Where will we all be travelling this year? With the current economic climate in mind, value for money will be at the top of most people’s list. It doesn’t mean that long-haul travel has to be ruled out, though. Tipped to become the most sought-after destination in the Caribbean for 2010 is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Following BA’s new direct flights, the country has some glitzy openings in the pipeline. Around £4 billion has been invested in new ‘mega resort’ developments, championship golf courses, marinas and luxury developments. Brands set to open their doors on the country’s east coast include Four Seasons, the Fairmont, Aman and Ritz-Carlton.
The Maldives is another area seeing intense activity from glam resort operators. Opening in May on the exclusive Kihavah Huravalhi island is Anantara Kihavah Villas (anantara.com), a mix of 77 overwater and beach suites. With the largest pool in the Maldives, Six Senses Latitude Laamu (sixsenses.com), due to open this month, promises an eco-friendly, hip experience while the new Mandarin Oriental will be the ultimate beach hideaway.
Closer to home, city breaks are likely to boom. Prague, Moscow, St Petersburg and Barcelona have all had a flurry of new, hip hotel openings with more in the offing for the year ahead. Istanbul, one of the year’s Capitals of Culture, has a diary of cool events for the year ahead (istanbul2010.org) and will be on every hipster’s radar, as will the Croatian islands surrounding Dubrovnik — check out the new five-star resort Dubrovnik Sun Gardens (radissonblu.com). Stockholm will also be popular, having recently been voted as the European Green Capital 2010.
We’re all familiar with secret eateries, where gastronomes eat restaurant-style meals at chefs’ private homes. Now hotels are getting in on the act with chic bolt holes being set up in people’s homes. 40 Winks (40winks.org), for example, is a two-bedroom hotel in east London and also the home of interior designer David Carter, who even hosts bedtime storytelling evenings. In Lisbon’s hilltop Graca neighbourhood, there’s the four-room Mi Casa En Lisboa, which, just as the name suggests, is a tiny hotel situated in the private home of design journalist Maria Ulecia, who’ll recommend you restaurants the guide books have never heard of (micasaenlisboa.com).
On your bike
Copenhagen, the recent venue for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be showing the world how to do green city breaks this year with its secret weapon: bicycles. The Cycling Embassy of Denmark (visitcopenhagen.com). A similar scheme also operates in Paris with the Velib scheme (en.velib.paris.fr), while Rotterdam’s tourist information centre has a free cycling map for a 90-minute tour of the city’s attractions by bicycle (rotterdam.info). Copenhagen will host the first Velo-City Global Conference on Cycling in June (velo-city2010.com).
Forget about switching off when you travel: we now expect to be able to connect to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Connectivity on planes will be the next big thing — BA’s mobile email and text facilities on London City to New York flights have proved a great success. iPhone apps are also proliferating — you can download one that predicts flight delays (flightcaster.com) and even use Twitter to call a London cab (greentomatocars.com). BA’s app gives you up-to-the-minute flight details (ba.com). Also available on board this month (see High Life Shop!) is the new Truphone Local Anywhere mobile phone service for travellers, which gives users local phone rates and other benefits.
New age travellers
Travel, rather than gardening, is what baby boomers worldwide are looking forward to in retirement. Tours, particularly historical and health packages, are being tailored to suit older explorers (kirkerholidays.com). Singles are the other big group to watch. Expect special lone travellers solutions through 2010, from single-parent holidays to packages without single supplements and more glam solo travel (adventura.com).
You can already choose from pillow menus at top hotels, but the newly opened Five Hotel in Paris (thefivehotel.com) has gone further with a choice of room fragrances and lighting. The Shoreham Hotel in New York (shorehamhotel.com) is one of a handful of hotels now offering customised minibars and industry insiders predict that you will soon be able to choose the décor of your room and add personalised photo frames and movie libraries.
Boundaries are blurring on every type of holiday — and most now come with added luxury if you want it. Forget the simple safari holiday and upgrade to a spa retreat with safari option on a remote African island (thesafaricompany.co.za). Enjoy the Buddhist paradise of Bhutan at five-star retreat Uma Paro, but add in adventure biking and camping (uma.como.bz). Or just treat your Bangkok stopover like a holiday with Thai cooking classes and private walking tours added in (cazloyd.com).