Abercrombie & Kent’s destination hot list for 2018
Want to know what’s hot in the world of travel? Just ask the experts at Abercrombie & Kent who have put together their Hot List for 2018. It’s the definitive go-to inventory for discerning travellers who want to stay ahead of the game and rack up new experiences. Whether it’s a wildlife-focused adventure, an off the beaten track discovery, cultural engagement or a must-see natural phenomenon, there’s a journey to suit.
Home of the tango and engrained with a deep-seated Latin vibe, Argentina is richly romantic and hauntingly beautiful. Its landscapes are vast and its beef world famous. The gaucho culture is an integral part of the estancia experience and the cosmopolitan capital, Buenos Aires, is European sophistication with more than a dash of Latin zeal. From the high altitude vineyards and desert gorges of the north to the southern glaciers, the thundering Iguazu Falls in the east and the Andes-dominated wine country to the west, it is one of the most diverse and fascinating destinations with a richly rewarding culture to match.
Bedouin camping in Morocco
Channel your inner Lawrence of Arabia when bedding down in A&K’s unique Bedouin camp which is set up exclusively for guests in the Erg Chebbi sand dunes near Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara. After a camel ride through the dunes and dreamy sundowners, sit down to a candlelit dinner and drink by a crackling campfire. Retire to your atmospheric Caidale tent decorated with warm earthy colours complete with thoughtful luxe touches – hand-woven rugs, hot water and camp staff on hand to look after every guest need. The incredible beauty, the silence and the solitude is truly unforgettable.
It’s a little known fact that Georgia was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity and, as a result, this former Soviet Republic boasts some magnificent Orthodox churches in the most unexpected locations, many of them dating from the 10th and 11th centuries. It also lays claim to the world’s oldest wine industry centred around the Kakheti region where the wine is skin-fermented and stored underground in egg-shaped clay jars. So unique is this method that UNESCO added it to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Add to that, old world European charm, extraordinary alpine landscapes, excellent food and warm, hospitable people and it’s guaranteed to excite.
Helena Bay, New Zealand
Three kilometres of pristine coastline, four private beaches and your choice of secluded coves, that’s what awaits at Helena Bay, New Zealand’s newest addition to the luxury lodge scene. Already featuring in the most prestigious award lists, Helena Bay in the Northland region of New Zealand’s North Island is a chic hideaway with just five sophisticated suites and nothing left to chance. Expect the finest European linen, plump Austrian duvets, Swiss bathrobes and Molton Brown products. And you can look forward to ‘estate to plate’ cuisine from a Michelin-starred chef with dining locations around the property. The lodge is available for exclusive use if planning a celebration.
Shared by Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, the Istrian Peninsula is a stunning coastal area in the northern Adriatic littered with medieval walled cities, Roman monuments and atmospheric tavernas. The superb regional cuisine has a distinctly Italian flavour, think rustic pasta with fine Istrian olive oil and traces of white truffle – a local delicacy – and its little known wine industry most famous for the dry white, malvisas varietal. It’s hard to pick just one highlight on the Istrian Coast but Rovinj has to go close with its cobblestone streets, brightly coloured Venetian-styled houses, lively bars and restaurants.
With year-round appeal, Norway is one of those magical destinations with endless natural attractions and a rich heritage. It is achingly beautiful in any season and in summer and spring, one of the best things to do is take a drive along the Atlantic Road, one of the world’s most scenic coastal routes. Oslo is jam-packed with museums and galleries as well as great restaurants dishing up fine Nordic cuisine. In the winter months, when the north is heavily blanketed in snow, there are unique opportunities to interact with the indigenous Sami reindeer herders of Lapland, ride snow mobiles into the winter wilderness, go dog sledding and of course look out for the Northern Lights.
Thanks to its incredible diversity and the hospitality of its people and their lifestyle, Portugal is entirely entrancing. It has a rich design heritage, ancient walled towns and mountaintop palaces, it also has magical Mediterranean landscapes, delicious food, earthy wines and is one of Europe’s sunniest spots. There are two coastlines to choose from and a bevy of beautiful beaches, vineyards and olive groves to explore plus an eclectic capital which is busy reinventing itself. Expect warmth and worldliness in abundance when you visit, and of course port.
One of the most outstanding wildlife experiences open to adventurous travellers is gorilla tracking and Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans is one of the best places to do it. Once on the brink of extinction, the mountain gorillas of Rwanda have increased in number thanks to the conservation work begun by Dian Fossey. Tracking through the rainforest in small groups is challenging and a good level of fitness is recommended but the experience is entirely worth it. On encountering a family, guests are rewarded with time spent observing these marvellous primates at close quarters – priceless. An easy drive from the park, the luxurious new Bisate Lodge adds another eco-experience that will be remembered for years to come.
With a raft of new hotel openings, Sri Lanka is hotter than ever. Its compact size belies the wealth of its fascinating ruins and it lays claim to no less than seven World Heritage sites dotted throughout the country. Its mist-covered mountains and lush tea estates boast charming, colonial style boutique lodgings like the new Camellia Hills and along the palm-lined south coast there are stylish beach resorts and villas to equal the world’s best. A flavourful cuisine and a warm tropical glow make Sri Lanka utterly beguiling.
Properly off the beaten track, the West African countries of Ghana, Togo and Benin are steeped in mystery. Voodoo is still practiced widely and attending a trance dance conducted by a village witch doctor is one of the most memorable experiences a traveller can have there. Voodoo markets are full of magic charms and ancestor worship is commonplace. Ghana’s art scene is flourishing too with its flamboyant fantasy coffins exhibited in museums the world over and a thriving textile industry producing the brightly coloured wax printed fabrics widely admired in European fashion houses. Ritual celebrations like the Akwasidae Festival which honours former kings and ancestors, are another highlight and travellers can take part in a traditional Ashanti funeral – a sacred experience.