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Travel

7 PORTER editors on their dream travel destinations

Cuixmala’s pool and idyllic beach, Mexico. Image courtesy of Cuixmala, Photography, Davis Gerber

With travel plans disrupted for the past year, we’ve all been thinking of the places we can’t wait to return to – and fantasizing about the ones we’re yet to see. These are the trips – from the nostalgic to the bucket list – our editors are dreaming of taking just as soon as they can

Lifestyle

Alice Casely-Hayford, content director

“Some of my fondest childhood memories and happiest times were spent on holiday with my family in and around Italy. My brother and I inherited a love of art and architecture from our parents, as well as an insatiable taste for pasta, so our family trips to the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands over the years have been utterly magical. In 2019, my husband and I traveled to the island of Ischia and stayed at the newly refurbished Mezzatorre Hotel. From the food and the stunning views to the perfect company, in many ways it reminded me of my family trips, and it was wonderful to be able to make new memories with my husband. My mother is a regular at its sister hotel, Hotel Il Pellicano, so I look forward to taking her to the equally gorgeous Mezzatorre as soon as I can.

“One place I’ve not had the opportunity to visit in Italy yet is Lake Como. Top of my list is Relais Villa Vittoria, a beautiful hotel tucked away on a Laglio lane with breathtaking vistas of the lake and surrounding hills. In a parallel universe, I’m flinging open the French doors on the balcony to our room for a beautiful breakfast overlooking the water before we head out for a boat trip. The tranquil hotel and restorative location are the perfect antidote to the challenges of this year. I cannot wait for a taste of la dolce vita.”

From the food and the stunning views to the perfect company, in many ways it reminded me of my family trips, and it was wonderful to be able to make new memories with my husband
VIVA ITALIA
Alice Casely-Hayford, pictured here at Ischia’s Mezzatorre Hotel in 2019, has been vacationing in Italy since she was child
CALI COOL
With its light wood and stone design accents and retro furniture, Silver Lake Pool & Inn has a typically laid-back LA vibe

Olivia Wakefield, talent editor

“The 5am joggers, the hazy canyons, the dreamers of Venice Beach and the heaving freeways that thread like veins through the sprawl… these are just a few of the things that give me that warm and fuzzy feeling when I think of Los Angeles. My husband and I spent our babymoon soaking up every last corner of the city – getting lost in the hills, exploring the bookshops of Highland Park and making breakfast a three-hour event every day at Gjusta on Abbot Kinney. Vacations may be a little less leisurely now, but I’m counting down the minutes till I can visit Silver Lake Pool & Inn – the latest opening from cult hoteliers The Palisociety Group. It’s in one of the most eclectic neighborhoods of the city, with 54 bungalow-style bedrooms and a pool to rival any of the classic LA hotels. Until then, I’ll be living out my coastal fantasy on a Norfolk beach – less silver screen, more sticky with sunscreen.”

The 5am joggers, the hazy canyons, the dreamers of Venice Beach… these are just a few of the things that give me that warm and fuzzy feeling when I think of Los Angeles
BACK TO BASICS
Spend your days swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in the bay at Baja Camp on the uninhabited Isle of Espiritu Santo

Annabel Brog, talent director

“Historically, my travel taste veered between sedentary luxe and urban slick. Now, I want only to worship the planet. Who knew I even cared? A few years back, Iceland’s unfathomable color palette (acidic green moss; dense, black volcanic rock; milky, iridescent blue lagoons) and sardonic populace won my heart. I will be returning to the simple majesty of The Retreat at The Blue Lagoon, even if I have to sell my child to pay for it (post-lockdown, I might consider this). And then I will fly to Mexico, to watch and listen and smell it all, but specifically to visit Baja Camp, on the isolated nature reserve Isla Espiritu Santo. All you get is red sunsets, sea lions and tents to sleep in, bucket showers and eco toilets included; air-con but a distant dream. It has been on my bucket list forever, so if not now, when?”

Historically, my travel taste veered between sedentary luxe and urban slick. Now, I want only to worship the planet. Who knew I even cared?
INTO THE BLUE
Island-hopping in the Aegean Sea has long been on Katie Berrington’s bucket list

Katie Berrington, senior editor

“Almost every summer since I was five, my extended family – parents, cousins, partners et al – has descended on the same azure-shuttered house on the coast of Normandy for a week of family-vacation rituals. Early dashes along the beach to the boulangerie for breakfast pastries; long, lazy lunches turning into barbecue evenings; and the endless eating, punctuated by citronella-scented card games and late-night swims. We’ve wondered over the years how long the tradition will continue. Having missed it – and each other – so much last year, its future is safely cemented.

“An island-hopping exploration of Greece has long been on my bucket list – and never more so than now, when it represents such impossibly laid-back wanderlust. I want to soak up some hot spots and discover lesser-trodden corners of the Aegean and Ionian seas – from the gleaming whitewashed Cyclades to the cinematic landscapes, ancient architecture and paradisal beaches across the isles. My island/hotel wish list is ever-changing, but a few currently included are Naxos for barefoot luxury (Naxian on the Beach), Páros (Parīlio Hotel Paros) and Ithaca for the history and traditional taverna feasting, and, of course, Mykonos for unbeatable bohemian party vibes and famous Greek hospitality.”

We’ve wondered over the years how long the tradition may continue. Having missed it – and each other – so much this summer, its future is safely cemented

Victoria Haswell, content manager

“I should have had my wedding in France last summer, but with all the uncertainty of travel and social-distancing restrictions, my fiancé and I decided to postpone it. We’ve enjoyed many fun weekends in Paris and the Champagne region over the years and discovered our venue – the beautiful Château de Mairy, near the city of Châlons-en-Champagne – during one of these trips; it was actually the last place we traveled to before lockdown. Situated in 25 acres of gardens and woodland, the chateau has been thoughtfully restored to its 17th-century splendor, while retaining the relaxed atmosphere of a country house. I’ve lost count of the hours spent dreaming during lockdown of the day we finally return with our family and friends; the long wait will make it even sweeter.

“After the wedding, we’re planning on checking in to the nearby Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa for some R&R and to visit the local historic champagne houses, before heading south to Provence for a week exploring its prettiest hilltop villages, eating bouillabaisse and drinking rosé. Crillon-le-Brave, Gordes and Aix-en-Provence are all on our honeymoon hotlist.”

I’ve lost count of the hours spent dreaming during lockdown of the day we finally return with our family and friends
FRENCH ELEGANCE
The idyllic Château de Mairy is perfect for a country escape in Champagne’s Marne Valley
JAPANESE, IF YOU PLEASE
The tranquil Kinkaku-ji temple is one of Kyoto’s most famous sights

Roxy Kavousi-Walker, sub-editor

“I totally get why so many people become obsessed with Japan. Blindingly beautiful and brilliantly bonkers, there really is no place like it. I was lucky enough to live there for a couple of years, in a small town not too far from Kyoto – a soothing antidote to the dizzying cityscape. It was my home away from home. What I loved most about living there (other than the ridiculously good food) was being able to fully experience the nation’s appreciation and respect for everything; its ceremonious approach to life – where else do you see entire populations throwing festivals for cherry blossoms? – and its philosophy of wabi-sabi. There is no equivalent single-word translation in the English language, but it is essentially the art of accepting transience and finding beauty in the imperfect and unfinished. More than ever, I find this outlook comforting and inspiring – and hopeful. A stay at a traditional ryokan inn is the perfect place to enjoy these things. I’m itching to get back.

“As for what’s next on my bucket list, it would have to be Vancouver Island, where unbridled wilderness is always close by. Lockdown has certainly made me miss all that city life has to offer, but it’s the wide-open, pine-scented sea air and wild encounters that I crave right now. I’d love to see the spectacle of the salmon run, which attracts all kinds of species, from birds to bears and otters. Then there are the orcas, such beautifully intelligent and sociable creatures. Living in a matriarchal social order, each pod can consist of up to 30 whales, and some pods combine to form a clan of 100 or more. That kind of mingling makes me long for our own post-lockdown get-togethers – imagine that! For now, David Attenborough documentaries will have to do.”

What I loved most about living in Japan (other than the ridiculously good food) was experiencing the nation’s philosophy of wabi-sabi, the art of accepting transience and finding beauty in the imperfect. More than ever, I find this outlook comforting and inspiring – and hopeful
UNSPOILT BEAUTY
An ariel view of Cuixmala in Mexico does nothing but amplify the area’s natural splendor. Image courtesy of Cuixmala, Photography, Davis Gerber

Megan Logue, fashion features editor

“The last day I stepped foot in the NET-A-PORTER office was March 13, 2020, just a matter of weeks before the UK entered its first national lockdown – and 10 days before I was due to fly to New York to be reunited with a handful of my closest friends. For obvious reasons, that never happened. Since then, my commute has been slashed from 40 minutes to about 40 seconds each way, and casually jetting off to another continent feels like a foreign concept. That New York trip wasn’t the only vacation I was forced to cancel in 2020, but, maybe because it was the first, it’s the one that stung the most, and I’ve been dreaming about getting back to the city ever since. My sister lived in New York for almost a decade, and so in many ways it feels like a second home; for me, a visit to the city is never about doing or seeing anything specific, but simply being there. My ideal day in the Big Apple (apologies – I had to) starts with a suitably indulgent breakfast, followed by a stroll around the amazing galleries, independent bookstores and coffee shops, all topped off with a candlelit dinner and twilight drinks on any one of the rooftop bars (1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the Wythe Hotel are my perennial favourites.)

“This year has really taught me to cherish each day and appreciate the many things I took for granted before the pandemic – with traveling being chief among them. It might be blue-sky thinking, but I’m already planning a big trip with my closest friends to celebrate our impending 30th birthdays. With everyone desperate to start ticking off their bucket lists, we’ve been tossing up destinations ranging from Sri Lanka – ideally Hikkaduwa, for the surf – to Mexico. Cuixmala looks like an actual slice of heaven…”

This year has really taught me to cherish each day and appreciate the many things I took for granted before the pandemic – with traveling being chief among them