Wilderness Safaris

Safari Shake-Up: Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

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Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, named for the centuries of shipwrecks on its rugged shores, has traditionally been a place for only the most intrepid of safari-goers. Enter Wilderness Safaris’ Hoanib Camp, a desert oasis along the Hoanib River that is luring a new set of travelers to what feels like the end of the earth. Accessible only by chartered plane, eight sprawling tents are decorated with African textiles and oversize, canvas-covered chairs that face the undulating Kaokoveld Desert. Even in this unforgiving climate, it’s common to see signs of life near camp, from oryx and elephants to desert-adapted lions. wilderness-safaris.com. $$$$

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

It List 2015: the Best New Hotels on the Planet

Safari Shake-Up: Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, named for the centuries of shipwrecks on its rugged shores, has traditionally been a place for only the most intrepid of safari-goers. Enter Wilderness Safaris’ Hoanib Camp, a desert oasis along the Hoanib River that is luring a new set of travelers to what feels like the end of the earth. Accessible only by chartered plane, eight sprawling tents are decorated with African textiles and oversize, canvas-covered chairs that face the undulating Kaokoveld Desert. Even in this unforgiving climate, it’s common to see signs of life near camp, from oryx and elephants to desert-adapted lions. wilderness-safaris.com. $$$$

Wilderness Safaris

It List 2015: the Best New Hotels on the Planet

It looks like a concrete-and-glass spaceship touched down amid the lush hills of Chilean wine country. In fact, it’s Viña Vik, a new retreat that’s thrillingly original and opening up the Millahue Valley to more travelers.

Wine-country hotels the world over tend to follow a few familiar themes—intimate scale, lots of stone and rough-hewn beams, expansive views, good food—and if they often deliver a high degree of comfort, they also rarely offer many surprises.

Viña Vik is the opposite, from its curvilinear winery designed by Smiljan Radic to rooms that pursue an idea (say, an homage to Piero Fornasetti) down to the smallest detail. It’s the kind of hotel that can singlehandedly make a trip memorable.

After all, there are great new hotels, and then there are game changers. For our 10th annual editors’ choice awards, we picked 43 transformative properties—and vetted each one with a hotel stay.

Our search took us from Anguilla to Australia, from India to Italy. In Florida, we followed the cool crowd to the Miami Beach Edition, the latest scene-maker in Mid-Beach. The party begins in the lobby, with its all-white billiards table, and overflows into a nightclub, a bowling alley, a Jean-Georges restaurant, even a skating rink.

In Portugal, the arrival of Sublime Comporta opens up a stretch of coastline that’s been a longtime getaway for Lisbon’s smartest families. The husband-and-wife owners make guests feel like instant insiders, pointing out the best beaches and arranging scenic horseback rides.

These remarkable newcomers are a reminder that a great hotel can be a destination unto itself. They provide not just a place to rest your head but also an entire rationale to get on a plane and explore someplace new.

So check out this year’s It List and get planning.

Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

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