If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we should enjoy things while we can — so why not go all-out on your next big holiday? We’ve picked out the trips that will reward you for saving your hard-earned cash. From kicking back on private islands in the Maldives to going on safari in style, here are the trips to splash out on in 2023.
Mykonians don’t think they have the best party scene in Europe — they think they have the best nightlife in the world. So if you’re planning a special get-together with family or friends, put this indefatigable Greek island on your radar.
Villa Elia Aspro makes the perfect pad. Its classic Cycladic white-on-white minimalist architecture has been designed so that every window has uninterrupted views of the sparkling Aegean sea and provides the ideal frame for sunsets. The house sits above Elia beach, arguably the best bay on the island, which is also home to an excellent fish restaurant right at the water’s edge.
Why settle for one private island when you can have three? One of the hottest places to stay is the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, which is strung across a trio of tropical dots, with 100 sleek pool villas, specialising in feed-me-a-grape indulgence.
Unlike most Maldivian resorts, this place has space for five restaurants and bars, a spa with nine over-water treatment rooms, a kids club and tennis courts. It also has the Fari Marina Village on its doorstep, which has a buzzy beach club, live music, designer stores and eight more dining options. You won’t get claustrophobic or bored.
When Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari concept in the 1950s, his competitors thought he was mad. Nowadays his thoughtful approach is acknowledged as the most sustainable and stylish way to see Africa. The secluded Valley of the Leopard in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park was one of his favourite stomping grounds and you can trace his footsteps on this seven-day circuit.
Camps are roughly three-and-a-half hours apart and as you hike you will feel part of the landscape, learn bush skills and track lions. Carr would approve of the light-touch lodgings. Typical is Luwi, which has only five cosy tents peeking out from an ancient mahogany tree grove on to a floodplain that attracts hippos.
Built as a hideaway for a demanding Italian duchess, Hotel Esencia is on speed-dial for supermodels craving TLC Tulum-style; Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid are among those making Esencia’s poolside look like a Vanity Fair cover.
The 38 rooms rock barefoot-boutique styling: airy, understated, acres of white with pops of colour. A recent addition is the Taiyo restaurant, serving traditional Japanese dishes by sushi master chef Masayuki Komatsu, whose fans include the Beckhams. For extra bragging rights, the resort sits on Xpu Ha, the Mayan Riviera’s finest stretch of sugar-white sand. Set your watch to margarita time.
Lisbon is a pocket rocket of a capital. There’s the old town’s Instagrammable, vertiginous streets, mysterious alleyways and tiled façades, among which you’ll find a vibrant social scene and historical heft thanks to its Moorish past. But, unlike so many great cities, Lisbon still has soul and jealously guards its cultural integrity.
Coimbra, the seat of Portugal’s oldest university with its own beautiful cathedral, is a worthy diversion en route to Porto for port wine tastings in the Douro Valley’s wonderfully authentic bars. For many, Portugal is synonymous with beaches, so bolt on a week at the contemporary splendour of Vila Vita Parc near the whitewashed town of Carvoeiro.