Puglia, the heel of Italy’s stylish boot, has a wonderfully distinct allure that can only come from its rural landscape and patchwork past of Norman, Spanish, Greek and Byzantine influences. The region is quickly rivaling Tuscany’s gourmet title, offering a glimpse into true Italian traditions and values. With miles of bountiful coastline, replete with verdant landscapes of olive groves and vineyards, this pristine region produces some of the country’s best, oft underrated wines and olive oils. Treat yourself to sensory overload and savor Puglia’s famed cucina povera, a stripped back, authentic style of Italian cooking focusing on simple, fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods–it’s the slow-food movement at its best. The region is also home to incredibly unique lodgings like the fabulous hideaway, Borgo Egnazia, a stone-carved haven set amongst Puglia’s olive groves. The creation of one of the most inspirational minds in the hotel world, Aldo Melpignano, and his family, Borgo Egnazia is modeled on a traditional local Apulian borgo (village). Here, the cream-hued estate features romantic suites and villas that are decked out in calming tones and elegantly equipped to meet your every comfort. Also check out their gorgeous sister boutique property, Masseria le Carrube, only opened last year and already becoming the darling of hot hotel lists around the world.
For those seeking a “still relatively off the radar” escape, look no further than wild and virtually unexplored Madagascar. This thriving hotspot of biodiversity is a dream for naturalists and adventurers alike; the island is teeming with endemic wildlife, 80% of which can be found nowhere else on Earth. Unknown to most, Madagascar has some of the best beaches in the Indian Ocean. Check out Nosy Be, Madagascar’s most scenic coastal spot, where guests can spot humpback whales and lemurs on the shoreline. Located on the north-eastern coast of the island, Miavana is the perfect private escape. With only 14 private villas, staying at this luxurious eco-lodge will feel as though you’ve stumbled upon your own Robinson Crusoe haven. Think days exploring lush tropical rainforests and watching turtles nest on the deserted white sand beaches.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh is one of the few places on Earth that remains virtually untouched and unexplored. Situated at an average altitude of 11,500 feet, Ladakh is crisscrossed by four mountain ranges, The Great Himalaya,The Ladakh, The Zanskar and The Karakoram. Boasting mesmerizing views at every turn, it’s one of India’s best kept secrets. Enjoy the calm serenity of the fresh mountain air, incredible views, and rich Buddhist heritage throughout the region. Guests in Ladakh can opt to stay in beautiful homestays like the Shakti Village Houses in unknown villages of the Indus Valley and remote luxury tented camps. Tour the city of Leh with local royalty, meet local monks, stargaze to your heart’s content and even catch a game of Ladakhi Polo, all while enjoying the ultimate escapist’s dream.
Situated in the heart of Central Europe, Slovenia’s Adriatic coastline, endless alpine lakes, and rolling fields of wildflowers and vineyards make it a wonder for the senses. Home to historic castles, picturesque alpine landscapes and Europe’s best emerging food and wine scene, Slovenia is an essential stop on any true European adventure. Visit the Goriška Brda Wine Region and stay in the Gredič Castle Hotel, set within the walls of a 16th century castle. Still retaining many of the castle’s original features, the opulent hotel oozes character and charm. For a culinary highlight, guests can explore the Soca Valley, home to chefs like Ana Roš. At the Hiša Franko Hotel–said to be the place where Ernest Hemingway wrote his bestselling novel, A Farewell to Arms–Ana strives to use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to create dishes that reflect the essence of the region.