Top holiday destinations to visit in 2018
It’s around this time of year that the travel experts start predicting the hot holiday destinations of 2018 - and by hot, we’re not talking mercury rising, we’re talking where you’ll find Harry and Meghan being romantic or Amal and George sipping tequila and where you will be strutting your stuff in your latest pair of l’étale swimming trunks.
Although adored by backpackers and Australians, Fiji’s white sandy beaches and picture-perfect sea draws in the smart set too, and its popularity shows no sign of slowing down in 2018. The jewel in the South Pacific will see one of the year’s most exciting openings from Six Senses when it launches its all-villa resort on Malolo Island. Six Senses Fiji is taking sustainability to the next level - the resort will be 100 percent solar powered and the first micro grid in the world to use Tesla batteries. This won’t compromise the luxury of the new hotel, opening in April 2018, which sits on 650m of private and pristine beach. vunabaka.com
Sri Lanka’s tourism has been booming for the past few years; it continues to see a stream of incredible and original new hotels opening and even relatively unchartered territory becoming accessible to visitors for the first time. Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Yala National Park. which opened in November 2017 is one such example. Built in an untapped wilderness, Wild Coast Tented Lodge sees Leopards and Elephants slope around its extraordinary domed suites, while the Indian Ocean laps on its door step. This new hotel is from the same people behind the hugely successful Cape Weligama and Tea Trails and they know luxury. Each cocoon comes with freestanding copper bath tubs, dreamy bed linens and private plunge pools. resplendentceylon.com/wildcoastlodge-yala
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa opens the first major luxury hotel on the Andaman Islands this month (December 2017). Drawing inspiration from the Andaman Islands’ culture and design, the Taj will consist of 75 low-rise villas in the style of the Jarawa (local tribe) huts. Built on Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island, which is known for its dive sites and sublime beaches, the Taj will be surrounded by lush jungle, mangrove forests and coral reefs. taj.tajhotels.com
Prince Harry’s revelation that a tented camp in Botswana was the location for his third date with Meghan Markle (who could say no to that!) will surely boost trips to this African country. But those in the know already sing the praises of the Southern African nation’s safari offering, naming it the best in the continent. Botswana was the inspiration for our Ostrich swimming trunks and definitely a place we hold dear in our hearts after Edouard worked in a rhino sanctuary there many moons ago. Thanks to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and the fact that over 30% of its total land is converted into a protected park or game reserve, there is no shortage of wildlife. If it's on your 2018 bucket list be sure to check out Wilderness Safaris new Qorokwe Camp on the banks of a hippo-rich Okavango lagoon. Mighty exclusive, the camp consists of only nine tented suites on the border of Moremi Game Reserve, all solar powered, and cleverly designed to be modern yet still blend into the environment. The camp offers the chance to track animals by car, foot and boat. luxurysafaricamps.com/qorokwe-camp
As far as European destinations go, Malta is one that - until now - has remained quietly in the shadow of the Med’s more frequently talked-about locations. Despite its stunning architecture that is drenched in history, crystal clear waters that surround the island and almost eternal sunshine it rarely sought the spotlight. In fact, such was its aloofness that a recent Buzzfeed article written about Malta, published in the U.S, caused so much excitement in the country that it turned the author into an overnight hero on the island - turns out they weren’t used to getting attention from that side of the pond. Malta’s capital city Valletta has been selected as 2018 European Capital of Culture, and if that isn’t proof enough that the island is officially cool then the buzzing music scene - think forts turned into clubs - and design hotels in palazzos should convince you. Next year sees the opening of Iniala Harbour House, the vision of former banker and philanthropist Mark Weingard who has been going to Malta since he was four year’s old. The hotel is made up of two townhouses and an old bank - all designed by different teams and resulting in rooms that will suit all tastes - from a minimal, stone-clad penthouse suite with a rooftop plunge pool, to a vaulted room with a floating mezzanine walkway and basement Jacuzzi. iniala.com
The Azores are considered by some as Europe’s most exotic islands - a place where lush forest, meets the Atlantic swell, steaming natural springs, volcanoes, vast empty beaches and sightings of whales and dolphins. With Delta Airlines operating new flights from New York to Ponta Delgada from next year, the Azores aren’t going to be a secret for much longer. We’ve got our eyes on hotelier João Reis’s second property, on São Miguel island, White. Inspired by the white washed hotels in Santorini, it sits on the side of a cliff so that each of the nine suites and one freestanding villa has an uninterrupted view of the Atlantic Ocean. The minimalist style is vamped up with natural materials - think rope, driftwood, cotton, volcanic stone, wicker, cotton, and living plants. whiteazores.com/en
Bolivia’s breathtaking - quite literally, at 3,500m above sea level - capital city first caught our attention on a backpacking trip back in 2007 (also the inspiration for our best-selling bowler-hatted Alpaca swimming trunks) but since then it has elevated to flash-packing status with the opening of design hotels and upmarket restaurants. You will still find the gap year tragedies but sitting alongside them, in the trendiest of cafes, are entrepreneurs, artists, writers and serious gastronomes. The city’s food scene is on fire. Take for example Claus Meyer's - co-founder of Copenhagen’s two-Michelin- starred Noma - Gustu, a lofty dining space kitted out with eclectic textiles, masks and furniture and serving exciting seven-course tasting menus.