MACq 01 Hobart

According to a new study conducted by luxury hotel MACq 01, the majority of Australians are in their ‘don’t get enough sleep’ era. And with bills to worry about, new episodes of your favourite Netflix series to watch, snoring partners and keeping tabs on Taylor Swift’s whereabouts, it’s little wonder.

Our favourite takeaways from the survey, conducted by Tasmanian luxury hotel MACq 01, include the fact that one in ten people have been kept awake because their pet sleeps in their bed, 8% of people have fallen asleep on the toilet, 4% have fallen asleep on a stranger’s shoulder, 7% have had a kip in a nightclub or pub and 5% have nodded off during sex. Wow.

MACq 01 has come up with a solution, or at least, an incentive. They care about your sleep, and the quality of it, just as much as your Apple watch does. For the next couple of months, this Hobart stay is offering travellers the chance to cut $100 off their bill for every hour of sleep they get over 6 hours. Meaning, 6 hours of sleep is the starting line, and 9 sweet, glorious hours is the finish line. The official holding the gun? A sleep analyser.

Yep, this Slumber Suite program allows you to not only get a decent, never-really-heard-of/swear-its-a-unicorn amount of sleep but to also bag your night for free. And the room does most of the heavy lifting.

The Slumber Suite is a carefully curated waterside room with scientifically backed lighting and temperature control for optimal sleepiness, a drowsy-generating bathroom set-up, a perfectly weighted blanket, a pillow menu and specially chosen room scents. If you can’t get 9 hours here, your brain hates you. Or you’re a robot.

There’s even a sleepy food and drink menu, so you can hit up room service before settling down for a marathon snooze-fest. The minimum stay is two nights, but you’ll enjoy it so much, you might never want to leave.

Namia River Retreat

Forget R & R, Hoi An’s newest river retreat will have you feeling on top of the world, or at least, on top of the Thu Bon River. But that’s not what makes this place unique.

Every villa has its own private pool. As in, you don’t have to share the salt water with anyone else; not with the solo traveller from suite 29 or the OTT honeymooning couple that keep macking on in the welcome lounge.

If that wasn’t enough to get you booking a one-way ticket to Vietnam, the resort also has a saltwater swimming pool with 180-degree views of the Thu Bon River. It has a waterfall, several jets and a dedicated foot reflexology space. Talk about wiping out the competition with a single amenity.

Once your fingertips are all nice and crinkly, drag yourself out of the pool(s) to experience Namia River Retreat’s wellness therapies or take part in one of their traditional activities. From herbal hammams and riverboat dinner cruises to lantern lighting ceremonies and silent meditation walks, this place wants you to feel culturally connected, spiritually healed and deliriously happy. Mission accomplished.

There’s only one catch: you’ll have to wait ‘til December for its grand opening. On a positive note, that’s just enough time to figure out how to tell your boss you’re taking an extended break over Christmas.

The Rox, Hobart

This place first opened its doors in 1880 (that’s like, the year your grandfather’s grandfather was born). It was a boys-only school back then and now it’s a part of a collection of boutique apartments.

But The Rox is a tale of two halves.

Two renovated apartments sit in the original building. Yes, the wooden desks and blackboards are long gone, but the authentic sandstone, brickwork and timber floorboards remain. Along with all the amenities you’ve come to expect from accommodation in this decade—think open plan living, fully functioning kitchen and walk-in showers.

Two newer, more modern, apartments sit in the recently developed construction next door. They might not have the same history behind them, but one of them is a penthouse, so, enough said really.

But the ‘cool’ doesn’t stop there.

These four residences are in Midtown, one of Hobart’s trendiest neighbourhoods. Café-hop and eclectic-shop during the day, before heading back to enjoy dinner at your pick of the city’s most coveted hotspots: Omotenashi or Institut Polaire. One’s in-house and the other promises skip-the-line access just because you stay at The Rox.

And if you want somewhere to go after hours, there’s plenty of late-night hangouts to choose from. All within walking distance. It’s a yes from us.

Kathmandu Any Time Down Vest

From defrosting your car’s windshield in the morning to cranking the heater 24/7 (in this economy?!), winters are the worst. But don’t get angry at the drizzly weather and your skyrocketing electricity bill, get even.

Introducing Kathmandu’s newest winter-withering creation, the Any Time Down Vest.

Gone are the days of layering clothes ‘til you look like the Michelin Man or Joey in that Friends episode (you know, the one where he puts on every single piece of clothing he owns).

The Any Time Down Vest is specifically designed for fresh mornings (and fresher evenings) thanks to its 600-fill power down construction.  In normal people terms that means it’s toasty, lightweight and durable. A.k.a perfect for your various adventures during the day and getting up to mischief at night – did someone say, ‘let’s go to the pub?’

It also has pockets! Two of them! For your hands! Throw out your gloves!

You don’t even have to worry about coming last in the style stakes because the vest has a cool diamond-quilted design (it’s giving wardrobe staple status) and comes in colours inspired by the wilderness in New Zealand.

If the vest’s not your thing, the same style comes in a hooded parka version and a short jacket version (for women only).

Piha Beach named this year’s best beach

Moon Bay, Slovenia at number three. Stokes Bay Beach, Australia at number two. And coming in at number one—inserts drum roll—is Piha Beach, New Zealand.

An unlikely, but not unworthy, first placer on Enjoy Travel’s Best Beaches in the World list for 2024, Piha Beach boasts sparkling black sand, whipped white waves and the impressively shaped Lion Rock. Which may or may not look like an actual lion (it doesn’t).

READ: NORTH OF THE NORTH ISLAND ROAD TRIP

While the water might entice you with its gorgeous blue colour and perfect clarity, don’t be fooled. This beach has many charms, but being swimmable isn’t one of them. Read: there’s no early-morning recovery sessions or late-night skinny dips happening here. The waves are formidably rough (sadness) and the currents are strong, like Dwayne Johnson strong, so swimming without the supervision of a lifeguard is dangerous.

But despite the conditions, it’s an epic spot to surf. It’s also a pretty good-looking one, thanks to the rugged cliffs at either end of the beach. Settling down for a picnic on the sand or abseiling down the Piha Canyon are popular ways to spend time here, along with surf fishing and taking surf lessons.

You might even see some blue penguins if you’re there after the sun goes down. Yes, Piha Beach gets to have the world’s smallest penguin species and be crowned the world’s best beach. Some beaches just have it all.

If you’ve got enough sand in your shoes (and in other places to last you a lifetime), you can wander the streets of the small coastal village behind the beach or go bushwalking through the surrounding wilderness to make your visit a full-day thing.

Swap your day job for an Odd Job

Hate hibernating in Winter? Got some spare annual leave? Feeling far too close to a full-on burnout? Sounds like you need to swap your day job for an Odd Job.

We don’t mean cleaning out gutters, pulling out weeds or replacing tiles in the bathroom that have been cracked for longer than you care to admit.

This winter Tourism Tasmania is offering Aussies the chance to step away from the desk in favour of doing something a little more hands-on.

And by hands-on, we mean donning a pair of waders and venturing out into Great Oyster Bay as an Oyster Organiser (apparently a thing). Or keeping temperatures warm and toasty as a Sauna Stoker (also, apparently a thing). Or Truffle Snuffling, which sounds more like a creature from The Fantastic Beats franchise than an actual job. And don’t get us started on the role of Wombat Walker, whose sole responsibility is to take them on a morning waddle.

If anything’s for certain it’s that someone in the Tassie Tourism office clearly froths alliteration. But all jokes aside, you don’t have to hibernate in front of the telly ‘til September.

Replace the daily grind for one or two days of volunteering for a local business and reconnect with nature, the community and your own sense of enjoyment; something a 9 to 5 job inevitably sucks out of us. Too dark?

As if all that wasn’t convincing enough, successful applicants also receive a selection of fine Tasmanian produce or goods, specially picked out by their Odd Job host as a ‘you did such a good job organising oysters/stoking saunas/snuffling for truffles/walking wombats’ present. Honestly, sign us up.

Indulge at Alchemist

Eighth place has never tasted so good.

Living up to every inch of its fantastical name, Copenhagen restaurant Alchemist promises an unforgettable culinary experience – probably unlike any other restaurant you’ve been to.

Born from the imaginative and boundary-pushing mind of head chef Rasmus Munk, and considering the restaurant’s three stories and mid-meal interactive performances, it’s little wonder it placed so highly on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

Eating here is actually a minor part of the experience.

Art. Theatre. Science. Technology. No, we’re not listing all your most hated high school subjects. Alchemist draws on these elements to redefine dining and transcend physical surroundings.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s more art exhibition than restaurant. With fascinating projections lighting up the dining room’s domed ceiling (think floating jellyfish and the northern lights) and a seemingly endless parade of tasty treats to try (50 to be exact), a night here will put your IKEA dining table and homemade spag bol to shame.

A reservation isn’t for the faint of heart though.

Not only do you have to ‘buy tickets’ three months in advance, but each sitting lasts between 4-6 hours, so it’s not quite the scene for that awkward first date you have coming up or the important business dinner you’ve been putting off. It’ll also set you back a minimum of AU$1,173. And that’s without the wine pairing option.

Our advice? Bring an open mind, a stacked wallet and a healthy appetite.

The Arc of Life

You know the tropical paradise you dream about at 3.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon, when you’re supposed to be listening to Mike, the Assistant General Manager of Accounts, give his quarterly report?

Arcadia on Pandanan Island feels like that dream. Based on the miniscule island of Pandanan in Malaysia’s Sabah region, off the coast of Borneo, the hotel is the ideal place for a wholesome eco-adventure with some besties or your special bestie.

There’s an Arcadia Hotel in Toorak, Melbourne; a pub with the nickname ‘The Shark Park’ due to the kind of clientele that frequent it. But there are no sharks at Arcadia Beach Resort.

The waters are teeming with life – get lost’s Editor saw more turtles (green sea and hawksbill) in the three days he spent at Arcadia than he has combined for his entire life up until that point.

It’s unbelievably well set up for the ‘Gram, if that’s your thing. The rooms are all white, giving off Greek island vibes. But for us, it’s the diving, swimming, snorkelling and island hopping (pictured above – nearby island Bohey Dulang) – all of which are elite.

The word Arcadia actually loosely means to be in harmony with nature, or in a utopia.

You’ll be just that at Arcadia.

English pub in Muscat

An English pub that features some of the biggest sporting events on their screens – but make it in Oman.

Muscat, the capital of Oman, is quite the hot spot – and we don’t mean just in temperature. Social media has certainly helped more people around the world see the beautiful attractions like Mutrah Souk and Mutrah Fort plus Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque to name a few and put the city on their bucket list. Outdoor adventurers also love exploring the wadis that are an easy drive from the city.

But what if you’re enjoying your holiday in town at the same time a huge sports match is on? Never fear, Duke’s is here. Located within Crowne Plaza (IHG Hotel), it is one six dining areas and by far the one with the best view (for screens and sunsets). Renovated in 2022, Duke’s has become a well-known favourite for locals and tourists alike and has been the place to be during global sporting events, particularly with the FIFA World Cup.

Being an English-style pub, you can count on classics like bangers & mash, steak & Guinness pie as well as fish & chips being on the menu, the latter being very popular. You’ll find Middle Eastern flavours throughout the menu too, with dishes like the Omani Spiced Kingfish Fillet. We also recommend the baked camembert to share – or not share – depends on the mood you’re in.

If you’re at Duke’s in the coolers months between October – February, look up when sunset is and lock in a reservation on the terrace for that time to take in one of the best sunsets in town.

GABS is back, baby!

Time to get your paddle out. Not that kind of paddle, we’re talking about a beer paddle. Specifically, one at the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular. A much-loved fixtured for ale enthusiasts since 2011, it is one of the best ways to enjoy the craft beer you love and discover some new favourites. With about 120 ish unique beers, you won’t be able to get through all over them (don’t take that as a challenge – it won’t end well) but keep an eye out for Banana Blueberry Pancake Smoothie beer, Sushi Beer, and possibly one for Eminem fans – Spaghetti Beer.

The world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan, will be out in Australia joining in on the fun and showcasing why their brewery has been at the top of the beer game for over 1,000 years. You can even enter a competition while there that could see you winning a trip to Weihenstephan, Germany to check out one of the most renowned beer festivals.

It’s not just beer that you can enjoy at GABS, there’s also cocktails, wine, whiskey and plenty of food bars at the three locations. With all this and over 500 beer taps under one roof, it’s no wonder that GABS is globally acclaimed as one of the best beer festivals in the world.

You might even be able to take part in a new World Record attempt in Melbourne with Stomping Ground Brewery looking to have the most amount of people in a beer tasting. Barcelona currently has the title, so if you want to be part of the 1,400 beer-strong crew, make sure you get a ticket.

All ticket purchasers will receive a GABS Beer Safaris booklet with over $250 in post GABS beer offers. T&Cs apply.

We’re giving away some tickets to subscribers, so make sure you’re signed up to be in the running. Must be subscribed to get lost by Sunday 27th May 11:59pm AEST