The Hottest Luxury
Getaways this Summer
The world really is your oyster this summer with a host of up-and-coming luxury travel destinations all vying for your interest. But if you’re looking for something a little different or off the beaten track, then it can be tricky to know what to go for. So we asked Marc Harris, founder and director of luxury travel specialists, Odyssey Travels, to share his insider tips on where to head for if you’re on the hunt for a truly memorable experience.
Explore Diverse Natural Wonders in Madagascar
Perfect for anyone who likes to mix up their experiences, Madagascar is one of the few places in the world where you can move from sugar-white beaches to lush rainforest to arid desert in just 300 kilometres, all while seeing some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife.
If it’s adventure you’re looking for, we recommend a visit to the awe-inspiring Tsingy, a UNESCO-protected stone forest that is quite unlike anywhere else in the world. Steps, boardwalks and suspension bridges offer wonderful views of these 50-metre-high limestone spikes, green canyons and the occasional Decken’s sifakas lemur – now, sadly, an endangered species.
Madagascar also has some beautiful resorts and lodges, such as the Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge, which seamlessly blends a beautiful sandy bay with lush rainforest and mangroves. But if you’re really looking to push the boat out, check out Miavana, located on the private island of Nosy Ankao. As well as stunning beaches, it offers some of the best marine biodiversity you’ll ever see.
Get Gastronomic in Peru
For a lot of people, Peru marks the point at which their love affair with South America began. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s got wildlife, scenery, history, culture and – increasingly – delicious food. No visit would be complete without seeing something of this country’s fascinating ancient culture, for instance the UNESCO World Heritage Site Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley that was once the heart of the Incan Empire. We love Sol y Luna, located just two kilometres from Urubamba in the Sacred Valley, making it easy to explore the area without being on the main tourist drag.
If you’re looking for an unrivalled foodie experience then be sure to spend some time in the capital city of Lima, so that you can try out the amazing ceviche. Head for Hotel B in Lima’s creative Barranco district, where acclaimed chef Oscar Velarde and his team serve up mouth-watering Peruvian-inspired meals.
Enjoy Sun-Drenched Scenery in Namibia
Located on Africa’s west coast, Namibia is breath-taking. This is the African destination to go for if you’re a photography fan – as well as the abundant wildlife, the light is quite unlike anything else we’ve seen. Indeed, if you’ve ever seen gorgeous photographs of rolling, red-tinted sand dunes, then the chances are they were taken here. You’ll also find the oldest desert on Earth plus desert elephant and rhino – both uniquely adapted to an otherwise inhospitable environment.
The relatively new Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp has quickly become one of our favourite lodges. It’s only accessible via light aircraft, making it the perfect secluded luxury getaway. Unlike a lot of other camps, it combines incredibly scenery (thanks to a short flight to the renowned Skeleton Coast) with plentiful wildlife – desert elephants are a regular sight around the camp. Little Kulala is another great option. We think it has the best location of all the dune camps, with stunning views of – and private access to – the red dunes of Sossusvlei.
Embrace the Rainforest Vibe in Brazil
Brazil should be on any travel fan’s bucket list – especially if you’re looking for a safari experience with a twist. It’s got a totally different feel to Africa, helped of course by the vibrant carnival scene in Rio de Janeiro. But, some of our favourite destinations are buried deep in the country’s tropical landscapes. Destinations like the Caiman Ecological Reserve, a former cattle ranch located in the wetlands of Pantanal. You can go on a jeep safari as well as canoeing, hiking and birdwatching. Plus, the lodge is part of the Onçafari programme, which promotes jaguar conservation in the Pantanal.
But, if your heart lies in the Amazon, then we recommend heading for the Cristalino Lodge, located in the Alta Floresta rainforest. Unsurprisingly, it’s teeming with birds but it’s also home to almost 600 other recorded species. River trips to spot friendly pink river dolphins are also available through the lodge.
Safari the 21st Century Way in Zambia
While Zambia’s Victoria Falls are a sight to behold, there is so much more to see in this beautiful country. Its widely regarded to have some of Africa’s very best walking safaris, making it an ideal option for any safari connoisseurs. Head for South Luangwa National Park to see the very best wildlife that Zambia has to offer. Mfuwe is the gateway to Luangwa valley and park and arguably the area with the highest density of game.
If you really want to safari in style, then opt for the famous Luangwa Safari House. It is an utterly gorgeous four-roomed, private house that is our number one choice for small groups travelling to Zambia.
We’d also recommend a visit to Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi. Although a freshwater lake, its surrounding beaches are as beautiful as any on the coast and the service is outstanding.
Discover Luxury Adventure in Ecuador
This is the perfect South American destination for anyone who loves dramatic landscapes and stunning wildlife. Ecuador has snow-capped mountains, endless cloud forests and, of course, the magnificent Galapagos Islands. With its remarkable biodiversity, there’s no way you should miss the islands, but be sure to allow some time on the mainland as well. It’s a lovely option for families, honeymooners and intrepid explorers alike.
A luxury yacht is the only way to experience the delights of the Galapagos – the routes are understandably protected and this way you’ll see the highlights, while keeping your footprint to a minimum.
Back on dry land, Quito’s old town – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is nestled among the Andean peaks and volcanoes and we’d recommend staying in the stunning Casa Gangotena Hotel, right in the heart of the old quarter.
But if birds are your passion, then try Sani Lodge. Located in a conservation area of lowland rainforest in the Amazon, Sani is home to more than 570 recorded species.
Experience the Extraordinary in Antarctica
For something completely different, why not consider the eerie beauty of Antarctica? Often described at Earth’s final frontier, this beautiful region has long attracted the great explorers. This is the ideal holiday for someone who likes their BBC wildlife documentaries to play out in real time and there are a number of great ships operating in the area.
Our favourite is the Hebridean Sky, which was build with the harsh environment in mind. It has the highest ice-strengthened hull available which means you get to see some of the most beautiful parts of this desolate region. It’s part luxury cruise – the ship is kitted out with a sauna, pool and spacious cabins – and part traditional expedition with specialist guides on hand to help you learn more about this important part of the world.