Features // Neil McQuillian

Inside 7 of the world’s most enigmatic hotels
Inside 7 of the world’s most enigmatic hotels

Often enormous and smack­bang in the centre of things, hotels are, it’s fair to say, very, very there. But they’re not easy presences: public yet exclusive, both welcoming and a little off­-putting at once, they’re some of the most enigmatic, story­-generating buildings around. Here, we delve into seven legendary hotels that have been talked about more than most. 1.…

A Rough Guide to drinking Japanese sake
A Rough Guide to drinking Japanese sake

I say “sake”, you say… The lowest form of wit? No, not “sarcy” – as in sarcastic – but sake, as in the Japanese drink. So actually, you say “cheers,” or “kanpai!” This Japanese drink is the traditional alcoholic accompaniment to food in Japan, and it’s something you’ll come across wherever you go in the…

Sado: escape to Japan’s remote and wild island
Sado: escape to Japan’s remote and wild island

Sado-ga-shima? Tell an Osaka or Tokyo resident your holidays plans include spending time on this godforsaken chunk of rock in the Sea of Japan and they might be nonplussed. Northern Hōnshu – the region off whose coastline Sado lurks – is bad enough, regarded by many as the sticks, a mountainous, isolated swathe of harsh,…

9 tips for backpacking South America
9 tips for backpacking South America

Taken from the Rough Guide to South America on a Budget, these are our top nine tips for backpacking South America. From the tropical beaches of the Caribbean to the windswept archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, backpacking South America guarantees a treasure trove of adventures that has fuelled the imagination of travellers for centuries, with dizzying…

R2-D2 takes to the skies
R2-D2 takes to the skies

As if Thursday’s new trailer for December 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t enough, Japanese airline ANA have risked sending Star Wars fans’ mental equilibrium into a galaxy far, far away by launching a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner painted like beep-talking robot R2-D2. OK, it’d look lame next to the Millennium Falcon or Death Star – and why…

Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches
Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches

On a trip to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, just a short drive from bright lights of Puerto Vallarta, Neil McQuillian discovers the unexpected… There! I whipped my head round to get a better look. Yes – roger that – no doubt about it. That rare combination of bright, clashing colours and drab browns: remarkable. Quite a…

Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland
Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland

In 2014 Switzerland’s Graubünden region celebrates its 150th anniversary as the birthplace of winter tourism. Although much has changed since then, Neil McQuillian finds plenty of old-school luxury – and some pleasing eccentricities. My guide John and I were about to be shown round the spectacularly sited Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, and had just met the…

Gorging on Portuguese food in alluring Alentejo
Gorging on Portuguese food in alluring Alentejo

Alentejo is huge and Alentejo is gorgeous. The Portuguese food is excellent, the wine arguably even better; it’s cheap, it’s quiet and it’s wild. And for now at least, besides a handful of the rich and famous who own houses here, you can have it largely to yourself… Neil McQuillian takes a rather delicious tour…

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