2019 is the year for growing capitals, new travel routes and cultural celebrations around the world, shining the spotlight on a vast array of destinations. From timeless favourites to newcomers, we’ve picked our top 10 places for incentives and events, serving everything from a slick city break to an adventure into the unknown…
Travel to Africa rises year on year as flight routes and hotel openings grow but one country whose popularity is rapidly increasing is Namibia. Home to the largest wild black rhino population, the world’s oldest desert and tallest sand dune, Namibia is a treat for nature enthusiasts but its fleet of luxury lodges make it a true trip of a lifetime. Coming soon for safari and adventure programmes is the andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge and a new Zannier Hotels property, adding to the collection of eco-friendly and upscale resorts.
Come summertime, two new flight routes from British Airways and TUI Airlines will make this Mediterranean island even more accessible. After a starring showcase in Game of Thrones, Croatia’s cities of Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb became naturally popular but the spectacular beaches, culinary tours and soaring mountains are also not to be missed.
Singapore is a top contender for 2019’s most popular destinations and not just because of its feature in box office hit ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. This year the sparkling capital celebrates the bicentennial of its founding as well as a brand new terminal at Changi Airport and several hotel openings and restorations including the brand new Capital Kempinski, two Six Senses properties and the reopening of the beloved Raffles Singapore.
Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula
Mexico is back in on the map, or more specifically is its Baja California Peninsula, a trickle of spectacular beaches and mountainous land that is seeing a wave of hotel openings and crowds to follow. Ninety minutes from the American border, Valle De Guadalupe (the country’s very own Napa Valley) makes a memorable foodie programme with chic tasting rooms, farm-to-table restaurants and design-led hotels. Travel south and you’ll find the two towns of Los Cabos where a party atmosphere meets glossy A-lister hotels just a two hour flight from Los Angeles.
The classic capital of Hungary is back on our bucket list with a fleet of new luxury hotels serving an unexplored base to the timeless city. Opening this month is the anticipated Mystery Hotel, revealing the secrets of the former Freemasons Palace. This year will also see the first Mid-Eastern Europe Hard Rock property as well as the debut W Hotel in 2020.
Making a comeback after 2017’s devastating storm is the beloved St Barth’s where laid-back beaches meet European flair. After a year of intense renovation, the Caribbean island is back for business with a selection of revamped luxury resorts opening throughout the year including legendary Eden Rock, low key Hotel Le Toiny and the relaxed Le Barthelemy Hotel and Spa.
Copenhagen has many reasons to celebrate; as well as being voted Lonely Planet’s best city of 2019, this year see’s the completion of the revolutionary green CopenHill project, continuing success of the relaunched Noma and the awaited reopening of the Museum of Copenhagen. If that wasn’t enough to attract visitors, seven new hotels are set to open their doors including the largest of eco-friendly Guldsmeden Hotels and Hotel Ottilia taking over the prior Carlsberg brewery.
Expect the stylish vibe of the Cote D’Azur but without the high prices as the glorious Turkish Riviera makes a comeback. Dotted around the staggering coastline is a bountiful of beach resorts including the newly opened Bodrum Edition, the secluded Six Senses Kaplankaya and the relaunched Mandarin Oriental. As well as sunning and celebrating, groups can explore ancient ruins, never-ending beaches populated with turtles and of course the clear turquoise waters that surround the mountainous land.
Stepping off the beaten path is a trip to Romania, a rich vibrant country of Gothic history and magnificent nature. The capital of Bucharest is a fantastic base for exploring where seven hotels will open in the next two years in addition to the already impressive collection of luxury properties. For unbeatable beauty, groups can head to the enchanted region of Transylvania to ride horse-drawn sleighs, bike through bear populated terrain and even stay in Prince Charles’ private retreat.
Celebrating 50 years of Jazz Fest, New Orleans is expected to be more colourful than ever in 2019. Evenings spent dancing to the blues are complimented with southern soul food, brass-fuelled festivals and craft cocktails before recuperating in design hotels throughout the city. New openings are set to include the French inspired Maison de la Luz and Hard Rock Hotel.