Sense of ...
Cars are so last season, especially when there are bigger beasts to drive. At the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa - perched on the hills of Thailand's border, overlooking Myanmar and Laos - you can learn to 'drive' an elephant like a pro. A skilled mahout can guide an elephant through a working day with about 70 soft commands and light touches behind the ear. At the resort's Elephant Camp (below), guests can take part in a three-day training course, set in a lush bamboo forest, and learn to ride one of the 32 elephants rescued from the streets of Bangkok and other cities. Day one: get-to-know your elephant. Day two: health care for your pachyderm pal. Day three: elephant polo, of course. goldentriangle.anantara.com
Travel company Black Tomato recently joined forces with luxury menswear brand Dunhill to create a series of bespoke holidays; and one of the more adrenalin-packed is a trip to Antarctica. First port of call is the hip city of Cape Town on South Africa's southern coast. From there you will fly over the unexplored mountains of Dronning Maud Land before settling into your new home and bed for the next 13 days, which comes in the form of super-cool luxury pods. For more adrenalin release, there's ice climbing, abseiling down ice cliffs and kite-surfing. You can also head deep into the Wolthat Mountains and spend a night in the 'Scott Camp', a replica of the tents used by the British explorer. blacktomato.co.uk
Bali is the perfect antidote for stressed Hongkongers, dishing up peace and hospitality in equal measure. At the Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in the Indonesian island's artsy Ubud district, over-worked travellers can indulge in the resort's CranioSacral Therapy programme, a treatment involving the deep manipulation of the skull to induce relaxation - it does this by 'listening' to the body's subtle rhythms - and is believed to help a plethora of ailments, from stress to neck and back pain. Check into one of the spa villas (right) complete with massage beds, a sauna and plunge pools as well as a private terrace overlooking the gardens. tanahgajah.com
Colour and culture run amok at Sicily's oldest and most spectacular carnival, the Carnival of Acireale. Held at the foot of Mount Etna in the seaside city of Acireale, the carnival's roots wind back thousands of years when masked and drunk revellers would dance in the streets praying for an abundant harvest and healthy livestock. Today it's all about floats (above right) poking a satirical stick at the country's playboy politicians, and the country's leader, Silvio Berlusconi, is a popular target. For a break from the noise, head to the cottages at The Queen's Jewels, a farm in the countryside. Each cottage features a terrace overlooking lemon and olive trees and guests can indulge in trekking, mountain biking or horse riding. carnevaleacireale.com
White sand, blue sky and a green approach all in the confines of a Caribbean resort. In a move to be more self-sufficient, the five-star Hermitage Bay in Antigua has set up an organic garden, which guests can take advantage of by indulging in the fresh produce served up in the resort's restaurant or taking part in complimentary cooking classes. hermitagebay.com