NewNowNext 9: Islands to See Before You Kick It

Wait, are you sure there’s no Grindr on Socotra?

You’ve heard about the 1000 places you have to see before you die (many of which are total sh*t…I’d say you could narrow that think down t a solid 300) — but how about a list of just the islands you need to hit? The folks at TripAdvisor sent over their list a very personal email yesterday with their picks. And I’ll admit there are some good ones in there, but I don’t LOVE their list. So I thought I’d come up with a slightly more NewNowNexty one. Tell us what yours would be in the comments below.

1. Easter Island/Rapa Nui

On their list and mine. It’s nuts, and totally worth the endless journey especially if you’re intrigued by the insanely tall (some are nine stories high) creepy-cool Moai. Oh and this may be part of polynesia, but don’t bother packing a bikini, mankini, whatever — it’s too damn cold for any of that most of the year.
Best Hotel: Explora Rapa Nui

2. Socotra

Sure, it’s off the coast of Yemen and perhaps a leeeettle too close to the region where the Somali pirates are operating, but it’s the Galapagos of the Middle East! Some three hundred of Socotra’s more than eight hundred plant species grow only here, among them this prehistoric-looking bottle tree.
Best Hotel: None, it’s all about the eco camps

3. Hong Kong

For anyone who’s ever wanted to actually shop ’till you drop — this is still the place. Also, the dining is incredible. And they do luxury hotels like pretty much no place else in the world.
Best Hotel on Hong Kong: Mandarin Oriental (the original Mandarin)
Best Hotel in Kowloon: The Peninsula

4. Lord Howe Island

I know, it sounds made up. But it’s a real place, and quite honestly one of the most remote, beautiful spots in the world. Kid you not. Unfortunately it’s a bitch to get to — head all the way to Australia and then take another plane back over the Pacific. But this trip comes with some serious bragging rights… most travel writers haven’t even heard of this place.
Best Hotel: Capella Lodge

5. Hawaii

Obvious to some, but I don’t mean the state, I mean the big island that the state is named after. It’s got stunning black sand beaches, an active volcano, kooky resort towns… It’s by far the most interesting corner of the state.
Best Hotel: Four Seasons Hualalai
Wackiest Yoga-ish/Gay-ish/Vegetarian-ish Retreat: Kalani

6. Fernando de Noronha

It’s paradise, I tell you paradise. Also consistently voted the best beach in Brazil. And guess what they know a lot about in Brazil…
Best Hotel: Pousada Maravilha

7. St. Lucia

The island overall is eh, very Caribbean. But the Pietons are crazy beautiful, as are the resorts that look on to the Pietons.
Best Hotel: Jalousie Plantation — about to be renamed Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Best Hotel with a view: Jade Mountain

8. Zanzibar

Former Arab trading post off the coast of Tanzania. It’s got culture, some souk craziness, delicious, spicy food, and phenomenal beaches. Worth a little extra dough: this tiny sandbar of an island off Zanzibar that has a seasonal resort on it.
Best Hotel: The Residence
Best Hotel on its own sandbar: Mnemba

9. Manhattan

It’s too obvious, I know, but Manhattan still regularly delights and surprises, in a newnownexty way. So I’m comfortable saying that this is indeed one of the islands you need to see before you kick it.
Best Hotel Downtown: Crosby
Best Hotel Midtown: Andaz 5th Avenue
Gayest Hotel: The Out NYC

Want to suggest your own list, or add a few to this one? Make your suggestions the comments section below.