Throughout the year, the Traveler team manages to notch an impressive amount of air miles. (Flying on the world’s longest flight helps.) And while we think that every trip we get to take is extraordinary—road trips along Highway 1, foodie adventures through Hanoi, cruises to the Galápagos—there are some that, for reasons both big and small, stay with us long after we’ve returned home. Here, our favorite trips of 2018.
New South Wales, Australia
In May, I spent about eight days in and around Sydney—hanging out in Surry Hills at Paramount House Hotel, biking Manly Beach, trying (multiple) glasses of shiraz up in Hunter Valley wine country—but it was the single night I spent at Pretty Beach House that left its mark (and racked up the most likes on my Instagram). Pretty Beach is the apt name of a small town in Central Coast NSW, about a 90-minute drive north of Sydney, and home to a gorgeous glass-and-stone, safari-style lodge with four all-inclusive villas. My villa (which I have to bring my husband back to, or he’ll never forgive me) came with a heated plunge pool, a record player with Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin vinyl, and all the Glenfiddich I could drink—the staff clearly did their homework before I arrived. The entire space was decked out in beautiful campaign furniture, all leather and brass and extra plush blankets and carpets. I could have stayed in the “house” the entire time—kicking back at the pool, eating at the “chef’s table,” or feet up in the library, looking through a floor-to-ceiling window at the eucalyptus trees and bay beyond—but Pretty Beach House is also within Bouddi National Park, begging to be explored. So I went for a short hike down a sandstone path to the water, where I had Tallow Beach entirely to myself. It was one of the most luxurious experiences I’d ever had—and it felt blissfully unpretentious, as is the Aussie way.
—Laura Dannen Redman, Deputy Digital Director