaway, a 15-minute drive from Tenerife South International Airport, with direct access to the 12km coastline promenade, connecting the village of La Caleta to the town of Los Cristianos.

The five-star property offers 284 rooms, including 20 suites, elegantly decorated with woods and natural fibres, unveiling a colour pallet that goes from beige and brown to dark orange, featuring design furniture, local art and high-tech comforts, creating a chic and calming place to relax and unwind, overlooking the sea, the tropical gardens and the swimming pools. Suite guests enjoy a VIP a la carte breakfast and a selection of complimentary delights by the pool, at La Caleta lounge throughout the day.

The resort has 18,000m² of subtropical gardens, sunbathing spaces around the three newly refurbished swimming pools, all heated, the largest with salt water and one being adults-only. Dining is curated by Olivier da Costa, Portuguese chefpreneur and will feature Seen Beach Club with its bold flavours, exotic cocktails and vibrant seafront setting; Yakuza that specialises in sushi ranging from the most traditional to the most inventive and creative combinations; and Guilty, presenting an indulgent experience in a dynamic and cosmopolitan space, near the main pool. The Alma Cocktail bar, with an indoor and outdoor area, has a selection of Spanish wines and cocktails, while at El Clásico Sports Bar there is always something happening, either live games or lively discussions on the last matches, together with a menu of drinks and bites. For an afternoon special treat there is Suite & Tea. 

Launching next March is the Anantara Spa with 10 treatment rooms, a vitality indoor pool, sauna, steam bath and an ice igloo to refresh and rejuvenate. Visit the hotel’s website. 

A thoughtful transformation

The flagship property of Hong Kong personal hotel and serviced residence brand, Lanson Place, has re-opened, following a substantial refurbishment. 

A stylish, relaxing retreat designed to contrast with the energy and excitement of Causeway Bay, the new-look property offers an elegant and timeless residential feel across its 188 rooms and suites, including six penthouses. The refurbishment was under the direction of Pierre-Yves Rochon, who has blended understated French elegance with delicate craftsmanship. Freshly renovated rooms and suites, in a variety of layouts, feature French-inspired designs with a colour palette of soft tones. Floor-to-ceiling windows fill every room with ample natural daylight and offer generous views of the vibrant neighbourhood on the property’s doorstep. 

Salon Lanson houses the property’s restaurant and bar and is an all-day lounge offering a variety of dining experiences. A new gym and wellness area are a variety of spaces for training and stretching. Visit the hotel’s website.

Design and function 

Avani Hotels & Resorts recently opened the Avani Frankfurt City Hotel, marking the brand's debut in Germany. Located in Frankfurt’s central business district, the rebranded hotel offers a balance between design and function. 

The hotel celebrates the city’s role as a pioneer of techno music in the 80s when Frankfurt became a hub for influential night clubs, record stores, musicians and labels. The lobby displays album covers and framed vinyl discs from the era, while a faux fireplace, complete with vintage record player, creates a nostalgic atmosphere. The shared space is elevated by floor-to-ceiling LED screens displaying dynamic techno animations. 

Spread over seven floors, Avani Frankfurt’s 256 guest rooms and suites come equipped with the latest amenities. There is a buffet-style restaurant, as well as The Pantry, Avani's signature grab-and-go concept, which at night becomes a lively spot to socialise and sip cocktails. The hotel also has a gym, steam baths and a sauna. Visit the hotel’s website.

Cruise around Komodo National Park 

The Ayana Komodo Waecicu Beach Resort is offering a two-day, one-night sailing adventure aboard its flagship luxury phinisi, Ayana Lako di’a. The voyage is shared with up to 14 guests and sails through the ecological wonders of the Unesco World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park.

The vessel is a modern phinisi, a wooden sailing ship that has been an integral part of seafaring cultures of south Sulawesi since the early 20th century and listed as Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Lako di’a is one of the largest luxury vessels in western Flores, providing ]ultra-modern suite accommodation in nine air-conditioned cabins with ensuites. The ship also features a library, lounge, bar, an indoor dining area and daybeds on the main deck.

Departing on April 12, the Lako di’a Shared Luxury Cruises will be conducted from Friday to Saturday during most weeks up until Oct 19. The itinerary has been designed to take in Komodo National Park’s most spectacular destinations and an exhilarating mix of marine and land excursions, with ample time to relax and rejuvenate on board. The final destination is of course Komodo Island, home of the iconic Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on Earth. 

The Shared Luxury Cruise includes full-board meals, free-flow mineral water and a refreshing range of other non-alcoholic beverages; water activities including snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding; leisure activities including karaoke, film screenings and yoga; Komodo National Park entrance fee; airport transfers; and digital documentation. Visit the website. 

Journey through Java

Experience the many facets of Java, Indonesia, aboard a train to Amanjiwo with luxury rail operators, PT Kereta Api Pariwisata on selected dates throughout the year.

The once-in-a-lifetime experience begins in Jakarta Gambir station, where the bustle of the vibrant city soon becomes a distant memory. Embark on a panoramic seven-hour journey through central Java where temples turn to tree-lined hillsides, with a new story appearing around every corner. Travel with Amanjiwo’s resident anthropologist, Patrick Vanhoebrouck, who shares the region’s historic and cultural highlights. 

Reclaimed from the jungle in the 19th century, Amanjiwo’s 36 thatched-roofed suites lie in two perfect crescents below the central rotunda, most with individual swimming pools opening onto private, tranquil gardens. The resort’s restaurant, bar and terraces all foster serenity, overlooking a ring of volcanoes, while stone steps descend in tiers to a magnificent swimming pool. Amanjiwo offers a spa menu informed by traditional Javanese healing, while a fully equipped gym suite, tennis court and private yoga sessions help guests to find peace from within. The “Journey Through Java” is available from April 12-15 and April 16-19. Visit the resort’s website.

Sail the high seas

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched the “Upgrade & Explore More”, which sails across Europe in luxury with a free 2-category suite upgrade up to a Penthouse Suite on select cruises departing between May and November.

The offer is valid for bookings made until April 30, with guests benefiting from an up to US$500 shipboard credit per suite, and up to 45% savings on select Europe sailings.  The offer is available on more than 30 awe-inspiring voyages ranging from seven to 20 nights. Visit the cruise’s website. 

Around the world 

Set sail on an epic 180-day world journey across six continents visiting 43 countries, 101 ports and 81 Unesco World Heritage sites. Oceania Cruises launches the inaugural 180-day 2026 Around The World voyage aboard the Vista. 

Setting sail from Miami on Jan 6, 2026, the boutique 1,200-guest vessel will cross three oceans and 18 seas, exploring the jewels of Southeast Asia and Australia, island-hopping in the South Pacific, calling on unique ports in Europe and exploring favourite South American cities. Vista will start its six-month sojourn with a sweeping six-week exploration of South America, fully charting the continent’s western coast before continuing to Mexico and California, and then will island-hop in the dazzling South Pacific and call on unique Australian ports such as the Whitsunday Islands. Farther west, off-the-beaten-path secrets will come to life in Southeast Asia and across India. Toward the end of the voyage, Vista will call into enchanting coastal villages and iconic cities throughout the Mediterranean, British Isles and Nordic region before crossing back over to the United States.

Vista features 11 onboard culinary venues, including eight bars, lounges and entertainment venues. Visit the cruise’s website.

Escape with ease

For the first time in Mirihi’s history, the Maldivian resort introduces new food and beverage meal plans, including new half-board and full board options that include a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. 

The half-board plus package includes daily buffet breakfast and dinner at Dhonveli restaurant, plus unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages during mealtime opening hours and in Anba throughout the day and evening. It also includes mini bar soft drinks and beers, complimentary wi-fi, plus a 30% discount on the a la carte menu and a 10% discount on the special dinners in Muraka restaurant. The full board plus package includes those offerings plus lunch daily at Dhonveli restaurant. Visit the resort’s website.

Get on the Champagne train 

From April 22-25, explore the wild beauty of Malaysia on board the Eastern & Oriental Express with a touch of French flair. Embrace the allure of the rails on an indulgent itinerary that delves into the soul of Malaysia. 

On this journey, Champagne house Veuve Clicquot brings a distinctive savoir-faire to the rails with a series of tastings, events and special inclusions along the way. Before the train leaves Singapore for Malaysia, sip on sunset aperitifs at Cé La Vi SkyBar, where vintage Champagne tastings will be held with Veuve Clicquot Cellar master Didier Mariotti. Onboard gala menus will be created by chef André Chiang paired with Veuve Clicquot cuvées. Taste the elegant Yellow Label and Brut Rosé, the unique Extra Brut Extra Old and the Vintage series (2002, 2008, and the rosé 2012, 2015). Discover the prestigious La Grande Dame editions (2008, 2012, 2015 and the rosé 2004, 2012, 2015) and an exclusive selection of The Cave Privée series (1989, 1990, 1995 and the rosé 1989, 1996). Visit the train’s website. 

New restaurant in Mayfair 

Mayfair’s Hamiltons Gallery owner Tim Jefferies and chef Larry Jayasekara have opened The Cocochine, restoring, renovating and reimagining the historic property in Bruton Place, London. Located in a former mews house at 27 Bruton Place off London’s Berkeley Square, The Cocochine is set over four floors with a main dining room. From the kitchen to the interior, The Cocochine is a celebration of art and craftsmanship. The ground level hosts the 28-seat main à la carte dining room. Leather-clad handrails guide you to the first level, where a specially commissioned mosaic inspired by a former exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery of work by Guido Mocafico, covers the floor. The room houses a seven-guest chef's counter with views into the kitchen. Visit the restaurant’s website. 

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