Have you tried the British Virgin Islands, or Pattaya Thailand?
Holidays to the Caribbean or Thailand are fairly well charted in terms of luxury. Everybody knows the grand casino resorts of the Bahamas, the lavish hillside hotels of Saint Lucia, the penthouse suites of Bangkok or the jungle-lined beachfront charms of Phuket and Koh Samui.
Yet within these foci of international tourism there’s a couple of spots that do not share the same level of limelight, albeit for very different reasons. Today we look at the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) in the Caribbean, and Pattaya, Thailand. Where one prefers to stay low-key, the other is making its move towards centre-stage.
British Virgin Islands
‘Understated elegance’ would be the description applied by most to the BVIs, and with good reason. Though one of the most prosperous economies in the Caribbean, this collection of small islands – a self-governing British overseas territory – tends to be fairly reclusive in comparison with some of the more flamboyant neighbours.
An archipelago of isles is framed by the dramatic hills that separate their channels, providing picturesque routes for yachts and motorboats, before mooring up in pretty, hidden harbours. On the BVIs, ‘island life’ is a phrase taken quite literally. That life differs from island to island, but an emphasis on the understated remains.
Capital island Tortola is perhaps the most akin to its Caribbean cousins, and the nearest. Tortola is a mix of superb seafood restaurants, quaint marinas and year-round events.
The second biggest, Virgin Gorda – meaning the ‘Fat Virgin’, a quite literal interpretation of the shape of the island as coined by Christopher Columbus – features limitless natural beauty, secluded bays, coves and beaches, and dotted with hidden villas to make your own.
The tiny island of Anegada is particularly special for its underwater life, as reefs teem with wildlife sustained by the volcanic activity of the area. Further still, and the adventurous will discover about 60 islands of green peaks and palm-laden white beaches in the archipelago, some of which are uninhabited national parks and ripe to explore. Many are colloquially known as ‘nature’s little secrets’, and they’re up to you to find.
Biras Creek Resort
In keeping with the understated and sophisticated charm of the BVIs, Biras Creek Resort is quite special. Reachable only by boat or helicopter transfer, the island is perched aside a large blue lagoon on Virgin Gorda’s northeast coast, with only wave-breaking reefs to separate it from the Atlantic.
The multiple-accolade-winning Biras Creek is one of BVIs’ farthest flung resorts, providing complete serenity and the opportunity to explore and indulge to your heart’s content. Try anything from snorkelling, kite boarding and scuba diving for all levels, to hiking or horseriding the barely-disturbed jungle landscape, awash with fascinating wildlife and history.
A real highlight, however, is the Sailaway Option. Ask about this astonishing seven-night package where guests can have 5 nights at the resort and 2 nights aboard a luxury sailing yacht complete with captain, cook and king bed. The BVIs are one of the most remarkable regions of the world to sail, and this fits the bill perfectly.
Summer Special Offer:
Kenwood Travel customers can now take advantage of a sensational offer this summer at Biras Creek Resort.
Book now and receive 7 nights for the price of 5. Furthermore, should you book and pay for half-board, you’ll receive a complimentary upgrade to staying on full board basis.
Heading eastwards now and we find a beachfront region of Thailand that has seen a surge in travellers’ interest of late – Pattaya.
Whilst many will be familiar with Thailand’s southwestern fork, bound by the Gulf of Thailand and Thai islands such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to the east, and Andaman Sea including coastal resorts like Phuket to the west.
Head just a short distance down the southeastern side from Bangkok, however, and you happen upon the beachfront city of Pattaya.
Now, Pattaya is certainly not a place lacking attention, nor can it be considered an undiscovered gem. Quite the opposite, in fact. The city has enjoyed the custom of tourists for many years. Heavy conurbation during the late 20th century gave Pattaya the unfortunate reputation of having few naturally pretty spots, and quite a lot of beer.
But Pattaya has been on a major turn. Local authorities have done very well to incite a resurgence of family-friendly and exploratory tourism, while a cavalcade of luxury hotels and stunning beachfront resorts have completely transformed its appeal.
Quite simply, Pattaya is the new destination of choice for holidays to Thailand.
Pattaya Beach is a hotbed of luxury resorts and bustling activity including fine restaurants, luxury boutique shopping and live music. This vibrant beachfront is lined with fantastic architecture, in some ways evocative of Miami Beach.
The city is surrounded by country clubs and beautiful golf courses. Explorers, meanwhile, may want to venture south and find natural wonders and superb dive spots around the tip of Chong Samae San or on nearby islands such as Koh Kram Yai. If you’re touring Southeast Asia, here is also the perfect launch point to carry on into Cambodia.
Thailand’s southeastern point has been building up its reputation with gusto and is now established as one of the must-do spots for any holiday to the country. And with stunning hotels such as the Hilton Pattaya, it’s not difficult to see why.
The first thing you notice about the Hilton Pattaya is the architecture. Distinctive towering blocks provide a superbly modern façade and are home to hidden outdoor infinity pools providing sanctuary in the clouds.
The interior design of the Hilton Pattaya too is simply awe-inspiring. Two particular highlights are the Drift and Horizon bars. Drift is a high-floor cocktail bar, partially on a terrace that takes in views of the bay. Guests can sit on perches above small water ponds that undulate through the bar and to the outside. Meanwhile rooftop bar Horizon features some of the best views in the region, and is a favourite spot for couples taking their vows.
Book the Hilton Pattaya online now with Kenwood Travel and discover another side of Thailand.
Written by Jonathan Bright