Cuba is hotter than ever with the sweeping changes in US - Cuba relations. The allure of a place that’s been ‘forbidden’ for more than 50 years, a veritable time warp with vintage 50’s cars and sultry Latin music, the excitement of a locale that’s on the brink of change is drawing Americans like never before. You can’t help but feel the buzz.
Myanmar, (Burma) is on everyone’s hot list and it’s easy to see why. An exotic locale with a veritably untouched culture, golden temples and wondrous pagodas is a traveler’s dream. Now a coveted destination for the high-end set, Burma is experiencing a tourism boom. Last year saw a 54 percent increase in arrivals. On my recent trip through the country, I felt like I had journeyed back in time. The allure of a mystical land that has side-stepped modernization may not last for long. If you’re thinking of going, go now.
The Basque Country in the western Pyrenees, spanning the border between Spain and France, has long been renowned for its outstanding gastronomy. The Basque people have their own culture, traditions and language, although almost all speak Spanish. Friendly and proud, they are also passionate - especially about their cuisine. There has been a long-standing tradition of men cooking and socializing in male cooking clubs called ‘gastronomic societies.’ Hence, the famed Basque male chefs and their coveted restaurants.
The region offers fine wines, stunning architecture, beaches, a scenic coastline and luxurious hotels in addition to its Michelin starred cuisine. Whether pairing the locale with a visit to Madrid, Barcelona or Paris, or opting to solely bask in the glorious Basque, this precious gem will not disappoint.
India promises travelers an extraordinary journey filled with Maharajah’s palaces, ancient temples and a riot of sensory delights. It is said that to truly understand the heart and soul of this rich culture, one must experience Varanasi and Kerala. Add on a visit to a luxurious spa/wellness resort in the foothills of the Himalayas and a jaunt to see the elusive Bengal Tiger at Ranthambore Park. You’ll have a dream itinerary of India's unrivaled treasures.
Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city and pulsating commercial capital, boasts a dynamic blend of new and old. Nowhere is the country’s rich history and vibrant, fast-developing future more apparent than this cosmopolitan metropolis, often the first stop for visitors to Vietnam. Sleek skyscrapers, luxury hotels, designer shops, sidewalk cafes and traffic-jammed streets are juxtaposed with traditional markets, ancient temples and striking reminders of the city’s storied past.
I just returned from Vietnam, a place that consistently receives raves from all who visit. Its breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and fascinating history make it an appealing destination for both first-time and return visitors, couples, families and singles alike. With its lush countryside, charming colonial cities, ancient waterways, great food and lovely beaches, there’s surely something for every taste. The country is taking note of its growing appeal to sophisticated, affluent visitors with new luxe properties, elite riverboats, high-end spas and top restaurants. Famed documentarian Ken Burn’s upcoming series about Vietnam is bound to cast the country in the spotlight once again.
It’s not surprising that the Wall Street Journal recently hailed Hong Kong as the world’s top travel destination. Business travelers frequenting this thriving financial hub in close proximity to China, and leisure visitors enjoying the amenities of this cosmopolitan gateway to Asia, have created an enormous influx of international guests. Having just visited this bustling metropolis, it’s not hard to understand Hong Hong’s appeal. A veritable foodie and shopper’s paradise with hopping nightlife, eye popping high rises, great sights and stunning Victoria Harbour where east meets west in the most glamorous ambiance, there’s easily something for everyone.
Regarded as “The Paris of South America,“ Buenos Aires is experiencing a tourism boom, attracting more business and leisure travelers to Latin America’s hottest destination. Famous for its rich European flavor, it also offers stunning architecture, superb cuisine, legendary nightlife, and fashionable shopping. Not to mention world-class soccer and the famed game of polo. Argentina’s vibrant, cosmopolitan capital is also an important cruise destination. The cheap peso means luxury for less with everyone taking note. Additionally, Buenos Aires is gay friendly. The tango hub of the world is ideal for clients seeking glamorous, lively, gastronomic destinations. It is fast becoming the ‘chic’ city to visit in 2014.
Akiva Weiss, recognized as the founding father of Tel Aviv, had a vision that it would one day become Israel’s New York City. This booming economic, artistic and cultural center is proof positive that his prophecy has come to pass. Driving along its Mediterranean coastline, with cafes, palm trees and luxury hotels fronting sandy beaches, I saw soaring buildings that were not there when I visited two years ago, and new ones being built. Tel Aviv’s star is definitely on the rise.
Lounging on a private beach at Mozambique’s Indigo Bay is paradise. The weather is ideal - a soft breeze and not overly hot. The sun warms your body like a blanket. The turquoise Indian Ocean is so clear, you can see the underwater rocks far out into the water from the beach. The white sand feels like you are walking on talcum powder. There are no bugs. Perfect.