Whether it’s answering the call of the wild or the call of your credit card, there’s a great new destination waiting to be discovered in 2016. Millennium Hotels and Resorts offers luxurious escapes in some of the world’s most exciting and up-and-coming destinations, so with us as a base for your explorations, why not do something entirely different?
Tokyo, Japan: Join a Unique Set of Freaks
Image credit: Michael H / Getty Images
Soon to be an Olympic Games host city in 2020, Tokyo is awash with new developments, placing the Land of the Rising Sun high on people’s must-visit lists before the chaos descends. When it comes to the world’s quirkiest things to do, you can’t beat Tokyo’s array of tempting gems.
Fancy a latte and a chat with an owl? Fukuro no Mise was the perfect excuse for owner Mr Ishikawa to hang out with his birds of prey while pouring coffee. In Akihabara you’ll find an abundance of gadgets, geeks and anime, as well as a French maid to feed you cutesy food items in one of the infamous maid cafés.
Seeing the streets come to life in the Marunouchi Illumination during winter rates as a must-see between November and February, while taking a cooking class is ranked 6th among things to do in Tokyo on TripAdvisor – sushi anyone? For comfort away from the craziness, stay at Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo, which puts you within walking distance of one of Japan's best-known shopping and entertainment districts, the Ginza 4-chome intersection.
Côte d'Or, France: A Sip of Wine, a Taste of Joie de Vivre
Cycling in green Santenay. Credit: Alain Doire/Bourgogne Tourisme
Stay at Millennium Hotel Paris Charles de Gaulle, a modern hotel close to the airport, before heading off further into your French adventures. From Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport you can take a TGV high-speed train to Dijon or Beaune and hire a car to Burgundy’s Côte d'Or. Or you can drive the entire way in about three hours, making it a doable day trip.
UNESCO declared this region part of its World Heritage List in July 2015 and National Geographic recently called Burgundy’s Côte d'Or the “best vantage on vintage France”, no thanks to its abundance of vineyards. Rent a bicycle and take in the scenery, but pedal with care if you’ve been sipping those local wines.
Alaska, USA: Grin and Grizzly Bear it
Brown Bear and Sockeye Salmon, Alaska. Credit: Paul Souders/Getty Images
“The word ‘epic’ barely does Alaska justice,” says Lonely Planet of the so-called Final Frontier, and from your room at The Lakefront Anchorage, (formerly Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage) you’ll have first-class views over the looming Chugach Mountains.
America’s National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, marking a century of overseeing the country’s 59 incredible national parks. Once you’ve been pulled across virgin snow by a pack of Alaskan husky dogs, why not plan some trekking time in the biggest one of all – Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve?
Answer the ‘call of the wild’ by cliff jumping off an iceberg or take a glacier lake raft trip with an experienced crew, such as the one at McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters. Likewise, if tracking grizzly bears and flying seaplanes are high on your adventure agenda for 2016, Alaska should definitely feature in your travel plans.
You will always find something to do in Alaska through the year, but the summer months are the best time to visit as they offer more daylight hours.
Dunedin, New Zealand: Hang with the Otago Albatross
Photo credit: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images
You can feel extra good about planning some me time in delightful Dunedin, which is also a centre for ecotourism. This glorious part of New Zealand is the second largest city in the South Island. From your base at Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin, some of the country’s most outstanding sights beg to be seen.
The Central Otago region is wine region, offering excellent cellar door experiences. But for less Pinot Noir and more culture, drink in the history of the Maori people on a Tiki Tour then head to the Royal Albatross Centre, tucked at the foot of blustery Taiaroa Head. Here you’ll see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross, plus an abundance of seabirds and the Little Blue Penguin colony at Pilots Beach.
February is a great time to visit New Zealand in general, but the penguins gather in the biggest crowds between September and February.
Fujairah, Middle East: Middle Eastern Escapism
Fujairah sand dunes. Photo credit: Amanda White/Getty Images
While Dubai and Abu Dhabi seem to get all the press, there’s a much calmer, much more authentic Middle Eastern experience close by. Nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Hajar Mountains, the upscale Millennium Hotel Fujairah will be your elegant escape from the craziness, just two hours by car from Dubai.
Sea fans will love the snorkelling and diving in Fujairah – turtles, sharks and rays all swim in abundance. For those who prefer their feet on land, a Dibba mountain trek and coastal tour will take you through the wadis (valleys) on some of the UAE’s very best hikes, while culture buffs will want to see Al Badiyah, the nation’s oldest mosque, thought to be over 500 years old.
Back in the city, check out the historic fort and the fascinating heritage village, plus the excellent Masafi Friday Market or Souq al Juma, which, contrary to the name is open every day. Bargain for rugs and ceramics as well as antiques and souvenirs, away from the inflated prices of the nearby cities. It’s the new Dubai – we’re telling you.
We hope we’ve whetted your appetite for adventure with these destination hotspots. What’s on your travel must-see list for 2016?
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