Wonderful world


Tower Bridge in London

Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

What's on your travel itinerary for the new year? From a a lavish eco-resort in Itacare, Brazil, to the revived King's Cross district of London to New York, here is the final installment in this list of places to visit. The travel choices for global nomads have never been more varied.

41. Itacare, Brazil

It ended up on several "it" lists before a single guest arrived. But the Warapuru (www.warapuru.com), a lavish eco-resort, is expected to finally open next year. Designed by the London-based Anouska Hempel, the resort has brought attention to Itacaré, an under-the-radar beach town on Brazil's north coast that draws celebrities and the elite of Rio de Janeiro.

42. Kilimanjaro

Time may be running out to see the most famous snows of American literature. The ice-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is melting at an alarming rate. Within several decades, scientists predict, the glaciers will have completely disappeared. Expect more adventure seekers to tackle the climb next year: One outfitter, International Mountain Guides (www.mountainguides.com), has seven trips scheduled for 2008. (Prices run $4,975 for the full two-week itinerary and $3,600 for the climb-only portion.)

43. Algeria

A nearly decade-long civil war made Algeria off limits to travelers. Now that the war has subsided (though a United States travel warning, citing terrorist attacks, remains) travelers are trickling back to this ancient land of oasis towns and cart-wide streets. Lonely Planet just published its first guide to Algeria. And tour organizers like Row International (www.rowinternational.com) are taking adventure seekers through the meandering alleyways of the Casbah and on camelback into the Sahara.

44. San Diego

Wildfires this fall didn't prevent the opening of the much-anticipated Hard Rock Hotel San Diego (www.hardrockhotelsd.com), a 420-room resort in the trendy Gaslamp quarter. The 12-story hotel includes a Nobu restaurant, two Rande Gerber bars, a spa and a Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop - all under one roof. Greasing the wheels is Virgin America, which is starting service between San Diego and San Francisco in February.

45. Malaga

The southern coast of Spain is not just about high-rise hotels and water-gulping golf courses. Next June, Delta Air Lines plans to inaugurate nonstop service to the Andalusian port city of Malaga - a major cultural center, with its impressive array of museums and monuments, including an 11th-century Moorish fortress. Delta will fly from Kennedy Airport to Malaga's international airport, named after the city's favorite son Pablo Picasso.

46. Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata, the rowdy beach resort on the Dominican Republic's north coast, is about to get rowdier. Maxim, the racy men's magazine, is opening a 108-bungalow resort on Cofresi Beach, near the Las Vegas-style Ocean World Marina and Casino. Expect the drinking to start onboard JetBlue, which is offering nonstop flights between Kennedy Airport and Puerto Plata next month.

47. London

King's Cross in London was once on the wrong side of tracks. But the district's fortunes are changing, thanks to the trans-Chunnel Eurostar, which moved its terminal last month from Waterloo to the reconstructed St. Pancras station. A Gagosian Gallery is there, along with cool bars and supertrendy restaurants like Acorn House (www.acornhouserestaurant.com), which has local foodies in a tizzy. Next up? A Renaissance Hotel with a ballroom.

48. Vietnam

Three decades after the fall of Saigon, the city (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) has become an unlikely stop on the global golf circuit. In the past decade, old courses like the Dalat Palace Golf Club have been spruced up, and newer ones, like the Ocean Dunes Golf Club in nearby Phan Thiet, on the South China Sea, and designed by Nick Faldo, have raised the bar. Still to come: the Montgomerie Links, just off China Beach, and the first Vietnam course designed by Colin Montgomerie.

49. Essaouira

As Marrakesh gets more touristy, well-heeled Europeans are heading to the Moroccan port city of Essaouira, not only to trek through its ancient streets and windsurf on its beaches, but also to party. The Gnaoua and World Music Festival (www.festival-gnaoua.net), held every June for the past 10 years, now draws 250,000 fans for five days of music, art and budding friendships - a kind of Burning Man of Morocco.

50. Las Vegas

In case you missed those big gold letters, Donald T-R-U-M-P is coming to the Las Vegas Strip. The 64-story, 1,282-room Trump International Hotel and Towers Las Vegas (www.trumplv.com) is opening next spring, becoming, its Web site promises, the "most striking building on the Las Vegas Skyline." If you're merely looking for "unparalleled luxury, sophistication, and contemporary chic," then head to the new Palazzo Las Vegas ( www.palazzolasvegas.com), a 3,000-room sister to the Venetian, with restaurants by Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Trotter, as well as a Barneys New York.

51. Barossa Valley, Australia

The world's love affair with shiraz is bringing wine spectators to Australia's Barossa Valley. The hilly region is home to some of the world's oldest shiraz vines, some dating back to the 1840s. And if the more than 60 wineries aren't enough, Barossa also offers an artisanal cheese trail, and nearby Adelaide is a foodie destination in its own right.

52. Tokaj, Hungary

Backpacking wine tours? The Hungarian wine region of Tokaj is regaining its reputation for quality whites, especially wheat-colored dessert wines made from furmint grapes. The region's winemaking was reborn after the fall of Communism. The Grof Degenfeld, housed in an old castle, even has a plush hotel that offers two-day packages starting at 191 euros, or $283 at $1.50 to the euro (www.hotelgrofdegenfeld.hu).

53. New York

The lights are back on Broadway. And the strike settlement couldn't have come soon enough for several well-publicized productions scheduled to open before the May 7 deadline for the 2007-08 Tony Awards. Among the more highly awaited shows are three revivals: A 40th-anniversary production of "The Homecoming," Harold Pinter's play about a dysfunctional family (as if there were any other kind), starring Ian McShane; "Come Back, Little Sheba," the William Inge chestnut, featuring the Emmy Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson; and an inventive take on "Sunday in the Park With George," Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize winner, which comes to New York via London and the Menier Chocolate Factory theater company. And for lovers of street theater, the action downtown in the meatpacking district continues to heat up with the arrival of the Standard New York hotel.

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