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LUXURY ON LOCATION: Eat, Pray, Love Hotels

Female staffers at The Luxury Travel Bible loved the book. Males, it has to be said, weren't so keen but we all agree the scenery in the movie is enough to make us pack our bags and head straight off on a year of travel to indulge in some Eating, Praying and Loving.

Based on a true story 'Eat, Pray, Love' follows Liz Gilbert after a personal crisis drives her to reconnect with herself on a year-long trip to Italy, India and Bali. Gilbert realises, as the movie trailer reminds us, that travel is the perfect opportunity to 'Let yourself go' (but we already knew that didn't we). Images of Julia Roberts indulging in pasta and gelato in Italy, stroking elephants and attending ceremonies in India and cycling through villages in Bali will no doubt drive tourists to these destinations to follow in Gilbert's (and Julia's) footsteps.

Hotels around the world have tie-in packages to celebrate the release of Eat, Pray Love starring Oscar winners Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem (in much the same way they did with Sex and the City 2). And the fact that some of the hotels aren't even in Indonesia, Italy or India hasn't stopped them from jumping on the movie bandwagon. So since most of us can't afford to dedicate awhole year to travel and self-discovery a weekend away will just have to do. Here we bring you some of the best Eat, Pray, Love - style packages available:

Eat Pray Love

Peter Island Resort and Spa, British Virgin Islands
Private Island, Peter Island Resort and Spa's Eat, Pray, Love package relates to the story's core issues of finding oneself through food, spirit and balance. Visitors will enjoy delicious food and this is the time that you should let go of the guilt associated with eating (much as Julia Roberts did while filming; she put on seven pounds). Daily picnics on White Bay Beach and private beach dining are included in the package. For discovery through prayer Peter Island offer private yoga sessions on the beach, a meditation 101 sessions and a consultation with one of their onsite Ayurvedic Doctor's to reveal guest's Dosha (mind and body type in Ayurvedic medicine). For discovery through loving oneself the resort provide a 30-minute Reiki session, and a two-hour Ayurvedic Rejuvenation treatment which includes: an Ayurvedic herbal wrap, followed by a medicated warm oil massage with hot poultice bundles and a warm running stream of oil on the forehead. Resort guests also have access to five beaches, the spa and spa gardens, walking and biking trails, snorkelling in the bays and the resort is set on 1,800 acres of undeveloped Caribbean tropics.

The Peter Island Eat Pray Love Package includes a five night getaway for two in an Oceanfront Room, plus all of the above and breakfast, lunch and dinner and afternoon tea. www.peterisland.com

The Ellis Hotel, Atlanta

Eco-friendly boutique hotel, The Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta have created a package for those in need of a little soul searching. Up until September 15th guests will be able to enjoy the Eat, Pray, Love experience. As well as receiving a copy of the bestseller book that inspired the movie and details of where the movie is playing at nearby theatres the packages is broken down into three categories;

EAT - Guests are able to experience the farm-to-table Terrace on Peachtree with dishes created by Executive Chef Thomas McKeown. PRAY - Guests will receive a copy of "The Prophet", by Kahil Gibran which will inspire guests to be free of dogma and power structures and LOVE - An evening on the women's only floor. This promises to give guests the "perfect blend of southern sophistication and charm".

www.ellishotel.com

Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach, Gold Coast Australia

Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach's movie tie-in is called the 'Magnifique Women' package. Providing cuisines, comfort and the signature Mybed they aim to prove that "you don't have to travel far to feel a million miles away" and is a great package for a girlfriends weekends away.

The package includes accommodation overlooking either the Australian Gold Coast Hinderland or Pacific Ocean and a complimentary upgrade to the next room type, daily buffet breakfast at On3 Restaurant, two complimentary cocktails at Room81, two AU$50 vouchers to use on any hotel service and a late checkout of 4pm.

www.sofitelgoldcoast.com.au

Caves House, Yallingup, Australia

Caves House, Yallingup in the Margaret River region of Western Australia are using Eat, Pray, Love in conjunction with the spiritual side of Australian culture (as opposed to Indonesian in the book and film). Caves House Hotel's package includes accommodation and a meal in the hotel's art deco Dining Room, a visit to the nearby Ngilgi Cave, which is a scared place for local indigenous people. The 'Love' aspect of this package comes from the meaning of the town's name, Yallingup in the local Wardandi language. The word means 'Place of Love' and Caves House continues this tradition of being a place to celebrate weddings and honeymoons - so it could be the perfect place to take your very own Javier Bardem. The package includes accommodation, a meal and Cave tour.

www.caveshousehotel.com.au

Shangri-la Sydney, Australia

To celebrate the release of the movie Shangri-La Hotel Sydney is offering the CHI Balance Package which offers guests the important aspects of the story - EAT, PRAY, LOVE!

Breakfast for two and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, the relaxing benefits of CHI, The Spa and overnight accommodation in a Deluxe room and nightly turndown service.

Offering newlyweds an escape, Eat, Pray Love-style, The Honeymoon Package, is offered to all couples who hold their wedding at any Shangri-la hotel. Included in the package is a bottle of Moet & Chandon and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries, degustation dinner in Altitude Restaurant and in-Room continental breakfast for the couple. Dreams letter and post it notes, plus CHI Enchanted journey and overnight accommodation.

www.shangri-la.com

Eat Pray Love

Singapore

Although Singapore is not one of the countries that Gilbert visits it has lots to offer visitors in search of their own 'Eat, Pray Love' experience and Singapore's tourist board are quick to list the many places available to give book and movie lovers some escapism.

Food is one of the greatest ways to provide a sense of place and markets in Singapore are no different. Lau Pa Sat is one of Singapore's most famous markets and the selection of stalls is wide and varied but the best tip is to usually join the longest line of locals to know which has the best quality and value.

If you want to learn true local cuisines enrol in a cooking class, of which there are many throughout the numerous cooking schools. Cookery Magic hold a class on the island of Pulau Ubin. Fresh ingredients will be picked from the kitchen garden and the skilled chef will guide you through all aspects of traditional recipes. www.cookerymagic.com

There is no denying that Singapore is cultural melting pot and different religions are celebrated and visitors to the region are welcomed to experience the many temples, mosques and churches. One of the oldest temples worth a visit is Sri Mariamman Temple with its pagoda style entrance and countless colourful statues of deities and mythical animals and cement cows which top the surrounding walls. Hindu weddings often take place here which are well worth a look when if you're lucky enough to see one.

Singapore might start to rival Paris as the city of love. One of the oldest bridges in Singapore, Cavenagh Bridge offer stunning views over the Singapore River and is perfect for a romantic walk. Known as 'Love Hill' to locals, Fort Canning Hill is becoming THE place for weddings, engagements and romantic picnics with views over the city. There are also regular performances under the stars.

 
At the end of her journey of self discovery Gilbert heads to Bali and spends the last days of her trip cycling through quiet villages, taking yoga classes, experiencing Indonesian food and the Balinese people, as well as consulting with a ninth generation medicine man and a woman healer. With such a rich culture no wonder Balinese Hotels have created packages in conjunction with Eat, Pray Love's release.
Ubud Hanging Gardens, Bali

Liz Gilbert visits Ubud in Eat, Pray, Love and it has long been viewed as a retreat. Orient-Express property Ubud Hanging Gardens is offering an 'Eat Pray Love' package which will include a private Balinese dinner for two at a candlelit Hindu Temple, followed by a blessing ceremony at a Holy Water Temple, a love candle as a take home gift and a VIP airport transfer on arrival or departure. Yoga classes and appointments with local healers can be arranged on request.

The package includes accommodation in a pool villa (each has a heated infinity pool), daily breakfast and afternoon tea, and a shuttle service into Ubud. Ubud is a small town with a variety of studio, galleries and restaurants and many traditional festivals and religious ceremonies take place throughout the year.

www.ubudhanginggardens.com

AYANA Resort and Spa Bali recreates Gilbert's journey with yoga sessions, romantic dinning, massages and sessions in Ubud with traditional healer Ketut Liyer. As General Manager Charles de Foucault says, "The novel was a bestseller, and the Hollywood movie promises to be an even bigger sensation, putting the rich culture and dramatic landscapes of Bali in the world's spotlight".

The package, running from September 1 to December 24, includes breakfast for two, (buffet breakfast for room/suite guests, Villa guests will receive an a la carte breakfast), one time traditional jamu drink and Balinese cakes at room turn down, half day tour to Ubud, and a romantic dinner in a secluded area lit by banana trunk candles and tiki torches, personalised menu, butler and private entertainment. An hour long Balinese massage for two and either a sunrise or daytime yoga session will also be provided.

www.ayanaresort.com

Karma Jimbaran, Bali

Running until December 18th John Spence's Karma Resorts' Karma Jimbaran will be offering Eat, Pray, Love fans the chance to experience Balinese food, spa and culture. The package draws on Karma's extensive network and knowledge of local culture with Bali's most celebrated therapists, healers and masters on hand of offer guests therapeutic treatments. Daily spa treatments and visits to the renowned Uluwatu Temple to watch sacred dances and stories and meals using traditional recipes will introduce guests to local culture as well as providing an escape from daily life.

Included in the package are accommodation in a Pool Villa, all breakfasts and a traditional Balinese 'Meginung' dinner, an Uluwatu Temple tour, and daily complimentary spa treatments including Balinese Massage, Balinese Bathing ritual and cleansing steam treatment.

http://www.karmaresorts.com/

Now we're just waiting for a male-oriented movie-tie in: bungy-off-the-balcony-like Bond perhaps?

Sarah Bryans 23/8/10

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