The must-hit destinations of 2019 combine luxury hotels with bespoke experiences you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re trekking all the way to the tip of Australia or the Chilean desert, it needs to be because there are sights, meals, and wines that you wouldn’t be able to find at home. With that said, these sought-after destinations could end up being a tough ticket in 2019, so plan your travel to these 12 destinations in advance:
You can’t do better than staying at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel while in the south of France. Take in the stunning Mediterranean coastline while riding the hotel’s recently renovated funicular down to the Club Dauphin restaurant and pool. Cap-Ferrat is also a perfect jumping off point for touring the rest of the French Riviera. You can even see the French coast from the sky by taking an UberCOPTER from Nice to Cannes. For 160€ each way, you can skip the congested roads and instead charter a helicopter to your chic destination. UberCOPTER gets you from Nice to Cannes in eight minutes, instead of two traffic-filled hours.
Victoria’s primary hub is Melbourne, of course, but as it turns out, Melbourne is the perfect jumping off point in Australia for luxury travelers looking to spend a week in Australian wine country. Melbourne is Sydney’s hip, alternative cousin—the San Francisco to Sydney’s LA. After a few days exploring their Collingwood neighborhood, head to Mornington Peninsula, a Hamptons-esque wine region an hour and a half from Melbourne. Stay at the five-star Jackalope Hotel, with highly-curated interiors, set right on a vineyard that you can marvel at through the floor-to-ceiling windows in each “designer den.”
Morocco has an alluring fusion of old and new—in fact, Africa's tallest skyscraper is about to be built in Morocco. Stay in the palace at Es Saadi Marrakech Resort. Es Saadi has the main palace, home to one of Morocco’s largest swimming pools, but it also offers private resort villas tastefully decorated with cultural Moroccan touches. Fashion lovers will want to scope out the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech, and shoppers should check out Porte d’Orient, which sells coveted Asian and African antiques. Travel outside the city, too, to the Ourika Valley and the Atlas Mountains.
Lake Como, Italy
There's a reason celebrity couples wed here—you can't match the refined luxury of Lake Como. All it takes is a short train ride from Milan to reach Lake Como, which is framed by the Alps and boasts palatial accommodations. The lake itself is the third largest in Italy, but the beauty surrounding the lake and the sleepy fishing villages clustered around the water’s edge make it a must-visit Italian destination. Don’t miss the boutique shopping along Bellagio's harbor and a trip to Villa Carlotta. Stay in the town of Como at Vista Palazzo Lago di Como, which is actually the only five-star hotel in Como itself. While staying at the Vista Palazzo, make sure you have a drink at their Infinity Bar right on the lake.
Indonesia faced challenges such as the Lombok earthquake in 2018, but Bali was miraculously left unscathed. Venture to Ubud, the heart of the Balinese jungle for a romantic escape this year. Stay at Mandapa, a Ritz Carlton Reserveproperty, where the surroundings and authentic cultural experience speak for themselves. Mandapa sits along the Ayung River in Ubud, and the villas each come with a luxurious private pool with a full view of the rainforest. While staying at Mandapa, dine in a private cocoon at Kubu, or experience their bespoke Balinese Commitment ceremony which includes a private six-course tasting menu orchestrated by executive chef Maurizio Bombini.
Atacama Desert, Chile
For nature-lovers, Chile has it all: deserts, mountains, and glaciers. It's an up-and-coming safari destination, which you can tour in luxury with Natural World Safaris. Chile is a year-round safari destination, where you’ll track pumas, penguins, and even whales. If you tour with Natural World Safaris, they’ll arrange accommodations at luxe boutique hotels, like Antumalal Pucon along Villaricca Lake, and plan your hikes and safari through the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.
Tokyo is buzzing with innovation, and the Japanese cultural hub is well worth prioritizing when planning your 2019 travel. If you’re looking for a specific excuse to tour Tokyo (not that you need one), go for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan this coming April. Stay right in the heart of the city at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo.
Crater Lake, Oregon
One of the great natural wonders of the U.S., Crater Lake was formed by an eruption 7,700 years ago. About a four-hour drive from Portland, Crater Lake is a trek, but one that can be done in style. Rent an eclectic van—perhaps even a VW—and drive from the Portland airport. Or make a road trip of it and drive up the coast from San Francisco. While Big Sur is certainly beautiful, the stretch of Pacific Coast just beyond San Francisco is touted by the insiders as the best scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway. While roughing it during the day at Crater Lake, you’re not limited to camping for accommodations: stay at Crater Lake Lodge, which is open seasonally from May to October.
Crete is simultaneously a historic destination (with ancient ruins to explore) and a beach getaway. On the largest Grecian island, and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean, you can stay at The Royal Blue, Crete for a high-end escape on Crete’s northern coast. The Royal Blue is next to Panormo, a sleepy Grecian village, and Rethymno, a town packed with historical significance. During the day, explore the Mediterranean by sailboat or yacht, and by night, enjoy freshly caught grilled fish and breathtaking sunsets along the truly idyllic coastline.
Mexico City, Mexico
Home to world-renowned art galleries, Mexico City is the cultural epicenter of Mexico and an up-and-coming luxury travel destination. Fill your evenings touring Mexico City’s best restaurants, including Restaurante Nicos and Pujol. Some of the best restaurants in Latin America are in Mexico City, and it’s become an attractive destination for top chefs fusing unconventional flavors. For a chic boutique hotel experience, Las Alcobasis right in the Polanco District.
If you’re partial to earthy red wines, trek to Argentina in 2019 to tour Malbec country—one of the largest vino regions in Latin America. The wineries are just outside Mendoza in the Uco Valley and Maipu. The food scene in Mendoza has exploded recently, and there’s a bustling shopping area on Arístides Villanueva. Stay amidst Malbec vines with gorgeous views of the Andes at luxury boutique hotel Entre Cielos. At Entre Cielos you can horseback ride on the property, meet with the local winemakers, and feast on modernized Argentinian cuisine at Katharina Bistro.
The land of fire and ice is an ideal destination for both nature lovers and luxe city travelers. From the dining and nightlife in Reykjavik to the waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, and hot springs waiting to be discovered, there really is something for everyone. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s just a six-hour direct flight from New York. Let someone else do the work for you while taking a luxury tour of Iceland's natural wonders and staying in spellbinding accommodations with Cox and Kings.