Maori Village, New Zealand
Voted “New Zealand’s Most Cultural Experience,” an overnight stay at the Tamaki Māori Village is the perfect way to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s unique, vibrant culture. Nestled deep in the Rotorua Forest, the Tamaki Māori Village highlights the rich history of the Māori people. Originally indiginous to Polynesia, the group migrated to New Zealand nearly a thousand years ago and now makes up over 16% of New Zealand’s total population.
Overnight guests learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Māori people and enjoy an evening of traditional Māori activities, including a hangi feast and forest bonfire. As the night comes to a close, visitors can relax in a private forest spa pool and head to bed in a traditional carved wharemoe, or sleeping house. Requiring a minimum of 20 participants, the overnight stay is ideal for large families or a group of your post lockdown best friends!
L’Ancora Della Tortuga, Monterosso Al Mare, Italy
Tucked into a cliffside overlooking the Ligurian Sea, this Michelin-rated restaurant could make a seafood lover out of the most staunch carnivore. Locally caught is the specialty here, whether you’re dining al fresco gazing at the sea, or inside the stone walled dining room, literally carved out of the cliff. We highly suggest ordering the prawns, but you wouldn’t be wrong to go with the octopus either. You know what, get both, and don’t stop until you’ve had a little bit of everything.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg (nee Leningrad until 1991) is more than great, bringing travelers back to Russia’s aristocratic past. From ornate palaces to mystical orthodox churches to world-renowned ballet, the grandeur of this former imperial capital is unparalleled. It is a truly breathtakingly beautiful city.
Head to the Hermitage Museum for a jaw-dropping display of paintings, from Rembrandt to Matisse to Titian. Housed in the former Winter Palace, where Russian emperors resided until 1917, the grand architecture of the museum is as impressive as its collection. Or, head to the Fabergé museum, which contains the world’s largest collection of Carl Fabergé’s infamous and priceless decorated eggs. After a decadent dinner at one of the city’s many grand restaurants, head to the Mariisnky Theatre. Built in 1860, the opulent architecture of the theater serves as a perfect backdrop for some of the world’s top ballerinas.
Travelers looking for full immersion into the city’s elegance and history should book a room at the Hotel Astoria. Built in 1912, this art-nouveau masterpiece perfectly combines old-school charm with modern amenities. Sipping tea in the hotel lounge while overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral offers an ideal reprieve from the bustling city.
Segera Retreat Lodge, Kenya
Located just north of the equator, Segera Retreat Lodge is the perfect combination of luxury and adventure. With just eight luxury villas, the eco-lodge is located on a private game reserve in Laikipia Plateau, offering its max of 20 guests exclusive access to 50,000 acres of stunning landscapes and wildlife. Guests are able to spot all Big Five game animals on safari, as well as dozens of other local species.
While at Segera, book a helicopter tour of northern Kenya, or take in local art, or help the rangers track monkey troops, or take a ride in the original 1929 plane featured in the film Out of Africa. OK, that one’s a bit cheesy — but fun, right? Once back at the lodge after a day of adventure, guests are able to take in views of Mount Kenya, enjoy organic meals cooked with ingredients from the lodge’s garden, take a dip in the saltwater pool or enjoy a massage in their villa. And your trip to Segera also has a positive impact on the local community and surroundings. The lodge, operating under the 4C principles of community, commerce, conservation and culture, employs dozens of staff members from local tribes. All of the villas are powered by solar electricity and the retreat funds conservation projects, such as a new, female, anti-poaching rangers academy to protect the wildlife.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Nestled far above the Arctic Circle, visitors from all over the world are drawn to the Lofoten Islands’ secluded, rugged beauty. Though the journey to this remote archipelago requires at least two flights and a three-hour ferry, visitors are rewarded with untouched landscapes, stunning mountains, picturesque fishing villages, plummeting fjords, seabird colonies and dazzling beaches. The islands seamlessly mesh jaw-dropping natural beauty with quaint Nordic village life. Due to the northern location, summer visitors get 24 hours of sunlight. From fishing to hiking to scuba diving to viking museums to boating to even surfing, there are countless activities to keep busy for all 24, sun-dripping hours of the day.
While the sun barely rises during winter months, the Lofoten Islands still draw in crowds of winter visitors seeking to catch a glimpse of the elusive aurora borealis, the northern lights. Those longing for a unique and authentic experience can stay in old fisherman cabins, called rorbus, that have been renovated and converted into modern guest apartments. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!