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It's the ES Magazine 2024 Wanderlist! From safari to skiing, here's how to travel this year

Would you go all inclusive? (Hoxton Mini Press)
Would you go all inclusive? (Hoxton Mini Press)

A CARIBBEAN LOVE SUMMIT AND THE RISE OF SEX RETREATS

Feel like a dirty weekend isn’t going to cut it? Prepare to bring a third ‘person’ into your marriage with a sex retreat. You could go super-luxe, flying to the exclusive Aerial in the British Virgin Islands to partake in the Elevate Love Summit. It promises to work on the bedrocks of intimacy (communication, resolving conflicts, understanding your partner’s emotional life; you know, the sexy stuff), as well as reigniting passion — all while eating delicious food, swimming in the preposterously picturesque aquamarine Caribbean waters and basking in the October sun.

If you’re expecting something a little more personal, try a private retreat for an intensive four days of sexual healing courtesy of Intimacy Moons. Expect pre-retreat consultations, six hours of bespoke workshops with sexuality educator Marissa Nelson and two post-retreat sessions to keep you on track and, most importantly, satisfied. Settings vary: opt for the Conrad hotel in downtown Washington, DC, or ask for somewhere sunnier like Miami, Barbados or the Bahamas to embark on your ‘studies’.

SAFARI SO GOOD

Go wild at Sujan's tented camps in Rajasthan (Anjali Singh)
Go wild at Sujan's tented camps in Rajasthan (Anjali Singh)

Think safari is still the preserve of royals and those guys who put tiger pictures on their dating profiles? Think again...

The new Big 5

Lush Madagascar is the place to view Africa’s alternative Big 5 by helicopter. Move over lions, elephants and rhinos, the marine alternative boasts whales, dolphins and sharks lapping up the warmer climes. Which you can match in the seductive seclusion of the Miavana by Time + Tide resort. (miavana.com)

Different stripes

If tracking tigers sounds like quite a lot of hard work, Suján’s opulent camp in Sher Bagh offers 12 canopied suites larger than the average Zone 1 two-bed, nestled inside Rajasthan’s best big cat sanctuary, to make it all feel a little less tiring. (thesujanlife.com)

Made in Britain

Keep your wildlife watching closer to home with a seabird safari by Scilly Pelagics, nestled off the Cornish coast, and encounter sharks and dolphins along with your education on the rare breeds of the Cory’s and great shearwaters, as well as the holy grail: the Wilson’s storm-petrel. (scillypelagics.com)

The white stuff

Walking with lions? Pah! That annoying guy in the pub has probably bored you with his exploits already. Polar bears, however… yes, strolling with these beasts is a whole new snowball game and Churchill Wild on Canada’s Hudson Bay is about the only place you can do it. (churchillwild.com)

The fantastical world of Lisbon in Poor Things
The fantastical world of Lisbon in Poor Things

AS SEEN ON SCREEN

Remake your own cinematic journey

Priscilla - Las Vegas

Time-travel back to 1967 to Elvis and his new wife’s wedding at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, which closed in 1997. There’s no shortage of lookalikes on the Strip to keep the legend alive — and the AI show is coming soon, too.

Poor Things - Budapest/Lisbon

Only a fraction of Emma Stone’s Grand Tour was shot in real places, so set designers created a miniaturised vertiginous Lisbon and 19th-century London. Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library in Budapest stood in for Lord Blessington’s house.

Saltburn - Northamptonshire

Once the preserve of Jane Austen adaptations and National Trust nanas, now Lowick’s Drayton House (aka Saltburn) has more midlands rock’n’roll than Ozzy Osbourne eating a bat. Naked Barry Keoghan spotting (sadly) unlikely.

Killers of the Flower Moon - Oklahoma

Not that you’d necessarily want to relive this heart-wrench, but the historic sites of Pawhuska, Osage County, are worth a visit for a glimpse into the 1920s setting and the area’s native heritage.

Maestro - Connecticut

Everything looks better in black and white (apart from Bradley’s nose), but curiously, Connecticut is even more picturesque in person. Head to Fairfield, where Leonard Bernstein had a home, for those East Coast maritime vibes.

The Aurora Australis over Lake Wanaka (Black Tomato)
The Aurora Australis over Lake Wanaka (Black Tomato)

STARRY STARRY NIGHTS

Check the weather forecasts no further: 2024 will be the clearest opportunity to catch the northern lights in 20 years, meaning there will never be a better time to make the trip to spot them.

Take your sky-gazing to Deplar Farm, on Iceland’s atmospherically named Troll Peninsula (you never know whether you might spot a troll, too). The award-winning lodge has 13 superlatively appointed rooms, premium spa (including i-sopod floatation tanks to get away from absolutely everything), geothermal indoor and outdoor pool with swim-up bar, and it’s all accessible by not one, but two helipads — in case you want a Succession-style glimpse of the brutally unique landscape from above.

If you fancy a longer adventure for your star-spotting, Mt John Observatory in New Zealand is the southern hemisphere’s premier location thanks to minimal light pollution of the world’s largest accredited International Dark Sky Reserve. From there you can tour to Mt Cook, the highest point in the area where you can bask under the lesser-seen glory of the aurora australis with Maori tales and waiata (songs).

Meanwhile, if you want party vibes to go with your gazing, the world’s most remote club, Detour Discotheque in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, is back in May. Being 3,000m above sea level is the ultimate way to see stars — not to mention Erol Alkan on the decks.

SLOPE BURNERS

Choose your ski tribe

The nonna cognoscenti

The only sight to match wisping licks of snow skimming off the Matterhorn? Impossibly chic octogenarians who live their lives smoking outside coffee shops across the Alps. The uniform of said Cortina cavaliers is simple: beaver coats, lashings of pearls and one battered, old Birkin each.

The après-luvvies

Has never walked in a ski boot (‘I’ll bruise my shins!’), the après-only flock are proud owners of Perfect Moment ski suits, sparkling new Moon Boots, fresh blow-outs and rollicking-great pairs of Gstaad-approved Gucci shades. A magnum of Moët, half a dozen oysters and an al fresco jacuzzi, danke.

The A-list Aspeners

Packs more new season swag for street-style slope shots than an underperforming influencer hauling herself to fashion week. Notable purveyors are the Kardashian clan, Rihanna and Justin Bieber — Pharrell Williams designed Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga’s ski capsule garb and (ahem, Kendall Jenner) sold out Phoebe Philo outfits all come approved for 2024.

The ‘ski lifts start at 8am’ neurotics

The proud setters of 7am alarms and wearers of Uniqlo heat tech thermals and TK Maxx’s best salopettes as they swish through the breakfast buffet by 7.30am. Most likely to wear purple on the slopes, and always have pockets bulging with heat pads and Snickers bars. Can’t bear complaining; we are only here for a week!

THE NINE-MONTH CRUISE

What fresh hell is this?

More than 1,000 passengers; 65 countries; 274 days. At up to £92,000, Royal Caribbean’s longest-ever cruise was always going to be an unforgettable experience. Although, if the onboard drama being fed to us via TikTok is anything to go by, some passengers may be left wanting to forget. ‘There’s going to be blood. Someone is going overboard,’ were the words of TikToker Marc Sebastian.

The liner set sail on 10 December and will continue on its voyage until September — and has already been dubbed the nine-month long social media reality show. Somewhere between Triangle of Sadness and Below Deck, within two weeks the hashtag #UltimateWorldCruise attracted more than 150 million views.

There have already been rumours of swingers, a class system emerging, allegations of racism, oh, and a flood. Naturally, creators on board are documenting every minute. Fortunately, leaving the cruise for us means turning off our phones; meanwhile for the passengers on board, it’s cabin fever for the next eight months. To make matters worse, they’re running out of wine…

Lucy Smith and Pauline Ranken scaling the Salisbury Crags in 1908
Lucy Smith and Pauline Ranken scaling the Salisbury Crags in 1908

IN PRAISE OF…

The Ladies Scottish Climbing Club

Next time you’re Lycra’d up and 270 degrees on the bouldering wall, spare a thought for members of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club, the oldest all-women mountaineering club still in existence, who used to spend their afternoons scaling the crags in ankle-length frocks, smart jackets and lace-up heels — certainly a lot more chic than those funny little toe shoes you’ll be invited to hire at most of the capital’s climbing walls today (yes, even when they’re sported by Harry Styles).

The pioneering mountaineering society had just 14 members back at its founding in 1908 and boasts more than 100 today, though you’ll need to be ice-axe proficient and able to navigate by compass in poor visibility to qualify. Meets take place on rocky ridges from Corsica to the Cairngorms, with excursions including kayaking and ski-touring.

GOING ALL-IN AGAIN

Speedos. Beach towels precision placed. Soltan in your eyes. Everyone committedly eating the same ham, egg and chips from the buffet. It only took a colour-packed Hoxton Mini Press book to remind us just why we love the unique charms of the prix fixe sojourn. Hand us the Thomas Cook brochure and fire up the Teletext, we’re off to Lloret de Mar!

‘The Package Holiday 1969-1985’, by Jake Clark, with photography by Trevor Clark, is published on 15 February

The rooftop of The Emory Hotel
The rooftop of The Emory Hotel

LONDON CALLING

After the mammoth season of billion-pound openings (The OWO, The Peninsula, 1 Hotel Mayfair etc) we’ve got two more on the horizon. Six Senses is opening its first London outpost, left, in Bayswater, where a verdant oasis is springing up in the centre of what was the art deco department store Whiteleys, with 110 guest rooms and 14 branded residences. Giving it some heat, snake down the Serpentine to The Emory, launching in April, by the same group behind Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Connaught. It’s a haven of modern calm, with clean lines and Jean-Georges Vongerichten cooking up a storm downstairs.

Compulsive view: TV's Nothing to Declare
Compulsive view: TV's Nothing to Declare

A DECLARATION OF TV BRILLIANCE

What do you mean you don’t have a 24-hour rolling screen showing Aussie TV hit ‘Nothing to Declare’? The appeal, says our editor Ben Cobb (who is obsessed), is that deep feeling of unease we all experience as we go through the green aisle at customs. That looking-shadily-over-our-shoulder as if we’ll be pulled up and shown that our carry-on is packed with contraband tortoises. The show is the perfect blend of humanity at its worst (jittery, sweating with fear) and crime drama (low-key ‘Peru Twos’ trying to explain away their cocaine-laden mirrors). International smuggling is always less glamorous and more bound up in gaffer tape than you think.