Itching to be travelling again? The good news is some borders between countries are reopening. However, quarantine requirements and safety restrictions now spell new challenges for globetrotters. We can stick to anticipating new landmark hotel openings and planning future travel. Apart from dreaming, the following may be the closest substitutes to travelling and vacationing right now.

the making of a grand dame
For when we can be travelling again: The new Bulgari Hotel Roma
The Bulgari Hotel Roma is scheduled to open in 2021

Even before the pandemic, Rome has been in renaissance mode to preserve its heritage and invigorate its streets. Proud Italian brands have joined hands with governors in this effort. Bulgari is a prime example. It has begun work to birth its most remarkable hotel yet, the Bulgari Hotel Roma.

Planned for opening in 2022, it occupies a magnificent modernist building adjacent to the iconic Roman landmarks Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus. It is a very special property that resides at the very heart of its hometown. The grand new hotel will feature some 100 luxurious rooms and suites, a signature spa, and a ristorante by Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito.

From its rooftop bar, guests will be able to enjoy unparalleled panoramic views of the romantic city. This makes it a perfect spot in the city for sundown drinks. Naturally, there will also be a library filled with precious volumes dedicated to the history of jewellery. This will be a veritable shrine dedicated to the design and craft that have established the venerable house of Bulgari.

Follow the Bulgari Hotel Roma’s progress here.

safety in small numbers
We can still be travelling to amazing destinations close by
Safe distance yourself in a Small Luxury Hotel in Malaysia; Pangkor Island comes to mind

Diplomatic discussions continue to explore the possibility of easing travel restrictions to more countries that have COVID-19 under control. Mostly likely, these will include Brunei and New Zealand. Meanwhile, green lane travel is currently limited to Singapore as well. If you have enough days of leave or adequately flexible work arrangements to meet quarantine requirements, you may just be able to sneak in a vacation to these countries.

Still, it will be prudent to stay away from the crowd. Travel advisors at Small Luxury Hotels recommend boutique properties, where you can enjoy utmost privacy and immerse yourself in nature. Our closest neighbour has some rather lovely properties for consideration. Our favourites include Gaya Island Resort, Mangala Resort & Spa, Pangkor Laut Resort, Tanjong Jara Resort and Cameron Highlands Resort.

Plan the vacation you sorely need here.

keeping everyone safe
Wander safely with Four Seasons Hotels' Lead With Care initiatives
Organise your pleasure and safety with Four Seasons Hotels’ Lead With Care initiatives

Leisure travel is nigh impossible amid quarantine rules and border restrictions. It could get worse as some countries are seeing second waves of infection after opening up too hastily. At this point, staycations are about the closest we’ll get to holidaying.

It is reassuring to know that the major hospitality players are going the extra mile to keep their guests safe. The Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Group has consulted with Johns Hopkins Medicine to formulate a Lead With Care programme worldwide. At the heart of this is retraining staff to perform their duties in an era of heightened safety requirements.

In addition to social distancing and hygiene practices, the Four Seasons has also introduced an app that allows guests to prebook activities and facilities, check in/out, and interact with staff and other guests with limited physical proximity to ensure safety.

Explore staycation options here.

lapland virtual adventures
For now it's virtual travelling and seeing Finland on huskie power
Photo credit: Darkroomsg/Unsplash

Virtual travelling may be a weak substitute for getting to experience a world that’s altogether different from our own. But, alas, it will have to do for now. Thankfully, some passionate tourism authorities won’t let a nasty pandemic stop them from sharing the beautiful experiences that are possible in their countries.

The folks at the Finnish promotion board have launched a series of virtual tours. These videos are conceived to allow the viewer to feel as though they are on a guided tour through some of the best sights in Rovaniemi, located within Lapland. Hint: For some of these, you may want to try placing a bucket of ice under your fan/air conditioner to boost the effect.

You can visit the site to find out what it’s like to live in the Arctic Circle. The resources will ignite your imagination about how it feels be like sleeping in igloos and ice hotels, or travelling on sleds pulled by huskies. Some of us here are certainly motivated to save up for an actual trip to see the Northern Lights. Until then, these virtual tours keep us informed, hopeful, and inspired.

Find useful tips and ideas here.


You may also wish to check out these destinations, for when it’s possible to travel again.

If you would like to rethink the very essence of travel or adventure, we recommend this.

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