By David Ward Destination Specialist

With more and more destinations opening to fully vaccinated UK travellers, we're looking forward to making 2022 a year to savour. One where we put wanderlust to one side in favour of real-life adventure, rediscovering the old, revelling in the new and remembering all the things we love about luxury travel. To get you inspired, our specialists have picked out ten of their top trips – their ones to watch for the year ahead. There's everything from indulgent rail journeys in the USA, Europe and Far East, to luxury island-hopping in Greece and adventure-packed holidays under the Northern Lights in Lapland. Whatever you choose, we’ll be on hand to help you plan your journey right down to the smallest details. 

1. An Arctic adventure

There are few more exciting winter holidays than those to the snowy wilds above the Arctic Circle. Adventure abounds at every turn, played out across everything from husky safaris to snowmobiling as the Northern Lights dance in kaleidoscopic swirls overhead. But, it’s not just the thrills of the wilderness that makes Finnish Lapland so alluring. It’s also a region known for its innovative accommodation and stunning Nordic design. And, there are few better examples of this than the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel ¬– all glass, steel and pine set to a glorious backdrop of snow-dusted boreal forest.

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Arctic Treehouse Hotel

2. An alternative route on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

While the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will continue to wow guests across a full range of routes for 2022, many of its classic journeys are already sold out, not least due to all those rebooked trips from 2020 and 2021. However, if you’ve got your heart set on a trip aboard the world’s leading luxury train then fear not, as there are still cabins and suites available on some of its newer routes, including one of our favourites – Venice to Amsterdam. Not only will you experience the myriad delights of Italy’s floating city, including a stay at one of its leading hotels, but you’ll also have the chance to soak in the sights and sounds of the Dutch capital, canals, coffee shops and all. Of course, it’s all enjoyed alongside the Art Deco splendours and fine dining of the world’s most famous train – perfection!

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Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

3. A classic California road trip

We’re delighted that the USA has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated brits, and what better way to celebrate return stateside than with a class California road trip. Start with the urban delights of San Francisco before heading north for a luxury stay on the breath-taking Sonoma Coast, with its rocky headlands, hidden bays and opportunities for kayaking, horseback riding and wine tasting. Then, let the wine take centre stage in the world-famous Napa Valley before driving inland to celebrate the wild wonders of Yosemite National Park, marvelling at the likes of El Capitan and the magnificent Bridalveil Falls.You’ll wrap thing up in style with an unforgettable drive along the northern section of the Pacific Coast Highway, perhaps heading down to iconic Big Sur before spending a night by the golden sands of Carmel-by-the-sea.

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4. A spectacular rail and cruise combo

Sometime in travel you find the perfect pairing. And, that’s certainly the case with this spectacular combination of rail and cruise, which sees you first wind between western Canada’ valleys, forests, lakes and mountain aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer before hopping aboard Seven Seas Mariner or a cruise along the Alaskan coast. It’s a chance take in some of North America’s wildest landscapes, and encounter some of its famous wildlife, from humpback whales and orcas to roaming grizzly bears on a wide range of expert-led excursions. You’ll also be treated to world-class dining and impeccable service throughout, the perfect contrast to those exciting days in the wilderness.

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5. A taste of coast and culture, Italian style

Staying closer to home, this two-centre Tuscan break is a true celebration of la dolce vita. It all begins on Italy’s sparkling west coast with a five-star stay at the superb Baglioni Cala del Porto. The private beach and gorgeous pool beckon for a spot of sun-kissed relaxation, of course. But so do the vineyards, medieval towns and historic castles which dot the surrounding countryside. And, be sure to explore pretty Punta Ala, with its cobblestone street and al fresco pizzerias. You’ll then pick up your hire car for the scenic drive to Florence, passing through a glorious rural idyll en route to the Renaissance wonders of one of Europe’s genuine city greats. Here, between nights in one of its premier hotels, you’ll have the chance to explore on a guided walking tour, taking in the likes of the famous Duomo and Ponte Vecchio bridge.

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6. An island-hopping adventure in Greece

Another superb option for the European summer, this island-hopping adventure will see you explore two of Greece’s most postcard-perfect islands – Mykonos and Santorini. Packed full of instagrammable moments, you’ll need to have your camera fully charged as you combine stays in super-stylish hotels – both members of the Leading Hotels of the World – with expert-led tours of the likes of ancient Delos in Mykonos and the volcanic wonders of Santorini. You’ll even have the chance to climb up to a still-active crater rim. Of course, there’s plenty of time for relaxation, too, perhaps with a gentle stroll and taverna lunch in idyllic Fira or with some downtime at the spa, by the pool or on the one of the islands’ gorgeous beaches. 

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7. A rail journey and road trip through the American Southwest

This epic journey returns to the famous Rocky Mountaineer, but this time leaving Canada behind for a new route among the magnificent national parks of the American Southwest. You’ll travel in utmost comfort and style as you combine five-star dining and service with trips to three of Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’, including Arches, Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands national parks. But the adventure doesn’t end there, as you’ll then hop behind the wheel of a car to explore Zion National Park’s sandstone monoliths and verdant valley floors before heading through the desert for a two-night stay among the bright lights of Las Vegas.

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8. A tour of northern Spain by luxury train

Staying on the rails, but returning to Europe, this holiday explores one of Europe’s most historic region aboard one of its most elegant trains – think live bar-car music, nights spent in one of the world’s largest train suites and full-board, multi-course dining paired with complimentary fine wines. The route itself winds along Spain’s north coast, tracing the ancient Way of St James pilgrims trail between San Sebastián and Santiago de Compostela, with its imposing Gothic cathedral. In between, you’ll be treated to the very best the region has to offer, including the modernist marvels of Bilbao, Romanesque Oviedo, some magnificent national parks and countless seaside towns and villages home to everything from ancient cave art to thousand-year-old shrines.

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9. An Indian Ocean escape

For a change of pace, head east for a combination of coast and culture which pairs the centuries-old forts and temples of Sri Lanka with a the paradisiacal islands of the Maldives. You’ll kick things off in Colombo with a stay at one of the city’s leading boutique hotels, a wonderfully relaxing introduction to the country. It’s then time to head north, joining expert guides to explore the UNESCO-listed treasures of Kandy, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya – an ancient rock fortress towering above the jungled plains. Next, take the train into the highlands where verdant tea plantations set the scene for your luxurious mountain guesthouse, followed by a night back in Colombo before your flight to Madives for five nights of incomparable indulgence at the exclusive Baros resort.

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10. A taste of the exotic east

What better way to wrap up a year in travel than with a trip on the Eastern & Oriental Express. Not only is it one of the world’s most luxurious trains, but it’s route is also one of the most intriguing. You’ll begin with a five-star stay in Singapore, where we’ve included afternoon tea at the legendary Raffles Hotel, before boarding the train to explore the lush landscapes of the Malaysian Peninsula, from verdant jungles to sweeping tea plantations. Indeed, you’ll take in all in on a series of guided tours, including food tastings, dance performances and rice-paddy walks. Otherwise, why not join an expert naturalist for a hill trek before heading north to Thailand and the infamous bridge on the River Kwai, where you’ll choose between cycle tours and cooking classes. Finally, rumble into Bangkok for a stay at one of the Thai capital’s finest hotels. 

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