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The following information is provided by the travel supplier or its public relations representative. The Traveler's Journal can accept no responsibility for the accuracy or validity of any material in this section.'s 2008 "It List" of Destinations

01-05-2008 today released its annual "It List" of the places to go in 2008. 

The 10 places you'll be hearing about this year (below in brief) share a few common denominators: a new crop of hotels; the natural appeal is preserved and protected; the buzz has enough substance to make a journey worthwhile. From a low-key Latin beauty to an African gem with spectacular beaches to a couple of resurging cities, these are the places to head next:

1) Mozambique
2) St. Lucia
3) Montenegro
4) Ecuador
5) Sicily
6) San Diego
7) Hainan Island, China
8) Oman
9) Puerto Escondido and the Oaxacan Coast, Mexico
10) Paris

To interview Peter Frank, editor in chief of, to discuss his predictions in travel trends or destinations for 2008, or any other travel-related topic, please reply to this email or reach me at (212) 790-4487.  A copy of the full story follows at the bottom of this message.  Happy New Year!


Allison Braley
Senior Public Relations Manager
Phone: (212) 790-4487
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1) Mozambique, Africa

Its government is democratic, its environmental policies enlightened, and its natural attractions seemingly endless. The story of Mozambique is looking like one with a happy ending—one of the continent's real success stories. This after a devastating civil war 15 years ago that left almost a million dead and many more displaced. Among the country's highlights: 1,500 miles of gorgeous Indian Ocean coastline and archipelagos that make for superb diving and luscious beaches; Maputo, a vibrant and safe capital with an exciting Afro jazz scene and a nightlife renaissance; and national parks that are slowly restoring the wildlife to prewar numbers. The number of new resorts and hotels is mind-boggling, especially in the formerly undeveloped northern part of the country. Follow the well-heeled to the überluxurious Vamizi (pictured) and Quilálea, and the eco-minded to Guludo Beach Lodge, all on islands in the archipelago of Quirimbas, a pristine stretch of quiet white-sand beaches, translucent water, and undamaged coral reefs. Or take a safari to Gorongosa, the country's largest national park, which is reaping the benefits of a successful animal repopulation program—the antelope and zebra herds have returned. For a glimpse of Mozambique's nightlife, check into the Hotel Polana in Maputo, which is a good base for exploring the capital's colonial past and present, plus you'll enjoy the Portuguese bars with their great live music. Logistics and flights are more than a tad confusing, so it's best to plan your trip through an operator; Colorado-based Explore Africa is one of the most knowledgeable and was an early champion of the country.

2) St. Lucia

One of the most striking islands of the Caribbean, with copious rain forest, sparkling waterfalls, and a fair share of pretty beaches, St. Lucia has kept a relatively low profile in the last decade, and is mostly the secret of a fiercely loyal group of repeat visitors. But the word is out this season, thanks to a new crop of upscale hotels attracting guests such as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart. Among the new resort offerings is the Landings, a $165-million property that opened in December 2007 with a private harbor, a 7,000-square-foot spa, and no fewer than seven pools. The Discovery at Marigot Bay, on the northwest coast, also has its own marina and contemporary interiors—think pink glass chandeliers and Philippe Starck ghost chairs. At Anse Chastanet Resort, long an island favorite, owner and architect Nick Troubetzkoy has added Jade Mountain, an annex of 24 suites, each with its own infinity pool and only three walls, providing spectacular views of the twin Piton mountains (pictured). Next up is Westin's Le Paradis at Praslin late this year (with a Greg Norman–designed golf course), a Ritz-Carlton set to open in early 2010 on the south side, and a Raffles soon after. With American Airlines' new thrice-weekly nonstop from New York supplementing Air Jamaica's four weekly direct flights from JFK, St. Lucia is poised for the mainstream. We only hope that with all this newfound attention the island retains the friendly, low-key vibe that made it so damn appealing to begin with.

3) Montenegro

Newly independent Montenegro was cut off from the world during the civil war that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, so few travelers know this stretch of mountainous Adriatic coast with quiet beaches and picturesque fortress towns. But insiders are calling this the next Croatia or the new European Riviera—not shocking, since it was a haunt for jet-setters like Sophia Loren and Richard Burton in the '60s and '70s. The quickly developing city of Budva, often compared to Dubrovnik, is the entry point to the beachfront, with an old harbor filled with fishing boats, Roman ruins, and a new generation of bars and restaurants to enliven the seaside atmosphere. Amanresorts, the ultimate purveyor of understated luxury, has set its sights on nearby Sveti Stefan, a walled fishing village and former royal villa that it plans to convert by the end of 2008 into palatial suites with private pools, and a full spa—after a $57.4-million investment. For now, set up shop at the new Queen of Montenegro hotel on Belici beach just outside town and plan day trips along the coast and into the mountainous interior (an even less-developed frontier). The coastal town of Kotor, pictured, is also a must-stop. Another plus: Though Montenegro has adopted the euro, prices remain much lower than in Croatia and Italy, a real help in these weak-dollar days.

4) Ecuador

Move over, Argentina. Low-profile Ecuador is emerging as Latin America's best-kept secret, with a sophisticated cultural scene and enough adventure to keep adrenaline junkies pumped. Start your trip in newly glamorous Quito, the country's colonial capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city just received a $40-million face-lift, and a number of stylish new restaurants and restored hotels are also fueling the renaissance. Reserve a room at the luxe Hotel Plaza Grande on the main square—with just 15 large suites and a fashionable Cognac bar upstairs—pop in for a glass of Malbec at Octava de Corpus, a fashionable wine bar nearby, and have dinner at Theatrum, a showstopping space overseen by up-and-coming chef Julio Avendaño, who serves Mediterranean-style food with an Ecuadoran flair. From there, head to the old family ranches in the Andes that have only recently opened to visitors—staying at San Agustín de Callo, a hacienda on the site of a former Incan palace, includes hiking and riding excursions to Cotopaxi volcano, pictured (there are 55 volcanoes in Ecuador, but this is the world's highest active one). The huge swaths of rain forest are the country's other frontier—the biodiversity is staggering and the lodges (like Yachana) have an authentic eco-approach. End your adventure on the coast with a side trip to Isla de la Plata, where you'll see many of the same animals as in the Galápagos—blue-footed boobies, porpoises, and humpback whales, for instance—but with a fraction of the crowds. Set up base at Mantaraya Lodge in Machalilla National Park, a Moorish-style property on a bluff above Puerto Lopez.

5) Sicily

Long the domain of fusty grande-dame hotels and package tourists covering well-trod itineraries, the Italian island is experiencing a welcome revival, thanks to a new generation of enterprising hoteliers and the emergence of off-the-beaten-path destinations. Start your trip in the northwest near Trapani, an area of vineyards (some of Italy's best new vintages are now being produced in Sicily), Baroque villages, and cuisine with a North African zing. Then head across the island to Syracuse, arguably Sicily's most beautiful city, with its dilapidated but revitalized mix of Greek ruins and an antique port town. Caol Ishka is a perfect base, a ten-room property with chilled-out contemporary interiors inside an old farm. Take side trips to the village of Noto and the province's capital of Ragusa (the restaurant Duomo there is a required pilgrimage for any foodie). The nearby Vendicari Nature Reserve is a wild stretch of coast that offers a glimpse of what the island used to look like before it became a cheap beach getaway. End your trip in the sexy Aeolian Islands, a relaxed antidote to crowded counterparts like Capri and Porto Cervo. Our favorite is Salina, where you spend your days exploring the small villages by moped and swimming in secluded coves, and where the new Capofaro Malvasia and Resort, pictured, epitomizes unpretentious glamour.

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