INSPIRATION • December 2016
January is notoriously two-faced: is it time for wild parties and adrenaline-fuelled adventures, or midwinter unwinding and a bit of a detox? Savvy travellers like Simon Heptinstall know you can do both, and he reveals the best destinations around the world for finding that sweet spot
Thrill: The New Revolution ride at Six Flags theme park combines a giant, state-of-the-art rollercoaster with hi-tech Samsung virtual reality headsets. Hurtle round 90ft loops while controlling a spaceship, destroying aliens and saving the planet.
A day theme-park ticket costs around £60
Chill: Enjoy low-tech luxury at Post Ranch Inn (pictured) further north in California’s Big Sur. Stay in a grass-roofed, wooden cabin powered by solar panels and warmed by open fires. It’s no hardship: there’s a gourmet restaurant and luxury spa perched on the cliffs alongside. Plus, the Pacific sunsets are guaranteed to soothe your soul.
Cabins from around £1,000 a night
Thrill: The modern, 200mph Shinkansen Bullet Train (pictured) is the most fitting way to arrive at the world’s largest, neon-lit, skyscraper-filled city. Brace yourself for public transport that’s sleek, spotless and perfectly punctual.
A seven-day Japan Rail Pass costs £207
Chill: Don’t expect a quick cuppa at the ancient teahouse in the garden of Tokyo’s Hotel Chinzanso. Instead allow an hour for this charming traditional ceremony of hospitality. The precision of the ritual is so crucial that tea-makers train for 10 years.
Around £60 a head
Thrill: Discover spectacular 600ft waterfalls plunging through the Caribbean rainforest with a trip to Dunn’s River Falls. Get the blood pumping with a scramble up through the white-water torrents and slippery rocks to the top.
Entry to the falls costs around £15
Chill: Listen to the waves lapping against the shore from the wooden deck of the award-winning, ocean-front Beaches Ocho Rios. Drift away during a relaxing treatment that uses plants from the nearby forest, or enjoy a massage while gazing at the turquoise sea.
Double suites from around £250 a night
Thrill: See in the New Year with a new friend – namely a great white shark. Book a tour with Shark Cage Diving and prepare to dangle in a cage from a boat while the shark dances around you. Don’t worry, the operator has never lost a client.
A one-day trip around £90
Chill: Cape Town’s Test Kitchen was recently voted one of the world’s top restaurants and the best in Africa. The relaxed bistro menu, by British chef Luke Dale-Roberts, features plenty of local seafood.
Eight-course ‘gourmand’ menu costs around £68
Thrill: Dare yourself to experience the ‘most dangerous’ walk in the world. The spectacular Caminito del Rey (pictured) is two miles of narrow boardwalk pinned halfway up the vertical rock face of a narrow gorge. It’s just three feet wide, and more than 300ft above a river. Bracing!
Entrance fee costs around £9
Chill: Charter a luxury yacht, complete with your own on-board masseur and Champagne on ice. Bliss out on the sundeck while you explore the Med or sail to Morocco.
From around £180 per half hour
Whether you’re looking for a luxury hideaway or last-minute deal, make your next holiday a British Airways Holiday