Learn something new during your stay at these four luxury Anantara resorts
Discover ancient crafts and develop new skills with Anantara’s range of guided classes.
Luxury travel needn’t be a hands-off, feet-up affair. Sampling something unique or learning something new can be as rewarding as cosying up in a five-star suite. That’s why Anantara has incorporated immersive experiences into each of its resorts – to encourage guests to discover the world beyond their hotel room. Here are some of our favourite activities on offer at four of Anantara’s resorts in Asia, from cooking up a storm to kickboxing with the pros.
Learn to cook the Maldivian way – Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
Kihavah was once a strategic stop-over on a centuries-old Arabian trade route. One needn’t look far to realise why travellers would choose to pause here. This islet – part of the famously fetching Baa Atoll archipelago – is typified by swaying palms, white-sand beaches and tempting blue ocean. Anantara opened its award-winning resort here in 2011, and was careful to preserve the private island’s natural beauty (no tree was felled in the process). There are 80 beach and over-water villas and residences to choose from, a unique observatory in the Sky Bar for gazing at the stars and even an underwater dining experience.
When you’re not out exploring the surrounding UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the resort promises plenty of on-site activities to pique your interest. Spice Spoons, a popular feature at many of Anantara’s properties, gives guests the opportunity to learn how to cook like a local. Discover delicious Maldivian cuisine first-hand under the expert tutelage of the chefs here. Kids can get stuck in, too, by attending the Mini Master Chef classes.
Master Muay Thai in the ring – Anantara Layan Phuket Resort
Situated in a romantic, hillside spot on Phuket’s west coast, this Anantara resort in Thailand gives you easy access to a scenic beach cove and the sparkling Andaman Sea beyond. You can stay in one of 30 rooms and suites, 47 pool villas and 15 pool residences, with options to suit couples, families and larger groups. There’s even a cliffside chapel for a unique place to tie the knot, with four tailored wedding packages on offer for swooning couples.
The chapel isn’t the only unusual feature of Anantara Layan Phuket Resort; there’s also a dedicated Muay Thai boxing ring for more active guests to enjoy. Both a contact sport and centuries-old martial art, Muay Thai is held in high esteem in Thai culture. If you fancy getting to grips with the basics, or are ready to take things up a level, the resort’s Muay Thai experience is just the thing. Qualified in-house trainers can guide you through essential moves and training during lessons. For an in-depth experience, take up the three-day Muay Thai challenge which culminates in a session at Sumalee boxing gym, overseen by a professional Thai boxer.
Craft a lantern ready for the full-moon festival – Anantara Hoi An Hotel
Rather than a holiday retreat miles from anything, sometimes you want to be just a stroll away from the action. Anantara Hoi An Hotel puts you minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An. Every street in this charming riverside town offers a glimpse into authentic Vietnamese culture. After tours around the ancient quarters nearby, return to one of the resort’s 94 split-level rooms and suites to relax. Each boasts views of the manicured gardens or the Thu Bon river, and features a fusion of East Asian and European elements.
The monthly full-moon festival sees Hoi An aglow with lanterns, and is a wonderfully atmospheric time to visit. To truly get into the spirit of things, enjoy a lantern-making class at Anantara. You’ll try your hand at this ancient craft, guided each step by a local expert. It’s an activity suitable for the whole family. Once you’ve finished constructing your own delicate masterpiece, keep it as a souvenir, or – if you’ve timed your holiday for the festival – take it into town to join the myriad lanterns dangling overhead and bobbing on the water.
Learn about the temples of Angkor Wat – Anantara Angkor Resort
For a boutique base from which to explore the historic wonders of Cambodia, Anantara Angkor Resort ticks all the boxes. Blissful suites fit for a Khmer king? Check. Authentic Cambodian cuisine cooked on-site? Check. Situated just 10 kilometres from the biggest religious monument in the world? Check.
When you’re not unwinding in your room or the resort’s spa, Anantara can whisk you off on a guided walk around Angkor Wat. Pass through the gopuras – the elaborate gateways into the site – then wander between the photogenic sandstone temples and sculptures. A UNESCO-accredited architectural expert will explain the history and intricacies of this sprawling, 12th-century structure as you go, so you’ll leave feeling like an expert yourself. To see the temple complex from a whole new angle, Anantara also offers helicopter flights over Angkor Wat – a great way to appreciate the sheer scale of the place.
Overlooking the Andaman Sea on Phuket's western coast is the luxurious Anantara Layan Phuket Resort
Nestled in a lush garden just steps away from the town centre, Anantara Hoi An promises a memorable stay for discerning travellers