The Lowdown: The hottest travel news around the globe right now
With travel well and truly back on everyone’s radar, keep up-to-date on what’s new and trending right now.
From a Balinese sanctuary that engages blind therapists to massage its guests to the debut of a new expedition to Timor-Leste, here’s all the travel news and inspo you need to lock in your travel plans for this year and beyond.
Copacabana Palace celebrates 100 years
Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, continues to celebrate its centenary this year with a program of arts, gastronomy and cultural events that will sweep visitors up in the city’s party spirit. Check the #100doCopa hashtag in August to see Rio’s glitterati shimmying down the red carpet for a showstopping party. This year will see the landmark beachfront hotel expand the MITICO art series and curate one-of-a-kind experiences as part of its Master Series of world-renowned guests.
Lazarus Island goes tiny
Adding to its Sustainable Destination cred, Singapore’s Lazarus Island (Pulau Sakijang Pelepah) is now home to five tiny eco-friendly, low-carbon emission cabins. A 15-minute boat ride from Sentosa Island, the beachside Tiny Away Escape bracelets an otherwise uninhabited area of Singapore Strait, providing the ultimate escape from the Garden City.
Bali resort engages blind therapists
The Asa Maia resort in Uluwatu, Bali, has engaged blind therapists from the Indonesian Union for the Blind to provide massages to guests. According to general manager Axel Jehangir, they offer an exceptional experience thanks to their heightened sense of touch. Jehangir says that “as well as relieving aches and pains for our guests, this unique treatment offers job opportunities” to the therapists who have limited means of making a living.
Start your holiday early at La Prairie Art of Beauty Lounge
Pre-emptively hydrate your skin and achieve a post-holiday glow before you depart, with a 45-minute facial at La Prairie Art of Beauty Lounge at Sydney International Airport. In partnership with Heinemann Duty-Free, it’s the first of its kind in Australia and sits within the airport’s new luxury precinct.
Research conducted by Pureprofile on behalf of Tourism New Zealand has found that 86 per cent of Australians surveyed wished they’d had a local recommendation before their trip. To avoid post-holiday regret, Tourism New Zealand has launched the Local Lens Series, which includes tips such as grabbing a lamb and gravy toastie at Kai Nui in Taumarunui or walking the poignant Bridge to Nowhere in the ‘Valley of Abandoned Dreams’.
Kick up your heels in Cuba
Simply Cuba Tours has released a new 10-day experience designed to showcase the beauty of the Caribbean country. The tour includes Old Havana, the outstanding karst landscape of the Viñales Valley, the mountains of Soroa and the crystalline waters of Cienfuegos.
The Cuba Vista tour kicks off in November 2023 and is sweetened by a range of experiences. Sip mojitos in dimly lit bars, drift across the dance floor during a salsa class, learn about Cuban culinary traditions and delve deeper into the country’s history, arts and culture.
New mindful trek with World Expeditions
Travel writer and author Nina Karnikowski will lead conscious travellers on a 15-day adventure around the Everest region of Nepal in October. The author of Go Lightly: How to Travel Without Hurting the Planet and upcoming travel memoir The Mindful Traveller, will share her insights on reflective writing, mindful photography and how to forge a deeper connection to place. Mindful Travel in the Himalaya with Nina Karnikowski runs from 13 to 27 October and includes accommodation, professional guides and porters.
Intrepid debuts new Timor-Leste expedition
Intrepid has launched a new nine-day Timor-Leste Expedition, which aims to immerse travellers in the local way of life. The mountainous island is one of Southeast Asia’s least-visited destinations, and that’s precisely why Intrepid developed the itinerary: to promote sustainable economic growth, support local communities and deliver alternative destinations to travellers. The inaugural tour, which will highlight ancient traditions and stunning landscapes, will depart on 15 October.
Hurtigruten Norway has given the world an early glimpse of its first zero-emission ship, set to launch in 2030. Electric and equipped with batteries that charge in port, its raft of futureproofing concepts includes retractable sails with solar panels.
Set the pace
Sparkling new travel brand Explora Journeys is shaking up the ocean-going experience with its slower pace of voyages that aim to help guests relax, reconnect and get under the skin of the places they’re sailing to – whether that’s the bonnie British Isles, epic Arctic Circle or the heady Caribbean.
Play the hits
Holland America Line is marking 150 years of sailing in 2023. As part of its celebrations around the globe, guests onboard the anniversary sailings can tuck into recreated historical dishes such as roast chicken paysanne with pommes frites, as well as commemorative cocktails with throwback happy hour prices.
Cruise with character
The craggy cliffs, medieval castles and quaint villages found along the Rhine River are storybook settings already. But, as part of its Storyteller Series, Avalon Waterways has added Scottish actor and author Graham McTavish of Outlander fame to the mix with its Kiltn’ It: Facts, Fiction & Fairytale Settings on the Rhine cruise. Bookmark it now.