Niue achieves dark status, 2020's top hotels named, Airbnb launch wacky home fund

Travel news: Island nation turns the lights off, 2020's top hotels named, Airbnb launch the wacky fund

Most popular hotels in 2020

Travel Insurance Direct has found the most popular hotels of 2020. Using TripAdvisor's top-ranked hotels, and the number of Instagram hashtags and total monthly internet searches, the verdict is in.

The top three hotels are Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal in Mexico, Tulemar Bungalows and Villas in Costa Rica and the La Siesta Classic Ma May Hotel in Hanoi.

The Travel Insurance Direct top 10 list also features hotels from all over the world, including Italy, Cambodia, Turkey, USA, Peru, Austria and Taiwan.

See the full list at: Travel Insurance Direct

Turn out the lights

The International Dark-Sky Association has announced that the tiny island nation of Niue will become the world's first Dark Sky Nation. The island in the South Pacific Ocean measures 261 square kilometres and it's known for its limestone cliffs and coral-reef dive sites.

Niue has received certification as both a dark sky sanctuary and a dark sky community, ensuring the entire island will maintain standards of light development and keep light pollution limited even as the world's astronomy community turns eyes toward the area.

Niue is over 2700 kilometres from New Zealand and it's a 3.5-hour flight from Auckland, with services currently offered twice weekly.

She's a Dream

Asia's premium line, Dream Cruises, has unveiled more details of its newest ship, Global Dream, which will be heading to Australia and New Zealand.

Slated to debut in early 2021, the ship will have new tech features on board such as facial recognition and self-guided mobile assistants. It will also have the first-ever theme park at sea which includes trampolines, obstacle courses and surf simulators, as well as exclusive area The Palace.

Wacky Airbnbs

The Unique Airbnb Fund will award 10 people $US100,000 (about $160,000) each to build the wackiest homes they can dream up. Airbnb is looking for unusual shapes, unexpected locations, immersive concepts and spaces with a story.

Searches for unexpected and unique spaces - such as shepherds huts, windmills and tiny houses - have increased by nearly 70 per cent over the last year on Airbnb.

Visit: Airbnb

Pacific Explorer's facelift

P&O Cruises' flagship, Pacific Explorer, has returned to her Sydney home sporting new features and attractions following a stunning makeover. The new games arcade has 21 attractions including the hottest VR on the market.

There are two new five-berth suites, which include complimentary laundry service and priority embarkation and disembarkation.

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