Published on : Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A morning detox at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris
parisLe Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris has the perfect recipe for a healthy, energizing start to the busy Parisian day; a morning mini-detox. Runners can take a turn around the Parc Monceau, just a short hop along the Avenue Hoche, while water babies can enjoy some peaceful lengths in the hotel’s pool – longer than any other hotel swimming pool in the city – for starters. On, to the stylish surroundings of La Cuisine breakfast, which marries gourmet food and wellbeing in a tempting spread. Begin with a cleansing ‘Royal Booster’ smoothie, packed with vitamin C rich Chia seeds, fresh fruit and spices. Next, choose organic eggs cooked any way – perhaps an egg white omelette – or seafood, rich in Omega-3.
There is also seasonal fruit platters, an ‘Alternative Milk Bar’ (soya, almond milk, coconut water) and gluten-free cakes and bread, dried fruits, organic cereals and grains. Don’t miss the delicious Granola Ispahan by Pierre Hermé – a reinterpretation of a classic with oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, puffed rice, grated coconut, pistachios, pecan and almonds, flavoured with honey and rose, dried raspberries and lychees.
Trek to Taal Volcano with Raffles Makati
parisTaal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano; just the right size for a challenging yet achievable start to the day. Taal Volcano sits a boat ride away at the centre of Taal Lake, just fifty kilometres from Raffles Makati. The ethereal lake was formed when a much larger volcano cooled and collapsed to leave an open caldera which, over several thousand years, filled with water.
Leaving Manila in darkness, visitors will arrive at the lake as the day begins, taking a beautiful boat journey across the water to the shores of the volcano itself. From here, a trail leads to the rim of the main crater, a breezy 45 minute walk – with an astonishing view waiting at the top. At the centre of the island, visitors will be surprised to find another highly sulphuric lake at its centre, and within that another small island. The views from the top of the trail both inside the caldera, and outside across the Philippines are at their best in the early morning, as the hazy dawn light gives way to bright sunshine.
A Champagne Breakfast at Angkor Thom with Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
parisThe temples of Angkor Wat are undoubtedly Cambodia’s most majestic of experiences: ancient monuments telling stories of hundreds of years. Angkor is at its most magical as the day begins, as the sun rises and the jungle around the temples wakes up. Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor guides its guests away from the main tourist sunrise spots to a hidden spot of Angkor Thom.
Breakfast is served… tropical fruits, fresh pastries, and a glass of champagne as the cool dawn light lifts to reveal the 54 faces carved into the rocks at Bayon, and the charming figures on the Terrace of Elephants. Spot monkeys beginning their day, and make the most of the early start to discover the secrets of an ancient world before the sun rises too high in the sky and the cool of the pool at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor calls.
Cambodian cooking with Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
parisThe cooking class at Raffles Hotel Le Royal has been described as “one of the most bespoke cooking classes South East Asia has to offer.” Early birds catch the best of Phnom Penh here, travelling to the local market with Chef to collect the freshest produce and finest ingredients of the day before the rest of the city wakes up.
Returning to the hotel, guests will learn the secrets of Royal Khmer Cuisine: Raffles Hotel Le Royal was gifted exclusive rights to recipes from the Palace kitchen by King Father Norodom Sihanouk during his reign. Six dishes will be created in total using rice – a sacred component of Khmer Culture – and fish and shellfish fresh from the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. Herbs and spices come fresh from the market, and the lesson ends with guests tasting their own culinary creations.
Sunrise Yoga Paddle Boarding at Raffles Praslin, Seychelles
parisWhat better way to start the day than with some carefully guided sun salutations… on a paddleboard… in the Indian Ocean… at sunrise? Raffles Praslin, Seychelles’ yoga master Sajeesh Pazhayidath regularly guides guests through sunrise yoga classes to the sound of the sea. But instead of just listening to the sea, guests are now being encouraged to practice yoga on the sea itself. Paddle Board Yoga helps develop core strength and balance. The board provides the perfect platform to increase the intensity of the yoga workout by creating a continuous challenge to balance and adapt to the motion of the board.
This challenge adds to core stability and creates greater strength, flexibility, and balance. Guests can enjoy a private sunrise session, with the idyllic ocean backdrop and natural surroundings providing the perfect environment for total relaxation and rejuvenation. Raffles Praslin, Seychelles resort is perfectly positioned to catch the best sunrise on the island, as the sun creeps over the mountains to one side, slowly moving high into the sky as the day goes on.
China’s most glamorous beach at its best: Raffles Hainan, Clearwater Bay
parisEvery day marks a new beginning on Hainan as birdsong fills the gold coast of Clearwater Bay, and the world wakes up to a refreshing breeze off the sea. Make the most of the restorative early morning light with a range of outdoor activities. Take a yoga class on the beach, or jog along the water’s edge leaving footprints in the sand. Borrow a bicycle and be carried along the coast in no time, or head for the gentle pick-pock of tennis balls on court for starting the day à deux. Or simply take a wonder along the beach, collecting shells, and spotting crabs and small fish starting their day in Hainan style. This is China’s most glamorous beach at its best; all to yourself.
Dawn flag raising ceremony with Raffles Beijing
parisWhile most tourists are still sleeping, guests of Raffles Beijing can join Raffles Ambassador John Spooner to witness the traditional and atmospheric Flag Raising Ceremony at Tian An Men Square, the largest city square in the world. The raising of the national flag is accompanied by a marching military band as the day begins in Beijing and the sun appears over Tian An Men.
John will share his knowledge of the history of the ceremony, as well as taking guests on a journey through Beijing’s past. Opened in 1917 as the Grand Hotel de Pékin, Raffles Beijing Hotel’s graceful French-Orient façade has long stood as an icon of the city’s historical heritage. Just over six years ago, a new chapter began when it was fully renovated in 2006 by Raffles Hotels & Resorts.
Tai Chi in the Botanical Gardens with Raffles Singapore
parisThe martial art of Tai Chi has long be revered for its natural benefits to health; a calming, slow-moving art traditionally practiced outside to lifts stress and build core strength, all fostering a healthy mind and body. The tranquil greenery of Singapore’s Botanical Garden is the perfect sanctuary for starting the day gently; slip out of Raffles Singapore to match up to the expertise of the locals.
The gardens are a cool retreat from the morning bustle; catch the scent of frangipani and fruit trees drifting on the breeze, and slowly sway your body and hands in accordance with the soft movements of the Tai Chi teacher. The Botanic Gardens were originally the brainchild of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 – not only the founder of modern Singapore, from whom Raffles Singapore takes its name, Sir Stamford was also a keen naturalist. The gardens were moved to their current site in 1859, and remain an incredibly important botanical institute for the city. This is a natural wonderland for setting a slow pace of life for the day; return to the haven of Raffles Singapore ready for breakfast in the iconic Tiffin Room.
A Bedouin breakfast with Raffles Dubai
parisDubai lends itself perfectly to early mornings; before the heat of the midday sun comes into full force there are a few precious hours to be enjoyed. Guests of Raffles Dubai can rise early, escaping the city under the cover of darkness. The destination: the desert – all rolling sand dunes and striking silhouettes as dawn rises. Discover wildlife on a sand safari, before arriving at a local Bedouin retreat to learn breakfast recipes handed down from generation to generation.
Take the opportunity to hop on board a camel, try your hand at falconry, experience traditional Yowalah dancing and enjoy a delicious breakfast at sunrise. This is a rare opportunity to glimpse the rich, authentic history of Dubai in pristine desert surroundings. Return to the bright lights, hustle and heat of the city safe in the knowledge of a stolen few hours of peace.
Modern Art ahead of the crowd with Raffles Istanbul
parisOffering a new perspective on a timeless city, Raffles Istanbul sits at the heart of the Zorlu Center, a new hub for fashion, food and the arts on the European shore in Beşiktaş – a next generation bazaar where fashion, performance and art converge. When it opens on 1 September, the hotel will let guests in to the best kept secrets of the cutting edge of the city.
Start the day with a dose of exciting modern art: the concierge will arrange a trip to be first through the doors of some of Istanbul’s best galleries… the Istanbul Modern – Turkey’s first private museum to show modern and contemporary art exhibitions – on the shores of the Bosphorus as the sun rises over the city, or SALT, the contemporary art space, which opened in 2012. Return to Raffles, inspired, for coffee with a view from the private balcony of your bedroom as the world wakes up.
Raffles Makkah Palace
parisAs one of the world’s most holy cities, Makkah is at its most magical in the early morning as the call to prayer wakes the city. Visit the legendary Zamzam Well, a miracle rising from beneath the sand which has generated water for thousands of years or the Jabal Al-Nour (Mountain of the Light), a mountain lying east of Makkah from which Abraham built the Kaaba.
Catch the Qasr As-Saqqaf at its most peaceful: one of the oldest buildings in Makkah, this is typical of the traditional architecture of the city, with unique Islamic motifs. Or visit the Qasr Khozam, the palace of King Abdul Aziz, built more than 80 years ago with stone bought from the west coast of the kingdom. Part of the palace has now been converted into a museum of archaeology and ethnology. Or within the hotel, slip into the Raffles Makkah Palace library – the only library of its kind – with a collection of more than 2,000 Hadith and classic Islamic texts on its shelves.