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I've just been invited to a wedding in South Korea and although I won't get there unless my fairy godmother springs for a plane ticket, it doesn't hurt to dream. If I get there I'll head down to Jeju Island, a romantic spot off the south-west corner of the country. I hear it's sometimes overflowing with honeymoon couples but that seems to fit in well with a wedding trip anyway.
My hotel of choice (I've been tipped off by an insider) is The Shilla, Jeju, a resort on a 21-acre property on the cliff-top overlooking the Pacific. It only opened in 1990 and was South Korea's first 5-star resort. Sounds good so far, right?
My room of choice will be a Pacific Suite (I don't need the Presidential) which has views over the gardens and the ocean; it's also in the even newer part of the building complex. It's around US$330 a night--though that shoots up to $860 if I go for the superior suite.
There's one more thing that really tickles me about the Shilla, and it's a neat little piece of technology:
If a phone call is made when you are watching television, the volume is automatically controlled as you pick up the receiver. If you hang up the receiver, the volume is reset as it was.
Not sure I'll be using this feature too often, but it's great to know it's there.
A relatively recent opening in the Maldives, the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru has quickly become a very popular destination over its first couple of years. In a UK Independent report last week it got an extremely positive write-up:
Food and cabins - there are some 50 "beach pavilions" and 38 "water bungalows" - are, needless to say, so faultless you'll want to cry when it's time to leave.
When we see this photo of the pool out the back of a water villa, we can understand never wanting to say goodbye. And each room and villa come with such a long list of life's daily needs that we could probably stay and work from there anyhow: they have CD and DVD players, multi-line telephones with voicemail and wired and wireless internet access. Plus the housekeeping service drops by not once, but twice a day.
However, our dream of living at the Landaa Giraavaru forever has already been quickly shattered because we checked the prices. The cheapest nightly rate (and that's not for a water villa with this pool, obviously) comes in at US$700 a night using a stay four, pay for three package; if you want a Bed and Breakfast deal it comes in at $960 per night. Might have to be satisfied with a short vacation there instead.
No, we're not Doomsday theorists. The End of the World is actually the name of a tiny 12-room guest resort on Guanaja, one of The Bay Islands which makes up a floating constellation off the coast of Honduras.
Discovered by Columbus on July 30, 1502, it's the least developed of the three. While Roatan grows bigger and bigger every day with its non-stop commercial carrier flights and giant cruise ships, this little-known eden on the water at the tail-end sounds like it's still relatively virginal -- and decidedly groovy.
The End of the World has 12 cabanas that overlook a pristine beach that looks close enough to tumble into from bed. It has a tiki bar and restaurant, scuba and snorkeling gear in the dive shop, kayaking, fishing, and a private mooring dock.
There's also a waterfall on the premises that provides drinking water (but no Playboy Mansion style grotto), and the two-story clubhouse makes for some prime sunset viewing.
More on the End of the World after the jump.