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Destination Curation: Luxury Safaris, Helsinki & the Nam Hai Spa in Vietnam

800px x 315px Blog Title Destination Curation May 27 2016

Wildlife tourism (of the “let’s have a look from a distance and try not to disturb anything” variety, as opposed to “big-game hunting”, which can’t help but get bad press) has been a “go to” travel desire for people from all walks of life for a long time now – gap year students, honeymooners, people on a work break, people flush with a redundancy package, photographers, team-builders – you name it.  But with so many options, what’s the best way to do it?  That’s a question answered by our first article this week by @FlyingTheNest as they review some of their favourite luxurious safaris.  They provide a ton of recommendations including the Ruaha National Park, where your ‘tent’ comes with your own butler and silverware and the outstanding Matetsi Private Game Reserve:  

Chefs table safari

This doesn’t seem like a bad way to live either, for either party.  Possibly not the most natural:


Next up:  Helsinki.  I know Helsinki exists, but beyond that, I don’t know much about it.  If pressed I could reel off a few facts (hosted the ’52 Olympics, it wasn’t always the capital of Finland – Turku was for a long time, aaaand I’m out).  Which is a shame.  So thanks @YoungAdventures for enlightening me on how the city surprised you! In particular the depth and breadth of its cafe culture, its introverted nature, the Streat Helsinki food festival and its clash of cultures architecture.

Finally, I came across one place I definitely want to try thanks to @okfleming via @TravelLeisure: The Nam Hai in Vietnam, which recently won Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s top spa award of 2015.  Even Jeremy Clarkson agrees, as he said in 2009:  

“If you’re passing, it’s worth dropping in. Actually, even if you’re not passing, it’s worth flying over there just so you are”.  

So what’s so good about it?  Well, I’ll let this paragraph do the talking (I haven’t even included the paragraphs on the hotel and service):

“But the “wellness retreat” itself, designed by architect Reda Amalou, is where the wow-factor really sets in. Described by Mr and Mrs Smith as a place “where Vietnamese chic meets cutting-edge design,” you won’t find your average, run-of-the-mill treatments here. Built according to a precise formula for zen, the spa features eight private relaxation bungalows that float serenely amongst lotus flowers on a koi fish-filled lagoon. Here, you are led through large French doors to an open air relaxation deck that juts out onto the lagoon, where a deep bathtub faces a cushioned daybed for two, and a vast selection of relaxing “rituals” and wellness “ceremonies” are offered. Each treatment begins with an oil-infused milk foot soak, and ends with you never wanting to leave. When Clarkson visited, he believed you could “get so relaxed here that your bones would melt,” calling it “the most astonishing spa in the whole world.”

I’ll leave it at that.

Originally published on Concierge99’s blog: Travel Tips, Treats and Tales.

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