These Luxurious Villa Retreats Are What Long Weekend Dreams Are Made Of

Words by Priyanka Pradhan

8 min read

Whether it’s a tropical island villa or a hideaway among wild lagoons, or even a secluded lodge in the mountains, the long weekend calls for an idyllic retreat away from the madding crowds. Rediscover the appeal of a reclusive luxury getaway, to revel in those fleeting moments of quietude. MOJEH edits the most luxurious villas of the season, all just a stone’s throw from home

La Plantation D’Albion Resort, Mauritius

Aside from being a popular choice as the setting in Hollywood’s romantic comedies, all-inclusive resorts have become something of a statement over the years. In 1950, the founders of Club Med, Gérard Blitz and French businessman Gilbert Trigano, realised resorts can be so much more than just a place for bed and breakfast. They pioneered the concept of all-inclusive vacations and the world has never looked back. Adam Sandler will concur.

La Plantation d’Albion Resort, Mauritius is one of Club Med’s most opulent offerings, nestled in 21 hectares of unspoiled nature. The resort, the first in the Club Med Exclusive Collection, aims to offer better service and personalised experiences with an emphasis on privacy and a more exclusive way of life. Located a stone’s throw from the shore, with panoramic views of the turquoise blue waters, the two to three-bedroom garden villas and sea view villas feature a private pool and terrace. Each villa also comes with a private butler and chef service, aiming to offer personalised service and attention to detail. A private driver with a buggy is also on call for transfers on the enormous property, any time of the day (or night).

Designed by the renowned Studio MNHA, the villas blend modernism and Mauritian tradition, punctuated by colourful touches reminiscent of Asian and African cultures. Bright accents of colour and elegant wood furnishings in the spacious 180-metre square villas convey the bohemian luxe aesthetic and a relaxed charm. Details such as a wooden day bed suspended from a palm-thatched Mauritian verandah lend their countryside appeal to this private abode. Screened by lush green hedges and surrounded by the ocean, the villas at La Plantation d’Albion Resort are cocooned in privacy and seemingly insulated from the troubles of the world.

La Plantation d’Albion boasts other amenities such as private concierge, enhanced privacy and curated, personalised experiences. Together with the ‘zen zone’, beach lounge and pool, the villas exude an elegant yet laid-back charm. The Cinc Mondes Spa at La Plantation d’Albion is one of the resort’s most compelling offerings. Located in the heart of an exotic garden overlooking the ocean, the spa spoils its guests with over 50 sensory journeys and aerial yoga for the body and soul. Its all-inclusive appeal gives travellers an opportunity to enjoy island activities such as sailing, paddle-boarding and snorkelling excursions, sample traditional Mauritian delicacies and even indulge in a tee off at their 18-hole golf course.

Whether hosting thrill-seekers and solo travellers, couples on a romantic getaway or families looking to spend quality time together, the resort aims to offer something exciting for everyone. Kids are treated to their own entertainment at the Petit Club and Junior club for teens. A waterslide in the swimming pool and a vast range of kid-friendly activities are designed to keep little guests engaged.

The resort also offers diving excursions for an opportunity to discover the coral reef, stingrays and parrot fish in their natural habitat. Other private excursions include Deer island, hiking in Black River Gorges National Park, gastronomy and history of Mahebourg, among others. From museums to parks to reserves, the resort’s guests are also able to discover offbeat and remote sites in Mauritius on their own, with the help of the Discovery Team. The Seewoosagur Ramgoolam botanical garden in Pamplemousses and the incredible sand dunes of the Earth Geopark in Chamarel are among the most popular.

The dense tropical vegetation and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean promise to be a haven for those looking for a quiet getaway. With the luxury of the all-inclusive proposition in a decadent seaside villa, La Plantation d’Albion is the perfect refuge from the chaos of city life. Book now

Amankora, Bhutan

The Himalayas have their own special way to welcome autumn, a season of change and transformation. The Kingdom of Bhutan rejoices this special time before the snow sets in, and Amankora Bhutan joins the seasonal celebrations. Five lodges across the Buddhist kingdom in Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang, that are collectively called Amankora Bhutan, invite travellers on a voyage of spirituality and self-discovery.

Amankora Thimphu is designed in the style of a traditional Dzong fortress, located in the upper reaches of the Motithang area. Traditional wood-burning stoves, banquette window seats and curated experiences offer a tranquil retreat within reach of local markets and indigenous communities. The intimate 16-suite lodge is offered both individually and as a private abode for those looking to spend time exclusively with family and friends.

Colourful Bhutanese prayer flags flutter in the wind across the Mo Chhu river, where the second lodge, Amankora Punakha sits quietly in a subtropical valley. The lodge incorporates a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse built by a former Je Khenpo (chief abbot) of Bhutan. A tribute to simplicity, the design draws inspiration from the Buddhist way of life. Surrounded by undulating rice terraces and orchards, the Amankora Punaka lodge is a reclusive delight.

From the lush valleys of Punakha to the home of the Black Mountains, the journey takes travellers to the Gangtey Lodge next. Set on the edge of a wildlife reserve with scenic views of the Gangtey Goemba Monastery, it offers an opportunity to discover the lifestyle of Vajrayana Buddhist hermits, who commit to their faith by giving up almost all their possessions to engage in meditation, prayers and spiritual learning. Set in the little-known Phobjikha Valley, the lodge has scenic views of the valley floor, a family-style dining room and a cosy library. Another highlight of the Amankora Gangtey lodge is the Potato Shed, where one can enjoy a private Bhutanese evening surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles.

Further east is the Bumthang Lodge which rests peacefully in the Land of the Thunder Dragon, considered to be the country’s spiritual centre. Some of the temples, shrines, spiritual sites and monasteries here date back to the 7th century. Bumthang, which means ‘beautiful field’, lives up to its name as local farms and home-grown cottage industries cultivate the kingdom’s finest apples, peaches, buckwheat, cheeses, honey and herbal tea. The Bumthang lodge takes its design cues from Japanese minimalism with emphasis on clean lines and a muted palette. No television, discreet sliding doors and sounds from the surrounding woodland give way to morning rituals such as the Bhutanese milk-and-butter tea in bed, yoga and reading — a rare pleasure for the senses.

Later, at Paro Lodge, travellers may wander through the sacred halls of Paro Dzong or make a pilgrimage to the famed Tiger’s Nest. At an elevation of 2,250 metres, and blessed with a beautiful pine forest, the Paro Valley feels like nature’s warm embrace. Paro combines rustic elements with contemporary design in an ode to its natural surroundings. The air is scented with natural cedarwood and the furnishings are carved from local timber. Guests of the Amankora Paro lodge are treated to a private fire-warmed terrace and introduced to local flavours for a more immersive and intimate experience of the Bhutanese retreat. Book now

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, UAE

Why travel across the world in a quest for a peaceful sanctuary when a breathtaking oceanside hideaway beckons, within touching distance of the city? Located in the emirate of Ajman, a 25-minute drive from Dubai, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah is recognised as one of the best biodiverse resorts in the UAE. Framed by one million square metres of pristine natural white sand beaches, protected forests and lagoons, Al Zorah feels like a world away from its bustling urban counterparts.

The one to three-bedroom luxury private villas sit steps away from the sand, and yet seem blissfully far removed from their surroundings. The resort promises to deliver unmatched privacy and exclusivity to guests in the villas, with private concierge and round-the-clock service and exclusive experiences. Among other offerings, the resort is also able to arrange private barbecue dinner under the stars, prepared by an Oberoi chef and served by a personal butler, poolside.

The villas are designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni in a contemporary and minimalist style, featuring open spaces and a soothing white-and-beige colour palette. Each of the villas feature private terraces and temperature-controlled pools with sweeping views of the gardens and sea. Some villas are designed with private access to the sea, while others offer opulent outdoor showers and tranquil passageways to the resort’s splendid gardens. The interiors are sophisticated and elegant, conceived in white with touches of teal, chartreuse, blue, green, and red. The rooms are flooded with natural light and the patterned wall tiles in rooms and dining areas add a playful touch to the ambience.

One of the most exciting offerings from the resort is Vinesse, a restaurant that sits in a glass structure that appears to float above the water. A range of outdoor activities, including kayaking and paddle-boarding through mangroves, golfing and cycling along scenic trails, aim to round off the luxury resort experience in style. More than 100 species of birds, pink flamingos, fish nurseries and offshore coral live within the close confines of the resort, making it an exciting encounter with nature. The lush mangroves and the azure Arabian Gulf are an invitation to nature enthusiasts, adventure-seekers and those simply looking for a sensory delight.

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah prioritises sustainability by sourcing environmentally friendly ingredients in its restaurants, ensuring they are organic and ethical whenever feasible, pledging its commitment to environmental protection and long-term sustainability. With the wild mangroves and stunning lagoons of Al Zorah, along with its incredible flora and fauna, the private villas at The Oberoi Beach Resort offer a ringside view to nature’s spectacular theatre, from the lap of luxury. Book now

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