For those who've already checked Tokyo and Kyoto off the list, 2019 is the year to plan a visit to Japan's Setouchi Islands. The rural islands, some connected by bridge and others by ferry, are home to the burgeoning Setouchi Triennale, an art festival that runs from spring to fall across the twelve islands and two major ports in the Seto Inland. Stay at the Setouchi Retreat Aonagi - with two pools and exquisite suites, this boutique hotel is a minimalist's dream hotel right in the heart of the festival action.
The Aeolian Islands, off the coast of Sicily, Italy are among Unesco's World Heritage Sites. One of the most luxurious places to stay is in a 27-room property called Capofaro, a family-owned estate surrounded by the sea featuring a vineyard which produces Malvasia, a local wine. They have recently opened up a select series of gorgeous and minimalist suites which are housed on a nearby lighthouse on the property, which is the first glimpse of the island from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Another reason to choose Capofaro? They are close to a plastic-free operation, and 70% of the produce found in their kitchen was grown on the property.
One of Cambodia's newest glamping destinations is nestled among a mile of riverfront and waterfalls in the Kirirom Nation Park. Inspired by Jackie O's iconic trip to Cambodia in 1967, each of the 15 luxurious tents at Shinta Mani Wild are designed to evoke a mid-century jungle safari. Guests can relax poolside all afternoon or opt to participate in one of the many outdoor activities offered at and nearby to the camp. Come aperitivo time, take a zipline to the resort's bar for a cocktail. And at night, fall asleep to the sound of the rushing waterfalls along the river.
Is Rio ever a bad idea? We think not. Especially during Carnival, when the Janeiro Hotel officially throws open its beach-front doors and introduces the jet-set to its laid back vibe. Though there is many ways to indulge oneself in Rio's rich culture, food and nightlife, the hotel itself provides a minimalist's haven of relaxation and wellness. Owned by Oskar Metsavaht, the designer behind beloved Brazilian fashion and swimwear label Osklen, the Janeiro hotel, as well as its gorgeous restaurant and watering hole, are sure to be the next stop on every fashion it girl's list.
A handful of years ago, it seemed like everywhere you turned someone was off to Nicaragua for a wellness retreat, a wedding, or just pure fun. Most tourists do not manage to make it as far as the Corn Islands, which are off Nicaragua's east coast, in the Carribean Sea. After a small-ish plane takes you from Managua to Big Corn Island, and a short ferry ride, you'll step foot on Little Corn's pristine relatively tourist-free beaches. Snorkel to your heart's content, explore the island on foot, and enjoy local fish and lobster for dinner. With few luxury resorts at which to stay, the Yemaya Island Hideaway is a minimalist chic option for what is sure to be a romantic retreat.
Move over, Ibiza and Mykonos. The latest sun-soaked enclave (and Instagram hotspot) of 2019 is sure to be the Aegean coast of Turkey, thanks to the opening of the new Bodrum Edition hotel. Located on the western tip of the Bodrum peninsula, the 102-room hotel, complete with suites and villas, will begin welcoming guests on May 1. From the hotel's relaxing Turkish Hammam to its pulsating beach club, there is something for everyone at this new outpost from Ian Schrager.
If staying at what is being hailed as the world's newest wellness resort centered around a natural cenote hidden on the Yucatan Peninsula sounds good, well just wait until you see it in person. Each of the rooms at the Chablé Maroma comes complete with its own plunge pool, a terrace, and indoor/outdoor shower. The private beach and infinity pool overlooking the private Maroma beach are sure to lure you out of your gorgeous room. Not to miss is the adults-only 17,000 square foot spa, which offers treatments that mix Mayan tradition and utilizes local plants and quartz crystal.
Move over, Soho Farmhouse. Le Barn opened in September 2018, and this summer, anyone visiting Paris should take the hour trip to Bonnelles, France to enjoy a long weekend in the French countryside. Nestled in the Chevreuse Valley, guests can take advantage of the numerous activities offered—horseback riding, boating, biking—as well as dining at Le Barn's farm-to-table restaurants. For the ultimate relaxation, take a dip in one of the property's Nordic hot-tubs or decompress in the sauna or hammam.
Looking for a summer getaway closer to home? Kick off summer with a on a Memorial Day weekend visit to Nantucket, still an essential all-American destination where you can take in the famed Figawi Regatta, and stay at one of the island's most historic inns, The Wauwinet. On the northeast shore of Nantucket, The Wauwinet is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a gorgeous restoration and renovation of its 32 guestrooms, lobby, and cottages. The property also partnered with cult favorite interiors label Serena & Lily to redesign its three private cottages.
If you are looking for an out-of-the-box excuse to visit London this year, visit the city this May, when you can experience the annual London Craft Week. The annual celebration highlights exceptional artworks, jewelry, and pottery, as well as the talented makers behind the scenes. You can tour the studio of a globe-maker, the studio of a Scottish embroiderer, and, if you decide to stay at Mayfair's exquisite Beaumont Hotel, you can explore the hotel's specially-commissioned collection of bespoke perfumes. Created just in time by top talent of Britain's contemporary perfumery industry, all perfumes are on display at the hotel, and a lucky few will be able to take home fragrances from the likes of Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays, and The Experimental Perfume Club.
Only a few minutes drive from Balmoral Castle, the summer residence of Queen Elizabeth II, is the new hotel dubbed The Fife Arms. Though not exactly new—the Fife was once a 19th Century coaching inn—it has been renovated back to its former glory by Iwan and Manuela Wirth, or Hauser & Wirth fame. Retaining much of its original Arts & Crafts feature, The Fife Arms is now also home to an expansive collection of art that one can enjoy when they spend the weekend. There's everything from specially commissioned works from Subodh Gupta, above, to a famous Louise Bourgeois to an original sketch by Queen Victoria, who was an amateur artist and such a fan of the Scottish Highlands that her loving husband Prince Albert purchased the Balmoral estate for her as a gift in 1852.
Situated on the Chilean coastline about 3 hours drive south of Santiago, Hotel Alaia, a new low-slung design hotel situated on the rugged shore of Punta de Lobos, is an absolute must-visit hotspot for surfers. Known for its high quantity of ridable waves, this enclave is also home to a growing food and art community. Not a surfer? The hotel also has a bouldering wall and skatepark, as well as a spa in case you're looking to take it slow.
The southwest country of Namibia is the African continent's locale of choice for 2019. There has been a flurry of activity there of late, with boutique hotels springing up throughout the country, including on its northwest windswept dunes, as well as smack dab in its center, where Omaanda, a Zannier property, has opened its doors right next to the N/a'an ku sê Foundation reserve. Word has it that we have Angelina Jolie to thank for the opening of this gorgeous hotel; apparently, when a plot of land next to the reserve, of which she is a patron, went up for sale, the actress personally recommended that Arnaud Zannier snap it up; she's a longtime fan of his Phum Baitang hotel in Cambodia.
For the connoisseur who is looking for a new way to explore the France's northeast Champagne region, there's now the option of chartering the Belmond’s newest river barge, the Belmond Pivoine. The eight-passenger barge, dubbed a "floating hotel," quietly maneuvers through the region's canals and offers daily itineraries featuring exclusive tours of private vineyards, sunbathing near the barge's plunge pool, bike rides, and exquisite meals prepared by the barge's culinary staff.
With the return of The Hills, never has there been a better time to revisit the place where it all really started, Laguna Beach. Leave the teenage drama of The O.C. behind, and spend your days wandering along Laguna's numerous beaches, coves, or coastal canyons. Known for its art galleries and surf spots, a visit wouldn't be complete without a stay at the Montage Laguna Beach, where guest can enjoy a casual cocktail in their newly renovated lobby lounge, indulge in a facial by Swiss skincare guru, Valmont, and take a surfing or paddle boarding lesson with the resort's in house instructors.
While Los Cabos is not a new hotspot, the new Viceroy property certainly is. An architectural wonder designed by Miguel Angel Aragonés and crafted with the help of local artisans, the beachfront resort is an ode to water. Pools and waterways wrap around the property, while the hotel rooms and residences look like white boxes floating between sea and sky. Only a few minutes' drive from downtown San Jose, guests can take in the the cobblestone village as well as relax at the edge of the world.
For those who have yet to experience Detroit's recently burgeoning art scene, hip new restaurants, and architecture, 2019 is the year to book a long weekend in the Motor City. Shinola, the watch, turntable, and leather products maker based in the city has just opened a brand new hotel downtown. Located in Detroit's historic shopping neighborhood, Woodward, the hotel boasts two chic bars and two restaurants, including Detroit-style fried chicken spot Penny Red's. While the hotel boasts 129 rooms, even those who call Detroit home will be wooed to by the open, airy spaces created with the community in mind.
While some argue that upstate New York is turning into another Hamptons, those behind The Dutchess are opting to go another route. Without a website or Instagram handle, anyone seeking peace and quiet and the nearby Catskills must seek it out (hint: Mrandmrssmith.com will get you sorted). Yoga, meditation, hiking, and biking are all offered, as is the option to enjoy a sound bath, spa treatment, or learn more about The Dutchess's farmland. History buffs can geek out on the Hudson River School's rich art history, visit a Vanderbilt estate, or go antiquing nearby.
Assuming you have checked Puglia off your list, 2019 is the year to visit another region on Italy's boot. Basilicata, located in between its more famous neighbors Puglia and Calabria, is this year's European Capital of Culture, which means an array of cultural events are planned for the entire calendar year. It is a good excuse as any to explore the region's historic charming towns, ancient caves, and gorgeous beaches. Be sure to spend time in Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is something like a rocky cave city; many of these caves have even been transformed into chic boutique hotels. We recommend staying at the exclusive Palazzo Margherita, the Francis For Coppola-owned palace in Bernalda, the birthplace of the famed director's grandfather.
Copenhagen is increasingly a destination on the fashion set's travel wish list. Why? Perhaps because the city has emerged as a capital of fashion cool, and It girls worldwide have become increasingly inspired by the Scandi girl way of life, from their dressing to their minimalist home decor to their beauty tips and tricks. Before all that though, the port city was known for its gorgeous canal-side pastel buildings, design, and art. The Louisiana Museum, only a short ride from the center of town, is home to an impressive indoor/outdoor collection of post-war art. Within walking and cycling distance of just about everything, the Hotel Skt Petri is a great locale to begin your exploration of this Scandi hot spot.
If you truly want to get away from it all, a private island in Fiji, 45 minutes away by seaplane from the nearest airport, is not a bad start. Aside from some of the best beaches of the South Pacific, Kokomo offers innovative Pacific Rim cuisine, a world-quality spa, paddle boarding, deep-sea fishing, and access to a snorkeler and scuba diver’s paradise: the Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest in the world. Of course, no one will judge you if you decide to just stay put in your own oceanfront villa or hilltop residence, complete with infinity pool.
Careyes, an eccentric community of privately owned residences on Mexico’s Pacific coast, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Founded in 1968 by Gian Franco Brignone, this exclusive destination stretches along 8 miles of rugged shoreline and has been frequented by the likes of Gianni Agnelli, Tom Ford, Mick Jagger, Uma Thurman, Demi Moore, and Rod Stewart. Today, Careyes hosts polo tournaments, wellness retreats, film screenings, and an art program, and is a leader in sea turtle conservation efforts. Not quite ready to splurge on a house? The recently opened El Careyes Club and Residences allows visitors to enjoy everything that Careyes has to offer for a few days, a week, a season, or more.
One of the more under-the-radar Central American countries, Belize, should be on your travel wishlist for 2019. Home to the world's second largest coral reef, as well as a brand-new airstrip and a bevy of new boutique hotels, the small fishing village of Placencia is now easier to get to and finally offers more luxurious accommodations. From relaxing with one foot in the Carribean sea to exploring the dense jungle choc full of Mayan ruins and wildlife, there is something for everyone in the eastern coast of Central America. Stay in one of Itz'ana Belize's charming private residences, or wait for later in the year, when it is rumored that Leonardo DiCaprio's eco-island, Blackadore Caye, will open.
Why not visit a remote locale in the Bay of Bengal in India that even the most well-traveled—or, say, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's wedding planner—have yet to hear of.? The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa has just opened on Andaman Island's Havelock Island, near Radhanagar Beach, a white-sand enclave known to be one of the best beaches in the entire world. Enjoy one of the property's 72 villas, all which were built in an eco-friendly manner, as well as the resort's stunning pool and abundant jungle surroundings.
In case you needed another reason to visit the French Riviera: the luxe 28-room/14-villa La Réserve Ramatuelle has just opened its own beach club on the famous Pampelonne beaches, aptly named La Réserve à la Plage. The beach-front club will be home to a new restaurant and 75 sunbeds, and guests of La Réserve will receive complementary shuttle service to and from and priority sunbed booking. Now all you need is your sunblock.
Fancy the luxe locales but prefer the peace and quiet that even a boutique hotel cannot offer? Onefinestay is your answer. Think of it as an upscale Airbnb, plus concierge service. They've just expanded their service to Sydney, Australia, so now you can stay in this 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom, tri-level Sydney home with heated pool, private garden, and multiple outdoor spaces. Onefinestay is also known for their fine service; a local rep will greet you upon arrival, and show you the lay of the land of your vacation home, and can help suggest and arrange activities and restaurants. If you feel like staying in one night (and in a home like this, you will) onefinestay can arrange chefs to cook dinners in case you don't feel like it—or if you do, they can handle the grocery shopping ahead of your arrival. In addition to Australia, they offer villas and city homes throughout Europe and the Caribbean, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York in the U.S.