Hotel Spotlights

The First Places They’ll Go

With the world held back from travel, the proverb “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has never been more felt. The longing to return to those beautiful, nostalgic places is stronger than ever. We called on a few of our favorite travel writers to reminisce with us. Sifting through memories, they share the destinations they dream of returning to as soon as they can.

France

Jessica Wright @bontraveler

Jessica Wright of Bon Traveler Jessica Wright of Bon Traveler

“This time at home has me dreaming of Europe, in particular, France where my family is from. I’m itching to return to Annecy to dive into the turquoise lake, visit family in Poitiers, and road trip through Provence. There is something so magical about being back in France—I feel at home and connected to my roots. I’m looking forward to perusing cheese shops, picking up a fresh baguette, and heading out on a country road for a drive with the window down.”

New Mexico

Jackie Kai Ellis @jackiekaiellis

Jackie Kai Ellis New Mexico

“While I was writing my bestselling book The Measure Of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris, I went to New Mexico in search of inspiration and I seemed to find it flourishing everywhere. It was in the sun-bleached desert palette that so inspired Georgia O’Keeffe, and in the weaving of rich cultures and textures into savory dishes splashed with vibrant sauces. There was creativity oozing from jewelry makers, sculptors, painters and in the way The Inn of the Five Graces so artfully created an intimate hospitality. New Mexico left me yearning to return, if only to dine again, write, and see the intricate mosaic bathrooms at the Inn again.”

Portugal

Michelle Halpern @livelikeitsthewknd

Michelle Halpern of Live Like It's The Weekend Michelle Halpern of Live Like It's The Weekend

“Portugal is without a doubt one of the top destinations I’m eager to return to. To me, Portugal has it all: an incredible culinary scene, delicious wine, gorgeous coastline, classic European beaches, friendly locals, cool architecture and charming city streets. It’s perfect for those that love to hang out in the city but get away on a weekend road trip to the coast or wine country. This magical country is all my favorite things wrapped into one and I plan on returning again and again once travel allows.”

Italy

Madeline Lu @lumadeline

Madeline Lu Italy

“The one place I would travel first after the pandemic is over is Italy. It has been absolutely heartbreaking to see how hard Italy has been hit in the past couple of months. Even during their darkest hours though, we saw how Italians demonstrated their passion, strength and positivity through music and song from their balconies during the lockdown. How can you not love them?! When we are allowed to travel again, I would love to do my part to support Italy’s people and economy. Tuscany would be a top choice for its rich food culture.”

New Zealand

Gigi Hopkins @_itsbeautifulhere

Gigi Hopkins It's Beautiful Here New Zealand

“I’m excited to hear talk that Australia and New Zealand might soon create a ‘COVID-safe travel bubble,’ allowing us to get back there sooner than we thought. I would love to revisit the South Island, especially magical Queenstown. In Queenstown, the emerald-colored waters of Lake Wakatipu are dazzling and the surrounding subalpine mountains sublime. Matakauri Lodge is an exceptionally private and luxe experience. The North Island has a lot of magic to offer as well. I am eager to visit The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. Sitting on 6,000 acres of pastureland that runs right down to the sea, it’s well-known for its golf course, designed by architect Tom Doak, and a popular spot for birdwatching and hiking.”

Utah

Amanda Blakley @amandablakley

Amanda Blakley Utah

“I still remember the first time I took in the momentous landscapes of Utah. My family was on our annual U.S. summer pilgrimage. I was 13 years old and we’d driven our hulking wood-paneled station wagon the 2,000-odd miles from small-town Ontario to Monument Valley. The reds and rusts, arid climate and expansive vistas of Utah have all stayed with me since. As we slowly dip our toes into travel, I plan to stay as near to our new home state of California as possible. I’d love to go back to check out The Lodge at Blue Sky in Wanship, Utah. Surrounded by wide expanses, it looks like the perfect place to re-wild our clan!”

Costa Rica

Heidi Mortlock @heidimortlock

Heidi Mortlock Costa Rica

“I visited Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula with my boyfriend a couple of years ago and we talked about bringing our future kids back someday. Now, we have a six-month-old boy and we’d love to take him. The Osa is the Costa Rica of 30 years ago: wild, untouched, and one of the most biologically intense places on earth. I’ll look forward to kayaking the mangrove lagoons, swimming at the isolated beaches of Cabo Matapalo, hiking through rainforests with waterfalls, practicing yoga and eating the sweet-tasting local fruit. Humanity has placed too much pressure on the natural world, and the Osa Peninsula serves up a good dose of humility and perspective. When you’re there, Mother Nature reminds you, in the most beautiful way possible, that you are a tiny thread in a much greater tapestry.”

Namibia

Daniel Laskowski & Luiza Zadros @travelplusstyle

Daniel and Luiza Travel Plus Style Namibia

“We can’t wait to revisit Namibia. We loved the vast, dry landscapes of the ancient Namib desert, and the beauty of Deadvlei, a sun-baked claypan dotted with blackened trees and surrounded by rusty dunes—it’s a natural wonder that defies description. Another highlight was visiting a Himba village in the remote Kaokoland region, near Angola. The country has some of the most interesting luxury lodges and camps. The distances are vast, and last time we traversed Namibia by small planes, but we’d love to road trip the entire length of the country. That’d be something!”