Wanted: A single woman in her 40s is looking for a tranquil spa and wellness retreat holiday, perhaps in Thailand or Bali.
The agent appeared very knowledgeable and fulfilled the brief to a high standard, discussing destinations and resorts in detail. Both quotes were for 10-night holidays in Bali, departing in November from Heathrow with Emirates. The first was a twin-centre with four nights at Wapa Di Ume Resort and Spa, Ubud, then Damai, Lovina Beach, for six nights. It cost £2,178. The second was at Sofitel Bali, Nusa Dua, for £2,678. The agent was very enthusiastic and fully understood the requirements of a spa retreat holiday, taking into account factors such as flight arrival times and transfers. I was offered beautiful locations, especially with the twin-centre which included one hotel inland and another by the beach. She was keen to close the deal before the end of January, explaining that the cost could increase in February.
The agent told me they did not specialise in spa/wellness holidays, and only gave a second quotation after a colleague suggested a property. Both quotes were for seven-night holidays in Bali, with Malaysia Airlines flights departing from Heathrow in November. The first was at Spa Village Resort, Tembok, for seven nights, for £1,967, and the second was Alila Manggis, for £1,879. She was not overly enthusiastic but the quotations matched the brief and budget. The contemporary shop décor featured beautiful displays and screens showing stunning locations, generating a real holiday feel.
Scaffolding around the store obscured the window displays, but the staff were friendly and helpful. Both quotes were for week-long Tui holidays, flying with Tui Airways from Gatwick in November to Thailand. The first was staying at Tui’s own-brand Robinson Club in Khao Lak, for £1,600, and the agent recommended it because she knew people who had stayed there. The agent was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, but it didn’t offer complete escapism as it was a family resort. The second quote was for Apsara Beachfront Resort, for £1,502. The agent also talked about Dreamliner flights and possible excursions.
Nola Dalton, international travel consultant
“We get a lot of inquiries for spa and wellness holidays, and Bali offers really good value We book quite a few solo women travellers; they’re independent travellers with careers, who are not worried about going away on their own.”
Flight Centre provided a very detailed itinerary, covering many aspects of the brief and offering stunning locations. The Trailfinders quotes were good but the agent didn’t seem quite as confident with selling a spa holiday, while the Tui choices seemed more suited to a family or couple than a solo woman seeking peace and quiet.
The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location.
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