It’s the first day back and you’re raring to go. By running to go, we of course mean frantically firing up Google and typing “best holidays 2023” or “where is the sun in January”. We’ve got you covered — read about this year’s hottest trends in travel…
Tombs of Ancient Egypt
There’s a lot to love about this fascinating place. For starters, flights can cost as little as £42. Egypt has seen tourist numbers dwindle over the past 20 years, not helped by the pandemic – but it’s finally making a comeback. Where the A-listers and Instagrammers go, the rest of us follow. In November, Dior creative director Kim Jones chose the Pyramids of Giza as the backdrop for his latest menswear collection. Cut to Naomi Campbell, Robert Pattinson, Lila Moss and Lewis Hamilton posing elegantly among the thousand-year-old tombs. Suitcase magazine editorial director Emma Ventura agrees it’s the place to be. Her advice? Be one of the first to visit the new $1 billion New Egyptian Museum. “Like many others, we are taking note of the final opening date for the Grand Egyptian Museum. Located just outside Cairo and adjacent to the pyramids at Giza, it will include 12 exhibition halls and 100,000 artefacts, including almost all of those found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. Join the crowd and stay at the Marriott Mena House (£251; marriott.co.uk ) with hazy views of the pyramids, or head further into town to the chic Villa Bella Epoque (£170; villabelleepoque.com ) a charming boutique in the bustling El Maadi neighborhood.
The great new sleep training
It doesn’t take a wild stretch of the imagination to envision a world in the not-too-distant future where flying makes one something of a social coward. As part of its 2023 trend forecasting research, Pinterest declared this the era of the “train splurge” and says searches are up 205 percent. Suitcase magazine’s Emma Ventura is on board. “The radical reduction in the amount of flying is non-negotiable from now on. We’ve got our eye on some really exciting new rail journeys, not the least of which is The Night Trains, which promises to turn carriages into clubs on the roads across Europe from next June, with bespoke interiors, DJs and other creative talents turning a train. journey into a festival experience.” For something nostalgic and incredibly glamorous, “we’re loving the classic opulence of the renovated suites aboard Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient Express,” she says. Fast forward to 2024 and the launch of midnight trains with hotels on wheels will make low-cost, cramped flights across Europe look like a medieval form of torture. Starting in Paris, the plan is to have sleek, eco-friendly trains to 10 destinations, including Rome, Copenhagen and Porto.
This will be the year that sustainable travel moves from just paying lip service to being at the heart of holiday planning – but it can still be hard to know if we’re getting it right. Booking.com says 62 percent of its users are looking for eco-friendly accommodation this year. Six Senses (sixsenses.com) is always a safe bet and has two new openings this year in: Six Senses Vana in India and Six Senses Crans-Montana in spectacular Switzerland. Sustainable travel expert, podcaster and author Juliet Kinsman suggests an electric car road trip through Norway. “Norway’s Historic Route of Discovery itinerary (£5,262 for 14 nights; upnorway.com) describes a road trip which takes time with local communities, hosts, farmers and chefs to experience authentic Norwegian culture. Travel by electric car along two of Norway’s 18 breathtaking scenic roads. Starting and ending in Bergen, home to one of Norway’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this Scandi odyssey has you walking down a waterfall, off-road biking, hiking and climbing a via ferrata. Gliding in clear waters with salmon one day, relaxing in a floating sauna the next.” Alternatively, the wallet-friendly Interrail Norway Pass (€221 for five days; interrail.eu ) glides from Stavanger to Bodo with views of the dancing northern lights in winter and endless light in summer.
British settlement on the coast
International travel is back with a bang, but the great British attitude isn’t going anywhere. Condé Nast Traveler says interest in their content on UK beaches has increased 156 per cent since the pandemic. So where is it hot? CNT digital editor Sarah Allard says her money is on Margate, Camber Sands, Brighton and Eastbourne. “Margate’s popularity isn’t fading anytime soon thanks to the addition of the Fort Road Hotel and next year, No.42 By GuestHouse and Margate House arriving on the scene. Popular Camber Sands sanctuary The Gallivant will open its second property – The Gallivant Littlestone Beach – in Kent in 2023, while the arrival of Brighton Beach House is another reason to fight the crowds for a seaside stay . Even Eastbourne is having a moment; Towner 100 – celebrating the centenary of Towner Eastbourne – will host a year of exhibitions, including a show dedicated to Barbara Hepworth and the Turner Prize. Start saving your pennies and get ready to fight some seagulls.”
The hot new adventure destination
The Republic of Congo – not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), although Responsible Travel offers intrepid safari holidays in this beautiful but troubled country – is the next hot new destination for adventurous types who don’t feel like give up luxury. Jenny Southan, founder of Globetrender, is forever on the scent of the next developing country. “Set to open in the last quarter of 2023, renowned hotel designer Bill Bensley will debut a multi-million dollar gorilla safari camp called Kozala Zamba Congo deep in the Republic of Congo,” it says. “Located deep in a dense forest wilderness, the camp will be operated in partnership with the Congo Conservation Company and philanthropist Sabine Plattner. Using the hotel as a base, guests will have access to three national parks – Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Odzala-Kokoua National Park and Sangha Trinational Park, which also straddles Cameroon and the Central African Republic. With no official borders to cross, travelers can have lunch in one place and fish for sharp-toothed tigerfish in another, as well as observe the world’s largest living primates in their natural habitat.”
Australia and its endless golden beaches, world-class food scene and colorful Great Barrier Reef is welcoming us back with open arms. Booking.com says Brits in particular can’t get out fast enough – and it’s Sydney they’re making a beeline for. Luxury travel operator Scott Dunn is also seeing the trend. “Since the lifting of border restrictions over the summer, we have seen a gradual increase in demand for Australia and it remains high on our guests’ travel wish lists for 2023, particularly among honeymooners and adventurous families with teenagers ,” says Charlotte Dent of Scott Dunn. There is a lot to look forward to. “It’s going to be a big year for the country, with the opening of the new Capella Hotel Sydney (£500; capellahotels.com) and the Sydney WorldPride celebrations – the first time they’ve taken place in the southern hemisphere. We are also anticipating the re-opening of the beautiful Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island in late 2023, following an extensive rebuild following the devastating fires. Other top openings to look out for include the W Sydney (marriott.com), a 585-room mega-hotel overlooking the harbour, and the 25Hours (25hours-hotels.com) in the deeply cool Paddington neighbourhood.
We’re calling it the White Lotus effect, and as harmful as the guests are, we seem to love what they’ve got. Expedia says 66 percent of travelers are inspired to visit a destination after seeing it on the small screen. Kerry Golds of Abercrombie & Kent agrees. “Viewers are drawn to the aspirational lifestyles, perfect weather and polished scripts of their favorite shows like The White Lotus. This has resulted in an increase in interest not only for the destination, but also for the hotels associated with it; people now have the opportunity to visit these places themselves and stay in places they recognize from their favorite show – a truly unique experience.” Go to Sicily and the Palazzo San Domenico (fourseasons.com), a masterpiece of a hotel and the setting for the second season of The White Lotus. If its starting prices of €1,500 a night give you the start of a panic attack, consider the affluent boutique Zash Country (zash.it) where rooms start from £140. With a view from the roaring Mount Etna and a magical spa, it will be very nice indeed.
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