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The hottest destinations for 2018, Israel's new luxury desert hotel, Disneyland Paris' anniversary celebrations and the future of holiday bookings


If you only visit one place in 2018, make it Chile — that’s according to the travel experts at Lonely Planet, who have released their annual lists of the best destinations for the coming year.

Taking top spot for best country for 2018, Chile is the only South American country to get a mention thanks to its unique range of attractions, from the Atacama, the world’s driest desert to the mountains and fjords of Patagonia, its colourful cities, wildlife and vineyards.

Portugal and New Zealand join it in the top five, alongside the less visited South Korea and Djibouti.

The top city for 2018 is somewhat closer to home, with Seville taking the honours for Spain while this top 10 also features southern Italian city Matera with its cave dwellings, Antwerp, Hamburg and Oslo.

Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland is one of the few mentions for the UK, heading the list of the top 10 regions for 2018, alongside the Julian Alps in Slovenia, Italy’s unspoiled Aeolian Islands and the Southern USA.

And for more budget breaks in 2018, Tallinn in Estonia and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands are ones to remember, according to the best value list, as is the UK itself.

The complete set of top 10 lists and videos on some of the locations can be seen at

Israel's new desert retreat

The luxurious Six Senses hotel group is opening its first resort in Israel next year, with the 58-room Six Senses Shaharut coming to the Negev Desert’s Arava Valley in November 2018.

Set on a cliff with views out across the desert, the villas will be built from the area’s natural rock, with decor featuring local art and crafts, while lighting is designed to avoid light pollution for stargazers. 

The restaurant and poolside bar will also use fresh ingredients from the resort’s gardens and farmers at nearby kibbutzim.

And along with a spa, pools and yoga studio, there will be wellness packages offering lifestyle and nutritional advice, plus activities from a kids club to camel safaris, wine tours, mountain climbing and off-road driving. 

More Marvels at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is continuing its 25th anniversary celebrations with two themed seasons for 2018; the Princesses and Pirates festival from March 31 to May 31, before the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes.

Running from June 10 to September 30, visitors can join the amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, Star-Lord, Black Widow and more, together for the first time at Disneyland Paris, with encounters and shows planned next summer.

The 25th anniversary celebrations also include a new parade and shows, as well as reimagined attractions, until September 2018.

Travel subconsciously

After rebranding from Thomson to TUI, the tour operator has revealed a new prototype which promises to tap into your subconscious to work out the holiday you really want.

Destination U uses facial coding to track emotional responses to images of destinations and experiences. Currently being tested, it’s something which could be available to customers within years.

In the meantime, the company is expanding its choice of holidays for this winter, now including Kuusamo in Lapland, exclusively for the UK market, as well as trips to Iceland extended to March 31, 2019.

For sun-seekers, the new RIU Palace Hotel in Boa Vista in the Cape Verde islands has been added to the winter sun choice, along neighbouring Sal for travellers flying from Manchester.

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