New Year’s Day brings with it not only a slightly jaded feeling for those who have overindulged the night before, but the dreaded New Year’s resolutions. These promises of good intent are often the same as the year before and forgotten by February, so for 2012 why not leave the detox and gym membership and make a resolution that you will want to keep with the help of Orient-Express.
Get active in 2012
La Residencia, Mallorca
A haven of relaxation, La Residencia also offers more active pastimes in the form of expert tennis coaching. The hotel’s two tennis courts, both surfaced in Greenset cushion, see ATP professional coach Shayne Tabb holding private lessons for those who want to brush up on their game. State of the art video analysis is also available for those guests who want to hone their technique even further.
Video analysis lessons last 60 minutes and cost 60 Euros (approximately £52). Nightly rates at La Residencia start from 415 Euros (approx £365) based on two sharing a Classic Double Room including breakfast. www.hotel-laresidencia.com
Maroma Resort & Spa, Mexico
With the crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea and the world’s second largest coral reef on its doorstep, Maroma Resort & Spa offers a range of exhilarating diving experiences from introductory lessons for total beginners to navigating the freshwater rivers of cenote, or sinkholes, located beneath the Mayan Jungle for more experienced divers.
The Luxury Dive Therapy package at Maroma Resort & Spa sees guests equipped with all dive equipment, full open water PADI certification for beginners or three double tank dives for certified divers, coral reef snorkelling trip, private dive boat as well as luxurious accommodation with breakfast at the resort. A minimum four night stay costs from $625 based on two sharing www.maromahotel.com
Sample some culture in 2012
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
Featured on many a wish list and renowned as the world’s most famous train, the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, sees its 2012 season welcoming the return of the ‘Art of Travel’ collection in association with the National Gallery, London. New to the collection and following the sell out success of the National Gallery’s exhibit ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan’, is ‘Renaissance Rivals: Leonardo & Michelangelo’, a voyage that will give guests an insight to the work of these two art icons. Accompanied by a National Gallery host, the journey, from London to Milan and Florence, will see highlights including a private behind-the-scenes tour at the British Museum, a visit to the Ambrosiana Library in Milan to see Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus and a stay at Orient-Express’ Villa san Michele set in the rolling hills outside Florence. Prices for the 8-night ‘Renaissance Rivals: Leonardo & Michelangelo’ journey start from £7,950 per person and will depart on 12th May 2012. www.orient-express.com
Afloat in France, France
Gently cruising along France’s beautiful rivers and cruises, Afloat in France by Orient-Express is a fleet of five luxury péniche- hotels where guests on board are treated to a host of culinary delights, unique activities and excursions. The 2012 season, commencing in April, sees the introduction of brand new art and wine tours where guests can explore their artistic side and train their senses amongst the vineyards of France.
‘Art Week’ welcomes esteemed painter David Napp aboard Fleur de Lys from the 20th May and then Napoleon from the 29th July, to teach guests key painting techniques along the route. With Fleur de Lys cruising along the Burgundy canal towards Dijon and Napoleon between Tain in the Rhône Vallée and Arles guests will find it hard not be inspired by highlights such as Château de Pommard and Arles, where guests will be able to recreate their own ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gogh. The ‘Wine Discovery’ tours, also aboard Napoleon departing on 1st and 8th July, will take guests on an insightful journey to the magnificent vineyards between Tain L’Hermitage and Chalon-sur-Sâone. Those with a love and taste of great wine will be introduced in depth to the variations of the region, the home to Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais and Pouilly Fuisse, to name a few. Prices start from £3,800 per person, based on two people sharing a double cabin and includes all meals, drinks and sightseeing excursions. www.afloatinfrance.com
Learn some new skills in 2012
Villa San Michele, Italy
Famous the world over for its delicious cuisine; the Cookery School at Villa San Michele provides an idyllic setting to learn about the diverse and authentic flavours of the country’s vibrant gastronomic scene. Villa San Michele’s three night ‘Symphony of Pasta’ course sees expert tuition from the chefs of five of Orient-Express’ Italian properties, bringing with them a wealth of experience and regional knowledge to guide guests through the numerous varieties of pasta and the perfect accompaniments, using the best ingredients. The ‘Symphony of Pasta’ course costs from €1965 per person based on two sharing a Superior Double Room on a half board basis, three cookery lessons, all ingredients and equipment.
Hotel Splendido, Italy
The Liguria region of north-west Italy, where Hotel Splendido is situated, prides itself on the fresh tasty fish that is caught off its shores. For a day trip with a difference, guests can set sail on a traditional Ligurian fishing boat with local fishermen to source the catch of the day. With several itineraries to choose from, depending on the level of fishing experience, total immersion into the local culture is ensured. The price for a full day on the traditional fishing excursion, including a delicious meal of the days catch, starts from €1,000 (approx £881) for 12 people and two crew members. Rooms at Hotel Splendido start from €998 (approx £839) per night based on two sharing a double Garden View room with breakfast. www.hotelsplendido.com