Travel Experts Veronica Kohlbecker and Hershey Gargash Share Their Top 20 Travel Destinations
There’s never been a time when international travel seems more appealing. After years of lockdowns and restrictions, the chance to explore the world and find fulfillment in far-flung destinations is high on the agenda. Travel editor Hershey Gargash and travel concierge Veronica Kohlbecker, founders of the ultimate luxury travel guide ‘What A Wonderful World’ reveal the top destinations highlighting the trends for more meaningful travel to reinvigorate mind, body, and soul.
From connecting with nature to choosing crowd-free destinations, opting for life-changing adventures, or taking the time to enjoy special places with loved ones, travel is most definitely back – and these are the best places to visit.
Despite being a neighbor to touristy Croatia, Montenegro remains one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets. Combining glitz and glamour with historical charm, this Balkan gem offers everything from five-star seaside luxury to mountain adventures, captivating UNESCO World Heritage old towns and some of the best fish restaurants in Europe – (don’t miss Ribasko Selo – a fishing village turned 5-star fine dining option). With over 24 incredible islands and fjord-like bays surrounded by warm, crystal-clear waters, Montenegro is a yachting paradise and a beach lover’s heaven – the 13km white sand beach located near Ada Bojana Island is dreamy. But there is so much more to this destination than sand and sea. Whether you’re an adventure sports enthusiast looking to raft rivers, hike wild rocky peaks or ski 70 km’s of breathtakingly beautiful slopes (Kolasin Ski Resort’s 25 new ski lifts make Montenegro one of Europe’s largest up-and-coming winter sports destinations) or a culture buff keen on exploring mystical citadels, forts and monasteries, there is something for everyone here. An impressive collection of high-end resorts and hotels including the recently opened One&Only Portonovi and much revered Lustica Bay complete with its fairytale locations like the Lighthouse Restaurant and 5-star hotel located on a Prison Mamula Island make Montenegro one of the world’s most stylish getaways. Add the glitter of the world’s largest superyacht marina, Porto Montenegro, a cosmopolitan community, rich history of tradition and culture and captivating natural beauty and you’ve got a 5-Star destination that just keeps giving.
It’s no surprise that Dubai features as one of this year’s must visit destinations. Thanks to its unique blend of ‘modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment’, Dubai entices travelers with some of the world’s most incredible experiences and decadent hospitality options. Loved by families for being so incredibly welcoming to visitors of all ages, Dubai offers beautiful beach clubs (head to Twiggy for a party with classic beats or enjoy family time at Jumeirah Beaches J Club) and an unrivalled choice of entertainment opportunities plus world-renowned dining and superb shopping. State-owned Jumeirah Group dominates Dubai’s luxury hotel offering – with its newest addition, the very modern and sophisticated Jumeirah Al Naseem overlooking the iconic Burj Al Arab catering to families and couples alike. With a constantly evolving hotel scene, visitors can experience some truly extraordinary hotel facilities – recently opened Atlantis The Royal Dubai features an amazing 90 swimming pools and three aquariums, not to mention multiple restaurants and incredible design features. There is so much more to Dubai than fast-paced city life – be it exploring the winding streets of the Al Fahidi Cultural District, visiting the Global Village for a family night out, enjoying unparalleled international dining options in the DIFC (from Asian at Clap to Italian at Cipriani or Greek at Gaiia), taking to the water for aquatic adventures with Seawake Water Sports or heading to the vast desert dunes.
While white sand beaches, buzzing atmosphere and year-round gorgeous weather may be reason enough to visit Miami, it’s the city’s recent evolution America’s hottest dining destination which now pulls in the upscale crowds. Whether at the uber hip Design District or in South Beach, celebrity chefs and homegrown locales are serving up fantastic fare and a mix of flavors and feel. Culinary innovation aside, Miami offers a rich and diverse cultural experience, blending its colorful history with South American influence and its position as a hub for creativity. Add to this exclusive designer shops, thriving arts scene with Art Basel being one of the city’s top events, cutting-edge galleries, sizzling nightlife scene and museums a plenty and there’s little wonder that Miami features so highly on this year’s travel list. A huge variety of luxury accommodation – be it city style in Downtown Miami or on stretches of private beach offer something for all – we love the sleek minimalism of The Setai Miami Beach and the lush landscaping of the 40th floor rooftop bar at East Miami, right in the heart of the city’s urban landscape. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, watch beautiful people go by or be wowed by a seriously impressive restaurant and culture scene, one thing’s for sure – Miami has well and truly left its corrupt and often unsavory reputation behind to become a luxury destination.
Years ago, Tulum inspired a backpack crowd seeking a hippy vibe. Today, this coastal Mayan settlement has grown into one of the world’s most hip vacation destinations – albeit with its laid-back, spiritual roots still very much part of the vibe. Known for its beautiful beaches and well-preserved ancient Mayan ruins plus incredible natural beauty comprising mangroves, natural limestone sinkholes and picture-perfect white sand against a sparkling Caribbean turquoise sea. Tulum’s spiritual significance holds great appeal for travelers looking to recharge and forget the stress associated with a couple of years of lockdown and restrictions. This is a place where you can get back to basics through complete rest and relaxation – be it through cycling the three kilometer stretch between the town’s two main areas of Tulum Pueblo and Tulum Beach or immersing yourself in the tranquility of surrounding jungles and wildlife filled nature reserves – the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sian Ka’an offers some of the world’s most incredible snorkeling and dive sites. Paying homage to its Mayan heritage and surrounding environment, Tulum offers a variety of eco-friendly resorts and boutique hotels which combine luxury with sustainability and feature everything from complimentary yoga classes to excellent farm to table dining options and Mayan derived spa treatments. For a truly laid-back vibe try La Valise Tulum, a chic converted beach house set among towering palm trees – or for a unique stay, check into the Azulik tree house hotel where each of the 48 rooms provides your very own ‘nest’ in which to get away from it all. Scorpios Beach Club Tulum is set to open this year – with its Inner Gardens temple and hotel set to become the highlight of the region. Want a little more? Boho beach bars offer sunset drinks and there are hedonistic parties on the sand if that’s your thing.
Iceland has made it to the top of many a travel lists this year – namely because of its response to the pandemic and resulting safety – indeed this incredible country offers unrivalled experiences and opportunities away from the crowds. The lunar-esque land of ‘fire and ice’ gives travelers the chance to enjoy everything from peaceful, untouched nature to charming towns and endless outdoor activities in an environment unlike any other where fields of lava meet ancient fjords, black sand beaches, majestic mountains, and remote settlements. Wander through buzzing Reykjavik’s Old Harbor – home to galleries, restaurants, cafes, and museums and explore Iceland’s most dramatic countryside landscapes at The Westfjords. Traditional bathing is integral to Icelandic culture and no trip would be complete without a soak in one of the many incredibly scenic natural geothermal pools. These toasty hot-springs are located all over the country so you can literally swim and bathe at every stop – try Sky Lagoon, one of the newest thermal spas located just outside Reykjavik, where warm waters, a 230ft ocean view infinity edge warm water pool, cold pool, sauna, steam, and more are built into the craggy coast. In harmony with its respect for nature, Iceland offers an adventurous food scene with sustainability and a focus on the best quality local produce at its core. Iceland’s accommodation options are equally sympathetic to their environment – expect beautiful boutique hotels, luxury lodges and eco-friendly design led properties. Hotel Ranga is one of the most deluxe resorts, designed to look like a giant log cabin complete with a highly rated restaurant overlooking one of Iceland’s finest salmon rivers.
London has outdone itself in the past years to become the world’s capital for design, international cuisine, architecture, fashion districts and culture, London has it all and so much more. With a history spanning 2,000 years there is so much to see and do in this capital city that a visit is guaranteed to awaken the senses and offer the thrill of travel we’ve all missed so much over the past couple of years. Head to one of London’s hottest new restaurants including Zima Russian or Marylebone’s Kaiseki, a Japanese multi-course tasting concept and head over to Annabel’s which leads the members club scene with its ever-changing designs. For shopping head to Bond Street filled with luxury shopping flagship stores and be sure not to miss the newly opened Fawaz Griosi store sporting the largest gems on the market. Need to relax? Not only does London have an array of unique galleries from Harry Blain to Jean Davide Malat and iconic National museums that are perfect for wandering but also theatre productions to suit everyone and spas aplenty. Check into the Spa at The Hotel Café Royal which offers a ‘London Retreat’ complete with a tailor-made program that ensures every guest feels completely reset. Need a little help with the planning? Call Innerplace concierge to help guide you.
The super chic UNESCO World Heritage German spa town of Baden-Baden, on the edge of the beautiful Black Forest, has long established itself as a place of relaxation, rest and culture for the traveling elite. With a leading reputation for healthcare plus world-class restaurants, iconic casino (home to The Grill restaurant with its amazing terrace), high-end shops, glamorous festivals, and a year-round mild climate this is the perfect destination for covid-weary travelers. With plenty of opportunities for feel-good activities, including more than 1000 stunning hiking routes, 30km of biking trails and numerous lakes for boating and water sports amidst breathtaking scenery such as the Geroldsauer waterfalls, Baden-Baden is all about wellness combined with getting the very best from life. Those in the know travel to Baden-Baden to buy up gorgeously crafted luxury items – Vickermann und Stoya, one of the world’s most famous shoemakers resides here and is a favorite of celebrities and royalty alike – and with the nearest ski area only 20 minutes away, you can rent specially crafted skis from Black Forest Skis by Architect Florian Kohlbecker. Since the Romans built Baden-Baden’s first thermal baths, visitors have sought rejuvenation from the town’s hot springs and two thermal bathhouses – Friedrichsbad, where a 17-station circuit has been created to help transform body and mind, is a must visit. For a targeted wellness program, try Villa Stéphanie, a cutting-edge spa at the very luxurious Brenners Park Hotel, a ‘house of wellbeing’ offering medical, emotional, detox, and beauty treatments or book in at Lili Goschy’s the Legend Prime Fitness Club, a high-end Health Club with professionals from every corner of the fitness and medical industry. Looking for a funkier accommodation option? The very stylish Roomers Hotel is just the place, with beautifully curated eccentric décor, rooftop bar and – of course – sublime spa. And if all that isn’t enough, a vibrant cultural scene offering everything from museums to concerts and events throughout the year. Perfect.
8. Cape Town
After a succession of tough restrictions, South Africa is very much open to visitors again – and Cape Town, one of the country’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities, remains high on our ‘it’ travel list. Blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and attractions, Cape Town sits between the wild Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, one of the world’s seven wonders of nature. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for some outdoor fun, there’s an adventure for everyone here – from scuba-diving and surfing to rafting, SUPing, zip-lining or even abseiling from the summit of Table Mountain itself. For wildlife lovers, Cape Town is an absolute dream destination where African penguins, seals, whales, and sharks reside – and of course South Africa is one of the few magical places on earth where you can tick off the ‘Big Five’ in a day thanks to its incredible National Parks and Game Reserves. Several Game Reserves are within easy reach of The Mother City – Inverdoom, a 10,000-hectare reserve is one of the most luxurious and just a 2.5-hour drive away – you can see the Big Five here in addition to giraffes, hippos, and cheetahs – and the reserve’s Iziba Luxury Safari Lodge offers a super spot to stay if a day trip feels too much. Beyond its outstanding natural beauty, Cape Town has a very cool urban edge with excellent art galleries, fabulous food, and designer boutiques – it really is little wonder that this incredible city is often referred to as a ‘tourist’s playground’.
9. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is officially one of the happiest places in the world, a joyful place to visit – and a definite 2022 bucket-list destination whether you’re seeking adventure, family-friendly fun, great food, or luxurious hotels. This beautiful Central American country is filled with awe-inspiring rainforests, powdery beaches, and river valleys plus an abundance of wildlife with over half a million different species including toucans, monkeys, and jaguar – and its commitment to preserving nature has made it an attractive vacation spot for eco-conscious travelers. Despite its small size, Costa Rica offers a wealth of activities – from roaming thick jungles to zip-lining through cloud forests or hiking active volcanoes plus snorkeling or diving the turquoise waters, canyoning, surfing, rafting and more. Epic landscapes and unsurpassed biodiversity not only lend itself to adventure but also to rest and relaxation – there’s nothing more soothing than a paradise-style setting be it soaking in a geothermal pool, snoozing in a hammock, or booking into one of Costa Rica’s top spa resorts where Eden-like settings combine with the most natural surroundings and exceptional treatments. We love The Springs Resort and Spa –sprawling over 165 acres of pristine adventure center (as seen on Keeping up with the Kardashians!). However, if you choose to spend your time in Costa Rica, the local motto of ‘Pura Vida’ – meaning ‘Pure Life’ is guaranteed to infuse every experience.
Known as ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’, Rwanda’s stunning scenery, extraordinary biodiversity and warm welcoming make it one of the most remarkable countries in the world to visit. This small, landlocked nation has long been considered one of the safest, cleanest, and environmentally conscious African destinations (plastic bags are banned here) and its diversity of tourist attractions guarantee a once-in-a lifetime experience. Most travelers come here to trek the Volcanoes national park and catch a glimpse of the majestic mountain gorillas – in fact, revenue collected from tourists has greatly helped protect these wonderful creatures and develop local communities, so if ‘doing good’ and ‘giving back’ features heavily on your list of travel requirements this year then this is a place for you. The opportunity to see gorillas in their natural setting is life-changing and completely grounding – and is reason enough to travel here, especially after lockdown and high stress. But there are also plenty more reasons to visit Rwanda, from historical museums to incredible meals and pampering stays. The One&Only Nyungwe House is one of the high-end boutique lodging options where a serene forest spa and on-site tea picking experience are just some of the memorable experiences on offer. Its sister property, One&Only’s Gorilla’s Nest is the closest resort to Volcanoes National Park and the most idyllic base from which to see the gorillas – the emphasis here is very much on the truly inspiring and incredible setting and all the magic that it brings.
11. Maremma, Tuscany
All the joys of Italy but without the crowds, Maremma is a chic coastal area in Southern Tuscany and a much-loved vacation spot for those in the know. Think vast stretches of beach including secluded coves, national parks and relatively undiscovered wilderness bordered by vast pine forests, manicured vineyards, and sunflower-filled fields – this region is all about la dolce vita. The crystal-clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea are perfect for couples and families alike and dotted with picturesque fishing villages and harbors. Inland, the Upper Maremma (around Bibbona and Bolgheri) is home to some of Italy’s most celebrated wines and a must-visit for any wine lovers, while the unspoilt medieval hilltop villages and towns are steeped in history and are perfect for wandering and imagining life as it was centuries ago. Need a little spa fix? Maremma is hailed as Italy’s best hot spring destination and at Saturnia you’ll find the famous “Cascate del Mulino”. Relax in warm water-filled limestone pools with the gorgeous Tuscan countryside as your backdrop – pure heaven. For the utmost in luxury hotels, book into the iconic Hotel Il Pellicano, tucked into a beautiful cove with terraces dripping with bougainvillea – sip cocktails at sunset and enjoy Michelin starred fare including wild boar and hare from the hills and fresh fish from the sea. It’ll come as no surprise that Maremma cuisine is some of the very best you’ll ever eat.
No travel list would be complete without including The Maldives but visiting this tiny nation made up of over 1000 unique islands, of which many are private resorts, this year is even more appealing. Spread over approximately 300 square kilometers, The Maldives guarantees plenty of space for everyone – this really is a destination where you can get away from it all. Glamorous resorts, unbelievably perfect white-sand beaches and a spectacular underwater world have always enticed discerning travelers to the Maldives – and with all the world’s most exclusive hotel brands established here, you’ll be spoilt for choice when deciding on where to stay. If your own over-water villa or beachfront suite isn’t secluded enough then why not book an entire island? Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah, Baa Atoll is a 7-bedroom world’s first private use UNESCO hideaway – a piece of paradise exclusively for you and your chosen holiday companions complete with a team of staff who’ll make your vacation goals a reality. Crystalline waters and palm-lined stretches of sand may once have been the main reasons to escape to the Maldives but the amazing food and gourmet dining options on offer complete the paradise picture. From Michelin-star sushi to innovative masterpieces, you’ll find it all and more. Try Velaa Private Island for three standout dining options or book into the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi where each of the resort’s 11 restaurants offers an outstanding gastronomic experience.
13. Alula Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia only began issuing tourist visas for the first time in 2019 and is now welcoming tourists with open arms. The cultural oasis of AlUla only officially opened to international travellers full-time in 2020. It is part of the Kingdom’s plan to become a major tourist destination and an absolute must-visit beautifully preserved cultural and historical wonder where adventurous experiences and incredible landscapes await. Visit Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site to see rock formations and preserved tombs – natural and man-made works of art and take a tour of AlUla Town heritage site (only possible with a local Rawi guide) – an empty town of 900 traditional mud houses which is now a fascinating restoration project where friendly locals are keen to share their stories. Hike through fields of palms, citrus trees and farms on the Oasis Heritage Trail and watch the sunset over Jabal AlFil, or ‘Elephant Rock’ as it is known, seeing the colors of this extraordinary natural sculpture change as the light fades before enjoying an unforgettable stargazing experience over the desert. If you want to take the entirety of this vast landscape in, then there’s no better way than by taking a 30-minute helicopter tour that’ll also give you a bird’s eye view of AlUla’s seven most famous landmarks and breathtaking scenery. Stay at Habitas AlUla, luxury living with an eco-friendly ethos or book into one of Shaden Resort’s indulgent villas (Aman Resorts and Banyan Tree) are also set to open soon, fine dine at Maraya Social by celebrity chef Jason Atherton and enjoy a little of Mayfair’s glamour at Annabel’s, London’s famous private members club which has set up camp here. AlUla is most definitely one of the hottest destinations and there’s so much more to come.
14. Sri Lanka
2022 has been declared the year to visit Sri Lanka. Like many countries, tourism ground to a halt over the pandemic but surf’s up, the sun is out and there are so many reasons to book a holiday here. With many travelers now choosing destinations which offer outdoor activities and the chance to connect with nature, Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches, primary rainforests and UNESCO protected sites have really come into their own. Safari, beach, culture – this tiny island packs in so much to see and do. Take the much-instagrammed train from Kandy to Ella where the misty heights of Sri Lanka’s hill country with plunging valleys, rushing waterfalls and lush tea fields make up some of this country’s natural beauty. Dedicate a few days for a safari at Udawalawe, home to around 500 wild elephants, Yala National Park which has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world or Sinharaja Forest Reserve where the canopies are alive with birdsong. Sri Lankan beaches are equally diverse, whether you’re a keen surfer or water-based adventurer; there are mangroves to paddle through and idyllic powder-soft sands to relax on. Bentota is one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches and watersports hubs located on the west coast and running south from the magnificent Bentota Lagoon. Home to some of the most high-end accommodation, chic boutique hotels including the Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa nestled among the palm trees, with dreamy views and stylish modern facilities including a world-class spa and fantastic dining venues.
15. Belgrade Serbia
Belgrade is very much ‘on the up’ – with the Michelin Guide recently adding the city to its selection and the St. Regis opening its doors, this often-underrated destination is a 2022 gem to visit. Full of culture and history, the Serbian capital is unspoiled by crowds yet has an abundance of things to see and do. People watch at the Trg Republike, Belgrade’s main square, experience the buzz of Zelenjak, the city’s main fresh produce market and visit The Royal Compound and Museum of Yugoslav History for an insight into the country’s past. The Danube and Sava Rivers offer a wealth of attractions, from galleries to the floating nightclubs that have made this city’s nightlife famed the world over – but it is the new Waterfront which has been transformed to a hub of cafes, restaurants, shops, and performance venues which is one of the most exciting places to stop. We love the kvART, an art and culture initiative which combines indoor and open-air venues to showcase year-round collaborations and cultural programs including movie screenings, ballet performances and so much more. Belgrade’s gastronomic map includes a rich mix of influences spanning fairytale-esque fine dining rooms to edgy bars and cozy taverns and our favorite hotel options include the five-star Square Nine and unusual Hotel Tesla which, as the name suggests, takes its name and inspiration from Serbia’s most renowned inventor.
What better way to get over two years of restrictions than by celebrating on the island of Mykonos – party capital of Greece and one of the most glamorous and liveliest spots in Europe? This gorgeous island has everything from romantic resorts to beautiful beaches, boutique shopping and great restaurants – plus the opportunities to party day and night or simply enjoy a little peace and quiet amongst sleepy villages and historic ruins. An A-list favorite, Mykonos is known for its beauty (think whitewashed sugar cube buildings with bright blue doors and colorful flowers) and is one of the most photographed destinations in the world. Visit the picturesque Windmills of Kato Mile, perched up on a hill, visit the Old Port where brightly coloured fishing boats bob about in turquoise water and explore the 5,000-year-old archeological and mythological site of Delos, believed to be the birthplace of twin gods Apollo and Artemis. There are plenty of ways to pause the partying but if that’s on your agenda then head to Scorpios Beach Club for the most refined party vibe in town. With a bohemian vibe and idyllic over-water setting, Scorpios offers a perfect mix of live bands and carefully selected DJ’s. Reserve a cabana and stay all day or book the sunset music ritual and enjoy drinks to the beat as the sun dips into the ocean. Scorpios also offers a range of mind and body programs aimed to make you feel as good as the music, through everything from breath work to yoga and ‘Inner Garden Sessions’ which help cultivate a positive mindset.
Picture a textbook paradise with shimmering white sands and swaying palm trees, vibrant reefs and those impossibly blue waters and you’ll be close to imagining the perfection that is Anguilla. This Caribbean dream-come-true destination has been named one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2022 by global travel authority Lonely Planet – and there are so many reasons to put it on your holiday hit list. For starters, Anguilla boasts 33 Instagram-worthy beaches and more than 100 restaurants including the recently launched Uchu, a Peruvian concept at the lovely Belmond Cap Juluca (one of Anguilla’s best hotel options) and Veya – one of the island’s most talked about restaurants with a picturesque treehouse setting and truly innovative dishes. The range of dining options found on this island is endless – from 5-Star oceanfront restaurants to bespoke meals created by private chefs, rustic beach bars with sizzling barbecues and reggae music to idyllic settings on tiny islets only accessible by boat. There’s no shortage of outstanding hotels – but it’s the island’s luxury villas which offer the very best private hideaways, from one-bedroom romantic retreats to vast compounds perfect for larger groups. Dreamy days spent sailing, snorkeling, or soaking up the beach life combined with great cuisine, barefoot luxury, and a choice of outstanding hotels – Anguilla is most definitely the place to be.
The southernmost continent of Antarctica is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass that may not seem an obvious place to visit. And while a trip here needs to be super well planned, it can also be the vacation of a lifetime and is perfect for active travelers, providing a true ‘expedition’ type feel and the chance to experience one of the most remote destinations on Earth. Antarctica also happens to have the world’s cleanest air – and who doesn’t want a little of that these days? Trips here are ship-based cruises or fly-cruise trips focusing on the wilderness experience, taking in a coast-line rich in wildlife, framed by snow-covered mountains and glaciers that descend to the water’s edge– a magical place unlike anywhere else on the planet. Luxury cruise company Silversea Cruises has recently launched a new ‘fly cruise’ Antarctica itinerary which replaces the traditional two-day ship crossing from South America with a flight and transfer to an expedition ship complete with personal butlers and a small spa. Penguin colonies, stunning scenery, sightings of humpback whales in icy bays and seals swimming amidst icebergs, this truly is an escape with a difference. Silversea can also arrange the unique opportunity for guests to walk on Antarctic ice and follow in the footsteps of legendary Antarctic explorers (but with the addition of a glass of chilled bubbles to finish with).
Whether you’re in need of some winter sun or escaping summer’s oppressive heat, Salalah is a year-round destination that’s still wonderfully unspoiled by tourists and crowds. The capital of Oman’s southern Dhofar Province, Gulf visitors have always loved traveling to Salalah in July and August when monsoon rains bring with them a lush green landscape. Now, the growing presence of high-end hotels, pristine beaches and a new airport has put this destination firmly on the map – and on our list of must-visits this year. Blessed with natural beauty and full of architectural wonder, Salalah is surrounded by a mountain range and is positioned on a beautiful long white-sand stretch of coast. Take a ride aboard a traditional wooden Omani boat and watch dolphins play in the crystal-clear waters, picnic with camels at Fazayah Beach, kayak the natural canal at Wadi Darbat or join a guide for a sunset visit to the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest desert. Salalah’s hotels offer the perfect respite from a busy day adventuring. Anantara’s Al Baleed Resort is set on a magnificent beach and separated from the World Heritage-listed ruins of Al Baleed by a freshwater lagoon. This beautiful, whitewashed resort is the perfect blend of traditional Omani architecture and modern luxury and has a great kids club – Salalah is most definitely a family friendly destination, and you can expect to experience the best of warm Arabian hospitality where children are very much welcomed.
The Philippines is welcoming tourists back to its green archipelago after two years of closed borders – and we couldn’t be more excited. With more than 7,000 tropical islands, this Southeast Asian destination boasts abundant marine life, richly colorful reefs, and perfect beaches. And despite its world-class surfing, sublime snorkeling and breathtaking scenery, the Philippines remains relatively untapped and the ideal place if you’re looking for a quieter getaway with that wow factor. The best way to experience as much of what this gorgeous destination has to offer is a little island hopping – with 2,000 of the islands being inhabited you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to places to stay and things to do. For pure luxury, head to Boracay where a selection of 5-star hotel options and pristine beaches await – Shangri-La Boracay is an exclusive hideaway in a sheltered bay with stunning private villas equipped with every comfort imaginable. The Palawan archipelago is perfect if you’re looking for sheer beauty – with tranquil beaches and unspoilt islets that offer a desert island experience and the chance to swim with turtles or kayak secluded bays. Amanpulo, on its own pristine island covered in lush jungle, has 42 casitas, state-of-the-art facilities, and a huge choice of restaurants. Or perhaps Cebu’s many islands are more your thing – for an insight into traditional Filipino life, sleepy fishing villages and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with whale sharks. The only problem with this dreamy destination is choosing which of its beautiful areas to visit.
By Kaya Scott