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The Travel File: Where To Go In 2018

The Travel File: Where To Go In 2018

It’s cold, it’s wet, it is, frankly, miserable. January seems to be going on eternally. Resolutions have by now been broken, and the hope that dawns with a new year is beginning to fade. Every morning that you wake up in the dark only serves to further cement your conviction that you’ve developed SAD. And we haven’t even got started on February. Sat at their desks, it’s not uncommon for the minds of office workers to wander, fantasies of far-off lands and warmer climes a common symptom of what we’ve dubbed the ‘winter-sun-daydream-phenomenon’. Really rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it? Symptoms such as this can be remedied by one thing and one thing only – planning your next escape. Ski season is well under way, and sun-chasers everywhere already have their holiday wardrobes of sliders, sandals, shorts and swimwear planned. From hip Ibizan alternatives to the cities re-defining luxury, these are the destinations on our 2018 hit-list.

HONG KONG – THE NEW LUXURY

The gateway to the Far East is famed for its heady mix of international influences and rich Chinese history, and its hotels and eateries cater specifically to those who enjoy the finer things in life. Spend a day exploring the lightening-paced city – take in the views from Victoria’s Peak (the city’s ritziest neighbourhood and most recognisable landmark) or peruse the beachside Stanley Market on the island’s south side, where waterfront restaurants sell fresh seafood and stalls peddle ceramics and embroidered Chinese silk. Even the risk-averse should make the pilgrimage to Asia’s gambling capital, Macau, if only to soak up its awe-inspiring energy and not to lose a million at blackjack. One of the great joys of luxury travelling is returning to your hotel after a busy day. Enter the cocoon of one of the citiy's luxe newcomers, The Murray Hotel, and be amongst the first to indulge in its promise of stylishly appointed rooms, state-of-the-art health and wellness treatments and a pool for languid lounging. Once refreshed, venture out again at dusk into the neon-flooded streets and night markets – also the best time for luxury shopping and a spot of fine dining.

MALTA – THE IBIZA ALTERNATIVE

A paradise hidden in plain sight, Malta is the central Med’s lesser-known answer to Ibiza. A small archipelago just off the coast of Sicily, don’t let its diminutive size fool you – it packs a punch. Best known for sun, sea and snorkelling, it’s also a treasure-trove of cultural gems and Instagram-worthy coastal towns, thanks in large part to its 7,000 year history. You know, the kind of sun-drenched scenes of tumble-down streets, shaded courtyards and azure-blue harbours that bloggers get their kicks from. Better still, the island is famed for its boutique night-spots. It attracts world-class DJs, so you can flex your hedonistic muscles and party ‘til dawn to a different beat. Alternatively, escape to the hills and dive sites of Gozo Island for a tranquil change in tempo, or go on a culinary tour of Valetta, the island’s majestic capital. A jewel in the Mediterranean crown.

SEYCHELLES – THE HONEYMOON DESTINATION

This year, BA is starting twice-weekly direct flights from Heathrow to the Seychelles – Honeymooners, rejoice. The archipelago’s palm-fringed, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters are the stuff of dreams – the island paradise that exists only in your imagination. Well, now is the time to make it a reality. Whilst you could happily while-away two weeks here lying horizontal on a deserted beach with only the waves and a cocktail for company, this heaven-sent location is a mecca for leisurely island-hopping, hiking in the virgin tropical forests and seeing turtles at the legendary reserves on Cousin Island and the Sainte Anne marine national park. Head to Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin, widely recognised as the archipelago’s best stretch of sand and home to the incredibly rare Coco de Mer palm, or completely escape reality at the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, the only hotel on Silhouette Island, secluded in a lush mountainous landscape.

MIAMI – THE CITY BEACH BREAK

Loved by travel junkies and style mavens alike for its ultra-hot beaches, steamy nightlife and Art Deco architecture, Miami, dubbed the Magic City, combines chic cosmopolitan living with a bohemian beach lifestyle. The year-round bikini weather, flourishing arts scene and diverse, pan-Latin American culture make it as welcoming and inclusive as it is a destination for lovers of luxury. The wide boulevards and oceanfront cafes serving cafecitos make for a relaxed day-time stroll, whilst the glittering Deco hotels, world-class restaurants and flashy nightclubs bordering miles of pristine beach make it the rich-and-famous’ East-coast playground of choice. Pull up a sun-lounger at one of South Beach’s five-star seafront hotels (the most sought-after loungers in the world), or soak up the inimitable nightlife at one of the city’s after-dark haunts. Scale the velvet rope at South Beach’s VIP hot-spots or enjoy the bohemian vibes at Wynwood’s artsy garden bars.

Credits: All Photographs – Getty Images