One holiday two worlds

Issue 1 · Winter 2014/15

Get the most out of your holiday by packing two gloriously different experiences into one thrilling trip – it’s the art of the great vacation combo

Issue 1 · Winter 2014/15

Get the most out of your holiday by packing two gloriously different experiences into one thrilling trip – it’s the art of the great vacation combo

Utah – ski to desert


It’s very unusual to find a single country that offers great skiing as well as desert exploration, never mind a single state, but that’s Utah for you! Fly to Salt Lake City via Dallas and then it’s just a 35-minute private transfer to Deer Valley up in the mountains. Deer Valley gets an average of 7.5 metres of snow a year, covering six mountains. There are ski trails for all abilities, but beginners to intermediates will be right at home. If you’re an expert, there are the mogul runs used for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

from downhill racing to a luxurious desert spa in America's south-west

The Montage is a ski in/ski out hotel on top of Empire Pass, so it has stunning views too. It’s next to three high-speed chair lifts, which means you get instant access to the slopes. It’s a luxurious hotel, but also great for families. Everything you might want to do can be organised on site: ski rental, slope passes and lessons, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, even a go on the bobsled course. The hotel’s got the biggest spa in the area, with an enormous outdoor heated pool. There’s also live music every evening.

The drama of skiing in luxury on beautiful quiet slopes to being in the middle of the desert at Amangiri resort later the same day is incredible. All you have to do is pick up a rental SUV for the most scenic six-hour road trip you will ever take, past the red rocks of the Wasatch Mountains and down through Zion National Park, which is a great place to stop if you want to do some hiking. From Amangiri you can take a private speedboat around Lake Powell, or go rock climbing in the desert.

Amangiri blends into the landscape. It’s a real architectural masterpiece. The central pavilion has huge sofas and big picture windows so you can watch a desert sunset with a cocktail in your hand – try the Prickly Pear Margarita or Sage Mojito. The pool is sunk into a courtyard and winds around the rocks. There’s also a hot tub, so you can relax under the stars even in winter. The accommodation wings lead out into the desert, and each suite has a private courtyard, bedroom and living area, and glass doors onto a desert lounge with a central fireplace. The Native American-inspired spa at Amangiri does colour therapy-enhanced flotation treatments and has a watsu pool. The hotel can also organise day trips to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, with private sightseeing flights if you want to see them from the air. Page Airport is 20 minutes away and you can fly home via LAX.

Scott Dun Ski Consultant Charlotte Austin

A six-hour drive from Deer Valley to Amangiri

Utah Combo, from £4,940pp for 10 nights, including flights

Find out more
For further information visit

Images: Aurora Photos

Sydney – Lord Howe Island


Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A thoughtful approach to architecture means that there are lots of low buildings that show off the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Wherever you are you can always see a glimmer of water and you even get dolphins swimming alongside the morning ferry. There’s something for everyone: honeymooners, families, retired couples, multi-generational groups. Although very sophisticated, it’s not a metropolis like Hong Kong or New York, it’s much more laid back. That said, it’s a melting pot, which means distinctive neighbourhoods and fantastic food.

Lord Howe Island is only two hours from Sydney – and it’s an unspoilt paradise even many Australians don’t know about

Scott Dunn works with a small, handpicked selection of hotels in Sydney, like the Park Hyatt, right under the Harbour Bridge. It has had a multi-million dollar refurbishment recently and though it’s part of a group it still feels quite boutique, and its position is superb.

Lord Howe Island is the absolute opposite of Sydney despite being less than two hours away by plane. It’s the remnants of a volcano in the Tasman Sea, which separates Australia from New Zealand. It’s a totally pristine combination of rocky peaks and white sand beaches, and because it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, only 400 visitors are allowed at any one time – very unlike Sydney! It’s only about eight miles from one end of the island to the other, so you can easily walk around it or take a bike. There are plants and birds you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Scott Dunn works with two hotels on Lord Howe Island. One is Capella Lodge, which feels like a really luxurious Aussie beach house.

Many of the lodges on the island don’t accept children under six, so this combo works best for families with older children and teenagers. It’s also great for parents of gap year children who are travelling in Australia; parents can fly out to meet them in Sydney, before they all go on to Lord Howe.
Scott Dunn Australia Consultant Sophie Wynn-Williams
A two-hour flight from Sydney to Lord Howe Island
New South Wales Explorer, from £6,790pp for 13 nights, including flights
Find out more
For further information visit

Images: National Geographic Creative, Gallery Stock

Sri Lanka – Maldives


The pace of life in Sri Lanka is really gentle. It has great cultural sites, like the 10th-century city of Polonnaruwa or the palace of Sigiriya, which rises out of the jungle. A great base to explore Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and the ancient capital of Anuradhapura is Vil Uyana, which overlooks a peaceful marsh area just a few miles from Sigiriya. It’s more like an exclusive rural holiday village than a hotel. It has its own lotus pond and plunge pools, and even a wild but friendly crocodile who comes for breakfast each morning.

Twin Sri Lanka with the Maldives for an easygoing mix of culture and beach

From here you can easily get to the rolling hill country and stay somewhere like Ceylon Tea Trails, which is four old colonial bungalows that have been converted into luxury accommodation and is perfect for honeymoon couples. You’re essentially staying on a working tea estate, while enjoying five-star luxury. The food is fantastic: Sri Lankan classics and seafood grills using locally sourced ingredients, some of which come from organic vegetable plots around the estate.

After all that exploration in Sri Lanka, some totally relaxing down-time in the Maldives is the perfect antidote – and it’s just a short hour and 25 minute flight to get there.

The quality of beaches in the Maldives is incredible. They really are the ultimate desert island paradise, perfect for a relaxing beach holiday or a luxury honeymoon. There’s amazing diving and snorkelling, with 200 species of coral and 300 species of fish, including whale sharks. North Huvadhoo atoll is the best for this. You also have to visit the underwater Ithaa restaurant, 16 feet under the Indian Ocean.

The Soneva Fushi resort combines perfectly with Sri Lanka as it’s only a 30-minute sea plane flight away from Male Airport which makes it a very easy transfer. Soneva has a lovely lounge right there at the airport where you can have a massage and a drink while waiting for your sea plane. Soneva is famous for its “no news, no shoes” philosophy – the ultimate in barefoot luxury.
Scott Dunn Indian Ocean Consultant Daniel Smith
A flight of an hour and 25 minutes from Sri Lanka to the Maldives
Tea Trails and Atolls, from £4,290pp for 11 nights, including flights
Find out more
For further information visit

Sofia Coppola
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