From the sunny and breezy Bawah Island, to the chilly and snowy mountains of Courchevel
With more than 30 years of experience in tailoring bespoke holidays, leading luxury tour operator Scott Dunn unveils their predictions for the top 10 hottest destinations for 2018. The increasing demand for authentic experiences is reflected in the list, which shuns well-trodden destinations to uncover hidden gems – from trekking in Nepal to visiting a spirit sanctuary in Bhutan. ALSO READ: A HOME AWAY FROM HOME Hot destination Cambodia offers more reasons to visit in 2018 with the exciting new openings of Shinta Mani Wild (new luxury tented camp, complete with zip line), Six Senses Koh Russey, Alila Villas Koh Russey, The Beige in Siem Reap, Rosewood Phnom Penh and Rosewood Siem Reap. Guests can getaway from the crowds as tourism increases, by participating in treasure hunts around Angkor Wat - which includes expert guiding, helicopters, private dinners in the jungle and more. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: TRAVEL ESSENTIALS CELEBRITIES LIKE VICTORIA SONG AND JEANETTE AW CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Due to open in early 2018, the Six Senses Bhutan circuit is one of Asia's most anticipated openings. Located in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang - guests will be able to embark on a 'SixSenses Journey' between each lodge, exploring Bhutan in style. Bhutan remains one of Asia’s most unspoiled and majestic locations, a hidden kingdom that retains a unique charm. Each of the Six Senses lodge locations will boast incredible views, in particular the lodge in Punakha which overlooks the MoChu River, and Gangtey, which has views of the Phobjika Valley. Architecturally, Six Senses haveblended local design styles with modern luxuries and all lodges are inspired by the colourful Kingdom’s reputation as the ‘happiest place on earth.’ Guests will have the option to visit all five lodges or a combination, with itineraries designed around the various experiences unique to each location. The new Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary near Paro, will also provide respite for the mind and body, connecting its guests with the unique Buddhist spirituality of Bhutan. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: SOUTHEAST ASIA’S BEST ISLAND HIDEAWAYS WE WANT TO ESCAPE TO NOW Iceland is a destination which continues to see a huge surge in popularity with more exciting luxury accommodation options opening as a result. The country’s most popular tourist attraction, The Blue Lagoon, is set to open ‘The Retreat at Blue Lagoon’ and become a new guest favourite with 62 rooms offering exclusive access to the man-made geo-thermal pool. Iceland’s phenomenal landscapes tempt visitors out into the wild to experience an array of outdoor activities, from a puffin safari to heli-skiing from summit to ocean on the Troll Peninsula at luxury Nordic retreat Deplar Farm. Trollaskagi Camp, a new pop-up glamping camp, will open from March to May 2018 overlooking Eyjaörður from Amazing Escapes. Boasting six luxury guests domes with double beds and wood stoves, guests will be able to watch the Northern Lights from their bed and relax after a day outdoors in a Scandanvian hot-tub or the fully-stocked library dome. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: A HOME AWAY FROM HOME Whilst Nepal isn’t at the forefront of new openings for the forthcoming year, Scott Dunn is feeling really excited about this destination coming back, after healing its wounds post the 2015 earthquakes. Whilst people have still visited Nepal over the past couple of years, the numbers have been low, but the luxury tour operator has seen a big increase in demand with enquiries up over 50%. This has been helped by Meghauli Serai opening in Chitwan last year. Nepal also twins brilliantly with Bhutan, so visiting both destinations one after the other has been a hit with guests. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: TRAVEL ESSENTIALS CELEBRITIES LIKE VICTORIA SONG AND JEANETTE AW CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Going through its soft launch at the moment, the unique Bawah Island is located in the Anambas Islands of Indonesia. Accessible from Singapore by ferry and seaplane, Bawah is a group of six tropical islands that feature 35 beautifully designed suites and bungalows. Surrounded by lagoons and coral reefs, as well as dense jungle canopy and mangroves, this eco-hideaway is an explorers dream. Think Nihiwatu meets Song Saa or Soneva Kiri. This will be one of the hottest holiday destinations for 2018, especially for Singapore-based travellers, as it offers a brand new private island experience for those looking for something a bit more unique than Thailand or Bali. Photo: Basah Island/ Instagram ALSO READ: SOUTHEAST ASIA’S BEST ISLAND HIDEAWAYS WE WANT TO ESCAPE TO NOW Similar to Nepal, Jordan ia also an emerging destination for 2018. Despite there being less of a focus on Jordan in the media, people are beginning to explore this relatively undiscovered corner of the world. Jordan is well-known for its highlights such as the world-famous Nabatean city of Petra, the Roman ruins of Jerash in the north, the epic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth and the best place for a float. Offering a polar opposite experience to that in Asia, guests can also combine a trip to Jordan with Oman to really explore the wonders of Arabia. What’s more, it is an ideal destination for Easter, May and October half term thanks to the weather. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: A HOME AWAY FROM HOME While there isn’t anything new to report for New Zealand, it continues to be a popular destination for travellers from Singapore. Not only does it offer a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, but it also gives guests the chance to revive themselves in the great outdoors with exciting and exhilarating activities. For 2018, New Zealand would be perfect if you're going for a digital detox, without having to forfeit on luxury - thanks to the country’s fabulous collection of luxury lodges. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: TRAVEL ESSENTIALS CELEBRITIES LIKE VICTORIA SONG AND JEANETTE AW CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Oman is a country that seemed to escape the notice of all but the most intrepid of travellers until just a few years ago. It now welcomes visitors with renowned Arabian hospitality and is eager to share its lively culture, rolling sand dunes, bustling souks and majestic mountains making it a captivating destination for couples and families. Scott Dunn is especially excited about the lesser known region of Salalah in the south where the Anantara Al Baleed Resort sits on a glorious untouched stretch of white coastline. The resort brings a new level of luxury to the Salalah region and, with its fantastic kids and teens club, it is a great option for families as a start or end to a trip through Oman. Adding unique experiences to itineraries is something Scott Dunn continues to focus on, especially in the more ‘off the beaten track’ destinations. In Oman, there are two exceptional glamping options to satisfy guests desire to sleep under the stars in luxury. Canvas Club is the most glamorous camping option in Oman, whilst Hud Hud’s authentic Bedouin style tents continues to be a firm favourite. Oman can also be paired with Nepal or Jordan for the ultimate adventure itinerary. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: SOUTHEAST ASIA’S BEST ISLAND HIDEAWAYS WE WANT TO ESCAPE TO NOW Home to some of the world’s best conditions, Niseko boasts pristine deep dry snow on picturesque volcanic and alpine mountain ranges. New for the for 2017/18 ski season is the Niseko-Hirafu’s high-speed detachable quad chair lift, which will more than double lift capacity saving long waits at peak times. This season also brings three new additions to Scott Dunn’s property portfolio – Hakuchozan: a luxury fully serviced chalet perfect for large groups and families situated in the heart of Hirafu village of Niseko. Aspect Niseko: a collection of luxury self-catered apartments located on the slopes, in the heart of the skiing action. Aya Niseko: a great ski-in ski-out hotel offering luxury apartments, residences and penthouses, a great option for families as it features a kid’s club. Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: A HOME AWAY FROM HOME Courchevel has long been the ski-resort of choice for the European it-crowd, but with new openings like the Scott Dunn at Six Senses Residences Courchevel, the resort will be firmly planted on the map as the go-to ski destination for Asia-based travellers. The Residences will be home to a brand-new on-site Scott Dunn Explorers kids club as well as the first ever Stargazers club, allowing parents to have evenings off to enjoy the resort’s après ski! For more info: www.scottdunn.com Photo: 123rf ALSO READ: TRAVEL ESSENTIALS CELEBRITIES LIKE VICTORIA SONG AND JEANETTE AW CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
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