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12 Destinations to Hit Up – As Told by CEOs

Four CEOs share their picks for outdoor and leisure fixes from around the globe.

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Pick a journey: High-adrenaline | Foodie Trek | Aquatic Adventure | Spa Retreat
 JeffreyLiu

Need for Speed

Jeffrey Liu, 30

Co-Founder, Guavapass

Despite an uncle having had a close brush with death following a car accident, Jeffrey Liu is still intrigued by high-octane sports.

“My uncle was a race-car driver, and exposed me to the world of extreme sports. Once, he walked out unscathed after his car flipped over, and yet was raring to go again. It made me appreciate how dangerous and exciting these activities are,” says the co-founder of online fitness portal Guavapass. “These activities are physically demanding but the mental challenges are even more intense.”

An admiration for professionals who embrace this rush on a daily basis has led him to seek out his own temporary thrills while on vacation.

“One of my most memorable experiences was skydiving somewhere near Chicago in winter. There was so much snow falling that I could hardly see. I could have built a snowman in midair,” he says with a chuckle. “What I enjoy most is not knowing what will happen next and just surrendering myself to that particular moment.”

 PICKS: High-Adrenaline Sports

#01. HELI-SKIING, SWISS ALPS

“Having done the double black diamond slopes there, I have to say that the Swiss mountain ranges offer some of the best skiing experiences. Riding up in a helicopter and jumping off at the peak of the slopes adds to the thrill of the experience.”

SnowSlopes

See that helicopter? That’s where you jump off from to begin your ski. Now that’s a flying start.

#02. BUNGEE JUMPING, NEW ZEALAND

“New Zealand is where the sport started and continues to offer numerous good places to jump. It’s also considered one of the safer places for bungee jumping.”

#03. SKYDIVING, HAWAII, U.S.


“The fresh crisp air, clear views of mountains, oceans and blue skies – all this make Hawaii a top destination for the sport. The island also offers some of the highest-altitude jumps. Everything looks so different on the way down, which makes you appreciate how beautiful the world is.”

(RELATED: If skiing is your passion, read about how the ski vacation landscape is levelling up.)

Pick another journey: Foodie Trek | Aquatic Adventure | Spa Retreat

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Foodie Treks

Ronald Akili, 33

CEO, PTT Family

Museums and heritage sites are where one usually gains cultural insights, but for Ronald Akili, tasting local delicacies gives him a true sense of the place. “Food has always been an important part of Indonesian culture, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I became so passionate about it,” says the Jakarta-born Akili.

The former property developer is behind the popular chill-out spot Potato Head Beach Club in Bali which opened in 2010. Its success led to the brand’s expansion into Jakarta and Singapore, with Potato Head Garage and Potato Head Folk respectively.

As part of his business research, he diligently (and willingly) eats his way around the globe. “If I don’t try something new, I don’t consider it a successful trip,” says Akili. The avid collector of South-east Asian art pieces might have decked out the interior of his joints with whimsical motifs and planted juicy burgers on his menu, but his top food picks favour more refined tastes.

PICKS: Food Around The World

#01. UBUD, INDONESIA

“One of the best restaurants on the island, Locavore has been wowing diners since 2013 with its ever-changing menu (which depends on seasonal produce from local farmers), and by churning out haute cuisine without pretenses. I also like Room 4 Desssert, started by prominent pastry chef Will Goldfarb. This New York transplant incorporates local fruity flavours into innovative and divine desserts.”

UbudFood

The offerings at Ubud’s Room 4 Dessert incorporate local flavours in masterful fashion.

 #02. MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

“Some standouts include cabernet merlot from Cullen Wines, a modern carbon-neutral winery that uses biodynamic production. The Cullen restaurant dishes out fresh and organic food that goes well with the wine. There’s also Heidi Goat Cheese at the weekly Margaret River Farmers’ Market, where I always make sure to pick up some of its savoury matured chevre or feta cheeses.”

#03. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK


“Instead of adding my name to the wait list of more than 1,000 people at the acclaimed Noma, I opted to indulge in a 14-course tasting menu at two-Michelin-star Geranium, which is no less impressive. Copenhagen actually has a really vibrant food scene, and places like Geranium gives you a taste of the city’s offerings that have remained lesser-known.”

Pick another journey: High-adrenaline | Aquatic Adventures | Spa Retreat

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Sails Up

Edward Tan, 42

Executive Director, Hong Seh Group

Six years ago, a staff suggestion to take to the seas for a day of relaxation became food for thought for Edward Tan, executive director of luxury lifestyle company Hong Seh Group. Lulled by the sea and easy handling of a 38-feet American-built boat, Tan saw this as a chance for Singaporeans to use the waters surrounding our island for pleasure, not just for commercial purposes.

“What I enjoy most about boating is that it brings us back to a time when people actually had to talk to each other,” says Tan. “It’s something we have forgotten how to do, now that almost everyone is constantly on the smartphone.” The group owns Hong Seh Marine, the official distributor for Italian luxury yacht brands like Pershing and Riva that belong to the Ferretti Group.

“When you’re out at sea with little to no mobile reception, the boat becomes a private space to spend quality time with people you bring onboard,” says Tan.

 PICKS: WATERS TO FLOAT YOUR BOAT

#01. SAINT-TROPEZ, FRANCE

“Fly in to Milan, drive to Monaco and take a boat down the coast line of Saint-Tropez. High-end beach club Nikki Beach is a fantastic place to have lunch and chill. There’s also (very poor) cell reception here, so it’s a good getaway from the hustle and bustle.”

Sailing

Cut through the waters and break the ice with the privileged few you’d like to spend quality time with.

#02. NIKOI ISLAND, INDONESIA

“This remains one of my favourite places to go to from Singapore over a long weekend. I love the white sandy beaches and am always amused to see the tracks of little turtles all across the sand in the morning. It is almost as though they are staking their claim on the island.”

#03. RACHA ISLANDS, PHUKET


“The staff managing the resorts on these islands display impeccable service, so you’ll always feel welcome and at home. It’s also a good spot to snorkel, dive and go for a leisurely scenic cruise.”

(RELATED: Or if you’ve scuttled your beloved yacht, there’s still these luxury floating hotels making the rounds in regional waters.)

Pick another journey: High-adrenaline | Foodie Trek | Spa Retreat

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Remedy for the Soul

Martin Rinck, 51

President (APAC), Hilton Worldwide

A love for sports like tennis and skiing has kept Hamburg-born, Singapore-based Martin Rinck in good shape, but it has also led to a fair share of aching muscles. Coupled with a job that entails frequent travelling, he has sought ways to relax “in order to achieve the much-needed balance for body and soul”.

As president of Hilton Worldwide for the Asia-Pacific, Rinck is no stranger to chi-chi spas. It’s not just about the treatment. He says: “The property should be in a unique and unspoiled destination, with a superb gym and great fitness facilities. The spa needs to offer a wide variety of treatments, as well as a generous wellness area that offers different yoga and relaxation classes.”

This foodie also pays special attention to a resort’s culinary offerings. A good selection of tasty organic dishes and energy-boosting juices is the way to Rinck’s heart.

PICKS: By Far, The Best Spas

#01. TUSCANY, ITALY

“The beautiful natural setting of Tuscany is enough to create a positive experience right from the start. I like Terme di Saturnia, where I had my first wellness experience. The resort stands out as one of my favourites because it combines hot springs, wonderful massages and outstanding Italian food and drink.”

RinckSpaTuscany

Even gazing at the tranquil face of the Cascate del Mulino (Mill waterfalls) is a calming experience.

#02. MALDIVES

Just imagine romantic sunsets, clear blue skies and getting a massage while overlooking the indigo waters of the lagoon. He says: “My favourite resort is the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, because it meets all my requirements for what the total spa package should be.”

#03. BENGALURU, INDIA

India might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of spa and wellness destinations, but that is precisely why it ranks high on Rinck’s list. He says: “Shreyas Yoga Retreat is where I go to, to disappear ‘off the grid’ (there is no access to television, mobile phones or e-mail during the duration of one’s stay). There are multiple yoga sessions to take part in, as well as different types of meditation that are interesting to learn about. Community activities, like engaging with children from local schools, round up a mindful retreat here.”

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