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Travel: Giving up alcohol is fast becoming the big new vacation trend


In search of clarity and well-being, some travelers swap beer and wine for non-alcoholic alternatives. By Sarah Marshall.

There was a time when a pint of beer or a glass of champagne were as essential to a holiday as a bucket and a spade. But as we become more health and cost conscious, drinking alcohol while abroad is not the ultimate solution.

Michelle Tole, travel and wellness expert at BluePillow (bluepillow.co.uk), a holiday accommodation rental service, believes this reflects a growing trend towards booze-free breaks.

She suggests it reflects “the way Britons want to embrace and make the most of their holidays, rather than spending their time hungover and tired”.

Ahead of dry January this year, Alcohol Change UK estimated that a record 7.9million people planned to quit drinking alcohol for the month. There has also been a surge in the sale of non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages. According to a study published in 2021 from the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) beverage market analysis, the sector is expected to grow by more than 31% by 2024.

The travel industry is following this growing trend – and here are some indulgent vacations that won’t give you a hangover…

The abstinent hotel break

Inaugurated on September 1, the new Sommerro hotel in Oslo has developed an alcohol-free offer in response to customer demand. Bar manager Loukia Blouti has created an innovative menu inspired by the 1920s and 1930s, called The Prohibitionists.

“We are fully aware that people choose not to drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, including health issues, driving, pregnancy – or even just for a change from time to time. But that shouldn’t be not be a reason to miss a social gathering,” says Blouti. “Taste, complexity and quality of ingredients are guaranteed for every drink, regardless of alcohol content.”

Rooms start from £205 per double including breakfast. For more information visit sommerrohouse.com

The meal with (almost) 0% guilt

A flight of wine is the perfect accompaniment to a Michelin star meal. Fortunately, however, non-drinkers no longer need to miss the full dining experience.

At the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Switzerland, wine director and sommelier Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin has created a drink pairing for dishes served in the two-star Michelin restaurant, Memories, run by her husband, Sven Wassmer.

The kombucha is served with caviar and horseradish, while the truffle balls come with a barley lemonade.

Visit resortragaz.ch.

The super sober getaway

Some travelers might want to give up alcohol for a longer period.

In Saudi Arabia, alcohol consumption is illegal, providing a good opportunity to bump booze over the head for the duration of your trip.

Now that the destination is opening up to Western tourism, several operators are organizing tours in the Gulf country. Corinthian Travel offers a 10-day Arabia Felix: Asir & Al Bahah trip along the scenic Sarawat Mountains between Abha and Jeddah. Highlights include exploring Rijal Almaa, one of the most beautiful historic villages in Arabia, discovering the cave settlements on the remote mountain of Shada, and a visit to the traditional market of Moyhal.

From £4895 pp (two people sharing) including transfers, B&B accommodation, activities/tours and a guide. Flights extra. Visit corinthiantravel.co.uk.