Sun. Nov 28th, 2021


Speaking of Indonesia: do not believe those who say that Bali is no longer worth fulfilling. It’s all about knowing which parts of the island of the gods still show the magic, without the crowds and traffic. Tabanan, a UNESCO-designated site (and home to probably the world’s most photogenic rice breeds) in Bali’s less-trump west, is one such place; that’s where Nirjhara quietly opened earlier this year. The suites and villas – one or two bedrooms, scattered along the terraces or immersed in the palm groves – are all stone and bamboo, high glass doors and private pools. The appeal here is the coordinates; far away from the battle, with a slightly different lens on Balinese landscape and culture – but within easy reach of Canggu’s pubs, restaurants and beach clubs. nirjhara.com, from £ 260

The swimming pool at the luxury resort of Nirjhara in Bali
The swimming pool at the luxury resort of Nirjhara in Bali

Get wild, Costa Rica style

Nihi Santo Tomás will open in Costa Rica in 2023
Nihi Santo Tomás will open in Costa Rica in 2023 © Pedro Arce

The edge of wildness: this is what Chris Burch and James McBride of the legendary Nihi Sumba in Indonesia have been promising since they scaled up the foot-in-sand surfing resort known as Nihiwatu five years ago. Years of exploration later, they found the perfect place to expand the Nihi brand: Costa Rica – specifically Guanacaste in the northwest, and more specifically still, a 1,000-acre site within striking distance of Witch’s Rock, one of its waves with the most floor. (a match for Occy’s Left, the goofy-foot break that helps make Nihi Sumba famous). Nihi Santo Tomás promises to bring all the top-of-the-class bells, whistles and feelings that Nihi is known for when it opens in early 2023, with 35 suites and 13 villas designed by Carlos Mota. Meanwhile, Burch and McBride complete Nihi’s Edge of Wildness Tented Camp – four ultra-luxury tents, each with a deck and outdoor “stargazing” bed, and access to diving, hiking, world-class horses (polo is another Nihi thing) and more . It opens early next year and they are already taking bookings. nihi.com, from $ 1,500


A whale from a Norwegian adventure

Orca in the far north of Norway
Orca in Norway’s far north © Patrick Dykstra

There is – not surprisingly – an increase in those who are looking for instant solutions for winter holidays. For one with a twist, and a conservation thesis at heart, look to Norway’s far north, where Will Bolsover of master adventure creators Natural World Safaris has just embarked on a land-based “safari” swimming with orca and humpback whales. For eight days, guests will be settled on Skjervoya Island with daily excursions in a private boat to where the whales feed on enormous herring streams; here they will put on dry suits and climb into the water, to be photographed and to watch the spectacle of the annual feed. naturalworldsafaris.com, from £ 6,200 per person


Horses for courses in Rajasthan

A tent at the newly renovated Sher Bagh in India's Ranthambore National Park
A tent at the newly renovated Sher Bagh in India’s Ranthambore National Park © Suján

As “India” and “conservation” are increasingly brought together in the consciousness of the travel world, it is largely due to Jaisal and Anjali Singh, owners of the elite safari adventure collection Suján. In the 1970s, Jaisal’s parents helped map out Ranthambore Park, known today for its tiger safaris. Sher Bagh, the Suján camp that the Singhs opened in 2000, set the standard in terms of wilderness experience and highest comfort. Cut to 2021, and the Singhs were busy: Sher Bagh emerged completely refurbished last month, with more spacious tents and eateries next to the pool (the unparalleled access to the tigers, courtesy of excellent guides laying Ranthambore’s 515 square feet miles mastered, remains unchanged). At the also renovated Jawai, their leopard camp near Pali, Anjali Singh will soon launch Healing with Horses, a comprehensive horse-assisted therapy offering developed over two years. Together with Kathiawari horses and the local Marwari breed – small but stubborn Mughal warhorses – she built space for 20 of them, on land next to Jawai, and developed activities and programs that go far beyond rides to the spectacular dam at Jawai Bandh (though also available). It’s a timely project; horse-assisted therapy is gaining ground in the world of wellness. And we all understand the salutary effects of time in a stunningly beautiful landscape. thesujanlife.com, starting at about $ 943


NoMad Land’s latest digs

The fifth will open in New York in early 2022
The Fifth will open in New York in early 2022 © The Fifth Avenue Hotel

To New York, where a landmark McKim, Mead & White building at 250 Fifth Avenue has been revived with the permission of 31-year-old developer Alex Ohebshalom, whose thriving hotel brand Flâneur offers unique spaces, intimate interactions and elegant design. The Fifth, which opens in the New Year, is its first hotel, and aims high: Martin Brudnizki has made his mark with the 153 rooms and suites, and concierges will put together exclusive insider experiences for guests. thefifthavenuehotel.com

@mariashollenbarger





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