Be-Here-Now
Men's Journal|January - February 2020
Be-Here-Now
The Northwest's coolest upscale RV Park. A dune-side resort down under. A luxurious private island. A scandinavian Heli-Ski resort. From the world's new adventure frontiers to its best places to stay, here are Men's Journal's 2020 Travel Awards.
By Alex Fenlon
DEPLAR FARM, ICELAND

THE BEST PLACE TO DO IT ALL

THIS 28,000-square-foot lodge, with room for 34 guests, is like a high-end base camp for every adrenaline sport known to man: backcountry skiing on treeless peaks, fat-tire biking across empty plains, hiking via helicopter, sea kayaking across fjords, surfing the North Atlantic. Of course, it’s not all type-2 fun at this former sheep farm. The lodge, in the remote Fljót Valley, also happens to have one of the best spas in Iceland, with saunas, steam rooms, and flotation tanks. There’s even an outdoor geothermal pool with a swim-up bar for nighttime aurora borealis viewing. Plus, starting this year, the company’s in-house creative director (who shot this image) is offering a weeklong photo workshop to perfect your Instagram game. Of course, you’ll have a hard time taking anything but an epic shot here #nofilter for sure. —RYAN KROGH

NEW ADVENTURE FRONTIER

Jordan

A MIDDLE EASTERN KINGDOM GETS AN ADVENTURE MAKEOVER

Hiking is one of Jordan’s biggest new pastimes, and Wadi Mujib gorge, below, is renowned for its canyoneering treks. The geodesic domes that makeup Sun City Camp, left, are one of the country’s best new lodges.

Jordan has long been popular with tourists, thanks to the archaeological site Petra. But the country is increasingly full of adventure options, too, including the 400-mile Jordan Trail, which crosses all the best parts of the country, including the stunning Jordan Rift Valley. For cyclists, there’s a new 453-mile cross-country bike trail, and equestrians can now play Bedouin with Jordan Inspiration Tours. Even the new lodging options are outdoorsy, like Sun City Camp, full of domed tents in the desert where you can ATV, fat bike, or rock climb in Valley of the Moon, then head to the coast to dive the coral-rich Red Sea. —JEN MURPHY

THE RED ROOST, MARYLAND

The Chesapeake’s Can’t-Miss Crab Shack

ASK ANY LOCAL for the Eastern Shore’s most legendary crab feast and they’ll no doubt send you deep into the backwoods to the Red Roost, a 400-seat crab house inside a 1940s chicken coop. Inside, you’ll find long tables piled high with all-you-can-eat steamed crabs. Specials include shrimp, clams, and corn grown by the same farmer for 40 years. It’s one of those joints where you’ll see everyone from congresspeople to local watermen, and that’s perhaps its truest charm. In a country that’s more polarized than ever, good food still brings us together. —TIM NEVILLE

TRAVEL INNOVATORS

WILL BOLSOVER

FOUNDER OF NATURAL WORLD SAFARIS

Plenty of outfitters say they give back, but few do it like Natural World Safaris founder and CEO Will Bolsover. Beginning this year, NWS’s Expeditions for Change will let travelers not only donate through their trip fees but also engage on the ground with worthy causes, like helping climate scientists gather data in the Arctic. In Myanmar, guests will walk inside a protected teak forest with retired elephants once used by the timber industry. “There’s a lot of chatter out there about doing things the right way, and it’s not always true,” says Bolsover. “These trips are simply us trying to say, ‘Look, this is where we can really make a big difference.’ ” —R.K.

UNDER RESTAURANT, NORWAY

THE BEST PLACE TO EAT FISH

OCEAN VIEW takes on a whole new meaning at Under. From land, Europe’s first underwater restaurant looks like a futuristic submarine shipwrecked in the rocky waters of the North Atlantic. But the 40-seat dining room, 16 feet below sea level, feels more like an aquarium, with a panoramic window that allows guests to observe neon jellyfish, rainbow-hued wrasses, and the occasional seal as it passes by. Seafood is the star of Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard’s 18-course tasting menu ($250), not surprisingly, but he focuses on underappreciated fish like lingcod and typically discarded bits such as brown crab head. Under easily could be written off as a gimmicky tourist attraction, but the restaurant also works with marine biologists to facilitate research. Open less than a year, there’s already a six-month waiting list. JEN MURPHY

The Ultimate Paddling Experience

OCEAN ENDEAVOUR CRUISE, ARCTIC OCEAN

In 2018, when Adventure Canada added a fleet of kayaks to its 198-passenger expedition cruise ship, the outfitter became one of the first to offer paddling in the Northwest Passage. Using the ship as a floating base camp, 12 experienced guests and two guides launch tandem kayaks to ply the ice-choked waters among whales and walrus. It’s a new offering, but it may be the most ancient way to experience this part of the world. “This is how the Inuit have been traveling through for thousands of years,” says guide Dawson Freeze. —JAYME MOYE

The Most Laid-Back Luxe Resort

AMANERA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

THIS RESORT, on the country’s northwest coast, is the definition of luxury, with 25 casitas featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls and massive outdoor terraces (many with their own pool) surrounded by native hedges for the feeling of total seclusion. Breakfasts packed with fresh local fruit are offered next to the infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean. Then it’s off to the mile-long, totally empty beach for surfing, swimming, or just relaxing. For dinner, you can request a private meal in the library with service so good it’s prescient. And you can do all of this barefoot. No flip-flops required. —R.K.

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA

THE SOUTH’S CAR-FREE PARADISE

WITH NO BRIDGE to Daufuskie, a 10-square-mile barrier island 30 minutes by ferry from Hilton Head, there’s hardly a car (or grocery store) to be found here. But Low- country charm is everywhere: fresh oysters and shrimp at down-home seafood joints, fishing and paddling in back bays, and horseback riding on white-sand beaches, all with hardly any crowds. You can rent a beach cruiser to explore Spanish moss-covered roads or just enjoy a sundowner cocktail in your room overlooking the 1873 lighthouse at Haig Point, a resort community that’s home to the historic Strachan Mansion. The pace of life will never feel more relaxing. —BLANE BACHELOR

NIEKHU MOUNTAIN VILLA, SWEDEN

BEST ARCTIC POWDER RUNS

COME SUMMER, there are few ski destinations better equipped to make the most of mild temps and lingering snow than Niehku Mountain Villa. From its doorstep on the Swedish-Norwegian border, its helicopters can access 60 mountain peaks for backcountry runs, or you can head over to ski tour along Norway’s fjords. The only other tracks you’ll encounter belong to Sami herdsmen and their reindeer. “The vast landscape in Swedish Lapland is like Europe’slast wilderness,” says Jossi Lindblom, co-owner of Niehku. Plus, you can adventure 24/7 under the midnight sun. But forewarning: It’s nearly impossible to pull yourself away from the fireside lounge after you’ve finished one of the lodge’s tundra-to-table meals, paired with wines from a 500-bottle cellar. —JEN MURPHY

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

January - February 2020