You’re turning 40! That’s certainly a reason to celebrate. But don’t you find that parties are just so much work? Unless you have a team of dedicated friends and family who are prepared to cook, serve and wash up for you afterwards. Of course you can always pay someone else to do it for you but that’s hardly an inexpensive undertaking – if your forty-something friends are anything like ours, they certainly know how to hang one on.
Besides which, no sooner have you got your hair and makeup done (or your dickie bow tied if lipstick isn’t your thing) than it’s all over, bar the clearing up and the hangover. As it took this long to get to 40 you might as well eke it out for as long as you can and come away with a few good memories rather than a fuzzy recollection of too many drunken speeches and hilarious dad dancing. It would seem that most of our clients agree, because celebration holidays are definitely trending when it comes to marking a milestone birthday.
The chances are at this stage in your life you will need to plan a birthday holiday that suits all the family – unless you are lucky enough to have devoted grandparents. Or perhaps they are coming, too – a terrific concept we call ‘packing the babysitter’. But don’t forget, this is your treat not theirs, and as much as contented children make happy parents, this particular holiday needs to tick your boxes first.
Our top 40th birthday destinations and holiday ideas
1. Safari Beach
It may be a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for many of us, but if your children are approaching their teens, now’s the time to let them fall under the spell of Africa. See the Big Five on a safari in Tanzania or Kenya, followed by a week on the spice island of Zanzibar. Couples may choose to safari in South Africa for a true taste of luxury topped with a week on your very own private island in the Seychelles.
At 40 you can finally afford to ‘live the dream’, and this is as close to paradise as it gets. Chic, young and well-priced, Velassaru is the island for you if you want to fly and flop with a few gentle forays into water sports and snorkelling. Push the boat out (and the seaplane) and head for Soneva Fushi – barefoot elegance at its best where you won’t see your kids or anyone else’s for dust (or sand) thanks to its spectacular kids’ club.
Celebrations and fiestas are at the heart of Mexican culture, and tucked away in a small village, just outside Playa del Carmen, Viceroy Riviera Maya is a beachfront gem with white-sand beaches and villas extending deep into the primitive Maya tropical forest. This 41-villa luxury resort is the epitome of unpretentious luxury with exceptional service. We love it, and so will you.
Brilliant if you have little ones in tow, Mauritius is the most accessible of all Indian Ocean escapes, with night flights from London, easy transfers and family-friendly resorts. Book a week or two at Constance Prince Maurice, where the staff will cater to the birthday boy or girl’s every whim. Those travelling with extended family and friends will love the villas at another of our favourite resorts, Heritage Le Telfair.
5. Sail away, in the BVI
If you’re still a kid at heart, this is the one for you – with or without a brood of wannabe pirates in tow. The home of ‘Treasure Island’, the BVI are weather-perfect from Christmas to Easter. Head for Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda where you can learn to sail, then cast off for a week of island-hopping or just let the resort’s crew do it all for you.
6. Sri Lanka
When we stumbled across Jungle Beach Resort we wanted to celebrate there and then, and so will you. If you want to add some grown-up touring, combine it with some of the exquisite new boutique resorts in the Cultural Triangle, otherwise just enjoy the natural environment at this blissful beach hideaway.
Follow in the footsteps of our Asia product manager Rachel and take your family on a holiday you or family will never forget. You cannot beat the chance to feed the elephants at the Elephant Hills tented jungle camp, followed by a week at one of our luxury resorts in Krabi and a fabulous 40th birthday banquet on the beach, Thai style.
This one’s for couples. We love the Datai in Langkawi, built into the rainforest, surrounded by nature with exquisite spa rooms opening on to a stream and one of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see.
Spice up a Caribbean holiday and make Grenada your celebration island. While it is a tad harder to get to, the extra hop from Antigua to Tortola is worth it for the jungle, wildlife and watersports that abound. If you have family in tow, choose Mount Cinnamon with its trendy, colourful state-of-the-art villas yet all the charm of a local beach resort.
Perfect for those who are strapped for time, Oman is Dubai’s less glitzy neighbour, still shrouded by mystery but emerging as the colourful butterfly of the Middle East. We love Six Senses Zighy Bay – fabulous for an exotic family holiday or a romantic getaway, yet close enough to make a long weekend of it with mountains, desert and beach all on your doorstep. Why not mark your 40th birthday by paragliding in to the resort! If you are planning a child-free long weekend, try The Chedi Muscat in Oman – chic, contemporary and classy.
Greeks love to have a good time and you won’t find it hard to celebrate your 40th in style on its islands. Ideal for a short break or a longer island-hopping holiday, Greece has something for everyone. Its largest island, Crete, is a heady mix of culture, wild landscapes and fine food and drink – there’s no better way to mark your birthday than with a shot of raki in a traditional taverna. Elsewhere, Santorini and Mykonos both provide the glamour, the former in the shape of its volcanic drama and whitewashed villages and the latter with its beach clubs and spectacular sands. They can be easily combined, making for an unforgettable birthday celebration.
For more information on birthday holidays, call one of our sales consultants on 01494 678400 or make an appointment to have a chat in our south London shop on the Northcote Road, where’s there’s always a bottle of bubbly on ice to start the party early.
Making it a surprise 40th birthday holiday for your loved one?
We love helping you to surprise your loved ones. We often get requests for surprise holidays and honeymoons, and are now getting quite good at it. Just let us know when you first contact us that it will be a surprise and we will work with you to keep it that way! From sending tickets to work addresses or removing our branding from post – we have done it all. We would love to help you and can’t wait to hear how it all went down when you return.