It is becoming the new Aspen. This classy mountain village offers fabulous festivals and a range of outdoor adventures, apart from a lively apres-ski scene in winter. September is the month for the annual film festival, and celeb-spotting among the locals in their natural habitat is a popular draw—Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey have homes here.
St Barts, Caribbean
The Caribbean has been labelled the ‘playground of the rich and famous’ and Saint-Barthelemy (St Barts to everyone) is where the glitterati head to be pampered. Perfectly formed bays, excellent restaurants, picturesque hills and the fancy yachts in Gustavia harbour make for a scene that is pretty close to paradise. A great place to chill out as well as to indulge in some celebrity-spotting.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro has always been a hot destination because of the famous carnival, the bikini-clad crowds at the beaches and its laid-back ambience. Now, there’s a new buzz in the air as the city gets a major upgrade for the 2016 Olympics with plenty of new attractions and things to do. A trip now, before the Olympic crowds arrive, will be rewarding.
Not the most obvious of hot destinations, but it’s getting increasingly popular as resorts and beaches are being discovered among its 7,000 islands, many still unspoilt. The diving and underwater action is among the best in the world, as is deep-sea fishing in the ocean. The three top islands are Ariara, El Nido and the latest, Dedon, on Siargao, owned and designed by contemporary furniture brand Dedon. Another must-visit place is Amanpulo, a high-design private-island hotel on Pamalican Island.
A traditional favourite, New Zealand has been reinvented because of Hobbiton, the fairytale village of JRR Tolkien’s imagination, where The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was shot in the Waikato region of North Island. The latest addition is a pub overlooking the lake. From there, one can easily reach the mountains of the Tongariro National Park, used as the setting for Mordor. It is unspoilt and dramatically beautiful with volcanoes and steam vents and emerald lakes.
This is a private island that was bought by a Canadian entrepreneur in 1973. Since then, he has turned the 8 sq km property into one of the world’s most beautiful and exclusive tropical hideaways. It has attracted some of the world’s A-list celebrities, ranging from Bill Gates to Russell Crowe and fellow Aussie, Nicole Kidman.