By Norah Bradford
The last year of the second decade of the 21st Century is nearly upon us and it is time to dust off that travel bucket list. In case your list could use some help here are some ideas worthy of consideration.
The Caribbean: Minitas Beach/Casa de Campo, DR
Flight Time from NYC: 3.5 hours
Perfect to get on the beach this winter by taking a direct flight from New York to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. If flying to La Romana, direct flights from NYC are available. Experience the ideal beach break at Minitas Beach as part of the Casa de Campo resort. Dine at the Minitas Beach Club and enjoy the DJ music program, fine dining or just lounge on Minitas Beach to soak up that last ounce of sunshine. Info: casadecampo.com.do.
Flight Time from NYC: 13 hours
Whilst tourism in outer space remains tantalizingly close but has not yet blasted off, a cruise to Antarctica offers the closest earthbound experience to visiting another planet. Take a five star expedition cruise with the team at Silversea and see the unearthly vistas, amazing wildlife and yes, penguins. This expedition whilst following in the footsteps of the great explorers takes a five-star approach to service with ships featuring luxury staterooms, dining and service. Info: silversea.com.
Asia: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Flight Time from NYC: 16.5 hours
Dining at the flagship hotel of the group, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is one of the great dining experiences of the world. With walls adorned with original paintings on silk, and lacquered enamel and gold-plated ceiling lamps fashioned to resemble birdcages, Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Man Wah’s design is as celebrated as the menu. Visit for dinner and enjoy your meal against a backdrop of sparkling city lights or stop by at lunchtime for dim sum dishes that are the talk of the city. Info: mandarinoriental.com/hongkong.
Africa: Rally Like a Gazelle + Rock The Kasbah at Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan Retreat
Flight Time from NYC: 8 hours
Reward yourself with a stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot, a 28 room (including 10 luxury Berber tents) property situated in the stunning Atlas Mountains. Be a Gazelle and celebrate the finale to the all-women Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc in its 29th year (which runs from March 15th – 30th). A unique concept with thoughtful and impeccable execution, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the first international off-road rally race of its kind exclusively for women. Since 1990, founder Dominique Serra and her company Maïenga, has been creating a new vision of automobile competition: no speed and no GPS, just old-fashioned navigation, completely off-road—a return to the roots of adventure. The only requirement is determination. Info: rallyeaichadesgazelles.com and virginlimitededition.com.
Canada: See Ottawa From the Iconic Chateau Laurier
Flight Time from NYC: 1 hour
America’s neighbor boasts a beautiful capital city with year- round appeal to the experienced traveler. Enjoy the frozen canal in winter for ice-skating experiences or in the summer as a waterside relaxation. Stay at the Chateau Laurier adjacent the Parliament building, which will transport you to Europe with its beauty and architectural detail. Info: fairmont.com and ottawatourism.ca.
United States: Ski Aspen, Colorado
Flight Time from NYC: 3.5 hours
Described as the Power of Four, Aspen offers world-class snow sports on Buttermilk (home to the X-Games despite its beginner reputation), Snowmass, Highlands, and Ajax Mountain. Aspen boasts not only a top-level skiing experience but also a jet-set, world-class Apres Ski at the bars, hotels, restaurants and clubs in the former mining town, which has struck the modern mother-load of winter tourism. Info: aspensnowmass.com.
Ireland: Annual Whisky Live
Flight Time from NYC: 7 hours,
The Annual Whisky Live is held in Dublin in November so there is plenty of time to plan (and prepare) to enjoy the experience. Held over two days with some sixty exhibitors offering a chance to taste the fine spirits of the Emerald Isle as well as food sampling and cocktail pairings. Info: whiskylive.com and visitdublin.com.
United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi’s Edition Hotel
Flight Time from NYC: 14 hours
Recently opened in the downtown district on the waterfront of Al Bateen in the Abu Dhabi Marina the Abu Dhabi Edition is the ideal base from which to explore the city, desert, and recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.The hotel features 198 guest rooms and residences. Unique food and beverage outlets include two signature restaurants, a gourmet market, lobby bar, pool bar and a three-story nightclub. Two pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center and spa are also available. Info: editionhotels.com.
Italy: The Chianti Classico Riserva, Villa Mangiacane
Flight Time from NYC: 9 hours
Experience the wines of Tuscany at the Villa Mangiacane and feel like royalty. Once owned by Nicolo Machiavelli, critics have rated the Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 as a standout vintage. The private estate produces three award winning wines and a distinctive olive oil which you can taste and enjoy during your stay. The classic beauty of Mangiacane combined with its history, art, and idyllic countryside setting create the perfect backdrop for a Tuscan wedding, unforgettable holiday, or exclusive rental. Info: mangiacane.com.