The Signature staff have been blessed with opportunities to travel to some pretty amazing parts of the world. Here, they reveal the destinations they can’t wait to get back to when it’s safe to travel again. From Italy to Abu Dhabi, read on for journeys that have captured our hearts.
Lisa Wagstaff: Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda is an incredible crystal-clear freshwater lake surrounded by mountain peaks in the north and vineyards in the south. We spent our days swimming and lazing under the Mediterranean sun, hiking up Monte Baldo, drinking wine with friendly locals and motoring across the water in a speedboat. Fragrant nectarines, zucchini and eggplants growing on the grounds of our Airbnb made us feel like we were in our very own Garden of Eden. Around the lake there’s plenty of space to chill out, plus medieval towns to explore like Malcesine, with cobbled streets and a castle and restaurants to marvel in the goodness of Italian cooking. Ah, to say ciao to social distancing.
Natasha Dragun: Chilean Patagonia
From immense snowy mountains to gem-like glaciers, Chilean Patagonia has a way of making you feel completely insignificant – in the best possible way. The air breathes cleaner here, and the colours appear insanely vivid; the sounds seem to echo around you then continue on through the ages. On my last visit, cruising the southern Tierra Del Fuego archipelago, there were times when I felt like someone had taken the glasses off my nose and cleaned them for the first time, so spectacular was the scenery. And, blissfully, there were no tech distractions. None. I can’t wait to ditch my phone, turn off the news, and feel the full force of nature here once again.
Cathy Wagstaff: Greek Islands
Nothing quite says ‘summer holiday’ like languid days spent floating around the Greek Islands. Some of my fondest travel memories are of wandering between whitewashed, bougainvillea-clad villages, pausing to catch a sunset, take a dip in the ocean or feast on grilled octopus accompanied by local Santorini wines. Perfect day after perfect day. When I get to go back, I want to explore some of the archipelago’s lesser-known isles like Milos, Kimolos, Folegandros, Ios… I’d love to jump on board a luxury yacht and sail between destinations, with a loose itinerary allowing me to linger wherever my heart desires. Soon.
Cara Wagstaff: New Zealand
New Zealand holds a special place in my heart. I first visited with my mum when I was 12, to see where she grew up in Auckland. We then ventured down to the South Island together – mum’s first time there, too. Since then I’ve returned many times. I worked as an expat in Wellington in my early 20s, spent time skiing the resorts around Queenstown (Cardrona and The Remarkables are my two favourites) and enjoyed all of the smaller, authentic towns, like New Plymouth. Other highlights include viewing seal colonies in Kaikoura, watching amazing sunsets in the Bay of Islands and marvelling at Lake Tekapo surrounded by snow.
Guy Dundas: Abu Dhabi
If you’re still seeking isolation after this whole COVID-19 travel chaos elapses, the serenity of Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter is hard to surpass, and the extravagance of Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is difficult to compare. This remote luxury castle, complete with turrets and a drawbridge-esque entry, rises from the endless flame-coloured dunes of the world’s largest sand desert. There’s something magical about the solitude here: the vistas of towering mountains of sand (best viewed as the glow of dawn awakes); the palm-fringed poolside oases; the undiscovered opportunities that await on camel back. One night here for me certainly wasn’t enough.
Natarsha Brown: New York City
New York City is organised chaos at its very best. An epicentre of arts and culture, an architectural marvel, and the world’s capital of fine dining and shopping – it truly is the City That Never Sleeps, and a one-of-a-kind trendsetter. To walk its meandering cobblestone streets is to star in your very own Hollywood hit – each corner an Instagram-worthy piece of eye candy, a melting pot of cultures that’s all just a little bit gritty. It truly is a wanderer’s delight. And I love nothing more than to explore with no particular destination in mind. By night, take your pick between ballet, slam poetry, burlesque, jazz, improv comedy, Broadway musicals and so much more. If you can dream it, it’s available in the Big Apple.
Gemma Kightly: Joshua Tree National Park
In 2016, I joined a group of friends to embark on a huge road trip around the west coast of America. We began in San Francisco and visited wonders such as Big Sur, Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, which were all completely amazing landmarks in their own right. Then we got to Joshua Tree National Park. The rolling hills in the middle of the desert seemed surreal to me. We spent the day climbing the boulders and spent the evening camping out under the stars at Jumbo Rocks campground. Nearby, I was mesmerised by the architecture that characterises Palm Springs. I hope that when I head back, I get to experience the desert for more than just one evening and then also tie in a few days lounging in a mid-century home in Palms Springs.