Summer is here and you are enjoying the best moments the British weather has to offer, so while you sip cocktails and have lazy weekends in the park, it’s time to take a moment and plan ahead for the cold and stormy winter nights.
Hop on a plane to warmer climes and make the most of the winter evenings with stargazing, outdoor cinemas, moonlight spa treatments and zip lining in the dark. From Bali to New Zealand, here’s a round up of the best activities best enjoyed in the dark…
STARLIGHT SPA AT ALILA UBUD, BALI
Alila Ubud in Bali puts a whole new spin on natural spa treatments with ‘Moonlight Remedies’. The two-hour treatment takes place outside after dark, amid the lush green surroundings of the resort’s Sculpture Garden on the banks of the magical Ayung River. It’s believed that a new or full moon is when the moon’s energy is at its strongest, therefore the treatment is conducted outdoors in a custom spa tent. Open to nature yet completely private, the treatment harnesses good lunar energy to promote healing and spiritual growth, while encouraging complete mind and body relaxation. Spa Alila, offers four types of massage: Balinese Massage, Alila Recovery Signature Massage, Reflexology and an Indian Head Massage.
WHERE: Alila Ubud, Bali
WHEN: Every evening on request from 7pm
HOW: Treatments start from £76. Room rates start from £134 room only. www.alilahotels.com/ubud
STARGAZING AT SINGITA GRUMETI, ZIMBABWE
The Singita Grumeti lodges and Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe are fitted with Swaroviski telescopes giving guests the chance to view the awe-inspiring night sky like never before. Each telescope is beautifully designed and located on a spectacular vantage point with panoramic views over the African landscape so guests are able to spot big game during the day and focus in on the brightly lit stars at night. As there is no light pollution, the high-performing telescopes offer a rare opportunity to see clearly for hundreds of miles in every direction.
WHERE: Singita Sasakwa, Singita Sabora, Singita Faru Faru, Singita Explore, Singita Sasakwa and Singita Pamushana
HOW: Rates start from £305 night
TORCH LIT DESCENTS AND TOBOGGANING IN THE DARK WITH POWDER WHITE
The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down on the slopes. In Val d’Isere guests can huddle on the slopes with a vin chaud as they watch the impressive and magical sight of ski instructors making a torch lit descent down La Face. The torch lit descent is always followed by a stunning firework display. In Courchevel once the skiing stops you can hop onto a toboggan for an exhilarating sledging run that starts in 1850 and ends in 1550. The run is 2km long, with 300m of vertical with an average incline of 15%. The run is floodlit from start to finish, allowing for evening descents. Top tip, wear goggles, otherwise a face full of snow may reduce chances of winning!
WHERE: Courchevel and Val d’lsere in France
HOW: Powder White, in specialist ski tour operator, has chalets in all the big five European resorts. Chalets in Courchevel and Val d’lsere start from £449 per person fully catered.
TAKE YOUR STARGAZING TO ANOTHER LEVEL IN ONE OF THE WORLD’S ONLY INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY RESERVES
New Zealand is home to one of just five international Dark Sky Reserves (and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere) making it the perfect destination for a holiday under the night skies. Head to Aoraki Mackenzie, a gold rated dark sky reserve, almost completely free of light pollution and located in the Mackenzie Basin, in the stunning South Island of New Zealand. The 4300 sqkm area includes Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, and the villages of Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook, bounded by a spectacular alpine landscape with the Southern Alps in the west, and the Two Thumb Range in the east. Stargazing opportunities are endless – from guided tours of the solar system and visits to world-class observatories, to a visit to the world’s southernmost planetarium at the Hillary Alpine Centre.
HOW: Earth and Sky (www.earthandskynz.com) offer Night Time Tours of the famous Mount John Observatory with the chance to see the Southern night skies through world-class telescopes, including the country’s biggest, which spans 1.8 metres. Stay in the heart of the reserve at The Hermitage Hotel (www.hermitage.co.nz), with views over Mount Cook and head out on a stargazing ‘safari’ with Big Sky Stargazing. Alternatively, head to the wilds for a night under the stars in the Department of Conservation ‘White Horse Hill’ campsite, set beneath magnificent Alpine scenery (www.doc.govt.nz). www.newzealand.com
DINING IN THE DARK AT ALILA DIWA GOA, INDIA
On the last Thursday of each month, the boutique design resort of Alila Diwa Goa, hosts a ‘Dine in the Dark’ experience at its acclaimed Spice Studio restaurant. Diners can indulge in a traditional Indian “thali” in the pitch black. Without sight all the other senses, taste, smell and sound, are heightened. This allows the unique spices and complex layers of Indian food to be experienced like never before, with every bite a taste sensation, focused solely on the textures and flavours of each dish.
WHERE: Alila Diwa Goa
WHEN: Weekly at Spice Studio
HOW: Prices start from £10 per person for the Dine in the Dark experience. Room rates start from £93 room only.
DISCOVER CREATURES OF THE NIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND
Canopy Tours in Rotorua, New Zealand, recently launched a unique and thrilling night adventure. Creatures of the Night departs at dusk, and takes explorers on a guided zip lining tour through a forest. Here they will discover a world of insects unique to New Zealand including Weta, Morepork and glowworms. Standing on the highest platform situated 22 metres above the forest floor, guests can launch themselves into the darkness under the clear night sky for a truly unique flying experience.
WHERE: Rotorua, New Zealand
HOW: Creatures of the Night by Canopy Tours costs from £68 per person www.canopytours.co.nz
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS IN KENYA WITH FLYCAMPING AT SASAAB LODGE
Sassab is one of East Africa’s most dramatic and romantic lodges located in the heart of the culturally rich Samburu in Kenya. Whilst staying at Sasaab, guests can choose to spend a night fly-camping under a mosquito net tent in the wilderness. The unique trip starts with a safari walk along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River where guests may catch sight of the ‘Samburu Five’; the Beisa Oryz, Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Somali Ostrich. Dinner is served on a spectacular vantage point with stunning views over the wilds of the Northern Frontier before the night is spent under the stars.
WHERE: Sassab Lodge, Kenya
HOW: Rates start from $648 per night
MOVIES UNDER THE STARS AT ALILA MANGGIS, BALI
Each Friday, Alila Manggis on the east coast of Bali, transforms its coconut grove garden into an intimate, candlelit movie theatre, screening black and white films underneath a blanket of stars. Kick back and relax on beanbags and enjoy classic films from romance and comedy through to documentaries, all to a backdrop of starlit skies and lapping ocean. More memorable than the local Odeon..
WHERE: Alila Manggis Bali WHEN: Every Friday
HOW: Admission is free for guests. Room rates start from £103 room only. www.alilahotels.com/manggis
GET LUCKY IN THE DARK AT MONTE-CARLO CAFÉ DE PARIS CASINO
Monte-Carlo Cafe de Paris Casino has recently become the only casino on the Riviera where you can play whenever you like, day or night. The casino is now open 24/7, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Café de Paris Casino is the largest slot machine casino on the Côte d’Azur, the terrace alone holds over 90 machines where players can place bets to their hearts content. The Casino’s décor is worthy of a science fiction movie, with gigantic arches and coloured lights creating different moods and atmospheres.
WHERE: Monte-Carlo Cafe de Paris Casino
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