The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2019

Saturday - 15/12/2018 08:15

Ask the Travel + Leisure staff where we want to travel in 2019, and most of us will answer, honestly, where don’t we?

When it comes to compiling our annual year-end list of the places we’re most excited about in the coming months, narrowing down the field is easier said than done. We pore over press releases, tourism statistics, and our overflowing spreadsheets of hotel openings, restaurant debuts, and new flight routes. We consider the anecdotal evidence: Where are our friends and families going? What destinations are we seeing on Instagram? Which places seem to be part of today’s travel zeitgeist? And, as always, we turn to our network of travel experts — trusted writers, hospitality professionals, the travel advisors that make up T+L’s A-List — to see where people are actually going, and which places are the ones to watch in the coming year.

This year’s list spans the globe, from exciting southern hemisphere cities like Santiago, Chile, and Brisbane, Australia, to harder-to-reach regions like Langkawi, Malaysia and the Danish Riviera. There are the new capitals of culture — Nairobi, Kenya, home to a emergent design scene, or Panama City, with a deluge of forward-thinking restaurants and bars — and the tourism destinations that are back in fighting form after natural disasters or human conflict, including Puerto Rico, the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, Egypt, and Montecito, California. And, of course, there are the destinations that we haven’t heard much about, but certainly will soon — places like India’s remote Andaman Islands, or the art and history-filled emirate of Sharjah, in the U.A.E., or the under-the-radar wine scene in Etyek, Hungary.

After all, isn’t dreaming about places totally new to us — and seeing old favorites in a new light — why we travel in the first place?

Here are Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2019. If you already know where you're going in the year ahead, share your travel destination picks with us on social media with #TLBestPlaces.

Hotel Saranac in the Adirondacks region of New York
Courtesy of Hotel Saranac, Curio Collection by Hilton

The Adirondacks, New York

One of America’s first vacation destinations, New York’s Adirondack Mountain region has been luring travelers since the late 19th century with clear lakes, pure air, and 46 high peaks to climb. You can still visit in classic style. Built in 1927, the Hotel Saranacreopened last year after a respectful renovation that brings a touch of urban grandeur to the charming town of Saranac Lake. Hidden in the woods outside of town, The Point is a sumptuous lakeside resort that occupies what was once a “great camp” belonging to members of the Rockefeller family. A change of ownership has brought a welcome refresh to the elevated woodsy décor. —Peter Terzian

Kananaskis Nordic Spa in Alberta, Canada
Travel Alberta/Mike Seehagel/Courtesy of Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Alberta, Canada

Jasper and Banff’s rugged, powdery trails should be enough reason to add Alberta to your winter travel wish list. But this year, happenings off the ski runs have made the Canadian province more exciting than ever. If you’re flying into Calgary, make a detour before hitting the slopes to see the month-old Snøhetta- and DIALOG-designed Calgary Central Library. Covered with 460 white hexagonal panels, it’s set to become an architectural icon. Culture hounds should visit Edmonton’s new Royal Alberta Museum, a $375-million, 419,000-square-foot institution featuring collections on indigenous cultures, a gallery dedicated to insects, and more. Away from the cities, Kananaskis Nordic Spa, the first of its kind in the province, just unveiled a collection of hydrotherapy pools — as well salt exfoliation cabins and eucalyptus steam rooms — right in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. And if you’re in Banff National Park, keep an eye out for bison. Due to overhunting, the animals haven’t been spotted in the area for over a century, but in June 2018, a herd of 31 was released on Banff’s eastern slopes. —Chadner Navarro

Winery in Strasbourg - Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine's route destinations Alsace and Champagne
Richard James Taylor/Courtesy of Belmond

Alsace, France

This region in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains produces some of the finest wines on the globe. The stunning Villa René Lalique, whose restaurant has two Michelin stars, is the ideal place to start a sojourn. Visit top wineries like Domaine Weinbach and Maison Trimbach for world-class Gewürztraminers and Rieslings. At Au Trotthus, in Riquewihr, chef Philippe Aubron melds ingredients from France and Japan, where he spent 17 years — chanterelle soup with enoki and truffles, for example. Luxury travelers can even see Alsace by boat: a new barge, the Belmond Lilas, offers private cruises. —Ray Isle

Taj Exotica resort in the Andaman Islands, India
Sean Fennessy

The Andaman Islands

For anyone who’s ever fantasized about running away to a remote island, the Andaman Islands are the stuff of dreams. A chain of more than 300 islands (some sources cite as many as 572) strung between India and Thailand, they seem almost too perfect to be real, with unspoiled beaches, clear water, coconut trees, and tropical mangroves. Many of the archipelago’s islands are uninhabited or off-limits in order to protect the tribes who live there. But one, Havelock Island, became more accessible this March, when Taj Exotica Resort & Spa — the Andamans’ first five-star resort — opened on Radhanagar Beach. Spread out over 30 acres, the property comprises 75 luxurious villas inspired by the huts of the indigenous Jarawa tribe, three restaurants serving local specialties and global cuisine, and the tranquil Jiva spa. It joins Havelock’s other main draw, the charming boutique hotel Jalakara, which opened in late 2015 with just three rooms, three suites, and a private villa on an old banana and betel nut plantation. Days here are spent swimming and diving amid the coral, kayaking in the mangroves, hiking in the forest, and relaxing on the beach. For now, the Andamans remain far less developed than the Maldives, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Go before that changes. —Laura Itzkowitz

Khor Virap Church Complex and Mount Ararat, Armenia
iStockphoto/Getty Images


This past spring Armenians voted in a new, more liberal government. The resulting energy has made the country all the more inviting to travelers. The Alexander, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, recently opened in Yerevan, giving the capital its first world-class hotel. And a number of new restaurants in the city, including Sherep, are breathing new life into Armenia’s ancient cuisine. Armenia has a famously beautiful countryside landscape, and there’s no better way to see it than on foot. The Transcaucasian Trail passes the spa town of Dilijan, the bucolic Dilijan National Park, and a pair of 10th-century Christian monasteries. —Peter Terzian

View of Spree River and Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany
Getty Images


The coming year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and city's jam-packed cultural calendar reflects its post-reunification renaissance. Exhibits and performances celebrating 100 years of the city's pioneering Bauhaus architectural movement will roll out all year, starting in January with a ramped-up opening festival at the Akademie der Kunste, which will include lectures, dance and theatrical performances, and concerts — and, this being one of Europe's capitals of nightlife, a pop-up nightclub featuring DJ sets and the presentation of a Bauhaus manifesto for the 21st century. The party will be bookended by the debut later in the year of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace. The sprawling complex will include the Ethnological and Asian Art museums, as well as a Berlin Exhibition that explores how the city, now a hub of diversity, interacts with the rest of the world and grapples with issues of cultural appropriation. The year's biggest surprise, though, may be the emergence of Berlin — a meat and potatoes epicenter, and the only city in the world boasting a museum devoted to the currywurst — as a veg-friendly culinary mecca. The city is now home to more vegetarian restaurants than any other European capital, and Vevolution, a celebration focused on vegan and vegetarian cuisine, will be part of the city's eat! Berlin festival in February, a culinary blowout slated to draw world-renowned chefs like Slovenia’s Ana Roš and Austria’s Heinz Reitbauer. —Raphael Kadushin

The Calile Hotel, in Brisbane, Australia
Sean Fennessy/Courtesy of The Calile

Brisbane, Australia

Teasingly nicknamed Brisvegas for its sleepy mien, Brisbane has long been regarded as an outsize country town, a cultural vacuum overshadowed by Sydney and Melbourne. But that’s changing. The shift began with the mid-2018 opening of the W Brisbane, the first luxury property to launch in the central business district in two decades. Now, the city is unveiling the $140 million Howard Smith Wharves development, which brings a hotel and restaurants to an abandoned dockyard under the Story Bridge. But even before the project is complete, this city, which hugs the Brisbane River, has plenty to offer. There are fine arts institutions like the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, or QAGOMA,where the vast Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art is on view through April. The Fortitude Valley neighborhood continues to evolve, with the recent opening of the contemporary, white-brick Calile Hotel and the relaunch of the Emporium Hotel as the whimsical Ovolo the Valley following a $39 million upgrade. One thing remains unchanged: the Brisbane River is still the heart of it all, both a thoroughfare and a destination unto itself. The CityHopper ferry is a tranquil vantage point from which to see Brisbane’s parks, the cliffs of Kangaroo Point, and the ever-evolving skyline of this underrated city. —Sanjay Surana

The Shinta Mani Wild Lodge in Cambodia
Courtesy of Shinta Mani Wild


Most visits to Cambodia are centered around exploring Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat — but now there’s a reason to head much further south, to an area that more accessible than ever thanks to the December 21 opening of Shinta Mani Wild. Set inside the remote South Cardamom National Park (a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh), this all-inclusive luxury camp with 15 tented suites is the brainchild of hotel designer Bill Bensley, who made it a priority to protect hundreds of acres of surrounding land and the wild elephants, gibbons, and other wildlife that call it home. Guests will be able to join experts on guided hikes, explore Southeast Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem on custom expedition boats, and relax in a spa that uses natural, chemical-free products. Feeling extra adventurous? Instead of driving, you can opt to enter the property via a 1,247-foot-long zipline. —Brooke Porter Katz

Bar at the University Arms hotel, in Cambridge, England
Courtesy of University Arms

Cambridge, England

One of England’s two great university cities, Cambridge doesn’t wear its history lightly. It’s impossible to visit and not feel catapulted back in time, from the medieval maze of streets to the dazzling Gothic buildings of its colleges. Yet the city is also looking to the future: more than 4,500 science and technology firms have opened in the region over the past two decades. Cambridge now has a superb hotel to match. The University Arms, which opened last summer, is both an elegant homage to neoclassical style and a whole lot of fun, with book-filled suites that use famous Cambridge graduates like Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawkins as decorating motifs. The city’s food scene is keeping apace, thanks to Parker’s Tavern, the hotel’s jovial, haute-British restaurant, and, across town, the subdued and sublime Restaurant 22—Peter Terzian

The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. Building at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I.
Peter Unger/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images


News of Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming movie adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic "Death on the Nile" comes just as Egypt prepares to welcome the luxe St. Regis Cairo. When it opens this spring, the 36-floor tower, overlooking Old Cairo and the Nile, will pamper guests with round-the-clock butler service. Luxury tour operators are responding to a strong uptick in visitor interest with new itineraries that cater to families. Heritage Tours designs bespoke trips, while Abercrombie & Kent can combine a river cruise, camel rides, and hands-on crafts. Tourism will only grow once Giza’s $1.1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum makes its long-awaited debut in 2020.—Sarah Bruning

View of the Milky Way over the Elqui Valley in Chile
Jesse Kraft/Alamy

Elqui Valley, Chile

Eclipse chasers should book a trip to Chile’s Elqui Valley for the total solar eclipse this July 2. The remote region, whose lack of artificial light earned it a designation as the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary, is home to over a dozen observatories, making it a magnet for both scientists and stargazers. The lush valley is also hailed for its Andes-flanked nature trails, world-class wines, and distilleries where travelers can sample the country’s celebrated national spirit, pisco. Intrepid Travel is offering 6- and 11-day tours to the Path of Totality with award-winning English astronomer, Dr. John Mason. Guests will visit famous observatories like ALMA and Pangue, as well as prominent vineyards and top distilleries. Travel outfitter Red Savannah is also offering bespoke journeys to experience this rare celestial event, with overnight stays in Elqui Domos’ geodesic glamping domes and observatory-style cabins. And Upscape’s new Outpost pop-up camp will open in Elqui Valley starting June 29, just in time for guests to get a front row seat to one of nature’s most spectacular shows. —Nora Walsh

House at a vineyard in Etyek, Hungary
Zoltan Tarlacz/Shutterstock

Etyek, Hungary

In the last two decades, Hungary has quietly been reclaiming its place as one of Europe’s most important wine producers. By now, wine connoisseurs are familiar with the most prominent of Hungary’s 22 wine regions: Tokaj, Eger, and Lake Batalon. But lately, the unassuming little town of Etyek — just 18 miles outside the capital — has emerged as a go-to destination for oenophiles and gourmands. Recognized in the 18th century as “the vineyards of Budapest,” Etyek has been gaining acclaim in recent years for its Champagne-like terroir that yields fine Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot (noir et blanc), and sparkling wines. While still under-the-radar among foreigners, Budapestians have been descending in droves onto the town’s “Gastro Walkway” (a cobblestone street in the older part of Etyek lined with restaurants and limestone cellars). Take a day to explore the town’s wineries on foot. Rókusfalvy Birtok, owned by a Hungarian radio celebrity, is revered by locals for having put Etyek on the oenological map — and Rókusfalvy also owns a restaurant and charming inn just a short walk away. A few doors down from those, Halmi Pince serves wine in an enchanting country setting complete with Tyrol-style furnishings and embroidered doilies, but it is their fruit and botanical syrups in dozens of intoxicating flavors (blackberry, pine needle, acacia) that will leave you swooning. One of the newest wineries in town, Anonym Pince, has a state-of-the-art concrete and glass tasting room, completed in 2015, offering sweeping views of the countryside. In 2019, the town will play host to four major gastronomic weekends (January 19, April 6-7, June 1-2, and September 7-8), organized by Etyek Piknik, with live music and public events highlighting local wines, cheeses, and other regional delicacies. —Elizabeth Warkentin

The Bungalows, in the Florida Keys
Courtesy of The Bungalows

The Florida Keys

A year after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys are bouncing back, with a slew of hotel openings that prove the region’s enduring appeal. In Key Largo, there’s the 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, which reopened this fall following a major rebrand and reno, and the all-inclusive 135-room Bungalows Key Largo, which finally made its debut in December. The property is tailor-made for couples, with coastal cottages starting at 900 square feet, complete with bicycles, Adirondack chairs, and enormous soaking tubs. Over in Marathon, the 24-acre Isla Bella Beach Resort is set to open in March 2019 with 199 rooms, all with ocean views. And there’s yet another new place to bunk in the American literary capital of Key West: the Marquesa Hotel’s 414 annex, a cluster of rooms in a historic home across from the main property. While you’re there, book a sightseeing excursion with the Old Town Literary Walking Tour, which takes visitors to the former stomping grounds of Elizabeth Bishop and Ernest Hemingway, as well as local lit-scene favorites such as Books & Books. The Florida Keys is always good for a surprise or two, and this is no exception: Swing by the shop on the right day and you may get rung up by none other than proprietor Judy Blume. —Tom Austin

Lobby of the Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Georgia
Courtesy of Perry Lane


With so much happening in the Peach State, Georgia should be on the mind of any savvy traveler these days. Atlanta continues its rise as a culinary capital: Notable recent openings include the Local Pizzaiolo, a downtown pizza spot, and Masterpiece, helmed by James Beard-nominated Rui Liu, while food halls like Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market are constantly adding new vendors. Meanwhile, the remarkable transformation of Hotel Clermont from a seedy motel into a dapper boutique property — complete with a superb French-leaning bistro and rooftop bar — has both locals and visitors buzzing. And the city famous for its gridlock is increasingly bike-friendly, thanks to the ongoing growth of the Beltline, a mixed-used trail that will span 33 miles when it’s completed in 2030. Over on the coast, Savannah is hopping with a flurry of hotel openings, including newcomers The Alida, a luxe riverfront property, and the upscale Perry Lane in the Historic District; 2019 openings include the Liberty and the Lark. On the food front, the Grey Market, a hybrid of New York-style bodega and Southern lunch counter, opened in late 2018 under Johno Morisano and Mashama Bailey, Savannah’s most celebrated restaurant team. It was inspired by their beloved restaurant, the Grey, which dishes up Southern-inspired cuisine in a refurbished Greyhound bus depot and has racked up a slew of accolades since its 2014 opening. —Blane Bachelor

The vastness of the Grand Canyon - View from South Rim at the worlds held in this one majestic canyon with its mesa and rivers and bluffs and cliffs under a dramatic sky
Susan Vineyard/Getty Images

The Grand Canyon

In 2019, the park dedicated to America’s most famous geologic marvel will celebrate its 100-year anniversary with a series of talks, concerts, and special exhibitions throughout the year. And while you can certainly have an awe-inspiring experience without venturing far from the designated lookout points, new tours make 2019 the ideal time to explore the Canyon’s less-traveled corners. Operator Austin Adventures has added more dates for its family-friendly Grand Canyon tour, as well as a brand-new itinerary that includes Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, while Tauck’s 8-day Sacred Lands: National Parks of the Southwest itinerary, created with help from documentarian Ken Burns, includes lunch on the canyon’s rim and two nights in an oft-overlooked section of the park. If you’d prefer a DIY adventure, plan a trip between May and October and head to the North Rim: less than 10 percent of the canyon’s 6.2 million annual visitors see this side of the park. With wild places both at home and abroad increasingly under threat, bearing witness to these natural wonders feels more urgent than ever. —Lila Harron Battis

Princess Margaret beach, Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Windward Islands, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
Michael Runkel/Getty Images

The Grenadines

As the Caribbean continues to rebound from last year’s devastating hurricane season, now is the time to explore the depth and breadth of experiences available in this diverse region. The Grenadines, a chain of dozens of islands south of St. Vincent, were spared by the 2017 storms (in fact, the last time they experienced a direct hit from a hurricane was over 60 years ago). But only recently has the tourism infrastructure and local economy come to match the archipelago’s raw natural beauty. This year, one island in particular — Bequia — will be in focus thanks to the highly anticipated opening of the Liming, a sleek resort that comprises nine clean-lined private villas and a luxe manor home. But other islands are also on the up and up. Mandarin Oriental recently purchased and rebranded a luxe property on the island of Canouan, which officially opened in July with just 26 suites and 13 exclusive villas on a prime section of Godahl Beach. Canouan has also built a runway to allow private and charter jet access. And Cotton House, on the famed private island of Mustique, continues to draw visitors two years after an extensive renovation. Thanks to a new airport on St. Vincent, which provides a hub for new direct flights from New York on Caribbean Airlines and Miami on American Airlines, these secluded island retreats are just a short ferry ride away. —Hannah Walhout

Rio Celeste waterfall, elevated view, Costa Rica
Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

With its beach-meets-jungle coastline, splendid array of biodiversity, and climate as warm as the locals, it's no wonder Costa Rica's northwestern corner became an early paragon of ecotourism. That's a lot of paradise to protect. Now, Guanacaste is ripening into a sanctuary for overtired humans, too. Liberia’s airport is fresh off a multimillion-dollar expansion while the luxury playground at Peninsula Papagayo is in the midst of its own $100-million refresh. Miami-based Gencom is bringing fresh dining concepts, an electric bike-share program, and thoughtful updates to both the Andaz and Four Seasons resorts (the latter’s reimagined spa is a destination in its own right). If the road less paved is more your brand of adventure, a stylish new boutique property, the 45-room Santarena Hotel, will open in February in car-free Las Catalinas, and small surf towns like Nosara and their year-round, world-class swells are as welcoming as ever, whether you're a beginner or a pro on the board. —Richelle Szypulski

A tuk-tuk taxi passes in from of The Arch of Santa Catalina in Antigua, Guatemala.
iStockphoto/Getty Images


Guatemala is Central America distilled: its mix of mountain and jungle landscapes, haunting Mayan ruins and vibrant Indian culture has been luring English-speaking travelers since the writer Aldous Huxley was hypnotized back in the 1930s. Its modest travel industry was put on hold after the eruption of the aptly named Fuego volcano last June, but today, the Land of Eternal Spring is bouncing back. Perched on the rim of the jewel-like Lake Atitlán, Guatemala's finest boutique hotel, Casa Polopó, has expanded its rustic-chic rooms, which are decorated with indigenous and colonial artifacts, from nine to 15, and signed on Guatemala's top celebrity chef and TV star to oversee its menu specializing in indigenous cuisine. 2019 will also see the opening of two glamorous new properties in alluring settings. In Antigua, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Spanish-era capital, you'll be able to sleep like a conquistador in the 11-room Las Cruces, a former mansion decorated with 17th-century silver relics. And in the tropical forests by the Rio Dulce, the seven-room Los Rios Boutique Hotel will revive a beautifully situated lodge from the 1960s; only accessible by boat, it's a sumptuous base for exploring one of the region's most isolated nature reserves. —Tony Perrottet

St George Hotel in Helsinki, Finland
Courtesy of Hotel St. George/Design Hotels

Helsinki, Finland

The capital of Finland continues to build on its reputation as an art and design mecca. Last spring, the Hotel St. George opened in a handsome 19th century building in the Kampii district, once the center of the city’s printing industry. The property features more than 400 pieces of art, culminating in an installation by Ai Weiwei. Oodi, Helsinki’s new central library, is a sweeping cloudlike structure that includes not only sun-infused reading rooms but a cinema, recording studios, and crafting rooms. And the latest addition to the gallery scene is Amos Rex, an underground museum of contemporary art, with domed exhibition spaces that bulge upwards into an urban plaza. —Peter Terzian

Waterfront of historic Hoi An, Vietnam
Katherine Wolkoff

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most historically significant (and beautiful) port cities — and now, a luxe beachfront resort and an influx of creatives are bringing new life to its UNESCO-protected “Ancient Town.” Key to this resurgence is the Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai, a recently renovated property on one of Asia’s most picturesque beaches. Like Hoi An itself, the Nam Hai is an intriguing blend of old and new, reinterpreting the garden courtyard house typical of this part of Vietnam. New shops and restaurants are also bringing a contemporary eye to the city’s layered culture. At Cô Mai, enjoy dishes that explore the Hoi An’s spice trade history inside a repurposed 200-year-old merchant’s house. Tadioto Hoi An, owned by artist Nguyen Qui Duc, serves Japanese fare and shots of rare sake and whisky, while the menu at T-Room Gin Bar includes gins infused with native vanilla, cardamom, and black pepper. After cocktails, head to the French-Vietnamese atelier Metiseko, with its understated prints and smart silhouettes, or Lam, which reimagines the traditions of Ancient Town with embroidered velvet slippers and silk slip dresses. Tapping into the town’s leisurely vibe, Sunday in Hoi An has an atmospheric white-and-blue atelier filled with ceramics, bedding, and linens. This colorful port city has matured gracefully — but a new golden era is just beginning. —Rachna Sachasinh

The Hudson Yards development in progress on New York City's West Side
David Kukin

Hudson Yards, New York City

Despite its proximity to Times Square and Chelsea, Manhattan’s far west side remained undeveloped for decades, the subject of countless competing visions of its future. In 2019, that future will arrive: the vast industrial parcel is poised to become a supersize neighborhood known as Hudson Yards. The $25 billion undertaking, whose first shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions open this March, will by 2024 encompass 16 residential and commercial buildings — most of them built on a giant platform over an active railyard — with more skyscrapers rising on the periphery. Hudson Yards’ Jetsonian vision is perhaps best exemplified by "Vessel," a $150 million climbable sculpture conceived by British designer Thomas Heatherwick. Around it is the Public Square & Gardens, a five-acre park, which will house 28,000 plants in an environment that’s temperature-controlled to offset the heat of the railyard below. The Shed, an eight-story performance and exhibition space, has a one-of-a-kind feature: a telescoping shell that allows the building to expand and contract to accommodate a variety of events and crowd sizes. The inaugural season is set to include a new play by poet Anne Carson that draws from Euripides’ “Helen” and a concert series curated by musician Quincy Jones and filmmaker Steve McQueen. Nearby, a seven-story building will house the city’s first Neiman Marcus and restaurants by such big-name chefs as Thomas KellerDavid Chang, and José Andrés. Visitors can check in to the Equinox Hotel, slated to open this summer — the first property from the upscale fitness brand. —Siobhan Reid

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States
Denis Tangney Jr/Getty Images


Nearly two years after its star turn as Super Bowl host and one year since Hurricane Harvey inflicted $125 billion worth of damage, Houston has made major strides toward recovery and cemented its reputation as a lively, diverse city with a restaurant landscape that can hold its own against any coastal capital. There are plenty of standalone spots that have earned well-deserved praise, like Theodore RexXochi, and UB Preserv, and you'd be remiss to skip places like Mala Sichuan, Pho Binh, and Crawfish & Noodles for a snapshot of the myriad cultural influences at play. But now, with a handful of new food halls in the works, visitors can sample a cross-section of the city’s food scene without spending hours traversing the urban sprawl: Finn Hall opened in December, with Bravery Chef HallLyric Market Hall, and Understory still on the horizon for 2019. There’s a new luxury hotel, the 10-acre, 250-room Post Oak, which opened near the Galleria this March. And art lovers will find plenty to see thanks to recent overhauls and openings. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston completed the first phase of a $450 million expansion in May, and the Menil Collection unveiled the brand-new Menil Drawing Institute in November. —Lila Harron Battis

Italy, Campania, Ischia Island, Aragonese castle in Ischia Ponte
Slow Images/Getty Images

Ischia, Italy

Devoted readers of Elena Ferrante’s novels about two women from a tough Naplesneighborhood rejoiced over the November HBO premiere of “My Brilliant Friend.” The next step for superfans? Beat the inevitable rush to visit the series’s stunning Mediterranean locations, especially the lush volcanic island of Ischia. Just an hour from Naples by hydrofoil and a favorite of Europeans seeking thermal spas, umbrella-studded beaches, and pleasant resort towns, the refuge abounds with old-school charm. Check in to the elegant and tranquil Hotel Regina Isabella, which offers a three-night Elena Ferrante package that includes a private guided tour and creative writing class. Then spend lazy hours sunbathing on Maronti Beach, just like Ferrante’s narrator does. But be sure to rouse yourself to visit the hulking medieval Castello Aragonese and the pastel-colored fishing village of Sant’Angelo. —Maggie Shipstead

People sits at tables outside the restaurant at Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv
iStockphoto/Getty Images


Shiny new trains, airports, and hotels are all coming to Israel in 2019, catapulting the ancient land into the modern age as the rest of the country catches up with vibrant Tel Aviv. Israel’s much-anticipated high-speed train began operating in September linking Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport; by early 2019 the train will connect Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in under 30 minutes. Ben Gurion itself is undergoing a major overhaul in 2019 — with new daily direct flights on United and Delta in the works, the airport is gearing up to welcome more visitors than ever. Tel Aviv is still growing, of course. Last year saw the arrival of game-changing luxury hotels Setai Tel Aviv, The Jaffa, and The Drisco, with three more new properties — the budget-friendly-but-chic Dave Levinsky; a boutique hotel in a Bauhaus building at Herzl 10; and the Menorah, Brown Hotel’s new 200-room flagship — still to come in 2019. In celebration of Bauhaus’ 100th anniversary, the formerly residential Liebling House will be reborn as the White City Center, a foundation which aims to protect and promote the architecturally significant White City area of Tel Aviv. Down south, Ashdod will get the beachfront property Brown Méditerranée Ashdod in May 2019, and near the Dead Sea, construction of a desert park and promenade is underway to connect area beaches. In late 2019, the Negev Desert gets the country’s biggest opening of the year: the 46-acre Six Senses Shaharut, which will have 58 ultra-luxe suites and villas, a desert activities center, and a massive Six Senses Spa. —Devorah Lev-Tov

Terrace at the Caldera House Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming
Courtesy of Caldera House

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This rural region — which includes the town of Jackson and the ski resort of Teton Village — makes headlines thanks to its residents, who happen to be among the top earners in the country. But Jackson Hole is changing fast. A burgeoning tech scene has drawn the median age down to 33, and new hotel-motel hybrids like the cool and affordable Anvildraw a younger crowd. Four Seasons Jackson Hole and Amangani, longtime favorites, were recently joined by the super-luxe Caldera House. Painstakingly built over six years by design darlings Commune, the eight-suite, $100 million creates once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Guests can take close-up shots of elk with a National Geographic photographer or schuss down Corbet's Couloir with a gold-winning Olympic skier as your guide. For now, Jackson remains highly walkable and relatively easy to access for such a remote and bucolic destination. But as snow-covered peaks are increasingly difficult to locate elsewhere in these United States, expect Jackson Hole, which reliably opens around Thanksgiving, to grow ever more popular. —Heidi Mitchell

Butterfly walk at the Datai Langkawi hotel
Courtesy of Datai Langkawi

Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands, is poised to make Malaysia the next beach-lover’s paradise. While much of the eponymous main island still feels vast and ageless — water buffalo graze in rice paddies, and street vendors sell flaky roti canai and curry for pennies — world-class resorts have arrived. The island’s only overwater spa is at the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, where the 90 rooms and 29 villas are styled after a traditional village. The Datai Langkawi, situated on a peaceful half-moon cove, has undergone a $60 million, yearlong renovation that breathed new life into its guest rooms and villas. A canopy walk was built almost 50 feet in the air, to let guests better appreciate the surrounding rain forest. Thanks to a 2018 renovation, capacity at Langkawi International Airport has tripled, making the island more accessible than ever. —Carey Jones

Pool at the Montage Los Cabos Hotel in Mexico
Courtesy of Montage Los Cabos

Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos has a reputation as a place full of wealthy Angelenos and college kids, less a Mexican destination than an Americanized resort getaway. And in parts of Cabo San Lucas, the party rages on. But new hotels are setting themselves apart with upscale amenities, a deeper appreciation of local culture, and unexpected locations. In May, Viceroy relaunched a design darling: Mar Adentro, built in 2015, was famous for its striking white buildings and central bar, a nestlike ovoid structure. Viceroy overhauled the dining and interiors, but kept those beloved elements intact. Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort opened its doors in September, all clean lines and high drama, with Danish-meets-Mexican furnishings. Chief among the 2018 additions is the 122-room Montage, which curves around secluded Santa Maria Bay and has a 40,000-square-foot spa — the largest in Baja. Still more properties are coming in 2019: the 115-room Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, opens in March, followed by the 200-room Nobu Hotel Los Cabosand the 115-room 1 Hotel. The next frontier is the East Cape along the Sea of Cortés, where a long-awaited Four Seasons will debut in mid 2019, with 145 rooms, four pools, five restaurants, and an on-site slip so you can dock your yacht and check right in; Amanvari will open within the same complex in 2020. All these new hotels highlight what regular visitors have long known: if you look in the right places, Los Cabos has exactly what you’re after. —Lila Harron Battis

Les Suites at Cliff Bay in Madeira, Portugal
Courtesy of Les Suites at the Cliff Bay/Porto Bay Hotels

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago famous for the fortified wine that bears its name, will celebrate the 600th anniversary of its discovery this year. Its terraced vineyards, atmospheric fishing villages, pretty pebble beaches, and the culturally-rich capital of Funchal have attracted the likes of Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. Today, the “Island of Flowers” is luring a fresh set of adventure seekers with its warm year-round climes, dramatic landscapes (from dizzying peaks and black lava pools to laurel cloud forests) and a 500-mile network of unesco-listed levadas, or irrigation channels, that serve as scenic hiking and mountain biking trails. Come spring, a bevy of new and updated hotels will bloom, including Funchal’s new seafront Savoy Palace, featuring gardens, a spa and rooftop pool, and the sleek Les Suites at The Cliff Bay. The charming Pestana Churchill Bay Hotel will open in Câmara de Lobos, and Belmond Reid's Palace will debut refreshed rooms and a glitzy new bar. —Nora Walsh

Aquatio Hotel in Matera, Italy
Courtesy of Aquatio

Matera, Italy

Set on the instep of Italy’s boot, Matera is best known for the white Sassi structures carved into its limestone hills, which earned the town a UNESCO designation. The announcement four years ago that Matera would be a 2019 European Capital of Culture signaled a new era, spurring hotel and restaurant openings and culminating in this year’s festivities. Don’t miss the museum Casa Noha, where a multimedia exhibit gives a glimpse of the city’s past. Spend an afternoon with Cook’n Fun at Mary’s, whipping up traditional dishes centered around Materan staples like fresh ricotta and the region’s thickly crusted, conical bread. Later, descend into the pristinely white, high-design caves of Enoteca Dai Tosi for piatti and rosé, followed by an evening passeggiata to the hilltop new town, stunningly modern with its shops, grand churches, and piazzi. The tour operator Divertimento Group can arrange an experience in Murgia National Park, where you’ll go on a foraging trek with a local farmer, then share a gourmet meal in a cave next to an ancient rupestrian church. Bed down at the Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & Spa, which opened last summer with 35 guest rooms, each in a restored Sassi cave, plus a spa and pool built in a ninth-century subterranean chamber. —Nina Hahn

Rosewood Miramar Beach resort in Montecity, California
Courtesy of Rosewood

Montecito, California

Want to feel a sense of renewal in 2019? Visit Montecito. Last December, the Thomas Fireripped through this celebrity enclave — followed by devastating mudslides, forcing further evacuation of the area’s historic estates and multimillion-dollar homes. But, next year, this resilient Santa Barbara County town will be better than ever at delivering its métier: laidback Southern California luxury. Relax on the secluded sands at the 161-key Rosewood Miramar Beach when it launches in February. If the foothills are more your jam, the elegant San Ysidro Ranch reopens in March. Top Chef contender Phillip Frankland Lee brings the best of his wood-fired scratch cooking to the new Silver Bough, an 8-seat chef’s table inside his restaurant the Monarch at the Montecito Inn. The boutiques along Coast Village Road are as stylish as ever, and a new exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art will focus exclusively on sculpture, with works spanning six millennia on display. You might also indulge in a local pastime: hiking. Mudslide scars, creek crossings, and all, Romero Canyon Trail remains popular with day-packers for cool forest stretches and panoramic views. For an easier walk, stroll the length of Butterfly Beach at low tide, ending with a glamorous sunset cocktail at the newly reopened Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore—Betsy Andrews

Beaded jewelry from the Kazuri workshop in Nairobi, Kenya
Courtesy of Kazuri

Nairobi, Kenya

In October, Kenya Airways launched its first direct flight from New York City to Nairobi, making travel to East Africa a much easier proposition. Even if you plan to go on safari, it’s worth spending time in Nairobi to explore the creative scene. Check in to the intimate hotel OneFortyEight Giraffe Sanctuary, set in a former artist’s home and studio, where original art hangs on the walls and owner Elizabeth Fusco runs an on-site boutique. A few miles away, the bead workshop Kazuri employs more than 340 women who craft colorful beads, jewelry, and ceramics by hand. Watch artists at work at the GoDown Arts Centre, and visit Designing Africa Collective for apparel by makers from across the continent. —Mary Holland

Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia
Michael Turek/Courtesy of Natural Selection


The astonishing beauty of the Namib Desert has long had its admirers, but until recently most visitors have been happy campers in battered 4x4s from neighboring South Africa, Botswana, or Zimbabwe. Simple guest houses have served their purpose well, but now a flurry of upscale new lodges has signaled a far more sophisticated future for tourism in this sensational southwest African nation. First on the list for most travelers will undoubtedly be Omaanda, outside the capital of Windhoek, with its heated infinity pool and boutique spa. In summer 2019, the lodge will be joined by a glamorous sister property, Sonop, a Namib Desert tented camp that will channel a 1920s vibe. Also new on the desert scene is Sossus Under Canvas, a handsome, exclusive-use tented camp near the iconic red-sand dunes of Sossusvlei, and nearby Nest, an astonishing private house built to resemble a weaver bird’s nest. Up in the remote far-northern reaches of the country, the ingenious wooden cabins of Shipwreck Lodge are the only permanent structures in the Skeleton Coast National Park and, a full day’s drive away, there’s intimate Hoanib Valley Camp, where you can track desert adapted elephant, lion and giraffe. Even further afield, Serra Cafina, Namibia’s most remote (and sought after) luxury camp has just reopened after a major refurbishment and is looking more beautiful than ever. Namibia is on a roll, and the only way is up. —Peter Browne

Bullo River Station in Australia's Northern Territory
Courtesy of Bullo River Station

Northern Territory, Australia

The remote region is pouring millions into tourism initiatives, including a National Aboriginal Art Gallery and new hiking and biking trails. But even before all that takes shape, it’s worth a visit. At Uluru, the sandstone monolith revered by the area’s Aboriginal people, the massive — and massively popular — Field of Light installation by artist Bruce Munro has extended its run through December 2020. And in the Top End, the northernmost part of the territory, the 12-room Bullo River Station recently got a crisp new look courtesy of Sydney designer Sibella Court, with jewel-colored tiles and Aboriginal artwork. On the half-million-acre grounds, you can view rock paintings dating back thousands of years, stroll past baobab trees, and spot the area’s huge saltwater crocodiles. —Carrie Hutchinson

Pool at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, in Oman
Courtesy of Kempinski Hotel Muscat


A crop of stylish hotels underlines the diversity of experiences available in Oman, one of the most beautiful countries on the Arabian Peninsula. On the southern coast, the Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is a gateway to banana forests, dolphin-filled waters, and the unesco-listed Frankincense Trail. In Muscat, the beachside Kempinski Hotel Muscat debuted last April with a grand lobby inspired by the country’s Persian architectural heritage. The Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, one of Oman’s most iconic resorts, unveiled a redesign incorporating traditional Omani prints. And now that Muscat International Airport has wrapped the first phase of a $1.8 billion expansion, airlines are launching new flights to the country. —Hannah Walhout

Tantao rooftop club in Panama City's Old Town
Dave Lauridsen

Panama City, Panama

When Panama City’s Colonial quarter, or Casco Viejo, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1997, what was then a crime-ridden barrio began the slow process of regeneration. Investment trickled in, expats started buying up the Spanish-style houses and, cobblestone street by cobblestone street, the area was slowly restored. Now, more than two decades on, the work is finally done — and the quarter is ready for prime-time. Now, you’ll find a new boutique, bar or restaurant popping up on every block. The team behind New York City’s iconic Employees Only cocktail bar recently opened the Strangers Club, which serves site-specific drinks like the diablico sucio: mezcal and mint shaken with puréed mango, lime juice, and agave nectar. A new project from Michelin-starred Spanish chef Andres Madrigal, Laboratorio Madrigal, serves a seven-course tasting menu from the chic interior of an updated colonial building, while Panamanian culinary talent José Carles’s 16-seat Casco Veijo restaurant, Don Jose, is one of the city’s hottest tables. You’ll find well-heeled locals rubbing shoulders with bearded millennials at the American Trade Hotel, which since opening in 2013 has become a center of gravity for the new-look neighborhood, and the city as a whole. But above all, you’ll love just taking in the buzzing plazas and pastel-colored, bougainvillea-laced villas of what has become one of Central America’s safest, and most scenic, urban areas. —Flora Stubbs

Spring rolls at Taro restaurant, in Prague
Courtesy of Taro


Not long ago, goulash and strudel dominated nearly every menu in Prague. But lately, a dynamic dining landscape has taken shape, with spots like the 17-seat chef’s-table restaurant Taro, where Vietnamese dishes like pho are treated with reverence. Ambiente, the group behind many of the city’s most innovative kitchens, recently launched Kuchyň. There, diners order after taking a whiff from the pots on the stove, and what lands on the plate are riffs on Czech classics, such as beef braised in red wine. Sister spot Grilsspecializes in spit-roasted chicken, unadorned yet perfect. And another Ambiente joint, the all-day bakery and bistro Eska, is a must: a slice of wood-fired sourdough, a bowl of leek soup, and a parsnip bathed in brown butter are proof that Prague is now a legitimate destination for serious eaters. —Raphael Kadushin

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, in Puerto Rico
Courtesy of Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Puerto Rico

A year after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rico is still on the mend — yet in the areas most popular among travelers, new and refreshed hotels show little sign of last year’s damage. In and around San Juan, many resorts used their months of closure not just to repair, but to undertake major refreshes of rooms and public spaces. Such is the case at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which reopened in October, and the storied El San Juan Hotel, which — after a $65 million renovation — will open its doors again on December 14, 60 years after first arriving on the scene. Serafina Beach Hotel, the island’s first brand-new opening since the hurricanes, debuted in the spring, and in late 2018, the stylish O:LV Fifty Five will bring its modern grandeur to the waterfront by the Condado Lagoon. If you’ve been delaying a trip, 2019 is the time to go: San Juan is more dynamic than ever, with a vibrant food scene anchored by stalwarts like José Enrique and newcomers such as Vianda. And this January, the smash-hit Broadway musical Hamilton will play a limited run at Teatro UPR, with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda reprising his role as Alexander Hamilton. All proceeds will go to the Flamboyan Arts Fund, a nonprofit founded by Miranda to promote arts initiatives in PR. —Lila Harron Battis

A statue honouring the strength of Rwandese women and the construction site of the Kigali Convention Centre are illuminated at night.
Thierry Falise/Getty Images


Tourism in Rwanda is booming, in large part due to the surge in visitors to Volcanoes National Park, one of the last remaining places on earth where travelers can glimpse the endangered mountain gorilla. Most travelers make a beeline to the wildlife-rich park, but Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, has emerged as the epicenter of progressive sustainability in East Africa — and one of the coolest, most under-the-radar cities on the continent. Last year saw the opening of The Retreat, an upscale, eco-friendly boutique hotel that’s exclusively powered by solar energy. The 11-room property celebrates Rwanda’s rich cultural and natural heritage, with local art and photography, handcrafted furniture, and a lush garden with indigenous plants and flowers. While you’re in town, be sure to stop by the Women’s Bakery, the lively, female-owned café where the pastry to order is the sticky honey tresse, and Question Coffee, a local chain that works with rural Rwandan female farmers to grow the best coffee in the country. —Michaela Trimble

Aerial view of San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas, Mexico
iStockphoto/Getty Images

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

Set high in a mountain valley in the state of Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas is not the easiest destination to get to — it’s a 90-minute flight from Mexico City followed by an hour-long drive — but the reward is a getaway in one of the country’s most picturesque colonial-era cities. One more reason to visit? Hotel Sombra del Agua, a stylish new property set inside a 1907 hotel (the first in all of Chiapas) and perfectly located just steps from the vibrant main square. The 70 minimalist, neutral-hued rooms were outfitted by buzzy Mexico City-based design firm La Metropolitana, and there’s a peaceful, plant-filled courtyard for sipping your morning coffee before meandering the city’s cobblestoned streets. The surrounding region is known for its rich culture and epic nature — and San Cristóbal is the ideal base from which to explore it all, with easy access to villages known for indigenous crafts like pottery and weaving, the lake-filled Lagunas de Montebello National Park, and the Mayan ruins of Palenque (not to mention countless waterfalls). —Brooke Porter Katz

Ambrosía Bistro, a restaurant in Santiago, Chile.
Nacho Rojas/Estudio LeClic/Courtesy of Ambrosia

Santiago, Chile

The Chilean capital has emerged as a playground for the food-obsessed, as pioneering restaurants like Boragó and Restaurante 040 have been joined by a new wave of boundary-pushing spots. Ambrosía Bistro serves internationally influenced dishes such as kimchi bao and short-rib tortellini. Find delicate plates — like a flower-blanketed nettle meringue in a pool of almond milk — at Sierra Restaurante, and haute cuisine with a sense of humor at De Patio. Even global stars have arrived: chef Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido in Lima, Peru, opened Karai, a Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) restaurant in the W Hotel.—Lila Harron Battis

The Fife Arms Hotel, in rural Scotland
Courtesy of The Fife Arms


While Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are the stars of the recent film "Mary Queen of Scots," Scotland’s scenery steals the show. Want to walk in Ronan’s footsteps? The cozy seven-room lodge at Glenfeshie Estate, where scenes from Mary were filmed, is available for exclusive rental. In the Highlands village of Braemar, renowned gallery owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth have turned a coaching inn into the luxurious Fife Arms. Between visits to castles and glens, stop in the up-and-coming city of Dundee to check out the new V&A Dundee. The museum’s shiplike building, by architect Kengo Kuma, houses more than 300 exhibits devoted to Scottish design, from a re-created Mackintosh tearoom to video games. —Lisa Grainger

Four Seasons Desroches Island rester in the Seychelles
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

The Seychelles

Located just under a thousand miles off the coast of East Africa, this remote Indian Ocean archipelago has long lured travelers with the promise of life-renewing beach lounging and unparalleled coral reef diving. But in 2019, with new direct flights from London on British Airways, it’s easier than ever to get to those idyllic white sands and pristine aquamarine waters (side note: the government recently designated a third of the Seychelles’ marine area as protected territory). And whether you’d rather island-hop or settle into your own plot of paradise, there are plenty of new luxurious options to explore. In March, Four Seasons opened its second Seychelles outpost on the private Desroches Island, giving guests unlimited access to its 8.7 miles of beaches and 933 acres of lush jungle. With 14 world-class dive sites ringing the island, an animal sanctuary that houses rare Aldabra giant tortoises, and cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing available for every guest...the only hard part will be finding time to lounge by the private pool in your breezy, rustic-chic villa. On the main island of Mahé, the serene Banyan Tree Seychelles recently refurbished a number of its private villas and added several new bars and restaurants. Prefer to see this destination by sea? Reserve a spot on Ponant’s new expedition itinerary, which covers eight islands at once. See the red granite of Curieuse Island, discover the unspoiled nature preserve of Aride Island, and bathe in the crystal-clear pools of La Digue’s famous Anse Source d’Argent beach. —Karen I. Chen

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, at sunset
iStockphoto/Getty Images

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two of the most dynamic cultural hubs in the Gulf — but this year, it’s worth exploring another part of the country that’s quietly becoming an international arts destination. Sharjah, a small emirate whose urban center is just a 20-minute drive from Dubai, is home to some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in the U.A.E., plus a number of world-class museums, like the modern Sharjah Art Foundation. 2019 sees the 14th iteration of the Sharjah Biennial, as well as the first-ever Sharjah Architecture Triennial, the only event of its kind in the MENASA region. New hotels give visitors a refreshing alternative to the gilded glamour of the emirate next door. The 53-room Al Bait, in Sharjah’s old town center, was built from four historic residences. The hotel draws on the aesthetics of a traditional Emirati home and offers local culinary specialties like Arabic coffee and booza ice cream. In the Khor Kalba nature reserve, you’ll find the new Kingfisher Lodge desert camp, the first from new hotel group Sharjah Collection — it’s unique in the U.A.E., with direct access to Gulf of Oman beaches and a menu focusing on fresh seafood. —Hannah Walhout

Singapore's Gardens by the Bay illuminated at night
500px/Getty Images


Singapore Airlines reclaimed the title of world’s longest flight with nonstop service between Newark and Singapore aboard brand-new aircraft in October. This time around, instead of the business-class-only cabins of 2013, SQ added 94 premium economy seats. Fitting, as hit rom-com "Crazy Rich Asians" sparked a renewed fascination with Singapore that spread far beyond the suit-and-tie set. The historic Raffles hotel — the supposed birthplace of the Singapore Sling — will reopen in 2019 after an extensive renovation, but in the meantime, a handful of stylish new arrivals have made a mark on the hotel scene. Six Senses Maxwell opened in two artfully restored heritage buildings among colorful Chinatown shophouses in December, following sister property Six Senses Duxton; together, the two form Six Senses Singapore. The Capitol Kempinski Hotel debuted in downtown Civic District in the fall, a sanctuary of suites with deep soaking tubs and a saltwater relaxation pool surrounded by greenery. And enduring favorites are still going strong, from the live-music-filled bars of Arab Street to the eclectic, hometown-inspired prints of Little India design studio Onlewo to the busy-all-night tables of Makansutra Glutton’s Bay — the hawker center by Singaporean food legend and Anthony Bourdain confidante KF Seetoh. The city once known as just a global business center truly comes alive outside the 9-to-5, and whether you’re a backpacker or among the “crazy rich,” there’s something just right for you in Singapore. —Nina Ruggiero

Lindis Lodge, in New Zealand
Courtesy of The Lindis Group

South Island, New Zealand

Though some might think of it as Australia’s little sister, New Zealand has always been a sensational destination in its own right — and 2019 is set to be a banner year. Air New Zealand recently launched a non-stop flight between Chicago O’Hare and Auckland, the first and only direct route to the wild islands from the midwest of North America. Take this as your excuse to head down under and visit the country’s lush South Island, which is less developed than its neighbor to the north. Dramatic topographical features dominate the landscape, from snow-capped mountain peaks to whimsical, Seussian flora. An adventure seeker’s nirvana, the South Island is known for its bungee jumping, skydiving, and six of the country’s ten Great Walks, a network of backcountry trekking tracks, with a new route in the Paparoa Range set to open in 2019. For a tranquil retreat from the action, consider the Lindis, a new luxury lodge built into a dramatic dip in the Ahuriri Valley, its low slung silhouette blending seamlessly into its surroundings. Or head up to wine country, where the year-old Marlborough Lodge just debuted its new spa — the perfect place to unwind after touring vineyards and exploring the property’s 16 acres of private parkland. —Morgan Goldberg

The Kattegat Sea, as seen from the Helenekilde Badehotel, in Tisvildeleje, Denmark.
Courtesy of Helenekilde Badehotel

Tisvildeleje and the Danish Riviera

The Danish seaside village of Tisvildeleje has always had a cult following. In ancient times, it was a sacred site dedicated to the god Tyr; its spring drew pilgrims who believed its waters had healing properties. More recently, Tisvildeleje and the surrounding Danish Riviera have attracted urbanites who embrace the area’s rustic, unpretentious charms. The town is little more than a main road, lined with intimate restaurants such as the buzzy new Tisvilde Kro; a bakery, Brød & Vin; and tiny boutiques. The choicest stays are two reimagined 19th-century properties: the boho Tisvildeleje Strandhotel and Helenekilde Badehotel, a grand beach house with Midcentury Modern Danish furnishings and front-row views of the Kattegat Sea.—Gisela Williams

Matilda Aslizadeh, 'Resort', 2016, at the Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto
Toni Hafkenscheid/Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto


Toronto has long been a center of Canada's cultural production, but this year, the city is raising its art game: the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada has reopened after a three-year, $13 million relocation and expansion, and 2019 will see the launch of the Toronto Biennial of Art. You can also plan a visit around Winter Stations, which brings public art to Lake Ontario’s beaches, or Nuit Blanche Toronto, a massive dusk-til-dawn arts festival where exhibitions take over the city's public spaces for one night only. Check in to one of the many new properties that are pieces of art in themselves: the Kimpton Saint George displays over 700 works by Canadian artists, the Anndore House has in-room record players, and the luxe St. Regis Toronto brings old-school opulence to the city. —Hannah Walhout

Balcony of the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts


A 2015 terrorist attack dealt a serious blow to Tunisia’s tourism industry, but with the recent arrival of luxury hotel brands, visitors are slowly but surely coming back to this alluring North African country. Last year saw the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis, a 200-key resort with fortress-like white walls and direct access to 1,600 feet of pristine beachfront. The guestrooms are the largest in the city, with many offering outdoor terraces overlooking the Mediterranean, but the highlight here is undoubtedly the sprawling, Roman-inspired spa, whose tranquil pools and fragrant gardens are meant to evoke the city’s historic medina. Smaller but no less luxurious is the forthcoming Anantara Tozeur Resort, an intimate desert retreat in the country’s remote southwest corridor. Here, guests will be able to explore the Sahara on camelback and dine in a tented camp (kitted out with poufs and threadbare rugs, no less!) under the stars. Also on the horizon for 2019: the Six Senses Gammarth, a futuristic, all-suite resort on the Mediterranean Coast near Tunis. —Siobhan Reid

A view looking down on Kabak Beach along the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
iStockphoto/Getty Images

Turquoise Coast, Turkey

This year, the Turquoise Coast — Turkey’s serene Mediterranean and Aegean riviera — is poised to attract new travelers with a spate of upmarket openings, as the coastline’s cache of luxury hotel brands (including AmanMandarin Oriental, and Nikki Beach) is expanding. The new Bodrum EDITION is peppered with olive trees and plunge pools along a marble-sand beach, with rooms overlooking the Aegean Sea. Hit the beach club, with its cabana-lined jetty, before heading to the property’s own traditional hammam. An hour north of Bodrum, the sparkling new Six Senses Kaplankaya is tucked into an inlet framed by cypress trees and bursts of bougainvillea. The property’s 141 rooms are outfitted with Turkish carpets, soothing white marble, and blonde wood, while the Mediterranean-leaning restaurants source produce from the hotel’s own garden. More urban destinations like Fethiye, a maritime city on the site of ancient Telmessos, and Antalya, the largest city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, are quickly gaining both popularity and new flight routes. But don’t spend all your time in the city; the Turquoise Coast is still sprinkled with relatively unspoiled beach towns like Datça, Kaş, and Çıralı. For now, at least. —Jenna Scatena

Spectacular view of the Lakshman Temple bathed by the sacred river Ganges at sunset
Andrea Zangrilli/Getty Images

Uttarakhand, India

Often called the Land of Gods, India’s northern state of Uttarakhand is dotted with ancient temples, hill stations, and snowcapped peaks. It’s home to some of Hinduism’s holiest cities, one of which, Rishikesh, is considered the yoga capital of the world. And now, in addition to no-fuss accommodations catering to die-hard yogis, there are new upmarket lodgings, including the Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand and the Roseate Ganges Rishikesh, both ultra-luxe, nature-filled retreats along the Ganges. Near the Tibetan border, the 10-suite Kumaon blends tropical modernism with stark Himalayan contours. Book a trek with Village Ways and you can meander through terraced valleys and pristine wilderness, bed down in village guesthouses, or camp on a bugyal, an alpine meadow. —Rachna Sachasinh


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