Think you need to splash serious cash for Indian Ocean break? Katie McGonagle rounds up options for all budgets
Private islands, personal butlers, palatial beachfront villas – the Indian Ocean has a well-deserved reputation as the highest of high-end hideaways.
But while lavish and luxurious options abound, there are also plenty of possibilities for those without such deep pockets.
Granted, it’s never going to be bargain basement, thanks to its long-haul flights and high-quality hotels, but clients with more modest means can still enjoy that air of exclusivity without the exorbitant price tag.
Our round-up caters for everyone from the cost-conscious to those seeking ultimate luxury.
SAVE: TIME AND PLACE
Sri Lanka is the region’s most affordable option, offering a value-for-money combination of beach breaks and culture or wildlife-focused tours. Those who stick to its beautiful beaches will find plenty of week-long options from about £1,000.
A key lead-in property for Hayes & Jarvis is the three-star Mermaid Hotel in Kalutara – from £1,099 including Sri Lankan Airlines flights and transfers. Further up the western coast in Negombo, Gold Medal recommends the Club Hotel Dolphin for its excellent facilities (from £949 all-inclusive including flights and transfers).
Other Indian Ocean destinations require a bit more spending power, but are not out-of-reach for cost-conscious travellers, especially if they stay all-inclusive. Western & Oriental recommends The Residence Mauritius for excellent value for money (from £1,385 for seven nights’ half-board with flights and transfers).
In the Maldives, the value-driven Smart by Kuoni range singles out three properties, one of which is Velidhu Island Resort – a week all-inclusive starts at £1,521 including flights via Dubai and transfers.
Travel 2 suggests travelling to the Maldives in the shoulder seasons – the weather might be less reliable, but prices drop significantly after April – or considering options such as the three-star Summer Island Village, which is a speedboat transfer from Malé rather than the more expensive seaplane flight. From £1,219 for seven nights’ full-board including flights and transfers with Travel 2.
SPEND: DOUBLE UP
Twin-centres are a growing trend and a great way to experience more exclusive destinations without blowing the budget. Mosaic Holidays has seen Sri Lanka-Maldives combos rise, and is expecting big things from the new five-times-a-week Turkish Airlines route to Malé, opening up the possibility of Istanbul-Maldives twin-centres.
Mosaic offers a five-night Sri Lanka tour plus five nights’ all-inclusive at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives, from £2,199 with all flights and transfers in January. Look out for the new Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa in the Maldives, opening in mid-February with value-for-money all-inclusive packages, from £1,739 for a week with flights and transfers from Travel 2.
Signature from Thomas Cook has free room night offers and discounted rates before the end of April at five-star Kihaad Maldives, where all-inclusive packages incorporate an excursion, spa treatment and land and watersports. Prices start from £2,339 for seven nights, Qatar Airways flights and transfers.
While the Seychelles is decidedly at the upper end of the price scale, there are more affordable options for mid-range spenders. The Private Travel Company has 5% off accommodation at Kempinski Seychelles Resort for bookings made more than 45 days before arrival, plus free night offers. One week’s B&B starts at £1,595 with flights and transfers.
For a more off-the-beaten-track experience, Rainbow Tours has added the tiny island of Rodrigues for 2013, boasting amazing marine life, rugged scenery and a melting pot of cultures. Prices start from £1,485 for five nights’ half-board at Mourouk Ebony Hotel including flights, transfers, full-day guided tour and windsurfing and canoeing.
SPLURGE: BLOW THE BUDGET
This is where the Indian Ocean excels, with some of the most luxurious accommodation in the world. The Seychelles’ private islands offer the ultimate in escapism, exclusivity and exotic scenery. The Private Travel Company offers a week’s all-inclusive beach cottage on Denis Island from £3,649, while Western & Oriental offers a beach villa with pool at Desroches Island Lodge from £7,780 including flights.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is actually spread across two tropical islands in the South Ari Atoll, boasting a mix of beach and over-water villas, plus a spectacular underwater restaurant (pictured above). Mosaic Holidays offers a week with breakfast, Emirates flights and seaplane transfers from £3,449.
Why not splash out and pick up a new skill? Visit the Royal Palm, Mauritius, between March 25 and 27 and clients could join a masterclass with Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens. Beachcomber Tours offers a week half-board with flights, private transfers, cooking sessions plus three four-course dinners and champagne on the beach, from £3,950.
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