This year, a new crop of ahead-of-the-curve hotels are pushing boundaries and setting new standards in experiential travel. From a game-changing wildlife sanctuary perched above a Cambodian river valley to a luxury Rwanda wilderness lodge on the fringes of a gorilla-dotted national park, we’ve scoured the globe for the top 12 debuts to hit the hotel scene this year.
The Italian sun brushstrokes the Amalfi Coast in pastel hues come dusk, transforming the fabled clifftop towns into a watercolour painting – but it’s the sunset from under-the-radar Praiano that sends the blushing landscape into overdrive. Words: Joanna Reeves
A picture-perfect backdrop at Casa Angelina, the soul-stirring Amalfi Coast catches your eye like a Renaissance painting – the pièce de résistance among the modern artworks showcased throughout the gallery-white hotel. Words: Joanna Reeves
Iconic cities, dramatic scenery, a plethora of wildlife: it’s time to discover the continent that has it all. From the colour-splashed coastline of New England to the raw, untamed beauty of British Columbia and otherworldly Alaskan landscapes – the sheer size of North America makes for truly extraordinary experiences. Words: Joanna Reeves
Forget pounding away on a treadmill for hours – head off the beaten track with this new crop of sporty adventures, from freediving in Mexico to ice yoga in Swedish Lapland and a marathon along the Great Wall of China…
Beauty is more than just skin deep in St Lucia, Joanna Reeves discovers
“Never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat,” says Freda, our beauty therapist at Auriga Spa, gesturing at the cluster of Mason jars on the wooden table. My mind flicks to the cinnamon doughnuts I’d tucked into the night before…
It’s not just the silky-smooth wine Tuscany is great for — the Italian region does health and wellness in style, too
Tucked away in the sleepy village of Bagno Vignoni, this luxurious health and wellness retreat is situated around 40 miles south of Siena. A traditional Italian hillside villa, the main hotel is spread over three floors, accessed by a polished travertine stairway curving around a floor-to-ceiling crystal chandelier.
From my suite’s balcony, the beautiful Val d’Orcia unfurls before me, a patchwork of tree-lined fields and terraced vineyards. The perfect base for exploring the countryside, the hotel offers free daily cycling and hiking tours, plus an app with recommended routes. At breakfast, lycra-clad cyclists sit among robed spa-goers, tucking into fresh fruit and omelettes in the open-air atrium; make-your-own juices are a nice touch.
Step aside grey, 2017’s new hero shade of blue is set to transform our interiors
It all started with Denim Drift — Dulux’s 2017 Colour of the Year, a soft, versatile grey-blue. Hot on its heels was a palette of blue hues, from cobalt and cornflower to duck egg, indigo and Aegean. Splashed across walls, woven into bold cushion prints, taking centre stage on a statement sofa — there are no shortage of ways to show off the new ‘It’ colour.