A destination for expat retirees, Malta is changing. Although honey-gold capital Valetta is 2018’s European Capital of Culture, tastemakers have rediscovered the history-rich island of Malta, making it our #1 ‘Best Holiday Destinations’ for 2018. Cool kids come for Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival. Former forts are now clubs, and century old palazzi are transformed into high-end hotels. Millionaire Mark Weingard helped reimagine several townhouses into the Iniala Harbour House. Each room comes with an ‘experience-ometer’, allowing guests to set desired levels & receive a customized itinerary.
Providing barefoot luxury, in contrast to the Maldives & Mauritius, the Seychelles is a bit wilder & more elemental. Blue surf pounds black rocks, primeval jungle fringes white coral sand. The archipelago lends itself to fantasies, with local lore of buried treasure and haunted caves. This distant paradise is far cheaper since British Airways now offers non-stop flights to Seychelles.
Condé Nast Traveller reports many islands have upped their resort game. Self-sustaining conservation success Frégate has revamped villas; the North Island’s beach lodge (where Will & Kate honeymooned) has been refurbished.
Historically fiercely insular, Japan’s long-entrenched traditions are sparking interesting in the West. Meticulous design, perfectly crafted food, and avant-garde fashion. A Pinterest board made flesh, Gen Y has helped double Japan’s tourism over 3 years. The challenge now is to discover Japan’s quiet spiritualism amongst its frenzied urbanisation. Head to Hokkaido’s Sapporo, enjoy beer pairings, and explore abandoned basements turned galleries. You’ll see many parallels between Sapporo & sister city Portland. Take a chance on the Kii Peninsula, enjoy the mountain shrines & hilltop farmstays.
Often overlooked for Flashier Florence, Romantic Rome or Perfect Pisa, discounting Bologna is an easy mistake. Teeming with a rich history of cobbled piazzas and medieval towers, Bologna also has a vibrant present. Via Pratello’s Annual April Street party celebrates resistance, communism, and gay pride. Bologna – progressive and rebellious all at once!
Besides its penchant for socialism, Bologna’s other claim to fame is food. Fico Eataly World offers 80,000 sqm of rides, restaurants & gastro workshops. Immerse yourself in counter-culture in the art bars in the Jewish Ghetto, or the annual Robot digital arts/music festival. Live music, film screenings & cocktails can be found at the Kilowatt collective.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast
In contrast to A-listers and Tulum, the Pacific coast is the domain of the Gypset. Sayulita is a sleep beach town, but doesn’t want for style. A laidback sand-&-salt-in-hair scene, bohemians enjoy the surf, vintage board shops, and hammock strung guesthouses. Relish cheap taco stands, Margaritas, and brightly painted boutique shops.
Premier surf spot Puerto Escondido is a design hub. Casa Wabi, part artists’ residence, part gallery, is the lovechild of artist Bosco Sodi and architect Tadao Ando. Relax at Hotel Excondido’s thatched bungalows & plunge pools.
La Paz, Bolivia
In the shadow of Mt. Illimani, La Paz is one of the world’s spectacular cities. Highest capital in the world, La Paz is quite truly breathtaking. No longer a seedy party scene home to scruffy backpackers, La Paz is on its way to a new future.
Restaurateurs and hoteliers are helping reinvent the tradition-rich La Paz. Noma co-founder Claus Meyer’s Gustu provides destination dining, while boutique hotel Atix offers stunning Barofsky Architecture in which to enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail.
Your next great city break may be in the Caucasus. Long-distance walker Levison Wood has helped reveal Georgia’s ancient charms. If only visiting one city in the Caucasus, make sure it’s Tbilisi!
2018 marks 100 years of independence from Russia, so it’s only right to immerse yourself in this country’s rich history and uniqueness. Crumbling Art Nouveau facades, Eastern Orthodox churches, nanas dishing up dumplings while young artists convene at KGB themed restaurants – a fantastic anarchic jumble!
Find a reborn Bali in Canggu – Brigid Delaney calls it ‘Brooklyn-On-Sea!’ Airy cafes with vegan breakfast bowls & cold-pressed espresso cater to MacBook adorned hotdeskers. Enjoy a hibiscus martini & old school hip hop at beach club The Lawn. Stay at the Slow’s retro-modern suites, or COMO Uma Canggu’s duplex penthouses.
Change it up and experience luxury tents & Jacuzzis in Capella Ubud – spiritual wellness and a tangled rainforest go hand in hand.
The dropping pound sends many travellers to the UK. Soho & Covent Garden are at the forefront of London’s super-trendy makeover. Craft cocktail bars & innovative restaurants are at home in the East end.
Creatives tired of the capital flock to Bristol to enjoy alternative art collectives & community ran cafes. Home of Banksy, a growing foodie reputation, and an Artist Residence hotel make this a must-visit.
Surprise entry goes to Dundee. A strong case for a highland fling comes in the form of soon to be launched V&A Museum of Design, and a flourish of art galleries.
The vast inland Okavango Delta is teeming with wildlife, and offers one of the continent’s greatest safaris, allowing a rare chance to spot the Big Five via dugout canoe. With 30% of total land converted to game reserve or protect park, you won’t struggle to find what you came for.
Recently opened Qorokwe Camp from Wilderness Safaris provides nine luxury tented suites with private decks. On the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve, you can walk, boat, or 4×4 as preferred. Added bonus, the entire camp is 100% solar.