Island in the Great Barrier Reef
Into sustainability? What better place to go than an island in the Great Barrier Reef—it’s simultaneously one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet. Pumpkin Island is an eco-friendly resort (it runs on wind and solar power) on a small, six-hectare island. From the resort, you can take out a glass-bottomed kayak to observe the ocean life or try snorkeling for an up-close experience. If you make this stay part of a longer excursion down the coast of Australia (which you should, because Melbourne is amazing), stop in Canberra to take a virtual reality tour of the Great Barrier Reef.
All-Inclusive Surf Vacation
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf but were overwhelmed by the equipment and skill it takes, this is the adventure for you. An all-inclusive, luxury surf resort, Kalon Surf is equipped with everything you need—just show up. They’ll provide the food, gear, and lessons you need to be on your board and riding the waves. Not only is surfing great exercise, learning it is challenging and fun. And who could complain about the sunsets on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula? No one.
The experience of watching the sunset over treetops and waking up to a view of flitting birds is incomparable if you’re a nature lover. There are treehouse hotels all over the world, so whether you want to go luxurious, off-grid, or immersive, there’s one for you. Check out the Chateaux dans les Arbres in the Dordogne in France, which offers castle-style houses complete with private hot tubs on the terrace. You don’t need to fly across an ocean for this kind of vacation, either: the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur offers a combination of dining, architecture, and a spa experience that will feel like an exotic destination. Bonus: their rooms all include desks so you can squeeze in some time on the laptop if you need to.
Royal Treatment in a Castle
Castle hotels are found across the UK and Ireland, but if you’re going for the experience of royalty, you’ll want a castle with history and the scenery of fairy tales. Ashford Castle, in Connemara, Ireland, sits on a 350-acre estate on the edge of Lake Corrib. This castle, which was built circa 1228, has retained Victorian interiors while adding modern features like a spa and a rooftop terrace. With estate activities ranging from archery to falconry to lake cruising, this is an excellent place to take a digital vacation. If you need to escape to modernity, though, the city of Galway is less than an hour away by car.
High Tech Hotel
Don’t want to leave your gadgets behind? Try indulging in tech to the fullest with a visit to Hotel ICON in Hong Kong, where you’ll enjoy fantastic interior design, views of Victoria Harbour, a rooftop pool, and the chance to try out cool new devices like a Cybertecture mirror. This interactive mirror is overlaid with news, weather, and hotel services. The hotel also has its own app that you can access from the provided in-room smartphone. While you’re in town, visit the Mongkok Computer Centre, which houses more than 70 computer shops.
If sitting by the beach doing nothing isn’t your idea of a luxury vacation, or if you have an artsy side that gets neglected during your long days on the computer, try a creative retreat. These can range from a small collection of cabins somewhere in the wilderness designed to cultivate the creative mind to luxury adventures around the world. Annette Joseph’s workshops, for instance, have taken place in Italy, Berlin, and Marrakesh. On a trip like this, food, lodging, and activities are taken care of for you—all you do is show up and indulge yourself.
Spa in the Ice
There are many reasons to visit Iceland, but a dip in one of its many natural hot springs is up there on the list. But how to choose one? Blue Lagoon is the best known, but check out Secret Lagoon for a less-trafficked option with outstanding scenery. Take the Golden Circle tour to see some of the country’s best natural attractions, including a stop Secret Lagoon. Another reason to visit Iceland is, of course, the Northern Lights, so plan this trip for the winter months. To complete the experience, book your stay at Hotel Borg or 101 Hotel in Reykjavik.
Plan the Perfect Trip
Once you’ve settled on a destination, use your smartphone to get yourself ready. Input your location, activities, and length of the trip into PackPoint for a customised packing list that includes everything you’d normally forget. Use TripIt to organise all the details of your itinerary in one place. Then, when you’re on your adventure, be sure to have Google Trips at the ready. The app includes customised guides and shows you what food and attractions are near your hotel. Best of all, it downloads information to function offline when you’re trekking around.
Finally, be ready to snap all those memories by decking out your iPhone with a Lander Torrey Case, which will protect it from cold and includes a lanyard so you can stop worrying about dropping it over the edge of a cliff.
So where will you go first?
The Carousel would like to thank Hilary Thompson for her article