Whether you’re an art, culture or nature lover, here are three excuses to get out of town
Nature in New Zealand
Arrive in time for summer in New Zealand, in December, when long sunny days sweeten the South Island’s rugged, natural beauty. Then go remote at The Lindis, a new high-country lodge with a dramatic undulating roof, ensconced on 6,000 acres of the Ahuriri Valley known as Ben Avon Station. Built on a site formed by a retreating glacier, the minimalist structure’s interiors are wrapped in warm wood walls that give way to expansive views via floor-to-ceiling windows. Five suites, a lavish wine cellar, spa pool and restaurant keep life decidedly intimate and simple, so guests can indulge in comforts like high tea and pre-dinner cocktails and charcuterie while feasting on the wild world outside. The lodge is flanked by three conservation areas, offering ample opportunities to revel in natural wonders like the ancient, jagged Clay Cliffs and a nightly blanket of starry skies, as well as local life in the nearby township of Omarama, population 400.
What to do: With its headwaters on the Southern Alps, the Ahuriri River winds 43 miles, nurturing pockets of wetland, grassland and forest that make the landscape a hiker’s, mountain biker’s or even bird watcher’s dream. But perhaps the main draw is fly-fishing: It’s widely considered to be one of the top 10 places on earth to partake in the sport. Rooms from $1,370/night; thelindis.com. • MARTINE BURY
Culture in Marrakech
North Africa escapes the bite of Siberian winter winds with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. After haggling in the heat for hand-knotted jute carpets in the souk, there is nothing better than retiring to the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech to recharge. Two palm-fringed pools, outdoor hot tubs and tennis courts await—plus a hammam offering wraps and scrubs that will leave you ready to channel your inner Talitha Getty. Morocco demands to be explored by night, with tagines and mint teas aplenty to be sampled at the city’s liveliest restaurants, including Comptoir Darna and Le Grand Café de la Poste.
What to do: The concierge can arrange special access to the Villa Oasis, Yves Saint Laurent’s private residence, where he would seek respite as he conjured his fanciful new collections. Inside the walled gardens you can wander past the mosaic fountains before marveling at the libraries and lounges inside. The new Saint Laurent museum is another of the highlights of the Red City. Rooms from $450/night; fourseasons.com/marrakech. • ANDREW BARKER
Art in the Scottish Highlands
Renowned gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth have masterminded a four-year renovation of The Fife Arms, Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands, which now now boasts a blue-chip art collection. Reimagined by interior decorator Russell Sage, the 19th-century former coaching house showcases more than 12,000 artworks, objects and antiques, while rooms nod to the region’s storied past—including quarters that pay homage to Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Byron and eccentric Vogue editor turned Highland society maven Frances Farquharson.
What to do: Ros Evans, The Fife Arms’ concierge tailors one-of-a-kind itineraries for guests, from traditional field sports and wildlife viewing, to visiting nearby castles and sampling Highland malts from the area’s world-renowned distilleries. During the winter months, catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, if you’re lucky. Rooms from $325/night; thefifearms.com. • MARTINE BURY
Edited by LESLEY McKENZIE.