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The dream bucket-list trips for 2022

By Lisa Grainger – 26th December 2021

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From a floating hotel in the Amazon to a private island paradise in Indonesia, these are the luxury holidays to target for the coming year.

1. An Indonesian beach paradise

Bawah Reserve is the kind of destination many of us dreamt about during lockdown: an archipelago of tropical islands 175 miles northeast of Singapore, surrounded by a protected marine reserve of clear turquoise water. This year the private island of Elang is available to rent, with access to the adjacent hotel (with spa treatments, float-plane trips and diving at remote reefs) but all the benefits of a secluded cliffside home. The restored Raffles in Singapore, with its famous Long Bar, is a great stop-off en route.
Details Six nights, three room-only at Raffles and three full board with activities at Elang, from £9,800pp, including transfers. Fly to Singapore

2. Go mega in the Galapagos

A voyage to the Galapagos on an all-suite mega-yacht through one of the most fascinating archipelagos on the planet is a natural entry on any luxury bucket list. The 100-suite Celebrity Flora was built specifically to explore these volcanic islands. It’s fitted with dynamic positioning so doesn’t need to drop anchor, is decorated in a warm but minimalist style that allows the scenery to take centre stage, and is topped with a glamping cabana so guests can sleep under the stars — and wake in the company of lizards, seals and penguins.
Details Seven nights’ full board from £5,700pp. Departs on July 10. Fly to Baltra via Quito

3. Gardens and geishas of Japan

Japanese gardens are living works of art — some planted with dozens of types of mosses, others precisely clipped into sharp shapes, forested in bamboo or landscaped to show off the colours of autumn leaves. An eight-night garden trip staying in the five-star Palace Hotel in Tokyo, the luxury Beniya Mukayu ryokan in Ishikawa and the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto takes in some of the country’s finest historic, religious and private gardens, guided by horticultural experts. There are excursions to monasteries, temples and cultural sites in between the greenery.
Details Eight nights’ B&B from £12,000pp, including private guides, tours and transfers (explorations company.com). Fly to Tokyo

4. Gourmet self-drive in the USA

With big skies, dramatic deserts and bold mountainscapes, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are eye-opening states to take in on a road trip. A ten-night gourmet tour in a Mercedes-Benz, staying at three polished Auberge hotels, allows guests to sample the produce of top chefs too. Foodie experiences include fly-fishing, whisky tasting, Native American cooking classes and chocolate making, organised by Dean Fearing, the godfather of southwestern US cuisine. In between there is hiking, 4x4 excursions into the mountains and art tours of Sante Fe.
Details Ten nights’ B&B from £8,270pp, including experiences. Fly to Salt Lake City via New York

5. Dive in the remote Seychelles

For divers, the islands of Desroches and Alphonse in the Seychelles, are bucket-list destinations not only for their remoteness but also for their vast, untouched reefs. Guests at the Four Seasons on Desroches have 18 dive sites to explore as well as the islands of St Joseph and D’Arros, a marine reserve and hotspot for sharks, stingrays and turtles, plus schools of barracuda, bigeye trevally and fusiliers. On barefoot-chic Alphonse you can feed giant tortoises, help to hatch turtles and experience the most exciting catch-and-release fly-fishing in the Indian Ocean.
Details Twelve nights’ full board at Alphonse and B&B at Desroches from £12,700pp, including flights

6. Cruise the Peruvian Amazon

The best way to explore the Amazon is by boat. The new 20-cabin Aqua Nera is more like a floating boutique hotel than a cruiser, with stylish interiors, a little spa, gym and pool, and even a games room. Excursions are led by naturalists in kayaks and speedboats and on bicycles, followed at night by exceptional meals cooked by the Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who is known for his use of Amazonian produce such as macambo seeds and yuca-based tucupi negro sauce.
Details Ten nights — with three nights’ full board on the Aqua Nera, and seven nights’ B&B in the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu — from £7,000pp, including flights

7. New Zealand with Maori guides

The story of Aotearoa — the Maori name for New Zealand — is told on this group trip exploring its history and culture through Maori eyes. With the archaeologist Dr James Robinson and the guide Ceillhe Sperath, you will meet indigenous people to hear myths and life stories, explore cultural sites and visit the Bay of Islands, where the first Polynesians arrived. On the South Island nature takes centre stage, with heli-rides into the wilderness, rafting, luxury camping and forest hikes. In between there are private visits to museums and wine tasting, with nights at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, Pioneers Tipi Camp and Treetops Lodge.
Details Twelve nights’ full board from £16,300pp, including flights

8. Responsible reefs and rainforests

One degree above the equator, São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest country in Africa and one of the most biodiverse Unesco reserves in the world, with many endemic plant species. This trip to the two rainforest-covered islands includes excursions to cocoa plantations, spectacular beaches and a historic lost city, as well as fishing trips, snorkelling and waterfall hikes. In season you’ll see turtles hatching and whales breaching. The two boutique hotels and Sundy Praia safari-style camp support the community, so everyone benefits.
Details Nine nights’ full board from £2,650pp, including activities. Fly to Principe via Lisbon and Sao Tome

9. Sail the Croatian coast on a gulet

The leading Croatian skipper Dora Vulic knows this coast intimately, as do her crew at Sail Dalmatia. Lady Gita is one of the most impressive vessels in her fleet, a 161ft luxury wooden super-yacht built in 2019, with six handsome ensuite cabins, a spacious sun deck with hot tub and a swimming platform for access to the clear Adriatic waters. Croatian itineraries can be as decadent or simple as you please, ranging from private dining in a Dubrovnik palazzo to seafood picnics on the starlit island of Lastovo, a dark-sky reserve.
Details Seven nights’ fully inclusive charter for 12 from £7,900pp. Fly to Split

10. Scottish field trip for foodies

The Monachyle Mhor hotel and Kinloch Lodge are renowned for their fabulous food, created with ingredients from their farms, lochs and moors. This six-night self-drive trip, with the use of a Range Rover, offers nightly feasting in Perthshire and Skye as well as with fishing and foraging with chefs, photo-stalking and hiking in between. Experiences include boat safaris on Loch Tay and Loch Coruisk, high tea at Fortingall and a guided tour of Skye — all with serious food. Accommodation at Kinloch is a cosy room with sea views; at Monachyle Mhor choose a hip farmhouse space or a 1950s wagon.
Details Six nights’ half-board from £5,300pp. Fly to Edinburgh

11. Volcanoes, hot mud and caves in Iceland

The land of fire and ice is spectacular not only above ground but also below it. This self-drive trip — staying in Reykjavik at the new Edition hotel, followed by the turf-roofed Torfus and the Blue Lagoon spa — enables guests to get under Iceland’s volcanic skin with a week of geological excursions. Trips include a visit to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, which recently erupted for the first time in 900 years, hiking to ice caves on a glacier, and diving down into a crack between tectonic plates. Then, at the end, relax by putting your feet up in a bubbling mud bath.
Details Seven nights’ B&B from £3,200pp, including car hire and activities. Fly to Reykjavik


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