Still sweating over your plans for the summer 2019? Fear not, we have the answers. Lots of them. Whether you fancy a drop in temperature, endless sunshine or simply staying put to take advantage of amazing hotel deals, we’ll take you there
Head somewhere chilled
Things don’t get much cooler than Iceland’s soaring glaciers, and summer (when it’s warmer and sunny) is the best time to explore their mighty magnificence. Do so while strapped into a snowmobile.
You don’t have to go to extremes to enjoy cooler climes. Sydney is a brilliant city all year round, and its temperate winter is perfect for discovering it on foot and via ferry.
The seasons are flipped below the equator so while we’re sweltering, New Zealanders are throwing on their thermals and hitting the slopes. Join them in the North Island and you can ski on an active volcano at Mt Ruapehu.
Sweden’s original Ice Hotel is rebuilt every winter, yet its younger sibling, Ice Hotel365, is a 20-room permanent palace of ice – and a cooling -5°C inside.
Enjoy endless sunshine (literally)
1.As the official hometown of Santa Claus, you’d expect the beautiful wilderness of Finland’s Rovaniemi to be abuzz at Christmas, but its appeal in summer is equally magical: 24hr daylight, thanks to its position on the Arctic Circle. Plenty of time to pack the likes of horseback riding and husky rides into your day – or even a trip to see Santa, who’s always on duty here.
2. An archipelago that’s halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is actually home to more polar bears than humans – and the world’s northernmost sushi restaurant. Its polar summer means it’s in daylight until the end of September, a time when its fjords are flooded by the arrival of whales, a sight best observed by kayak.
3. You don’t have to head somewhere remote to bask in the glow of endless daylight. During the so-named White Nights of summer (mid-June is the peak), the sun never truly sets on St Petersberg – cue a time for myriad festivals, concerts and alfreso parties.
Live the high life
Take your childhood dreams to the next level by bedding down inside these luxury treehouses designed especially for grown-ups. Set amid lush rainforest, Keemala in Phuket (pictured), has seven treehouses, as well as the cleverly designed Bird’s Nest Pool Villas, so you can take a dip amid the branches.
For a touch of Maldives magic, the Skyhouse with Bubble villa at Amilla Fushi calls with its infinity pool extended over the treetops and the bubble itself housing a telescope, daybed, and removable roof for stargazing.
If you’re game for something a bit more rustic, La Cabane en L’Air in France is a collection of some 200 treehouses spread across the country. We rate the Cabane Spa Vintage treehouse in Aquitaine, which wows with its pink vintage car on the terrace and breathtaking views of the Garonne Valley.
Beat the crowds to see one of these in-the-know places
With Emirates launching three additional flights each week from the beginning of June, it has never been easier to get from Dubai to Nigeria’s capital city and seat of political power. Abuja runs at a different pace to Lagos, with lots to do outdoors. Take time out to visit the imposing Aso Rock before exploring the many green spaces, such as Millennium Park, which was designed by world-renowned architect Manfredi Nicoletti.
The capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, Tashkent is a hotspot for culture buffs, with more than 2,200 years of history and almost 50 museums to discover. Start by paying a trip to the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan, one of the oldest museums in Central Asia with more than 300,000 exhibits. Next, embark on an architecture tour to take in the beautiful mosques, madrassahs and skyscrapers. There are five flights a week from Dubai, via Flydubai – a route that launched in March this year.
This Black Sea city, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, teams stunning scenery with culture thanks to its mountainous coastline and historical sites. Take a peek inside Stalin’s Dacha, the historic summer residence of Joseph Stalin, and shop the famous fruit markets, stopping to taste a local delicacy: Russian Lavash (a baked flatbread) with a warm cup of tea. Flydubai will whizz you here from Dubai from 7 June.
Get a real taste for a city
Its name may not roll of the tongue (O, da! Eda!, which translates to English as Oh, yes! That’s food!) but this annual Moscow festival (June 2-28) promises to serve up the whole gastronomic panorama of Moscow, giving guests the opportunity to sample dishes from start-ups to established restaurants and chefs of the calibre of Vladimir Mukhin.
Nordic cuisine still commands a seat at the top table of on trend gastronomic fare and Copenhagen Cooking is one of the biggest food festivals in Northern Europe. For ten days from 23 August you can gorge on a smörgåsbord of Nordic dishes cooked up by stellar name chefs.
The northeasternmost US state of Maine is famous for its succulent lobsters, so much so that there’s a dedicated festival – Maine Lobster Festival, 31 July to 4 August – at which 19,000 pounds of the coveted crustaceans are cooked up. If you’re partial to a lobster roll, this is where you can chow down on the ultimate grilled sandwich.
Try out a soon-to-be family favourite
GET QUEUING… FOR Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Disney splashed a sum that was out of this galaxy to land the Star Wars franchise, and continues to invest heavily in it. Before the finale to the original series of movies drops in December, Star Wars fans have long anticipated the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a 14-acre Star Wars land added to both Disneyland in California (open now) and Disney World in Florida (opening in the fall), both of which reportedly cost a cool $1 billion to build. Rides include Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which puts riders at the control of Han Solo’s legendary ship, and the forthcoming Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an interactive battle against the First Order. May the force be with you.
ALL ABOARD… BRITAIN’S FIRST NEW SLEEPER TRAIN IN 35 YEARS
With the idea to offer a hotel on wheels, the new Caledonian Sleeper service, which hits the tracks from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, is the first time you can spend the night in a double bed on a UK railway. Departing London a little before midnight, your pyjama-clad clan can bed down in an en-suite Caledonian Double and wake in Scotland to Highland porridge with honey for breakfast. Adventure awaits.
GO WILD… WITH BEAR GRYLLS
Before The Bear Grylls Survival Academy opens on Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais next year, you’ll have to travel to the UK or US to partake of his exhilarating adventure courses, designed for fathers and sons, and mothers and daughters alike. The Primal Survival Family Adventure teaches myriad survival skills as you cross testing terrain for 24hrs. This is what happens when you call a child Bear.
Reconnect with yourself and others
Feeling overwhelmed with life? Push the reset button in the lush green jungle of Lipa in the Philippines, where The Farm at San Benito is offering a new mental health programme for those who are affected by depression, stress, and anxiety.A 90-minute drive south of Manila, this holistic medical wellness resort has a team of professionals on hand to help rid you of unwanted thoughts. Expect psychotherapy sessions, hydrotherapy and daily movement activities, including mandala flower arrangement, with nourishing homegrown vegan food aplenty.
Yoga buffs can practise their sun salutations at Samujana in Koh Samui, which promises to refresh body and mind with its health and wellbeing holidays. Each of the villas have a private infinity pool for moments of reflection, and little touches make it easy to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, with yoga mats in the living room, nutritious snacks in the mini-bar, meditation apps on the in-room mobile, and a delicious detox menu to dine from. You can book a one-, two- or three-day programme that’ll hook you up with healthy meals, yoga sessions, pampering spa treatments and more.
If being a master in the kitchen feeds your soul, you can take time out to learn some culinary skills at Sauce by The Langham, the new informal cookery school at the five-star hotel in London. There are classes to suit all confidence levels and abilities, including Building Blocks for enthusiastic home cooks, which will put you through you paces by honing your knife skills, teaching you how to make fresh pasta, and helping you learn the basics of preparing stocks and sauces. With up to 12 people per class, it’s a great way to meet like-minded foodies, while focusing on you.
Throw caution to the wind
The white sands, swaying coconut palms, and glistening waters of the Indian Ocean can be all yours at Naladhu Private Island Maldives, which is now available for private takeovers. Here, you and your entourage (there are 20 houses dotted across the island) can craft a tailor-made stay, with everything from snorkelling with sharks to picnics on the sandbanks just a finger click away.
Stay home and hotel hop
1.To the desert. Channel your inner David Attenborough by getting an up-close view of indigenous wildlife, such as Arabian oryx and gazelles, albeit from the comfort of your temperature-controlled infinity pool, at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai. An enduring favourite for a traditional Arabian experience, the resort is nestled amid the golden dunes of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
2. To the city. If it’s sweeping views of the skyline you’re after, the new Voco Dubai more than delivers. Situated in the heart of all the action on Sheikh Zayed Road, each of the rooms have floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, so you can gaze at the city in all its glory.
3. To the sea. If you’ve already stayed your way around Palm Jumeirah, it may be time to nudge yourself along the coast a little to Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai – the emirate’s closest beachfront resort to Downtown Dubai. Hit the sand for an early morning sunbathing session, dine overlooking the sea at The Bay and be pampered in the spa – just be sure to request a room with a sea view.
4. To the mountains. A firm family favourite, JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a happy hideaway set against the stunning backdrop of the Al Hajar Mountains. There are plenty of ways to get active here, from exploring the rugged bike trails, to hiking in the mountains, whizzing down the zip line and kayaking in the lakes. You’ll feel a world away.