Polar expeditions, skiing in Japan… and more holiday ideas

Maria Shollenbarger on what to do and where to be

The first of Natural World Safari’s conservation-led Expeditions for Change will be a 12-person, 10-day voyage to Svalbard
The first of Natural World Safari’s conservation-led Expeditions for Change will be a 12-person, 10-day voyage to Svalbard | Image: Alex Stead

A polar expedition with a cause

Will Bolsover of Natural World Safaris has for years been at the forefront of conscious travel, going to great lengths to parlay itineraries into opportunities for his clients to be as educated and proactive about the environment as they are wowed by it. In May 2020, he’ll take the engagement factor up a notch with the first of his new Expeditions for Change – journeys calibrated, in his words, “to raise both awareness and funds for frontline conservation projects”. Kicking it off is a 10-day expedition to Svalbard, co-led by the acclaimed photographer/polar explorer Martin Hartley. Participants, limited to 12, will assist the expedition leaders with collecting data that will support the research of several philanthropic initiatives, including the Polar Citizen Science Collective and Nasa Globe Observer. Expeditions for Change, from £11,995 per person; naturalworldsafaris.com.

One of the seven thatched cottages at Cabo Serai, a stylish new eco‑conscious resort in southern Goa
One of the seven thatched cottages at Cabo Serai, a stylish new eco‑conscious resort in southern Goa

A light (and stylish) footprint in south Goa

It’s one of India’s most mutable places, a haven for heritage-architecture enthusiasts, yogis, beachgoers and ravers. The received wisdom about Goa is that its south is by now overdeveloped (and overvisited, and generally overwrought), while the north sequesters the pristine shores, the prettier accommodations and the chicer people. Not so fast, says Mahout founder Mary-Anne Denison-Pender: here is the very cool new Cabo Serai, whose 14 acres, far to the south of the capital, Panaji, host just seven thatched cottages and three tents. They’re all stylish, with locally made daybeds, jute rugs and wide balconies giving onto treetop and sea views. They’re also designed with a minimal footprint in mind, from banning single-use plastics to reusing groundwater. Cabo Serai combines rather handily with Kahani Paradise, in Gokarna, about three hours’ drive south, a charming six-suite compound in a part of Karnataka state sometimes called the “alternative Goa”, with 20 lush, private acres in easy striking distance of Paradise Beach and shambolically pretty Gokarna town. Get a group and take it over – it lends itself perfectly to parties. Cabo Serai, from £195, and Kahani Paradise, from £290; mahoutuk.com.

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Art meets hospitality in Turkey

In the wake of Istanbul’s double culture bill – the Biennial and Contemporary Istanbul – a new art address has made its debut in Turkey: the Odunpazari Modern Museum, or OMM, in the 4,000-year-old university town of Eskisehir in Western Anatolia. Conceived and funded by architect-construction magnate Erol Tabanca to house his 1,000-strong collection of Turkish art, OMM is the work of Kengo Kuma & Associates, its dynamic gallery spaces recalling Kuma’s work on the V&A Dundee. Tabanca’s new 12-suite hotel, Omm Inn, is housed in three joined Ottoman-era houses, whose wide courtyard, with outdoor seating for the restaurant, is open to museum visitors as well. The rooms evince the best of contemporary Turkish design, mixed in with Ottoman-esque beams and flagstones. Omm Inn, from £70; omminn.com.

The Omm Inn, a new 12-suite in Eskisehir, Western Anatolia
The Omm Inn, a new 12-suite in Eskisehir, Western Anatolia | Image: Kemal Seçkin

Japan’s winter sweet spot hots up

Niseko is Japan’s winter sweet spot, a ski destination long on the radar of Australians, Kiwis and Asia-based expats, with world-class slopes and top eating. There’s all manner of places to lay one’s head, from rustic ryokans to full-service condos – and, from January, the very sleek Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono. If its Tokyo flagship is anything to go by, this brand knows what it’s doing here: the prime ski-in/ski-out location is a promising start, as is the polished design by Melbourne’s BAR Studio, marrying minimalist lines (glass and timber screens) with maximalist indulgences in the spa (with its own onsen to boot). Park Hyatt Hanazono, from about £865; hyatt.com.

The Park Hyatt Hanazono, in Japan’s world‑class winter-sports destination Niseko
The Park Hyatt Hanazono, in Japan’s world‑class winter-sports destination Niseko

Málaga: new culture, new appeal

From the Balearics – where he opened Mallorca’s Cap Rocat and Torralbenc on Menorca – to San Sebastián to the centre of Madrid, Pablo Carrington has serious style credibility in Spain. His sights are now set on Málaga, where a canny city council has been spending big – estimates to date are in the neighbourhood of €100m – encouraging and developing arts initiatives (the city has the only satellite of the Centre Pompidou outside Paris). Opening in a few weeks’ time, Palacio Solecio – formerly the Palacio del Marqués de la Sonora, an 18th-century residence gone derelict post the 2008 crisis – is shortly to be the city’s finest digs. Its 68 rooms have been designed by Mallorcan Antonio Obrador (who authored Cap Rocat’s fantastically chic interiors) and its restaurant is overseen by José Carlos Garcia, second-generation chef-owner of Café de Paris here, former Joan Roca understudy and one of Andalucía’s most watched talents. Palacio Solecio, from €180; palaciosolecio.com.

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@mariashollenbarger

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