Destination Guides

2017: A Year in Travel

Top hotel openings to new airline routes: a curated collection of the year’s happenings

2017: A Year in Travel
Photo: Karin Braby


The new year starts off in top gear in northern Finland with Bentley Power on Ice, a rare chance in January and February to experience driving on a frozen lake in a selection of the revered marque’s models – including the SUV, Bentayga. 

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In fact, Finland is the place to be all year round as the country celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence with a multitude of events leading up to big day in December, including special performances by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Finnish National Ballet. 

Bentley's Power on Ice


In warmer climes, wildlife watching is given an interesting spin in Kenya at the recently opened Angama Mara lodge, where, between January and May and in November and December, guests can experience the majesty of the Masai Mara and Great Rift Valley from a hot air balloon. 

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Aerial travel of another kind will get a boost on 25 January, with the reintroduction of Qantas’s Sydney to Beijing route. For the first time since 2009, the Australian airline’s Airbus A330-200 will fly to the Chinese capital daily. Also resuming services – this time in May - will be Delta, whose Boeing 767-300 will fly from New York to Berlin’s Tegel airport, non-stop, once more. 

Angama Mara's hot balloon ride over the Masai Mara and Great Rift Valley

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Spring will bring developments on the water, with Silverseas launching its new Fincantieri-built flagship Silver Muse, a 596-passenger vessel, which will cruise the Mediterranean. Meanwhile Aqua Expeditions will offer a women-only four-night cruise on the Aria Amazon, taking in the remarkable sights of the massive waterway departing from Iquitos, Peru (20-24 March). 

Silversea's Silver Muse


Back on land, South Africa welcomes a major new port of call on 1 March with the opening of The Silo in Cape Town. Built above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (which will open in September), the 28-room hotel includes a Liz Biden-designed penthouse. 


Eight destinations, from South Korea to Paris, are included in the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience taking off 27 May. Shuttling between them on the company’s custom-designed jet and, of course, staying in its renowned hotels, this 18-night journey is a gourmand’s dream with a specially curated itinerary from Noma’s René Redzepi designed to explore the world’s culinary landscape. 


Still up in the clouds but with its wheels on the ground, The Belmond Andean Explorer will make its maiden journey in May. One of the highest train journeys on Earth, it will allow passengers to travel between the ancient Inca capital Cusco and Peru’s second city Arequipa in style.  


Summer will bring forth one of the great experiences of the year in the US where on 24 August, a total solar eclipse will be visible in a 70 mile (117km) corridor from Oregon in the northwest to South Carolina in the east. 


Staying with rarely spotted things, The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel, will become the first significant new hotel to open in Hong Kong Central in some considerable time. Housed in a onetime government building, it will have 336 spacious suites and rooms in its 27 storeys when it opens in October. 

Rosewood Phuket

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And around the world there are hotel developments preparing to add a touch of class to the global scene throughout the year – in Thailand the 103 villas and residences of Rosewood Phuket will mark the brand’s debut Asian resort; another premier awaits in Warsaw, where the revered Hotel Europejski will reopen as the 103-key Raffles Europejski, Warsaw, the first five-star hotel in Poland; the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills will become an LA landmark on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevard, with 170 rooms designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon; and Bulgari will bring the total of properties in its portfolio to five with 100 rooms and suites, 20 residential villas and a marina at the Bulgari Resorts and Residences Dubai.

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