The Travel Issue

Overview

10 epic Adventures in Alaska, Nepal, New Zealand, the Maldives and more. Private paradise: Thailand's most exclusive archipelago by yacht.

From This Issue

Ultimate Adventures: Breaking Away

The Adventure › A two-week surfing spree in the Maldives. The Outfitter › Ross Phillips has been chasing waves for more than 20 years, traveling the globe to uncover the best breaks from Central America to Indonesia. In 2002, the former surf instructor launched Tropicsurf, an Australia-based tour company that offers bespoke journeys to the […]

Ultimate Adventures: Into the Blue

The Adventure › A two-week scuba-diving expedition through French Polynesia aboard the sailing yacht Hemisphere. The Outfitter › A scuba diver from the age of 8, the French marine biologist and underwater filmmaker Rodolphe Holler fantasized about French Polynesia long before he launched Tahiti Private Expeditions in 2007. “When we first met in France, he […]

Ultimate Adventures: Polar Extreme

The Adventure › A 10-day ice-climbing and kiteskiing expedition through Antarctica. The Outfitter › White Desert’s Patrick Woodhead is a man of many firsts. The British explorer has conquered unclimbed peaks in Tibet and Kyrgyzstan, he led the first east-to-west traverse of Antarctica, and, in 2007, he founded the southern continent’s first luxury fly-in adventure-tour […]

Ultimate Adventures: Road Rules

The Adventure › A two-week cycling trip through Chile’s deserts, mountains, glaciers, islands, and vineyards. The Outfitter › Founded in 1979 by the cycling devotee Tom Hale, the California-based biking, hiking, and kayaking outfitter Backroads lives up to its name by hosting off-the-beaten-path adventures in such far-flung destinations as Bhutan, Cuba, and the Canary Islands. […]

Ultimate Adventures: La Dolce Via

The Adventure › A 13-day via ferrata expedition through Italy’s Dolomites. The Outfitter › Raised in Argentine Patagonia, Agustina Lagos Marmol grew up fly-fishing and horseback riding in one of the world’s most striking and pristine landscapes. But the founder of the Italian outfitter Dolomite Mountains says that few places compare with her current home […]

Ultimate Adventures: Free Wheeling

The Adventure › A 10-day mountain-biking journey in Colorado and Utah. The Outfitter › Eleven Experience’s guides pride themselves on pushing their guests to the brink. “The first thing we like to do is get a feeling for the abilities and skill levels of our clients,” says Steve Banks, a guide for the Crested Butte, […]

Ultimate Adventures: Above and Beyond

The Adventure › A 14-day heli-fly-fishing expedition in New Zealand. The Outfitter › New Zealand has become synonymous with adventure, with its dramatic canyons built for bungee jumping, rivers for fishing and rafting, and glacial peaks for skiing, ice climbing, and more. The Auckland-based Seasonz Travel has been guiding daredevils in this vast and varied […]

Ultimate Adventures: Going with the Flow

The Adventure › A two-week white-water-rafting voyage in Nepal. The Outfitter › Epic Tomato launched in 2011 as an adventurous spin-off of the London-based bespoke travel company Black Tomato. Led by expert explorers including mountaineers and former military and special-forces personnel, the outfitter’s trips have ranged from jungle training and trekking in Papua New Guinea […]

Ultimate Adventures: A Rare Breed

The Adventure › A 14-day horseback-riding journey through Botswana. The Outfitter › The safari expert Cherri Briggs first started visiting Africa more than 20 years ago on wildlife-conservation missions. “I was trying to raise awareness and funds, and I had a lot of people around me who were looking for real genuine experiences, so I […]

A Perfect Nine

The Andaman Sea fizzes and swirls, bubbling up around me like a fresh flute of Champagne. To my left and right, schools of emperor angelfish in their electric-blue-and-yellow pinstripe suits dance excitedly through the whirlpool, nibbling at mossy reefs as they drift by. The sharp sound of shrimp claws clicks in the distance while a […]

Showtime All the Time

As Art Basel approached its fourth decade, it had become the world’s premier show for modern and contemporary works. The fair, which launched in 1970 and is held each June in its namesake Swiss town, was drawing about 50,000 visitors from around the world to view and purchase art displayed by some 300 galleries. The […]

J.K. Place Roma

A short walk from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, just past the boutiques of Via Condotti, the new J.K. Place Roma sits in the beating heart of the Eternal City. But this residential-style hotel from Ori Kafri—the Italian entrepreneur behind the highly popular J.K. Place Florence and J.K. Place Capri—offers a quiet oasis […]

The London Edition

Ian Schrager’s hotels seem a reflection of the Studio 54 cofounder’s exuberant lifestyle, with an emphasis on high-profile restaurants and lively lobbies that draw a decidedly hip clientele. The new London Edition, which opened in September in the city’s Fitzrovia neighborhood, is in keeping with Schrager’s trendsetting ways, but not at the expense of a […]

Singita Castleton

James Fawcett Bailes, the grandfather of Singita owner Luke Bailes, established the Castleton estate in 1971 in a remote pocket of South Africa’s Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. In November, Luke’s pioneering safari company opened the bush home as its third—and most exclusive—camp in the 45,000-acre park. Following a renovation by the Cape Town–based design […]

Jing An Shangri-La

Rising 60 glass-enclosed stories above Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, the new Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai, sits in a sea of soaring skyscrapers and supersized shopping malls. But the hotel—the Shangri-La group’s third in Shanghai—stands out in the hypermodern Chinese city for its emphasis on tradition rather than trend. Opened in June, the Shangri-La occupies the […]

Hotel d’Angleterre

Throughout the Hotel d’Angleterre’s 259-year history, Copenhagen’s White Lady has served as a restaurant for the Danish elite, a private club for the English gentry, and a safe haven for Russian royalty during World War I. Following a two-year renovation unveiled in May, the grand dame has reclaimed her illustrious place in Danish society. The […]

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg

The 19th-century structure that houses the new Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg was originally an apartment complex for Russian nobility. Following a decade-long renovation—and nearly a century after the fall of the Romanov Dynasty—the property opened in June as Four Seasons’ first hotel in Russia. Located a short walk from the State Hermitage […]

Rosewood Abu Dhabi

The Rosewood Abu Dhabi sits in the heart of the emirate’s budding financial district, on the man-made island of Al Maryah. But unlike Al Maryah—whose unfilled channels, unfinished bridges, and developing infrastructure remain works in progress—the new hotel is a polished retreat that leaves little to be desired. Opened in May, the Rosewood is set […]

Rimba Jimbaran Bali

From its hillside setting above the Indian Ocean, the new Rimba Jimbaran Bali affords front-row views of the Indonesian island’s blood-red sunsets. The 282-room resort, which opened in September on the Karang Mas Estate, shares the vantage with its sister property, Ayana Resort and Spa. A fresh complement to Ayana—a larger, traditional-Balinese-style hotel—Rimba presents a […]

Cheval Blanc Randheli

The 40-minute flight from Male International Airport to Cheval Blanc Randheli passes over a spectacular patchwork of fringing reefs, white sands, and infinite shades of blue in the Indian Ocean. But guests aboard the Maldivian resort’s nine-passenger seaplane—a taupe-and-yellow Twin Otter de Havilland—may be equally taken with their immediate environs, where gratis pairs of custom […]

Wheels: Hot Laps

On the Thermal Club’s South Palm circuit, a 1.8-mile racetrack set amid the desert landscape of Southern California’s Coachella Valley, a Porsche Cayman blazes along at 120 mph as it nears the end of the track’s 2,500-foot straightaway. Just ahead lies Turn 7, a 180-degree bend. The car, operating in fully automatic mode, belongs to […]

Leisure: Southern Comforts

In my first morning at the Vines Resort and Spa in western Argentina, one of the property’s cofounders, Michael Evans, cajoled me into a predawn walk in the vineyards. I was sleepily wishing I had begged off until, glancing west toward the dark wall of the Andes, I glimpsed the full moon dropping out of […]

Design Portfolio: What a Trip

1958 Edsel Bermuda Launched amid a colossal advertising campaign, Ford’s Edsel brand—named for the late son of company founder Henry Ford—was a short-lived venture intended to fill the price gap between Ford- and Mercury-branded cars. As one sales executive recalls, the Edsel was “the car for the young man on his way up.” However, by […]

Design Portfolio: Writing the Rails

The storied rail line that linked Paris to Istanbul for more than a century has fired the imaginations of such diverse writers as Bram Stoker and Ian Fleming. Now the elegantly appointed Orient Express has come full circle and inspired a collection of fine writing instruments and other accoutrements. The Orient-Express Limited Edition by S.T. […]

FrontRunners: Lens Masters

From the endemic Cozumel emerald to the mangrove-dwelling boat-billed heron, Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula brims with more than 500 avian species. Now travelers can view the local birds and other fauna through the expert eyes of National Geographic photographers during Mayakoba’s new Wildlife Photo MasterClass Weekend (www.mayakoba.com). Launched by the beachfront resort development in January—with future […]

FrontRunners: American Dreams

Sparkle and Shine ❖ Culminating a two-year, $140 million renovation, the New York Palace (www.newyorkpalace.com) completed two 5,000-square-foot triplex suites (from $25,000 per night) in September and November. In the Champagne Suite, a wine cave houses a rotating collection of rare Dom Pérignon vintages. Next door, the Jewel Suite by Martin Katz—created by the New […]

FrontRunners: Rocky Mountain High

Colorado’s peak skiing experience this winter can be found at Beaver Creek (www.beavercreek.com), where a new $50,000 five-night trip for four comes with a slew of powder-themed perks. Available through April 20, the package includes round-trip first-class airfare, two days of private ski instruction, and EpicPass season passes—valid at Beaver Creek, Vail, and 24 other […]

FrontRunners: Music Business

Displaying an attractive leather-and-aluminum exterior, the Harman Kardon Esquire (www.harmankardon.com) portable speaker superbly pairs style with performance. The speaker measures roughly 6 inches tall by 6 inches wide and is less than 2 inches thick. The dual drivers in the speaker, each individually powered by a potent 10-watt amplifier, create a small but accurate soundstage […]

FrontRunners: New Heights

A bicycle company that has catered mainly to urban commuters now offers a model for riders whose journeys take them out of the city and off the road. The Budnitz No. 2M Mountain (www.budnitzbicycles.com) is the first mountain bike from the Burlington, Vt.–based company. The No. 2M features Budnitz’s signature greaseless carbon belt drive (instead […]

FrontRunners: Saddle Up

An Eastern European motorcycle manufacturer has collaborated with a wool company from the Pacific Northwest to produce a sidecar bike with a name and accessories that celebrate the nomadic lives of South American cowboys. The Russian-built Ural Gaucho Rambler Limited Edition (www.imz-ural.com) sports a light-blue paint job (called Pacific Blue) and a saddle and sidecar […]

FrontRunners: Sustainable Pleasure

Susan Sokol and Bill Blosser were winemaking pioneers in 1970, when they planted Pinot Noir on a parcel of land in what is now Oregon’s Dundee Hills appellation. Since that time, Sokol Blosser Winery (www.sokolblosser.com) has continued to blaze new trails while promoting ecologically sound farming practices. The winery was among the first to embrace […]

FrontRunners: Racing Strip

To the list of reasons for frequenting Las Vegas—gaming, fine dining, golf—members of Dream Racing’s Ferrari club (www.dreamracing.com) can add track time in an F430 GT racecar at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And while most things are supposed to stay in Vegas, the Ferrari does not have to: At the conclusion of the $400,000 […]

FrontRunners: Chef’s Tables

Rather than simplify the search for suitable restaurants in unfamiliar cities, the Internet has complicated the process by serving up too much information from too few reliable sources. Now a website called Chefs Feed (www.chefsfeed.com) lets travelers consult some of the biggest, savviest names in the restaurant business. Looking for steak frites in New York […]

FrontRunners: Roe to Go

A sublime in-flight meal may at last be within reach. In December, Petrossian opened its fourth outpost in the United States—in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport—and its offerings include Caviar in the Air (www.petrossian.com), an insulated travel tote packed with a tin of sturgeon eggs, smoked salmon, crème fraîche, […]

FrontRunners: Midtown Exclusive

In a city filled with famously “secret” bars, Rarities (www.raritiesnyc.com) is the genuine article. Hidden on an upper floor of the Villard Houses—a mansion designed by McKim, Mead, and White that is part of the New York Palace Hotel—the mahogany-paneled refuge consists of just 25 deeply upholstered seats, available by reservation only. The interiors are […]

FrontRunners: Carry On

George Esquivel brings a touch of rugged craftsmanship to the Tumi Santa Monica Bashford duffel (www.tumi.com). Esquivel, a Southern California designer known for creating handsome handmade footwear, was recently named Tumi’s creative director. His new Santa Monica line of travel pieces is softer and more casual than many of Tumi’s previous collections. Each piece, including […]

FrontRunners: High Stroller

Arriving straight from the spring-collection runway show in Paris, Hermès rope sandals (www.hermes.com) are the epitome of beach-ready and street-chic. Made in Spain by artisans who specialize in rope-soled shoes, the sandals feature a graphic, two-tone rope base set off by simple, wide straps made of calfskin leather. The rope sole protects the sandals on […]

FrontRunners: Good to Go

TIED UP This $3,800 calfskin tie case by Zilli (www.zilli.fr) packs two silk ties neatly, ensuring that they arrive at their destination wrinkle free. TUCKED AWAY The Mara collection cuff-link box ($945) and watch roll ($550) from the 126-year-old British luxury-goods company Smythson (www.smythson.com) offer an attractive way to securely store small valuables. Both are […]

FrontRunners: Aesthetic Journey

Instead of flaunting overtly technical destination and home-time-zone indications, the Louis Moinet Geograph (www.louismoinet.com) performs the functions of a travel watch in a discreet yet still detailed fashion. The Geograph ($13,950, for the stainless-steel version) indicates a second time zone on a slim outer ring with contrasting finishes that delineate night and day. The back […]

FrontRunners: Tailored for Travel

Both of these cleverly designed spring coats ensure smooth skies for travelers by resisting the rumples that usually come from a long flight. The Boglioli Dover sport coat (www.boglioli.it), priced at $1,495, is constructed from an unlined, prewashed seersucker that maintains its shape after hours of wear. The Dunhill wrinkle-resistant silk raincoat (www.dunhill.com), $3,140, folds […]

FrontRunners: Packed with Style

Able to survive bumpy journeys, glide through airports, and make a stylish statement in hotel lobbies, Valextra K-Val luggage (www.valextra.com) is an ideal travel companion. The black-and-white jacquard cases—including the carry-on ($7,330) and midsize bag ($6,800)—are made with an abrasion-resistant and waterproof Kevlar-and-polyester material and fitted with wheels made from the same material as Pirelli […]

The Robb Reader: René Gross Kaerskov

As a co-CEO of HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates—the design firm behind the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, the Mandarin Oriental New York, and dozens of other elite hotels worldwide—René Gross Kaerskov knows what it means to travel well. But for anyone whose vision of an escape involves sunbathing or spa hopping, the 47-year-old Dane would make a […]

From the Editors: Missed Boats

History, of course, is a fabric of individual journeys, the most memorable of which are sometimes those never completed. One such abbreviated voyage began on a Sunday in April of 1912, as the 46,000-ton RMS Titanic pulled from the port of Southampton, England—bound for New York City but headed for an appointment with destiny. A […]

Ultimate Adventures: Peak Experience

The Adventure › A 10-day heli-skiing excursion in Alaska’s Western Chugach Mountains. The Outfitter › Launched in 1997, Chugach Powder Guides is the largest heli-ski operator in Alaska. Today the company lays exclusive claim to some 750,000 acres of soaring peaks, towering ramps, consistent couloirs, and steep spine lines in the south-central region’s Western Chugach […]