SPECIAL ADVISERS

Most people stay smugly tight-lipped when they discover a travel gem. But UltraVilla opens its ultimate black book of holiday rentals from a collection of specialist travel companies (now more than 30). Playing fairy godmother to travellers.

UltraVilla offers the inside track to lesser-known hideaways without the hassle of cross-referencing prices and reviews. With properties hand-picked for their spectacular settings and world-class amenities, and an expert for each continent, every base is covered – from architect-designed lofts and beachfront villas with infinity pools to luxuriously appointed ski chalets.

BREAK FREE

The adult gap year, it seems, is quite the thing – and for the overworked, can be a chance to reboot and reconsider lifestyle choices. The first question is, where to start? Health and Fitness Travel has the perfect solution:

a year-long Ultimate Around the World Wellness Trip with multiple stops in 20 countries and awe-inspiring experiences in some of the most exclusive destinations. There are yoga, massage and meditation sessions in India, the Caribbean, Thailand and the Philippines; or adventure seekers can paraglide to a private beach in Oman, zip wire through Costa Rican forest, scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef and hike in Utah’s Red Mountains. Don’t let your second question be. What if?

VIVA MEXICO!

Mexico is becoming the destination for travellers seeking out new properties, with a host of openings on the horizon. After the recent debut of the JW Marriott resort, occupying acres of Pacific coastline in Los Cabos, and the adults-only Breathless hotel in the same area, come a raft of high-end additions.

The W is due to open a 120-villa resort in Punta de Mita; Mar Adentro by Encanto will provide a 143-suite haven for design aficionados in San José del Cabo; and Rosewood (above) will open a fourth Mexican property, this time in Puebla. Early bookings can be made through Abercrombie & Kent. Alternatively, to take in a range of locations – and flavours – try A&K’s Food, Wine & Tequilla Tour, which includes cookery classes and tours of food markets and vineyards from Mexico City to Punta de Mita.

NEWs

What a carry-on

In classic shapes and a rainbow of shades, handmade bags by Italian label Serapian are guaranteed to upgrade your travel experience. For more than 75 years, the company has been creating timeless leather goods that age gracefully. Its new range of bags and luggage features jewel tones such as amethyst and emerald green, and its bespoke service lets you choose the leather, colour and hardware to make a piece your own.

Cruise-LINE

Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant The French Laundry set new standards for cooking in California. Now, the American chef tackles a new challenge – joining boutique cruise line Seabourn. Keller is creating a menu and signature restaurant onboard the Seabourn Quest before expanding the initiative to the whole fleet.

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