When it comes to travel between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, procrastination can lead to inspiration. “The key is thinking outside the box,” says trip planner extraordinaire Lisa Lindblad. “Places that are off the beaten path or not thought of as winter destinations.” Bill Fischer, another top agent and travel guru, agrees that there are always rooms to be found: “Clients constantly come to me only days before they want to depart. We make it work no matter what.”
In pursuing last-minute plans, it’s smart to look for recently opened or relaunched properties. DEPARTURES has done just that, calling on industry experts to help find places that haven’t gotten overwhelmed by buzz—Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand, say—or have been flying under the radar while undergoing top-to-bottom renovations and expansions, like GoldenEye Hotel & Resort in Jamaica’s Oracabessa Bay. What follows is the result of a globe-spanning hunt for the most exciting of what’s new—and still available—right now.