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The Quinault rainforest, as seen by HotelChatter last week. Sadly we failed to find Edward Cullen
Sometimes you want to end the year by partying your brain into a gutter and sometimes you want to turn your back on all the fake-happy Christmas parties and ignore the fact that another year is about to finish. And if you’re leaning the latter way this year, then you’re in for a treat, because two of the properties within Washington State’s Olympic National Park are offering a pretty good deal for the tail end of the year.
Stay one night for $99 at either Lake Quinault Lodge, in the middle of the Quinault Rainforest, or Kalaloch Lodge, on the coastal road up to Forks, and you can book a second night for $20.10 (because it’s the end of 2010, see).
Eco-tourism is a nice way of making us feel a bit less guilty for taking time off work and going somewhere far away to do nothing, right? In that case, might as well make it cute eco-tourism. At the Treasure Island Resort in Fiji, you can combine an island resort getaway with giving some endangered turtles a helping hand.
Treasure Island is very proud (and probably rightly so) of its Hawksbill Turtle breeding program, and they're happy to let guests get involved. Especially if it means some more money will change hands: at the moment you can "sponsor" a soon-to-be-released (into the wild, not the cinema screens) turtle by making a donation. Of course, the lil' turtle doesn't get the cash in his pocket, but money goes to help the breeding program by building a new enclosure, and you get your name on a special tag. Since the turtles only lay eggs every three years, and there are boundless natural predators around ready to snap up the little ones, this program keeps them in captivity until they're a year old and strong enough to survive in the wild, clearly improving the chances of the species staying around for a bit longer.
Apart from the turtles, Treasure Island is a full-island resort (the island takes about 10 minutes to walk around), small enough to be friendly and not overcrowded even when full. It offers a lot of package deals to Australian families, so might not be the most romantic destination, but the reviews are solid. And of course you can help the turtles.
· Treasure Island Resort Fiji reviews [TripAdvisor]
Grootbos is a wilderness resort in the coastal town of Gansbaai South Africa.
At Grootbos you will be able to watch some serious whale breaching with wine in hand, all from the comfort of your resort pool. You can stay in a timber cottage near the beach or safely tucked away in the nearby forest.
Tatler ranked Grootbos among the best "Family" hotels, so feel free to pack up the kids and take them along for picnic lunches on deserted beaches, nature walks, or boat trips to a seal colony with a larger population than a small city.
Oh, and if the kids prove to be a bit too obstinate, no need to bring along the nanny, just take the brats on a 10 day shark expedition off the Gansbaai coast. After a day or two of diving with sharks you can ask your kids over complimentary afternoon tea and fresh baked scones if they are ready to go back to Grootbos and behave themselves. We aren't sure, but we are guessing it works every time.
[Photo: druk die knoppie]