𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝗦𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝘆
Cruise liners are a staple of the tourism industry with cruises being the go-to vacation for folks who love the idea of being on the water. So, for those of us who want to spend time on the water and experience the journey as part of the destination but would like to take more intimate and eco-friendly alternative than cruise liners, then Secret Retreats has the answer with our selection of luxury yachts, riverboats and cabin cruises. The boats and cruises curated by the team at Secret Retreats all take their environmental and cultural responsibilities very seriously and provide unique, very often tailor-made experiences, as opposed to the sort of cookie-cutter experiences one would expect of a typical cruise liner holiday.
In today’s newsletter however, we would like to share with you a more unique, typically secret cruise experience, as shared with their guests by some of our Secret Retreats boutique hotels who have their own on-water experiences. These boutique resorts are renowned for their on-land accommodations, but they also provide their own unique boating opportunities. Some of the most beautiful, remote, and pristine places on this planet can only be accessed by boat so turn off the phone, jump on board, drop into a deckchair and let time slow down around you while you experience a whole different world from the water.
Satri House – Satri Boat
Luang Prabang, Laos
Explore the Mekong River at Luang Prabang in style onboard this luxury vessel. Totaling 53-metres in length, the Satri Boat can host up to 10 guests overnight in its five luxury cabins. In addition, it is also the only boat in northern Laos that has upper deck space that can comfortably accommodate 100 people for events or parties. The boat team can accommodate most requests for décor and setting to cater for all kinds of events, including a variety of dining styles, full bar services and live musical entertainment is also available upon request.
Chakrabongse Villas – Riva Speedboat
For an unforgettable sunset cruise, recline in the comfort of Chakrabongse Villas’ classic Riva speedboat sipping champagne, as you elegantly cruise Bangkok’s waterways watching the sun set behind the river’s iconic skyline of ancient temples and palaces. A motor launch that is surely one of a kind in Thailand, her classic lines conjure up images of the Jet Set of the ‘60s, the period that this boat heralds from, and perfectly match the opulence and heritage of the gorgeous residence that the boat belongs to. Drink in the magnificent spectacle of the Grand Palace and nearby temples bathed in the golden light of the setting sun. Not forgetting, during the day, to explore the quiet canals and traditional stilt house communities on the Thonburi side of the river with a private longtail boat and guide. And for the more adventurous guests, guided midnight canoe excursions can also be arranged on request!
Neeleshwar Hermitage – The Lotus Houseboat
The team at Neeleshwar have created the ultimate package for our times, The Nirvana Package. With both a cruise on their traditional houseboat, The Lotus, and a stay at the Neeleshwar Hermitage, this package is truly a blissful journey into relaxation. The 4 day package combines a stay at Neeleshwar Hermitage, a stylish wellness retreat set on a peaceful palm-fringed beach overlooking the Arabian Sea, and a two day cruise through the tranquil Malabar Backwaters. While at the hotel your visit will be enhanced by a personalized Ayurvedic treatment program to rejuvenate mind, body and soul. The cruise will be on The Lotus, a traditional rice barge that has been converted into a luxury two-cabin boat, offering serene views of the rich and varied wildlife that the backwaters are famed for, and the unhurried rhythms of village life.
The Bohemian Residence – Bohemian Private Boat
The Bohemian’s Residence is neither a luxury resort nor a glamorous villa like the ones found in travel brochures. Rather, it is an exclusive place for the curious traveller that wishes to spend a few days discovering a rarer side of Thailand, both on-land and along the Chao Phraya River, whilst living within and truly discovering a fascinating region of Central Thailand that is off the beaten path. Living amongst and with the people who call this area home, guests are provided with personalized and warm hospitality from the team who manage this unique residence. With private garden, river frontage and a swimming pool, a luxury stay is assured. And as a riverside residence, guests have their own motor-launch to explore the river or cruise to simply enjoy the river scenery. Perhaps take the boat out fishing, or if catch of the day is not good for eating then cruise to the market to buy something good to cook up a truly authentic home-cooked Thai dinner of the freshest produce available. Thailand travel experiences don’t get much more authentic than this, short of ripping up your passports and plane tickets!
Manukan Island Resort – Amazing Love Cruise
Manukan Island Resort is located on Manukan Island which is a short boat ride off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah the northern most state on the island of Borneo. The island is a haven for water sport enthusiasts located as it is within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offering excellent opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving with kayaking, parasailing and swimming also popular. The team at Manukan Island resort have also put together a choice of day, wonderful sunset cruises, and overnight cruises on the resort’s boats – a speedboat and a luxury catamaran. The Amazing Love team pride themselves in creating highly personalized packages for guests, whether cruising the marine park, fishing and watersport adventures, or island hopping. Nothing is too much to ask for on these exclusive private charters. The Sutera Lodges Manukan Island resort features a choice of 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas and suites located beachside or on the hillside overlooking the beach and ocean. Perfect for an island escape for romantic couples and families alike.
Gal Oya Lodge – Boat Safari
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka
The Gal Oya Lodge Boat Safari reflects all the values that lie at the heart of a true safari. A truly unique experience at Gal Oya, it offers guests a rare opportunity to witness the usually hidden behavior of certain animals – especially the Gal Oya elephants when they take to the waters in the parks and swim the lakes. It is a real journey of discovery and a wonderful opportunity to see and enjoy nature in all its glory. With safari possible both on land and on water, the team at Gal Oya Lodge, who work closely with the people of the Veda Tribe who have called this region home for more than 40,000years and are the true custodians of the forests, also offer jeep based safaris deep into the forgotten Nilgala section of the park. This area was protected by ancient royalty due to its abundant medicinal plants and endemic bird life. So, it is one of the best places to observe nature’s autonomy, power and character in the whole of Sri Lanka, an experience not to be missed.
Tugu Lombok – Naga Mesem
Tugu Lombok is a stunning 35 guestroom, suite and villa resort located on the picture-postcard perfect Sire Beach on the northwest coast of the island of Lombok. The owners of Tugu are champions of Indonesian culture and tradition and have provided their guests with a boat inspired by the folklore of the Sea Dragon Prince. The Naga Mesem boat is a traditional outrigger canoe that has been converted to comfortably seat guests while dining. The crew of the Naga Mesem stand by every morning on Sire Beach to take guests out to sea for a perfectly romantic way to take breakfast. Guests cruise out beyond the breakers and are served a sumptuous breakfast aboard the boat just as the sun rises to reveal the majestic Mount Rinjani, home to the King of Gods.
Le Passe Temps – Le Passe Temps Boat
Le Passe Temps will share with you a whole different Thailand. This warm convivial family run resort truly exemplifies the saying, ‘arrive as strangers, leave as friends’. Remote without being lost, yet right in the middle of some of Krabi’s must-see spots, this rustic gem is nestled in the heart of Ao Phang Nga, one of the most beautiful bays in Asia. Set just a few metres from the beach, each of the 8 uniquely designed wooden bungalows will accommodate couples, singles or families in style. The team here will share the very best of Thai-style, from the wonderful nature in this beautiful part of the country to the unique culture and traditions. The Le Passe Temps boat provides guests with a wonderful opportunity to take tailormade and private tours to the most beautiful deserted islands and secret beaches. Snorkel the waters and reefs rich in marine life, fish for sport or fish for dinner, or simply marvel at the stunning scenery. The beauty of Krabi is one of a kind and the beauty of a stay at Le Passe temps, is the beauty of life!.
Bari Kothi – Sunset Boat Tours
Sunset watching is at once meditative and romantic, and can it get any more romantic than from the riverfront of a beautifully restored 18th century Indian Palace? We don’t think so, and let’s face it we all love a good sunset – especially with a great beverage in-hand, and the experience is always enhanced when you are waterside. At Bari Kothi take a leisurely stroll along their 100 feet long private ghat while sipping a cocktail and enjoying the soft pastel skies as they change colour at the end of the day, or go for a boat ride on one of the Bari Khoti Heritage Hotel sunset boat tours – lazing on comfortable cushions and watching the sun slowly go down before appearing to slip into the river. Bari Kothi was lovingly restored in 2015 and offers guests the chance to live the life of Indian Royalty staying in one of the palace’s 15 gloriously opulent suites.
Brij Rama – Bajra Boat
The Brijrama experience begins as you board their boat (bajra – a classical handcrafted wooden boat) at the Mahishasura Ghat to head to this incredible heritage hotel to check-in. A restored palace, your hostess accompanying you aboard the boat will recount the legend of Varanasi as you cruise along the river Ganges to the hotel. Served a choice of hot or cold beverages as you cruise gracefully along the river, the hotel’s grand frontage will impress you as you arrive like royalty to check-in by boat on perhaps the holiest river in the world. Connect with your spiritual self at Brijrama Palace poised as it is on the Darbanga Ghat on the banks of the river Ganges. This incredible heritage hotel, completed in 1812, has 32 guestrooms and suites, some with simply incredible river views. The hotel is located within the oldest living city of the world and enjoys a privileged position overlooking the Ganges where all of life is played out on the ghats, banks and within the river in Varanasi. Witness and wonder at the incredible river scenes that have played out for centuries in this ancient and holy city. Be sure to take a dinner cruise, enjoying uninterrupted views as you cruise serenely through the city.