Insider's Travel Guide

A collection of the hottest (and coolest) places to be this year
Thursday , 18 August 2011
Art in London
Art in London
Design in Copenhagen
Design in Copenhagen
History in Prague
History in Prague
Desert Palm
Desert Palm
Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam
Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam
Amankila in Bali
Amankila in Bali
Four Rivers Floating Tent Eco Lodge in Cambodia
Four Rivers Floating Tent Eco Lodge in Cambodia
W Hotel Koh Samui
W Hotel Koh Samui
Maldives
Maldives
Réunion
Réunion
Mauritius
Mauritius
Seychelles
Seychelles
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Madagascar
Madagascar
Travel to Capri, like Julia Roberts
Travel to Capri, like Julia Roberts
Make like Oprah and retreat to Necker Island near Barbados
Make like Oprah and retreat to Necker Island near Barbados
Frolick with the family in St Barts, like Gwen Stefani and her brood
Frolick with the family in St Barts, like Gwen Stefani and her brood
Sun yourself in St Tropez, like the Beckhams
Sun yourself in St Tropez, like the Beckhams

Art in London: London is a hot bed of cutting-edge style. Stay in the East End, at uber-hip Shoreditch House (shoreditchhouse.com). From there it’s a short walk to local galleries like the White Cube, and not much further to the city’s most comprehensive modern art museum, The Tate Modern. Alternatively, base yourself at Sloane Square’s chic boutique Draycott Hotel (draycotthotel.com) and make the most of the summer exhibitions at the National Gallery, Royal Academy of Art and the V&A.

Design in Copenhagen: One visit to this slick Scandinavian capital is never enough. Contemporary design is literally everywhere, from local street cafes in Vesterbro and Kodbyen to the new opera house and the famous Danish Design Centre. Even the libraries, in this case an imposing modernist building called The Black Diamond, employ clever design. We recommend a good shopping spree in Stroget and Osterbro for contemporary classics to put your Ikea accessories to shame.

History in Prague: There’s a reason so many big screen period dramas are filmed in the Czech capital – its cobbled streets, neoclassical houses, Gothic spires and crumbling Renaissance buildings make for perfect historical drama. It’s one of the only cities in Europe to have escaped wartime bombings, leaving its architectural evolution completely intact. If you want to explore the Old Town, Castle District and Charles Bridge, there’s no escaping the tourist throngs, but put your best food forward, the effort is worth it.

Here: The green fields of Desert Palm, in Dubai, (desertpalm.peraquum.com) encapsulates the spirit of a city getaway. For Eid, for Dhs8,815, you’ll get three nights in a pool villa (pictured) as well as a massage for two, breakfast and a private in-villa barbecue for two.
Near: A blissful retreat doesn’t come any more perfect than at Six Senses Zighy Bay (sixsenses.com). Cupped by the bay of Oman’s Musandam peninsula, the resort allows you to kick off your shoes and get a barefoot experience of natural, organic and eco-friendly luxury. Heaven. Summer prices start from Dhs2,530 per night.
Far Away: New York may be hot in the summer, but you’ll be too busy eating at a veggie deli in the Village, exploring the McQueen exhibition at the Met, dancing at MoMA PS1’s warm-up Saturday sessions (ps1.org) and shopping in Soho to care less what the weather’s doing. Stay at Crosby Street Hotel (firmdale.com) in Soho from Dhs1,818 a night.

Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam
Is this what paradise looks like? Sustainably built with reclaimed, local materials, this island resort’s luxury credentials mean you can indulge in a guilt-free getaway (sixsenses.com).

Amankila in Bali
Uniquely beautiful, the eco-conscious Amankila (amanresorts.com) is flanked on one side by the endless blue of the Lombok Strait against the shores of a black beach, and on the other side lies a tropical valley.

Four Rivers Floating Tent Eco Lodge in Cambodia
Accessible only by boat or helicopter, the first floating luxury eco resort in Asia (ecolodges.asia) hugs the curve of the Tatai River. Swim in the cool water, hang out with the locals and eat fresh, organic Asian food.

W Hotel Koh Samui
This is a hip, tree hugging hotel that takes its urban design principles and transforms them into an idyllic island hideaway. Expect fab views, lily ponds and the signature ‘W’ decadence (starwoodhotels.com).

Maldives: Here there is nothing to do but enjoy the view. And, what a vista!
Must do: Diving amidst the coral reefs, candlelit beach dinner, dolphin spotting and sailing to neighbouring islands.
Must stay: Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Landaa Giraavaru.
Must eat: Freshly caught seafood.

Réunion: Lava fields, lush forests, volcanic rock and a Gallic colonial charm, this surfer’s paradise, near Mauritius, is blissfully uncommercialised.
Must DO: The glamourous Riviera town Boucan Canot, active volcano Piton de la Fournaise, colourful local villages.
Must stay: Hotel Boucan Canot.
Must eat: Jackfruit curry.

Mauritius: Melting pot of cultures and cuisines, with a colonial heart and postcard beach settings.
Must DO: A trip to Port Louis, quad biking in the jungle, horse trekking to Rochester Falls and a boat trip to Ile aux Cerfs.
Must stay: Sugar Beach Resort Mauritius. Must eat: Mauritian Creole biryani.

Seychelles: Ditto the Maldives; soft white sand, sparkling clear sea, incredible resorts and unbeatable hospitality.
Must do: Snorkeling, island hopping, nature walks, Mahe’s Victoria Market, Botanical Gardens.
Must stay: Banyan Tree Seychelles.
Must eat: Chili octopus.

Sri Lanka: Once war-torn, now a mecca for tourists who love the relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals.
Must do: Visit Reclining Buddha, Elephant Orphanage, Galle and Turtle Sanctuary.
Must stay: Jetwing Vil Uyana.
Must eat: Traditional Sri Lankan fish curry.

Madagascar: Weird, wonderful and unlike anywhere else on earth.
Must do: Seek out the rare species of animals and plant life, dive for shipwrecks.
Must stay: Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina.
Must eat: Kitoza (smoked fish).

Travel to Capri, like Julia Roberts
The phenomenally cool Capri Palace Hotel & Spa (capripalace.com) can be found to be harbouring more than its fair share of famous folk.

Make like Oprah and retreat to Necker Island near Barbados
Richard Branson’s fabulously opulent private island plays regular host to celebs looking to hide from the spotlight.

Frolick with the family in St Barts, like Gwen Stefani and her brood
The Caribbean island has the perfect blend of luxurious, laid back style and private resorts that the stars enjoy – so you should too!

Sun yourself in St Tropez, like the Beckhams
The epitome of French Riviera decadence, you can yo-yo between your mega yacht and your suite at the ultra prestigious Byblos hotel.