I had not one but four pages in this week’s Grazia, including this beautiful looking 2016 travel spread. When I was writing this piece back in November, my fingers were basically bouncing off the keyboard with excitement, giddy for a whole new year of travel! It took longer than it should have because I was flitting between Google Docs and Skyscanner, thinking “hmm, let me just check how much flights are for us too go there” after writing up each destination. I’m a total sucker for that, hence why we already have lots of trips in the diary for this year…my forward planning does drive Ed a little insane sometimes!
Luckily we ticked Gothenburg off the list last summer, and already have our fourth trip to Amsterdam in the diary! Queensland and NYC, I’ve done, but how to fit the rest into my holiday allowance, I’m thinking! I’m super keen to get myself to Miami this year AND Lima (though I’ve always said I’d like to save Peru for a honeymoon!) thanks to BA’s new direct route. That said, we have sort of got our eyes on India for a late-summer break…. it’d be totally new for both of us.
I’ve added the (unedited) copy from the pages below to hopefully inspire your adventures for the year! Let me know where you’re going on Twitter, or get in touch if you have any questions!
Celebrating 50 years of independence in 2016, Botswana was named top in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016 list, a feat that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Abundant with incredible wildlife and dramatic landscape, it’s wild and enlightening, and there’s endless elements to admire. Go on a game drive through the Chobe National Park, explore the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, and go on walking safaris through UNESCO World Heritage sites. Have Belmond Eagle Island Lodge as base camp, which is perched on a private island, surrounded by stretches of the Okavango Delta. Each of the lodge’s 12 tented accommodations has its own plunge pool and outdoor deck overlooking the delta. It’s the ultimate switch-off escape, where you can admire Mother Nature’s work.
With David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef series kicking off, we’re predicting a spike in its visitors. Surreal as it is stunning, there’s something for everyone. Even those who aren’t completely convinced by the idea of tropical fish swimming around their ankles can enjoy the experience by taking a seaplane flight over the reef, going on a glass bottom boat, staying at one of the luxury resorts on the islands around the reef, or even spending a night on water with Reefsleep. Don’t miss the Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsunday Islands — one of the finest beaches in Queensland, if not the world — and Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island which is pure, unadulterated beauty.
Set to be quite possibly hottest destination of the year, everyone is talking about Lima! BA is launching direct flights to the city in May, which will fly thrice weekly in summer and twice weekly in winter, and comes as the first direct air link between the UK and Lima since 1982! Already celebrated for its wonderful cuisine, full of ceviche and raw fresh fish, Lima is fast growing as a destination for the arts too, with festivals such as ArtLima and the Lima Film Festival, alongside fantastic museums and great boutiques in Barranco. Stay at the Belmond Miraflores Park, a stunningly modern hotel set beside the ocean, with a heated rooftop pool that has views across Lima and the Pacific. South of Lima are stunning beaches for a more relaxing break, plus great surfing spots too, and of course, whilst in Peru, there’s the Inca Trail to hike. Stay at one of the 4 Inkaterra properties, a company that’s truly trailblazing in the way of beautiful eco-tourism.
As if it wasn’t already a city on everyone’s bucket list, New York is only set to get better through 2016. Shoppers can rejoice as NYC is on track to become the world’s official premier premiere shopping destination, with the opening of Westfield World Trade Centre, which will house a whole host of giant designer stores. Elsewhere, The Beekman Hotel opens in February as the hotly anticipated new opening from Thompson Hotels, which will impress architecture aficionados and luxury hotel lovers no end with its nine-story atrium and pyramidal skylight. Plan your dates.
Forget what you know, Amsterdam has changed a lot. Now, it has a fantastic craft beer scene, great shopping streets full of independent labels, and a burgeoning food scene — don’t miss the Foodhallen. But it’s the hotel scene that’s the most active at the moment, luring in curious international visitors. Along with a new W hotel, The Hoxton hit the Dam mid-215 with its first hotel out of London, and spring 2016 sees the reopening of renovated Hotel Pulitzer.
Planning a trip to the California? Add Sacramento to your bucket list. It’s scoring a reputation as the cooler, cheaper, more cutting edge alternative to San Fran, thanks to an array of new hotel launches and its exciting foodie scene. Go for Bacon Fest (January), Beer Week (March) or even BLT fest – yes that’s a thing (July). Along with a new $477 million sports and entertainment centre, there’s also a new 250-room Kimpton hotel arriving.
This year, pack your bags for an adventure through Japan. The launch of a new shinkansen (bullet train) in March linking the main island of Honshu to the northern island of Hokkaido will give visitors the chance to experience the country’s beautiful wilderness. Whilst the region is known amongst ski aficionados for its perfect powder conditions, Hokkaido is less-known for its wildlife, hot springs, whale watching, vibrant lavender fields, and the vast Daisetsuzan National Park
What with Norwegian Airlines and British Airways doubling their flight volumes from London to the city in 2016, there’s no doubt Gothenburg is chasing Stockholm’s heels as the hottest Swedish city to visit now. With great parks, clean streets, beautiful people, cutting edge boutiques, local street food worth queuing for, and fun nightlife, it’s a city that really does have it all. Stay at Hotel Pigalle, a well-placed boutique hotel that’s full of character and has a great rooftop bar. Visit in August for Way Out West, one of Europe’s best inner-city festivals.
Closer to home, Devon is set to be a popular destination for weekending Londoners as it welcomes The Pig at Combe in June. Nestled into the picturesque Otter Valley, among 3500 acres of rolling Devonshire countryside, the Elizabethan manor and its fellow outbuildings are being converted into 33 bedrooms, all with chic, country bumpkin-esque decor and homely touches. As with the rest of The Pig portfolio, Combe will be following a garden-to-plate ethos, with the vegetable garden and restaurant being very much central to the hotel. All produce will be sourced within a 25-mile radius, which, given it’s just 8 miles from the coast, means plenty of fresh seafood too. Given The Pig on the Beach just won Best Hotel in the Mr and Mrs Smith awards, expectations are high for this new addition.
Miami is practically booming with new hotels, restaurants, bars and beach houses, a new cultural and art district….it goes on. There’s big buzz around The Langford, a sleek boutique hotel in Downtown due to open late ’15; Nautilus, a new SIXTY Hotels oceanfront and the ultra-opulent Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Designed by Baz Luhrmann and his wife Catherine Martin, the hotel includes a theatre for live cabaret shows, a luxury spa and fine dining restaurant. Alternatively, get a room at Soho Beach House.
Set to steal the Cornish hotspot crowns from the likes of St Ives and Padstow, 2016 will be the year of Penzance. There’s the 1935-built Lido, which was damaged in the 2014 storms, but will reopen in spring. Then, there are the red-hot restaurants; Bruce Rennie (ex-Rick Stein) is opening The Shore, Michelin-starred Ben Tunnicliffe is opening his kitchen at The Tolcarne Inn, and Ben’s Cornish Kitchen in nearby Marazion. Boutique hotel openings are plentiful — stay at the chic Chapel House PZ or the quirky Artist Residence. And finally, art! The Tate Gallery at St Ives so don’t miss the Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, featuring James Turrell’s stunning Skyspace installation.