Luxury is something that you don’t enjoy often, but certainly CRAVE. Lavishness makes you feel sexy, that’s why we crave it. We can’t all fly to Hawaii and laze on the beach, eating tropical fruits while our partner massages such tired shoulders. But there are plenty of well-appointed, seductive places closer to home. Even for those who think there’s no budget available for luxuries, there are places and experiences that are luxurious, and therefore sexy, not because of what they cost but because of how they make you FEEL. Whatever appeals to your senses? A sky full of stars, swimming in the sea and walking along a beach, or eating some delicious food?
An afternoon discovering a new café, patisserie or confectioner can feel sexy, and you don’t need to have a partner to enjoy that mmmmm feeling. If you have an excess of sensual energy, it can be happily indulged simply by sharing coffee and chocolate or something else scrumptious, music and lots of laughs in the company of women friends. In less than half an hour, you’re guaranteed to be cooing with pleasure.
We have other favorite indulgences that are inexpensive once you get to the location.
If you are heading to the below places anyway, these experiences just may equal the pleasures of that Hawaii daydream…
Sharm el Sheikh with a difference. Book into a hotel at any level and bring comfortable clothes. Staying 5 star or getting glam to dance at Le Pasha is not the sensual experience you are here for. In the late afternoon, stroll from El-Salam road up to the cliff top and follow Al Khazzan road to the very edge. You get the same magnificent views of the Red Sea as you would at the deluxe resorts, but free. Take something to sit on and something luscious to eat, and watch the sun setting. If you go earlier in the afternoon, include a swim at the free public beach, which is reached by stairs from the cliff, and is often less crowded than the resort hotel beaches.
Alexandria Corniche. Everyone knows this sea walk has fanned the flames of thousands of relationships. Again, take something delicious to eat, or buy street food along the walk, and take time to sit looking out to sea. The fresh air, sound of the water, and sunlight playing across the harbor and city are pure seduction.
Siwa Oasis. Devoted readers know that Siwa is invariably on my YES list. Visit in winter for the hot springs. There are several, and the price is just your ride there (by donkey cart, which is the local “taxi”, or car) and ordering some drink or a light meal, which can be brought to you poolside. Soak in a natural spring pool in the desert, under moonlight or surrounded by candles. Enjoy the steam from 35-degree water rising around you into the colder night air. Then snuggle by an open fire under the stars. Simple bliss!
Shimmying up the scale in cost:
– Search out restaurants with menus designed to tempt more than your taste buds. Some make an effort not just on Valentine’s Day but all year round. For example Four Seasons Alexandria recently included a heart-shaped tuna cake in its Friday brunch. Try an opulent cuisine from somewhere you have longed to visit, such as the authentic Turkish food at Alosmanli in the Kempinski Hotel, Cairo.
– Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary lodge and spa in Dakhla Oasis will appeal to all your senses. This eco-friendly lodge has 20 suites and rooms set in a large reserve, ensuring privacy and peace. This is luxurious simplicity where you can take in stunning desert views, exploring by a camel or horse at sunset. The architecture was inspired by surrounding villages, built with local natural materials, and the furnishing and decoration of each room are unique. For those who get excited by history, nearby you can explore well preserved Pharaonic, Persian, Ptolemaic and Roman temples, Christian necropolises dating from 4th century AD, and castles and fortresses from several Islamic eras. http://altarfa.net/
– Cruise the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. This magnificent river is right on your doorstep, offering a fantasy escape from your everyday. But we are not talking about a bare-bones ride on a felucca. If you have a week to indulge, a luxury cruise on a a Dahabiya (a traditional wooden sailing ship) with excursions to beautiful archeological sites, should awaken your passion for Egypt as well as for each other. Travelling on board of a Dahabiya enables you to stop wherever you want along the Nile, which you can’t do on a regular cruise. You’ll be able to anchor at villages, islands, some rarely seen archaeological sites such as El Kab and El Selsela. Also it gives you the chance to see a real part of Egypt, such as villages, farms, fisherman communities, markets such as Draw market and the Camel market. A Dahabiya has no engine, so you sail peacefully as travelers from the past would have done, relaxing on the deck and savoring local cuisine. A Dahabiya experience can be booked through www.RealEgypt.Net
If only an overseas adventure will do it for you. Here are some with a difference to try:
– Feeling royal comes naturally with a Castle. Stay in Ireland, at Castle Durrow Country House Hotel in the small village of Durrow. This is perfect for those who crave relaxed luxury and find stimulation in the outdoors, be that a wander through the Castle grounds or the 20 kilometer Leafy Loops Walk around Durrow. Clay pigeon shooting and archery can be organized at the Castle grounds, and nearby you can play golf, canoe and hike in beautiful surroundings. The Castle has different budget options, from De Luxe Bedrooms to Family Rooms, and the Castle Yard Rooms. Offers such as a Midweek Pamper Dinner Package or a one night Weekend Break which includes dinner for two, make this more attractive than a night in a city hotel. Indulge in the buffet breakfast or the hearty Irish breakfast before exploring. http://www.castledurrow.com/
– I mentioned food destinations as sexy Hot Spots…Now imagine you are in Italy, in a villa surrounded by the hills, for a three night Tuscan cookery weekend. The Varramista Estate experience includes full board and wine tasting, and a half day in Florence. Classes are small and relaxed and held in the grounds of the villa, led by a local chef. Using fresh ingredients from the countryside, you will learn how to make pasta, pesto, fish and vegetable dishes and soups. This is not just for women; it could bring out the chef in your partner and relieve you of some cooking duties when you return home, and that’s got to be a sexy outcome. http://www.meridianvillas.com/rental-villa-info/italy/tuscany/lucca-pisa/san-miniato/varramista-estate.php
– Morocco is a sensual experience in itself, and a stay at the Sirayane Boutique Hotel & Spa gives you a luxury retreat, Kasbah style. It combines Berber design and modern comfort, and your suite includes a private garden. All the city sights are 10 minutes away (there is a complimentary shuttle) but the Sirayane is a real escape. Set in a two hectare estate, with a hammam, pool (heated in winter) and views of the Atlas Mountains. http://uk.sirayane.com/
– Istanbul’s history and architecture inspires longing. Witt Istanbul is a new hotel that brings a nostalgia for the city’s past into the future. Tuncel Toprak built the hotel in the old quarter of Cihangir because it reminded him of how streets looked when he was a child. ‘I wanted to stay away from the tourist areas of Taksim Square and Sultanahmet. Here you can be an insider and hang out with locals,’ Tuncel says. The hotel combines furnishings custom-made by local artisans and from leading designers from around the world. Here you access to traditional hamman and gourmet food and multiple stores, http://www.wittistanbul.com
These are places where I would feel a combination of relaxed and stimulated, and that for me is a sexy break or vacation. Where you choose will ultimately depend on what turns you on. For some, it will always be a grand hotel in Paris, or that beach in Hawaii. For others somewhere closer to home that calls to them from outside their daily roles and paths. It all comes back to that daydream…
By Sue Ryan