As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and international travel all the more common, it's hard to find new exciting destinations that aren't totally packed with tourists. Fortunately for us, there are still many awesome places in the world that are relatively unknown. Here are a few of our favourites.
Peru is known for the Inca site of Machu Picchu, but the country’s northern Pacific coastline also deserves mention. This area is sunny and spectacular and home to Máncora, a town with awesome surfing, pleasant weather, and ample dining and lodging options.
Once a backwater fishing village, Máncora is now the coolest coastal town in all of Peru. Its laid-back, bohemian vibe gives it a friendly atmosphere that fits perfectly the lovely local landscape. The consistently good surf (all year round) draws a sun-bleached, board-toting bunch and lively nightlife keeps visitors busy after the sun dips into the sea in a ball of fiery flames. There are several smaller beaches nearby that are nice places to relax and watch the waves roll in.
The sleepy beach hamlet of Mal País is billed as a surfer's paradise, and the surf is indeed exceptional. Get ready for tasty waves, creative kitchens and babes in board shorts and bikinis, because the southwestern corner of Península de Nicoya has all that and more. In addition to the surf, the hills are dotted with stylish boutique sleeps and sneaky good kitchens run by the occasional runaway, top-shelf chef.
A 4-wheel drive vehicle comes in handy for navigating unpaved roads in this still mostly wild area, particularly during the rainy season. Though locals zip around on quad bikes and motorcycles transporting their surfboards.
Named for an early Dutch settler and former pirate, rugged scenery and colorful folklore make up Jost Van Dyke. With fewer than 300 inhabitants, and measuring roughly 8 square kilometers, Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the BVIs. But don't let this fool you. This little island has been dubbed the “New York of the Virgin Islands” because it offers so much nightlife — probably packs more fun per square inch than any other island in the BVIs.
Home to the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar (which was named for a patron who reportedly anchored his boat swam to shore for a drink, and paid for it with wet cash), the Soggy Dollar is probably most famous as being the birthplace of the potent yet refreshing cocktail known as the Painkiller.
For the adventure seekers, why not rent a four-wheeler and explore the off-road? Or hire a boat and explore the neighbouring islands? Whatever your fancy, JVD aims to please.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of a kind. It is a place that will stun you with her natural beauty, fascinate and inspire you with her rich cultural heritage, and touch you with her warm and genuine hospitality.
The signature sight in pretty Blagaj village is the half-timbered Tekija standing beside the surreally blue-green Buna River where it gushes out of a cliff-cave. Upstairs the Tekija's wobbly wooden interior entombs two 15th-century Tajik dervishes and attracts pious pilgrims.
Levanzo is known to be the smallest of islands among the Aegadian islands in Italy. Known for its natural charm and beauty, Levanzo is surrounded by the blue green waters of the Mediterranean Sea along the north of Favignana close to Sicily.
Many people come here to spend some quiet moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and enjoy the scenic beauty of the island. The locals lead a very simple and peaceful lifestyle here away from the chaos.
The village is split into two sections by the majestic villa at its centre, which overlooks Cala Dogana and the strait between Levanzo and Favignana, scene of many naval battles. In each of the sections can be found a fantastic bar, with terraces that enjoy the same view as the villa. Sipping a coffee or fruit juice while looking down at the seagulls that endlessly circle over the harbour can be a magical moment that sums up what Levanzo is all about: the appreciation of nature far from the incessant rhythms of daily life.
Friday is upon us, the eagle has landed and we're ready to make the most of it. Here are some SAINT LUKE approved ways of having some fun and burning some cash in London this weekend.
Union Chapel, TONIGHT, £20 The head Lemonhead and ’90s alt rock hero, returns with his acoustic guitar to dip into the Lemonheads discography, his own lovely solo material and some of the many fine cover versions he's notched up over the years.
Rio, Saturday, £8.50. One of the greatest fright flicks of all time, ’The Shining’ sees Jack Nicholson drag his wife and psychic son up a mountain to be the hotel’s winter caretaker.
Exhibition: Self, Lazarides, until 17 March. "The result of more than a year of translating metaphorical blood, sweat and tears into paintings, is an exhibition of living, breathing self-portraits that laugh in the face of our filtered Instagram culture."
South Kensington, TONIGHT, free. It’s time once again for the monthly late opening of the museum. Check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition or join an expert-led discussion about digital image manipulation.
Islington Green, Saturday, free. An initiative originally run in Cape Town and now spreading kindness far and wide, The Street Store sees groups of volunteers gather donations from their local community and display them in an outdoor ‘shop’, making items of clothing and accessories available for free to homeless people in the area.
Trapeze, TONIGHT, £7, £5 adv. Southern Hospitality’s night named after an annual hip hop bash in Chicago promises the ‘buckest, hypest and widest’ music around. Founders Rob Pursey and Davey Boy Smith will be banging out beats from the likes of Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Boosie, Outkast, Cash Money and Ludacris.
Whichever way you look at it, going on holiday can be an expensive business. Here's where we have your back: we've selected 10 awesome luxury hotels that are surprisingly affordable. From Bali all the way to Budapest, all of these hotels are SAINT LUKE approved - so you can relax in style and comfort knowing you've got some spare bucks for those late night rums...
Located in the trendy enclave of Seminyak, Bali’s upscale play paradise, L Hotel is the quintessential luxury resort and only minutes away from the beach. From its chic decor and personal butler service, you’ll be spoiled silly from the moment you step off the plane.
This handsome, ivy-draped hotel is a romantic refuge located right in the heart of Campo de' Fiori. The hotel's colorful, elegant furnishings, frescoes, and exposed brick make it unique, as do the riveting views from the rooftop terrace. In addition to the guest rooms, the hotel also offers apartments in the area that can accommodate two to five guests.
Join the kite surfers and koi fish at Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa, which spawls across three heavenly hectares in beachy, off-the-radar Mui Ne. Villas are spacious and well designed, the area is untouched, and the hotel’s food and cocktails exploit the local vanilla and dragon fruit plantations to delicious effect.
More than just a boutique bolthole, Brody House – a sometime film and fashion-shoot set – also has a members’ club with a stylish bar, a block of shabby-chic apartments, and gallery and printing studio Brody ArtYard, in four city-centre locales. The club and ArtYard have calendars crammed full of exhibitions, live music and book readings, and rooms at the hotel are an extension of this creative streak: like our bags, each is named after the artist whose work hangs on its walls. The communal spaces have high ceilings, lots of natural light and original parquet floors; yet somehow the townhouse still has the air of a (very cool) private home, and the apartments even more so.
Retro and full of attitude, The Burrard is one of Vancouver’s most character-filled hotels —and it's affordable. The Burrard's décor channels ‘70s L.A. and the downtown hotel is touted as “like Melrose Place, only there’s no pool to drown in.” It offers free movie channels in the guest rooms, free super-fast WiFi, free Electra Cruiser bike rentals, and even free umbrellas for rainy days.
A quirky 60-room hotel just a tome's throw from the New York Public Library, this lovingly book-themed tower is a bibliophile's dream stay. It's also within walking distance to many Midtown tourist attractions, several transportation hubs, and enough bars and restaurants to keep one's non-lettered hours plenty busy. Fashioned from a landmark 1900 brick and terra cotta structure this building has been beautifully restored into a mansion-style hotel of the highest caliber.
If another architect had had their way with the former water-purifying factory of La Purificadora, the end result might be a slap in the face for the baroque buildings of Puebla, but Ricardo Legorreta’s sensitive reinvention is more a pat on the back. Combining the weathered woods, peeling paintwork and other original elements of industry with vast black-granite staircases, glass panels, and rich purple couches arranged around open coal fires, this boutique hotel in Mexico is an inspiring shrine to industrial chic.
Valentina has brought light and space to traditional Salteño style, combining white walls and lofty ceilings with classical modernist hallmarks: a whole wall of paned glass in the dining room, a soaring minimalist fireplace and a stunning swimming pool. Mid-century modern classics are everywhere, but so are antique chairs, and the hall is hung with ancient woven ponchos. The result is delightfully crisp and airy, but you know you’re in Salta. All bedrooms mix high-end comfort with vintage finds, and the bathrooms are perfect little havens. The food is superb. It’s like staying with relaxed, very welcoming friends.
Despite its high-rise size, Hotel Muse in Bangkok feels refreshingly intimate, thanks to its seductive Euro-inspired decor and lofty layout. The ambience is playful yet elegant and its sensual city-view bedrooms are offset by super-styled interiors, including some of the most hedonistic wining and dining spots in town.
Simple and spacious, with white walls and brightly coloured fabrics, Riad Anyssates’ suites are named after the owners’ children and friends. Staff radiate the impression that working here is barely a chore. Everyone seems totally delighted to be at the hotel, and, after a leisurely afternoon supping mint tea on the rooftop terrace and watching the Marrakech medina bustle away below, you will be too.