The January blues has well and truly settled in now and there’s only one thing to cure it – plan your next adventure! Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie that can’t sit still on holiday, you like nothing more than lying on a beach for two weeks, or you crave the culture of a new city to explore, there’s something for everyone in the must-see places to go this year. So sit back, relax and let us take you on a trip around the world with our 10 top holiday destinations for 2019…
Renowned for its ancient culture, ornate architecture and breathtaking landscapes, India is on many people’s bucket lists. A bustling, hectic and unexpected adventure for even the most seasoned of travellers, it can be overwhelming at times but the rewards more than make up for it. Blessed with countless terrains, cities and regions to explore, the country is made for travelling around during your stay.
One of the key cities to visit in 2019 is Agra, home to one of the world’s most iconic palaces, the Taj Mahal. After undergoing extensive refurbishment in 2017 & 2018 which saw the colossal dome marred with scaffolding, the work is now complete and you can see the architectural marvel in all its glory.
Winner of the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2018, The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra was named the ‘Best Resort Hotel in India’ so definitely worth a look if you’re visiting Agra. In an unrivalled position just 600 metres from the Taj Mahal, you can beat the crowds to witness the monument up-close and each room even has uninterrupted views of the majestic icon.
Decorated in Mughal style like the Taj Mahal itself, it is filled with cascading fountains, ornate arches and gold leaf frescos like you’re staying in your very own palace (minus the crowds). Guests can travel in private golf buggies to the palace, enjoy a candlelit dinner beside its silhouette, or a cocktail or two at the only bar in the world with Taj Mahal views.
Thanks to hit film Crazy Rich Asians, Singapore was embedded firmly in the world’s consciousness last year making it a natural top place to visit in 2019. So much more than just a stopover city, Singapore is bursting with life. A vibrant mix of traditional colonial grandeur and futuristic architecture all set against tropical heat, you can lap up the culture in the day and party on through the night.
Shopping is one of the top pastimes for the residents of this financial hub, so you will find sleek malls throughout the city and food is also taken very seriously. Whether you’re more street food than fine dining, or are dying to try the latest Michelin Star locale, there is always something to feast on in Singapore.
The original grande dame of Asia, Raffles hotel never goes out of style. Opened in 1887, it is one of the few great 19th century hotels left in the world and its famous façade has stood watch as Singapore has grown around it into the buzzing city it is today. Closing its doors at the end of 2017 to make way for a multiphase renovation, the hotel will fully reopen with a bang in mid-2019 and is yet again set to be the must-stay place in Singapore.
The birthplace of the Singapore Sling, it was invented by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915 in the now famous Long Bar. The Long Bar was one of the first areas to be renovated and the first to be reopened in September 2018, so if you’re in Singapore before the grand opening of the rest of the hotel make sure you still taste the original (and the best) Singapore Sling.
Marking 100 years of one of the most important design movements in history, 2019 will be the year to celebrate all things Bauhaus. What better way to celebrate the pioneering design school which has shaped much of the architecture, product and graphic design we see today, than to travel the home of Bauhaus? Three German cities played a part in the movement, the school founded in Weimar in 1919, before moving onto Dessau and finally Berlin.
Whilst all of Germany is a must to explore, for 2019 at least one of the Bauhaus cities should be on your list. Throughout the year Weimar, Dessau and Berlin will host centennial celebrations with events design lovers won’t want to miss. Visit the 100 Years of Bauhaus website for a full list of events to help you plan your trip.
Ok so not technically a hotel, more a once in a lifetime experience for architecture and design enthusiasts. The Bauhaus Building in Dessau was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996 and is regarded as a seminal work of European modernism. It was the home of the Bauhaus School for the longest period of time and you can now stay in a select few rooms on site.
Lucky guests can stay in the studio building which has been carefully restored and the rooms recreated as they would have appeared when the Bauhaus students used to live and study there. Some rooms evoke their former inhabitants through their design, with selected rooms currently dedicated to Bauhauslers Alfred and Gertrud Arndt, Josef and Anni Albers and Franz Ehrlich.
We all know that Japan will host the 2020 Olympic Games so it might be surprising that we’re suggesting you go the year before, but hear us out. Preparations for the Olympics are already well underway and by visiting this year you can beat the crowds (it’s predicted up to 60 million people will visit in 2020) and witness the beautiful country before Olympic fever takes over.
A frenetic blend of outrageously modern technology and steadfast ancient traditions, Japan connects these two worlds seamlessly. With fine food (Tokyo is the world’s most Michelin Starred city), unique experiences, and both new and ancient wonders, it’s one of the most unique places to visit around the globe. Oh, and if you still want to see sport this year, Japan will also be hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The height of luxury wherever they are in the world, Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental is one of the finest hotels from which to explore the land of the rising sun. At home in Tokyo’s skyline, it offers breathtaking views over the city no matter which room you choose.
It’s part of the Nihonbashi neighbourhood, which is steeped in trading history and still populated by artisans and family businesses. The birthplace of Tokyo, it was in this area the shogun, Tokugawa Leyasu, started building the city of Edo which would eventually become the city we know today.
Italy’s most famous cities feature on many bucket lists, but this year is all about giving some of the country’s lesser known regions some love. From the Sicilian capital of Palermo, to landlocked Piedmont, now’s the time to explore further than Rome, Milan or the ever Instagramable Amalfi Coast.
One city that will certainly be on the map this year is Matera as they have just been named as one of the hosts of European Capital of Culture for 2019. This ancient city in the Basilicata region is thought to be the 3rd longest continuously inhabited human settlement in the world and with its unique sassi (cave dwellings) carved straight out of the rocks, it certainly looks it.
Where better to stay in Matera than in the sassi itself? The Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort is set amongst the spectacular caves and if you’re lucky you’ll even be able to sleep in one of their rock-walled guest rooms. More than just a hotel, the family run resort has grown over the years to now occupy an entire district at the heart of the historic city.
Located in one of the most picturesque squares, it boasts panoramic viewpoints to gaze over the UNESCO World Heritage site and the on-site restaurant lets you enjoy these unique views whilst sampling the finest local cuisine.
One of the most untouched areas of the UK, the wild, rugged and simply breathtaking Scottish highlands are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, add in Scotland’s vibrant cities and you can see why it’s one of the top places to visit this year. From exploring the historic wonders of Edinburgh’s old town, to feeding your creativity with Glasgow’s art scene and the equally intriguing sites of Aberdeen and Inverness, you could spend months city hopping.
If you want to take in the wilds of the Highlands one of the best ways to see the region is by car. The North Coast 500 (Scotland’s own Route 66) is a comprehensive tour of the area and helps you to tick off all of the must-see sights along the way on the 500 mile loop. If you’re feeling particularly active you could even cycle parts of it, or go on a whisky tour of the Highland’s best distilleries, which is a much more up our street.
No trip to the Highlands would be complete without a stay in a loch-side hotel. Set in 58 acres of parkland and on the shores of a magnificent sea loch, The Torridon is one of these unforgettable hotels. Including 18 rooms in the main hotel, it also offers a traditional inn for families and large groups and if you’re looking to really get away from it everything (and everyone), there’s even a private cottage.
The perfect base to explore the scenery, you can kayak on the loch, mountain bike the hills and tour the local wildlife. After a hard day’s exploring you can head to the 1887 restaurant for fine dining or enjoy fresh pub grub at the inn. Then indulge in your favourite tipple at their onsite whisky & gin bar.
This year marks 100 years since the Grand Canyon was designated a national park, making it the perfect excuse for a visit to Arizona. As with many of the destinations in this list, Arizona is famed for its incredibly unique landscape which sees millions of visitors flock there each year. Another fabulous road trip destination, you will be transported to the Wild West as you twist your way past the iconic rock formations.
The big sights are a must for any trip to Arizona, which is home to many national and state parks. Along with the Grand Canyon, make sure to also visit Monument Valley, and the smaller canyons that dot the terrain. Wherever you go try to take in a view sunrises and sunsets to watch the rocks change colour before your eyes.
Set amongst the natural red rock terrain, Enchantment Resort stands at the doorway of the secluded Boynton Canyon which has a long history of dramatic earth changes, prehistoric ruins and healing waters. Paying tribute to those that lived there first, it has one of the best Native American programs in the region which guests can explore on hiking trails through the mountains.
Attached to Mii Amo which was named the #1 Destination Spa in the US in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2018, guests have exclusive access to the facilities so you can unwind after a day’s hiking, before heading off for a round of golf on one of the most unique courses in the world.
Zimbabwe has been in the news over the last two decades for all the wrong reasons, but what many might not know is it is still a fantastic tourist destination. Though still hailed by visitors as one of the friendliest places in Africa, a new dawn rose in 2017 when the Mugabe era ended and whilst politically there is still a long way to go, there’s hope that the tourist gates will fully open again in the years to come.
Home to one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, which sits on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, there is no end to the spectacular sights to be seen in the country. It’s also one of the best places to spot the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo) in unspoilt and uncommercialised national parks like Hwange and Mana Pools.
One of Zimbabwe’s finest wilderness locations is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir, Lake Kariba. Dotted with islands and shores on which to see some of the best big game, the lake itself is filled with hippos and crocodiles so that at every turn there is something to see. Kariba is also where one of the country’s best hotels lies.
Set on a range of remote hills looking over Lake Kariba’s shoreline is Bumi Hills. A captivating lodge which overlooks the shimmering waters of the lake below, it is an indulgent hub to explore the region with just ten suites and the private Baobab Villa. Enjoy guided safaris on the water, by jeep or by foot, or laze about in the pool watching elephants come to the shoreline to drink below you.
Tel Aviv has long been a top travel destination, but thanks to new train links and airports launching this year, the rest of Israel is set to catch up with its most popular city. A high speed train will link Jerusalem to the main Ben Gurion Airport in 2019 shrinking the journey between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to just 30 minutes, making the city an excellent stop on any tour of Israel.
It’s not all about cities though, with its beautiful desert landscapes Israel begs to be explored and there are many unique terrains to discover like the Makhtesh Ramon volcanic crater in the Negev Desert, or the salty waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth.
Over 100 years old, The American Colony Hotel is a home away from home for discerning travellers and has welcomed numerous celebrity guests over the years including the likes of Laurence of Arabia. With beautiful Ottoman architecture, it is made of four buildings each with its own character.
Surrounded by verdant greenery, a splash in the pool will help you escape the heat and it also offers two bars, three restaurants and a café. There’s even an antique shop on site for you to get your hands on a host of treasures.
St-Barthélemy, or as it’s more usually known, St-Barth, is one of the jewels of the Caribbean. Long known as a playground of the rich and famous, it was sadly ravaged by hurricane Irma in 2017 with many hotels on the island closing down for much of 2018 to make repairs.
This year will see St-Barth largely back to its old self, with some sleek new additions thanks to the restorations, so now is the time to experience the country’s luscious tropical landscape, cool French flair and sun drenched beaches.
On the beaches of the village of St Jean, Eden Rock is one of those hotels, like Raffles in Singapore, that has gained legendary status. Surrounded by white sand beaches, azure sea and close to a coral reef bursting with colourful sea life, it is known the world over as the epitome of Caribbean paradise.
Badly damaged by Irma, the hotel took the devastation as a chance to not only rebuild, but transform. The hotel will open again towards the end of 2019 more beautiful and stronger than ever. Including a complete revamp of the main restaurant, new bars and sundecks, and completely renovated rooms and suites, 2019 is the time to visit the famous resort.