Bartender prepares a drink at MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing
Tips

Five of the best learning holidays for 2021

Worldwide lockdowns during 2020 led to a surge in people learning new skills or reigniting old hobbies. As lockdowns start to ease and the prospect of travel appears on the horizon, maintain your learning momentum in 2021 with one of these fun-filled educational breaks – and return from holiday with a new skill up your sleeve

Tennis player takes a serve

Sort out that serve

Getting fit is often at the top of people’s resolutions at the dawn of a new year, but how do you keep up those good intentions? Simple: find something you enjoy. Tennis is a fun way to get fit, plus it gives your whole body a workout. Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur and not only will you get to experience five-star views and five-star service, but tennis buffs (and wannabe pros) can enjoy lessons with world-class instructors. Choose from private and semi-private sessions or opt for cardio tennis if you want something more hardcore. All levels and all ages from four upwards are welcome. Just ensure you book in advance.

Thai curry dish

Yes, chef!

Lockdown wasn’t just a time for a surge in sourdough breadmaking – it brought out the creative cook in many people. But even if cooking isn’t something that tickled your taste buds then, maybe it’s something you’ve been considering for 2021? Either way, the Hands-on Cooking Class at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is the perfect way to up your culinary game, using the zingy, spicy flavours of traditional Thai cooking. Take a boat ride from the hotel to The Oriental Thai Cooking School, where top chefs share their considerable expertise, and participants come away with an impressive four Thai dishes under their belt. The menu changes daily, but typical recipes include crab meat dip and spicy stir-fried squid with holy basil. Sample your hard work at Sala Rim Naam once the class ends.

Dolphins swim under the sea

Dive right in

What could be a more glorious way to dip your toes into 2021 than by learning to scuba dive in Mauritius? Stay at The Oberoi Beach Resort, Mauritius and explore an extraordinarily colourful new world in the Indian Ocean. Learn or improve your dive skills with the experienced instructors at the nearby certified PADI centre. Every level is covered, with basic, advanced, adventure and rescue dive courses. Those who are feeling particularly daring can head out further into the ocean and discover the shark pit. Then, after a day’s diving and exploration, relax in the spa – or with a mango and lychee bellini at On the Rocks (you’ve earned it).

Selection of three cocktails on a bar

Be your own bartender

Sales of spirits soared during the early days of the pandemic, with many discerning drinkers eager to recreate their favourite tipples at home due to lockdown measures. But there’s nothing quite like a master mixologist teaching you how to get that perfect serve. Fans of M.O. Members who are keen to hone their cocktail making skills should make a beeline for the cocktail class at MO Bar, the sleek bar and terrace at Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing – which also happens to have dreamy views of the Forbidden City. During the 45-minute class, you’ll learn how to make the bar’s signature Sunset Hunter, plus two other cocktails.

Woman takes photo with Boston backdrop

Capture the moment

If you’re itching to improve your snapping skills, this five-day street photography course in Boston is the business. With its cobbled streets, striking architecture and visually rich neighbourhoods, there is something at every turn to inspire you to get your camera out. Join engaging hosts, award-winning documentary photographer Steve Simon and professional photographer Sean Sliney, and learn how to create powerful images that capture the spirit and energy of the city. Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Boston in picturesque Back Bay and make full use of the spa to revive tired limbs after a day pounding the streets.

Pool at the Pool Garden restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech

The world’s best urban resorts

Discover the best of both worlds with these cities where you can combine an exhilarating urban break with a relaxing getaway