Fosshotel Myvatn

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Off the well-trodden path of South Iceland, Fosshotel Myvatn is putting the northeast on the map. Here, 92 rooms sit perched above the shores of Lake Myvatn with views that extend far across the volcanic landscapes that surround it. Check into the architecturally stunning hotel and discover modern interiors, innovative cuisine and adventures that will have you never wanting to leave.

Location

100km and an hour from Iceland’s northern capital, Akureyri, Fosshotel Myvatn unveils a whole new corner of this awe-inspiring land. Overlooking the expanse of Lake Myvatn, the possibilities are seemingly endless with the relaxation of the Myvatn Nature Baths in one direction and the adrenaline of a super jeep tour in the other. The perfect spot to head for if you’re looking to escape the crowds, Myvatn will keep you coming back to Iceland.

Your Room

Tying in with their surroundings, each of the 92 rooms is thoroughly modern by design but adopt a colour scheme more in keeping with the landscapes that lie outside the windows. Dusky greys, moss greens and touches of larch wood all allow the nature to be brought from the outside in, whilst the use of low environmental impact materials guarantee the protection of those landscapes for years to come.

Why we like it

What we love most about Iceland is the staggering ecosystem that it presents us with. The landscapes here are unlike anywhere else on earth – and so, so too are the experiences. So, when a hotel is doing all that they can to preserve that ecosystem for another generation, it’s safe to say we’re a fan. Fosshotel Myvatn is both architecturally stunning whilst environmentally low impact and that’s a winning combination in our books.

Alda Hotel, Reykjavik

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Right in the heart of Reykjavik’s cultural epicentre, Alda Hotel is a stylish hideaway where the chatter of Laugavegur high street falls away as soon as you cross the threshold and an atmosphere of calm takes its place. The perfect antidote to a day of high octane adventure in the countryside, 88 stylish rooms await alongside a hot tub set beneath the stars and a contemporary restaurant. All clean cut lines with bursts of colour and innovative touches, Alda Hotel is the Reykjavik hotel you’ve been searching for.

Location

At the top end of Laugavegur, Alda Hotel puts you just a short stroll from the city’s shops, bars and restaurants – all whilst still delivering the perfect night’s sleep. Turn one way and you’ll find the striking silhouette of Halgrimskirkja, whilst, turn the other, and you’ll find yourself on the city’s harbourfront. At a 45-minute drive from the airport, you’ll soon have Reykjavik at your fingertips.

Your Room

Full of boutique charm, each of the 88 rooms and suites at Alda has its own individual personality. United through contemporary design, they are stylish and cosy, minimalist with splashes of colour – and utterly Icelandic. We loved the Attic Rooms with their views over Reykjavik from the balcony and North Atlantic Ocean – but for unrivalled style and sophistication, it has to be the King and Queen Suites. Splashes of deep blues bring the views outside to life while statement design does the rest of the talking.

Why we like it

It’s always the little things that make the difference between a good and a great stay – and nowhere knows that more than Alda Hotel. On arrival, each guest is handed a smartphone for the duration of their stay. Take it out and about, use the free 4G to map out a route of fire a quick question to the concierge and feel that you always have a private guide in your back pocket.

Diamond Circle: Get off the Beaten Track in Northern Iceland

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Iceland; the country on everyone’s lips. But after you’ve climbed inside Þríhnúkagigur, snorkelled the Silfra Fissure and traversed the Golden Circle – what comes next? To answer that question, we’re looking north to the second city of Akureyri, the untouched wilderness of Myvatn and the, as yet undiscovered, Diamond Circle. Outside the realms of the tourist tracks of south Iceland, the north is a step back in time to Iceland as it once was – raw and unknown. To really appreciate the difference though, start off seeing on the Golden Circle (after all, it’s still spectacular), before heading north to hidden hot waterfalls, caves of the silver-screen and a dash of nature yoga. Grjótagjá, Gjástykki and Þeistareykir; they may not be known now, so get there before they are.

The Classic

Touching down, your trip starts in the trendsetting capital of Reykjavik with a stay at the chic Hotel Alda, just off Laugavegur. Spend the evening getting to know the bars and restaurants that lie just a short stroll away before getting a sense for Southern Iceland the next day. In the morning, jump in your private super jeep for the day as you head east to the Golden Circle. A route carved between Iceland’s most iconic sights, there is no better introduction to this spellbinding country as you curve through the ethereal beauty of Þingvellir National Park and onto the geothermal power of Geysir and the thunder of Gullfoss. Head back to Hotel Alda in the evening for one last night before heading north to Iceland’s true wilderness early tomorrow.

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Sheldon Chalet, Alaska

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Nothing says luxury quite like the spectacle of seclusion. 6,000ft high and accessible only by helicopter, Sheldon Chalet is the very definition. Perched on an isolated nunatak overlooking the vast expanse of Alaska’s Denali National Park, it’s every escapist’s dream adventure. An endless expanse of pristine-powdered terrain stretches before you here and with just 10 people at a time there to experience it, there’s no better way to experience the Alaskan wilderness.

Location

With no neighbours to speak of and an address that reads as a set of coordinates, arriving by road to Sheldon Chalet is certainly not an option. Instead, you’ll take to the skies arriving on the Chalet’s private helipad – just a mere 10 minutes from the summit of Denali. Flying up from Talkeetna, it’s just a two-hour drive, sea to sky, up from Anchorage.

Your Room

A hexagonal feat of engineering genius, Sheldon Chalet brings luxury to the most unlikely of locations. The five rooms each take up a panel of the hexagon, with the sixth dedicated to a shared bathroom. The result is a panoramic view at the foot of your bed that leaves you with a sense of sheer wonder from the moment you wake up. Thick fur throws and luxurious touches prove that life at 6,000ft need not be anything short of the utmost comfort.

Why we like it

A stay at Sheldon is all about the sheer magnitude of experience it offers. This is not a place from which to watch the world go by – but one to get out there and explore it. In a corner of Denali that few others have experienced, join the expert team of guides as you hike, sled and rappel to your heart’s content. What more could you want from an Alaskan adventure? Except, perhaps, the blaze of the Northern Lights? Come September to April, you’ll have that too.

Alaska & Hawaii: An Ice & Fire Adventure

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One of the greatest joys of travelling through the United States is the variety of landscapes you encounter along the way – and the pace at which they change. We’ve travelled from north to south and east to west to take in each and every state but one journey we can’t get enough of is that across the outliers of Alaska and Hawaii. Think Alaska – and the mind conjures up images of sweeping landscapes where people are few and far between. Then – consider Hawaii and tropical hues seep in to give everything the iridescent glow of island life. Think of the two together and you have a contrast which defies explanation. So much so, it can only really be experienced. Spend twelve nights between these two naturally beautiful states as you discover hole up in remote luxury in the wilds of Alaska before watching the sunrise from atop a volcano and snorkelling through hidden lava caves in Hawaii.

Into the Wild

After a quick overnight in Anchorage on arrival, it’s straight out into the wilderness as you pull up in the small town of Talkeetna to board a helicopter to your home for the next three nights. Tucked deep within the Alaska Range at a towering 6,000ft above sea level and ensconced amid peaks and glaciers, Sheldon Chalet is as unique as it comes. Home to just five suites, each with a view that you’ll never tire of, spend the next three days alongside like-minded travellers as you discover the majesty of Denali. Whether trekking across a glacier, rappelling down a rock face or trekking into the historic mountain house – no day here is the same as another and with a helicopter on permanent standby, Denali truly is at your fingertips.

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Heckfield Place, Hampshire

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A first glimpse of Heckfield Place and it would be easy to look no further than its red-bricked Georgian facade. However, it’s not inside this lovingly restored country house that we first fell in love with Heckfield – but out in the 400 acres that wrap themselves around the house. A countryside haven of refined luxury, here, nature’s roots extend well beyond the pleasure grounds into the 45 carefully-designed rooms, through the natural treatments at the Little Bothy Spa and onto the ever-seasonal menu of Marle Restaurant. The result is something that, whilst grand on the outside, immediately feels like home.

Location

Just a 40-minute drive from Heathrow Aiport or an hour from London and city life is left far behind you as you pull into the drive at Heckfield Place. Quintessential country scenes extend in every direction and invite long, rambling walks past the lake (wild swimming encouraged), through the pleasure grounds and back into the woodlands and walled gardens. Choose to lose yourself in the simplicity of your own company or join a ‘guest keeper’ and get to know every shrub, folly and copse.

Your Room

Behind the Georgian facade, Heckfield Place falls away to reveal an unmistakably contemporary interior where earthy tones and natural materials bring the outdoors in and cutting-edge technology puts you at ease. Each of the 45 rooms bears its own distinct style – but all with an ever-present aspect over the rolling gardens. For something that little bit special, the signature rooms deliver in droves. Whether you opt for the intimate hideaway of the Heath Room, the delicate romance of the Coppice Room or the total seclusion of the Long Room, each room is as unique as the moments you’ll spend there.

Why we like it

From the mind of culinary genius and leading chef, Skye Gyngell, Heckfield Place is making its mark on the UK’s gourmet scene. Upholding a philosophy of simple cooking which places emphasis on the ingredients harvested just down the lane at Home Farm, dining at Heckfield is a taste of Hampshire. From the natural interiors and garden views of Marle to the open-fire of Hearth – and even the iridescent disco ball of the Moon Bar, every meal and every drink is an experience that tells the story of the land around you.

Tasting Notes of England with Simon Rogan

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Though perhaps not the first destination that comes to mind for a gourmet discovery, there’s a lot more to England’s culinary scene than meets the eye. Eager to lift the lid on all that our home turf has to offer the gourmet traveller, we’ve teamed up with Michelin-starred, critically-acclaimed chef Simon Rogan to co-curate a week-long deep dive into British cuisine. Following a route that traces Simon’s career, you’ll go from an exclusive winemaking experience in Hampshire to innovative cooking techniques at Aulis in London before culminating at his signature restaurant, L’Enclume, up in the Lake District. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to get behind the pass with Simon as well as joining him on ‘Our Farm’ to learn more about the local produce that he has championed throughout his career. Highlighting flavours that are fresh, organic and incredibly innovative, this is our Tasting Notes of England.

A Hampshire Hideaway

Touchdown in the UK and we’ll whisk you straight out into the country surroundings of Hampshire and the refined luxury of Heckfield Place. A grand Georgian manor home set within hundreds of acres of rolling countryside, it’s the perfect place to shake off any weariness with an invigorating walk through the pleasure grounds, woodlands and walled gardens that surround you. If all you need is a good film and a cup of tea though, the screening room will sort you out.

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Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor Laut: Off the Beaten Track in Malaysia

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If you thought there was little more to Malaysia than the pearlescent beaches of Langkawi and the bashful orangutans of Borneo, this ten-day trip will have you thinking again. Peninsular Malaysia is a fascinating destination where history, culture and food combine to create something just as colourful as the landscapes that surround them. Filled with intel from our South East Asia experts, this trip promises to get you under the skin of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur before taking to the mystical Cameron Highlands to cool down. Through the jungles of Belum and onto the shores of Pangkor Laut, prepare to see what caught our eye in Malaysia.

New Cuisines in Kuala Lumpur

Begin your journey in the metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur, staying at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Sitting next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, staying here means you’re right in the heart of the action. With your own personal guide on hand, explore the old and new charms of this vibrant city. From towering skyscrapers, colonial builds and traditional mosques and temples; get a feel of what makes this city tick. Kuala Lumpur also boasts some incredible food stalls open – many staying open until the wee hours of the morning. Don’t know your char kuey teow from your mee goreng, your roti canai from your roti bom? We’ll send you out with an expert guide to get to grip with all the best delicacies.

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Nizwa, Wahiba & Muscat: Discover Arabia’s Gem in Oman

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The Sultanate of Oman is a sure-fire contender for any ‘off the beaten track’ award, and for that reason, we just had to share this Arabian gem with you. An eight-night whistle-stop tour of Oman’s northeastern region is sure to leave you yearning for more as you witness the spectacular sand dunes of Sharqiya, try mouth-watering Omani cuisine in a Nizwa souk and experience total cultural immersion in the coastal town of Sur. Spend your nights in enchanting Bedouin camps, hilltop hideaways and luxurious beach-side abodes as you fall for Arabia’s gem.

History & Culture in Nizwa

Hit the ground running as you leave the bustling city of Muscat behind and make your way to the historic inland town of Nizwa. Enjoy the mesmerising landscapes that have enriched Omani life for thousands of years. The small verdant town of Fanja is a particular highlight for us, with its rich history and wild wadis whilst the town of Jabrin is home to one of the most impressive forts in Oman and is your last cultural pit stop before arriving at the Sahab Hotel; the ideal spot from which to watch mesmerising sunsets and sunrises.

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Bhutan: Scenic Trekking to Gasa

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Travelled the world and looking for something that little bit different? Bhutan has the answer. Even if you’ve trekked into Tiger’s Nest before and spun the prayer wheels at Thimpu, this trip promises to shed further light on the mountainous country. A more adventurous take, set off on an epic two-week trek from Paro, heading north through the mountains towards the steamy springs of Gasa. Meeting local communities along the way, this promises you an authentic connection with Bhutan that you’ll never shake off.

Time Out at Tiger’s Nest

Even if you have seen it before, Tiger’s Nest – or Takstang Monastery – is forever unmissable and actually makes for the perfect warm up. Land into Paro and head straight up to Bhutan’s most treasured monastery, climbing through shaded pine forests where prayer flags flutter in the faint breeze to emerge out of the trees onto this magnificent site. Miraculously hanging onto a crumbling cliff face, this building was built in memory of an old legend: that of the taming of the tiger of Guru Rimpoches.

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