Chris Carter picks some of the best new travel openings in 2019.
With a slew of interesting, luxurious hotels opening, 2019 is looking like a good year to sleep around, says Ann Abel for Forbes. The Fife Arms in Braemar, located within the Cairngorms National Park, is one of the best of the new bunch in Britain.
“Swiss art power couple” Iwan and Manuela Wirth are the creative force that has transformed this Victorian coaching inn into a new Highland lodge following a two-year renovation. The art collection features more than 12,000 works by internationally renowned artists such as Zhang Enli, Guillermo Kuitca, Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, and an outstanding array of Scottish artworks.
From £130, TheFifeArms.com
A new resort from Anantara
The central region of Vietnam is often overlooked despite the appeal of its sleepy villages and some of the best beaches to be found in the country, says Ianthe Butt in The Independent. That’s all set to change this month, however, with the opening of Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, a “sleek” 26-villa property located just outside the city of Quy Nhon. Half its villas sit on the beach, while the other half enjoy splendid views over the bay. All villas come with pools, butler service, bathtubs and wine cellars. Vietnamese craft beer can be had at the resort’s swim-up bar and there’s a “leafy jungle spa” where local monks lead private meditation sessions. Anantara also offers Vespa excursions to ancient ruins.
From £338 per night, Anantara.com/en/quy-nhon
Exploring Peru’s ancient cultures
Peru has some seriously iconic sites in Cuzco, Lake Titicaca and, of course, Machu Picchu, says Wanderlust. But there is also “a treasure trove of lesser-visited and equally spectacular wonders for those keen to explore a bit deeper”, thanks to infrastructure development that has opened up the north of the country. Peru Revealed’s Ancient Cultures of Northern Peru itinerary starts in the capital, Lima, and tours the northern triangle of Trujillo, Chiclayo, and the hiking-base town of Chachapoyas.“Expect temples, fishing coves, royal tombs, ancient pyramids, cloud-forest wildlife, the much-vaunted new cable-car ride to the sixth-century Kuélap ruins and the chance to trek or horse-ride to the beautiful Gocta Waterfall.”
From £2,498, PeruRevealed.co.uk
Getting eco-conscious in Chad
Chad is Africa’s next great frontier, says Bloomberg Businessweek. Its national parks have become a model for successful conservation (even if its border regions are still quite volatile). Just a few years ago, all but 5% of the elephants in Zakouma National Park had been wiped out for ivory. “Now it’s teeming not just with enormous herds of pachyderms, but with all the Big Five species”, including the elusive black rhino. The credit goes to African Parks, the “trailblazing” conservation organisation presided over by Prince Harry, which has worked with the local population to transform the area. The organisation runs three lodges in the park – two basic offerings, and the more “swanky” Camp Nomade. But don’t delay. In 2020, African Parks will limit reservations to travellers making “philanthropic commitments”, thus enhancing its exclusivity.
Saga’s crown Jools
If you’re of a certain age and want to party while you travel, look to the Spirit of Discovery, says Kaye Holland in The Daily Telegraph. The long-awaited cruise ship from Saga Cruises is set to launch in July. The ship is able to accommodate 999 passengers and will feature a special nightclub designed by musician and television presenter Jools Holland. The former Squeeze keyboardist will even play on selected cruises. Elsewhere on board, you will find a luxury spa for a spot of pampering, a cosy library and Saga’s first theatre, The Playhouse – “a sumptuous auditorium featuring raked seating for more than 400 guests”. Saga’s Dance to France aboard the Spirit of Discovery departs from Dover for Normandy in October.
From £969, Travel.Saga.co.uk