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Your guide to the chicest openings, destinations and travel trends for 2018

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 08/03/2018 Dipal Acharya

a group of people swimming in the water with a city in the background © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Still don't know where to book for your holidays this year?

Fear not! With this comprehensive guide of openings, trends and travel ideas, you'll find you're spoiled for choice...

Meet me in Malta

The Crown might have rebooted our love affair with Malta, but this year hones in on Valletta.

The Maltese capital has been anointed the European Capital of Culture and there’s so much more to soak up here than sun — from the Baroque wonders of St John’s cathedral to the dramatic City Gate area modernised by Renzo Piano, not to mention Annie Mac’s Lost and Found festival that descends on the country every spring. Look out for the big boutique opening of the spring: Iniala Harbour House, a 24-room property overlooking the shimmering Grand Harbour.

Live like Louis XIV

King of the castle : Chateau du Grand-Lucé © Provided by Evening Standard Limited King of the castle : Chateau du Grand-Lucé A party house with a difference: in the Loire Valley, close to Le Mans, the Chateau du Grand-Lucé is set in 80 acres of perfectly manicured gardens.

It has served, at various times, as a refuge (during the Revolution and Second World War, when it was used as a hospital for wounded British soldiers), lodgings (for the likes of Rousseau, Voltaire and Diderot) and a one-time art-storage facility, hiding masterpieces that belonged to the Louvre from the Nazis.

It has been brought back to its former glory thanks to hotelier Marcy Holthus and is available for exclusive private hire before opening formally as a hotel later this year.

The App

a close up of electronics © Provided by Evening Standard Limited In a fix for chic (yet ridiculously last-minute) digs? One Night has you covered. Powered by the people behind The Standard hotels, the app boasts some of the world’s best boutique hotels including 11 Howard, The Curtain and The Ace.

More carbs in Marbs

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa continues to grow his hospitality empire. After the knockout success of the Nobu hotels in Shoreditch and Ibiza, not to mention the charming Ryokan in Malibu, this spring he is setting his sights on, er, Marbella (stay with us — the destination is luring an increasingly artsy crowd).

Spanish intuition: poolside at Nobu’s new Marbella hotel © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Spanish intuition: poolside at Nobu’s new Marbella hotel The hotel will be decked out in traditional Andalusian style and perched above the Golden Mile: expect a Six Senses spa, a roving mixology cart and, of course, superlative sushi. 


House Party

A room at Kettner's Townhouse © Provided by Evening Standard Limited A room at Kettner's Townhouse In the heart of Soho, an old icon returns. Kettner’s, a favourite haunt for the likes of Oscar Wilde and King Edward VII, who used it as a place to entertain his mistresses, has been given a facelift thanks to the clever folks at the Soho House Group, with spiffed-up rooms, a buzzing champagne bar and a new restaurant. It’s a prelude, though, to one of the most talked-about openings of the year: Soho House White City. 

Part of the grand redevelopment of White City’s Television Centre, it is part hotel, part members’ club and promises to be a whole lot of fun.

Shanghai nights

Fine China: the city is in the midst of a luxury hotel boom (Alamy Stock Photo) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Fine China: the city is in the midst of a luxury hotel boom (Alamy Stock Photo) Shanghai is the city that never stops... or is that never stops building luxury hotels? This year there are four: The Middle House in the Dazhongli area, a Piero Lissoni-designed temple to cool Italian design.

The Bulgari moves into the former Shanghai Chamber of Commerce Building, while Ian Schrager erects a new party palace for the Edition group just steps from the bustling Bund district. Out of town, there’s the Amangyuan — an ambitious new project for the group set in a sacred camphor forest and nearly 10 years in the making.

Hit the road, stat

Beaut camp: the van life © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Beaut camp: the van life Last year it was the cruise (see U by Uniworld), this year it’s the campervan that’s wooing millennials. Take a look at #Vanlife on Instagram and you’ll find a whole new cadre of enthusiasts transforming run-down vans into swoon-worthy mobile homes for life on the road.

Our favourite accounts? Follow @outboundliving, @vanlifers and @ireneyap for inspo.

Safari so good

Gorillas in the mist: make the Virunga mountains your safari base camp © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Gorillas in the mist: make the Virunga mountains your safari base camp Gorilla trekking and rhino spotting in Rwanda sounds like our kind of safari.

But add two hot new openings from the chic One&Only group — Nyungwe House, set in a verdant tea plantation, and the Gorilla’s Nest, by the foothills of the Virunga chain of volcanoes (pictured) — and it’s the only safari you’ll want to book for 2018.

Trending

() © Provided by Evening Standard Limited () KENYA: check in to old favourites as Hemingways Watamu reopens and Singita Grumeti celebrates its 15th anniversary.

COME FLY WITH ME: 2018 will be the year of budget transatlantic flights — see Primera Air to Newark, New Jersey, and Norweigan’s new route to Buenos Aires.

The Pig near Bath © Provided by Evening Standard Limited The Pig near Bath PIG OUT: rumour has it that The Pig hotels will be adding another two piglets to its litter this year.


Islands in the sun

Seasons greetings: Desroches Island is home to the new Four Seasons resort © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Seasons greetings: Desroches Island is home to the new Four Seasons resort Have we reached peak Maldives? Perhaps. Which is why we’re looking to the Seychelles this year, its less flashy sister in the Indian Ocean. This charming archipelago has long been the playground of the honeymooner crowd, looking for sun, sand and more than a little luxury.

A new direct flight from British Airways (launching in April) should help, as well as a jaw-droppingly gorgeous new resort from Four Seasons on Desroches Island.

Return to Oz

Pinnacle of beauty: Western Australia’s Nambung National Park © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Pinnacle of beauty: Western Australia’s Nambung National Park Time to plot that escape to Oz. A new direct flight to Perth from Qantas gives long-haul a whole new meaning (a good excuse for a 17-hour, non-stop Netflix binge?) and it’s primed to bring a new wave of visitors to Australia’s oft-overlooked wild west coast. Beat the jetlag at Como The Treasury hotel before taking a more intrepid approach farther north, courtesy of Black Tomato, exploring the eerie pinnacles at Nambung National Park and swimming with sharks on Ningaloo Reef.

Following Frida

State of the arts: FridaKahlo, right, called Mexico City home (Alamy Stock Photo) © Provided by Evening Standard Limited State of the arts: FridaKahlo, right, called Mexico City home (Alamy Stock Photo) The V&A is preparing its landmark Frida Kahlo exhibition, with an up-close and personal look at the Mexican artist’s life through previously unseen pieces from her wardrobe and personal artefacts.

Mexico City © Provided by Evening Standard Limited Mexico City No better time, then, to visit her hometown of Mexico City and Casa Azul, the house she once lived in now turned into a museum. The city has also been dubbed World Design Capital for 2018, a welcome boost for tourism following last year’s devastating earthquake.

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