1 Arequipa, Peru
The preserved colonial architecture of “the White City”—so called for its gleaming structures made from sillar, a volcanic rock—earned the historic center of Arequipa UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000. But a dearth of upmarket lodgings has kept this Peruvian destination off most travelers’ radar. Now, the town finally has accommodations befitting the local history: August saw the opening of Cirqa (cirqa.pe; doubles from $420), originally built in 1540—the year Arequipa was founded—as an inn for guests of the Church of San Agustín next door. The property marries elements of the existing structure (high vaulted ceilings, bare stone walls) with contemporary flourishes, such as wrought-iron-framed windows and a plunge pool. Further steeped in history is the cuisine at La Nueva Palomino (fb.com/lanuevapalomino; entrées $6–$20), where a female-led staff cooks hearty stews from heirloom recipes. These are best enjoyed while admiring the three volcanoes in the distance (Chachani, Misti, and Pichu Pichu) with a tall glass of chicha, an Andean beer made from corn.
The new Juana Bautista hotel, in Tlaquepaque
Playa Los Muertos, the central beach in Puerto Vallarta.(WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES)
2 Why Jalisco Is Mexico’s Must-Visit State
Mexico City has been the recent travelers’ darling, but it doesn’t have a national monopoly on cultural riches. Head west for something new.
BY CAREY JONES
IT WAS JUST before dusk in the central plaza of Tlaquepaque. A couple nursed micheladas on a park bench. The call of a mariachi’s trumpet pierced the air. It was, by all appearances, an idyllic snapshot of small-town life—which made it all the more remarkable that I was just minutes from buzzy downtown Guadalajara, where you can sit next to sharply dressed urbanites in slick bars and order a $40 shot of some rare tequila.
This is the beauty of Jalisco, a state where tradition and modernity mingle in fantastic fashion. And with new flights, infrastructure, and lodgings, it has never been more approachable.
Tlaquepaque was recently named a pueblo mágico—Mexico’s honorific for culturally significant towns—in large part for its tradition of artisans working in clay, carved wood, and blown glass. Tour operator Sensaciones Turísticas (sensacionesturisticas.com) led me to the workshop of Pablo Paredes Goche, who was sculpting figurines while waxing poetic on the history of his craft. For artistry of another sort, I went to Nuestros Talleres (fb.com/nuestrostallerestlaquepaque) to try candy made from near-forgotten recipes. A stylish new hotel, Juana Bautista (juanabautista.com; suites from $210), feels like a private home—albeit one with a rooftop pool and craft cocktails.
Nearby Guadalajara, dubbed the Silicon Valley of Mexico, is home to some of the region’s most sophisticated cuisine. One madcap day of eating began with tortas ahogadas at Pa’l Real (113 Calle Lope de Vega; 52-33-1983-7254; entrées $4–$9), continued with Wagyu lengua mole whipped up by a Noma alum at Alcalde (alcalde.com.mx; entrées $16–$22), and ended with a flight of small-batch tequilas at El Gallo Altanero (galloaltanero.com.mx).
The state’s Pacific coast has its own share of additions. In Puerto Vallarta, the 55-room Hotel Amapa (hotelamapa.com; rates not available at press time), coming this spring, is a boho-chic boutique alternative to the town’s many all-inclusives. On the Costalegre—the stretch of shore between Cabo Corrientes and Jalisco’s southern border—the 160-room Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo (fourseasons.com; rates not available at press time) will open in 2021.
Meanwhile, infrastructure investments are making the region easier to navigate. Highway expansions will soon trim the drive between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta from five hours to three, and the trip from Puerto Vallarta to the Costalegre from two hours to 25 minutes. And the Costalegre’s own international airport will open this year, making it even easier to sample all of Jalisco’s wonders in a single trip.
3 Taiwan’s Mountains
Much of the island is covered with peaks, but until last year hiking permits were hard to obtain. A new application process has opened up access to some of the best scenery, from the Lake Jiaming National Trail, which runs through a hemlock forest, to the Nenggao Historic Trail, an ancient trade path. After a hike, enjoy nature in comfort at the new Hoshinoya Guguan (left; hoshinoresorts.com; doubles from $593), where the private outdoor baths are fed by hot springs.
Take your pick of luxe new lodges. The Okavango Delta just saw the opening of Natural Selection’s tree-house-inspired camp, Tuludi (naturalselection. travel; doubles from $915 per person). Come June, the solar-powered Xigera Safari Lodge (xigera.com; doubles from $2,550 per person) will debut in the Moremi Game Reserve. On the edge of Chobe National Park, you’ll find the six-tent mobile camp Linyanti Expeditions (africanbushcamps.com; doubles from $546 per person), where you can take walking safaris through the bush. Meanwhile, Great Plains’ Selinda Camp (above; greatplainsconservation.com; doubles from $1,530 per person), in a northern area known for sightings of the rare African wild dog, has been rebuilt, reopening last June with rooms that put a sultry spin on the classic safari aesthetic.
5 Klitmøller, Denmark
Surfing in…Denmark? It’s legit! Consistent breaks and large swells earned the town of Klitmøller, on the edge of the North Sea, the nickname “Cold Hawaii.” Cold Hawaii Surf Camp (coldhawaiisurfcamp.com) is the spot for lessons and gear rentals; farther inland, hike along the sandy dunes and glimmering lakes of Thy National Park. Just under an hour’s drive away is the region’s coolest place to stay: the 93-year-old Svinkløv Badehotel (svinkloev-badehotel.dk; doubles from $177), newly reopened by Bocuse d’Or–winning Danish chef Kenneth Toft-Hansen.
6 North Island, New Zealand
The country’s upper isle is a study in delightful contrasts: it’s smaller than its southern counterpart, yet more populous, and the scenery varies widely, from geysers and mud pools to white-sand beaches. The South Island has long been a go-to, but this year intriguing developments should draw travelers north. Adventurers willing to fly in by helicopter can soon stay at Owhaoko (owhaoko.com; doubles from $2,114 per person), where an ultramodern cabin is set on 17,000 acres between the Kaimanawa and Kaweka forests. The Landing (right; thelandingnz.com; villas from $4,782)—a four-villa property in the Bay of Islands with private beaches and walking trails—will open its own winery and tasting room in April. Until then, head to Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where a new gondola known as Sky Waka (mtruapehu.com) takes visitors into the clouds on Mount Ruapehu.
One of the cabins at Tops’l Farm, a glamping retreat in Waldoboro, Maine.(NINA GALLANT/COURTESY OF TOPS’L FARM)
Halibut and lobster at Aragosta at Goose Cove, a resort on Deer Isle.(NICOLE WOLF)
7 Coastal Maine Is Back in the Spotlight
Nature-focused retreats and innovative restaurants are waking up rugged seaside stretches of Midcoast and Down East.
BY MADELINE BILIS
WITH THE NAVY SEAS beyond Deer Isle as a backdrop, I marveled at my breakfast at Aragosta at Goose Cove (aragostamaine.com; doubles from $280; two-night minimum). Chef Devin Finigan had sourced everything locally, from the blueberries in my pancakes right down to the salt, harvested from the briny waters outside. It was a sign of the changes afoot in Midcoast and Down East, where ambitious hoteliers and chefs are ushering in a new, sophisticated era.
Finigan is among those leading the charge. She opened Aragosta at Goose Cove last June, with 11 understated, Scandi-style cottages and suites that let the landscape shine. In nearby Stonington, chef Ryan McCaskey, of Chicago’s much-lauded Acadia House, recently opened Acadia House Provisions (acadiahouseprovisions.com; entrées $24–$34), where he serves scallops with butter-braised radishes and the plumpest mussels you’ll ever taste.
To discover more salt-misted treasures, I road-tripped down Route 1, sampling farm-to-table vegetarian fare at Chase’s Daily (chasesdaily.me; entrées $10–$24), in Belfast, and the unforgettable “giant puffball mushroom French toast” at Rockland’s Sammy’s Deluxe (sammysdeluxe.weebly.com; entrées $11–$30). I got a taste of the natural-wine craze at Oyster River Winegrowers (oysterriverwine.com), which pours rosé pét-nats in a converted barn in Warren. Farther inland is Tops’l Farm (topslfarm.com; doubles from $150), a glamping retreat in Waldoboro that counts 11 tents and A-frame cabins decked out with sheepskin rugs and hurricane lamps. At check-in, I received a guide instructing me how to relax and unplug, plus a menu of campfire kits that come with house-made marshmallows. The fresh-aired lodgings don’t end there: this summer, Terramor Outdoor Resort Bar Harbor (terramoroutdoorresort.com; doubles from $350) will open with luxe tents and a modern, glass-walled lodge.
Despite all the changes, this part of Maine retains the laid-back appeal that made people like Finigan want to invest in the community in the first place. “The only traffic you hear is boat traffic,” she said. What could be better than that?
8 Culture Gets an Update in Austria
With boundary-pushing contemporary arts initiatives and sleek new hotels, this isn’t the same destination your stodgy opera-loving Aunt Gladys once knew.
BY JOHN WRAY
NOT LONG AGO, Austria was viewed as the meringue of the Germanic world: beautiful to look at, and possessed of an illustrious history, yet somewhat dry when one actually bit in. That was my feeling, at least, when I went to the university there 20 years ago—but times have changed. On recent visits, I’ve watched as the country has reinvented itself, pouring resources into cutting-edge arts institutions while lovingly elevating the cultural jewels that made it so beloved in days gone by.
In Vienna, a wave of new hotels is also catering to a younger, hipper crowd. None is more emblematic of the changing capital than the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere (hyatt.com; doubles from $182), part of a more than $240 million development project surrounding the city’s central train station, which was completely rebuilt in 2015. Across the street, one of Vienna’s preeminent venues for contemporary art, the Museum of the Twentieth Century, has been rechristened the Belvedere 21 (belvedere.at), and the nearby Belvedere palaces, two Baroque buildings filled with classical art, have been beautifully renovated. Over in the ninth district, the Freud Museum (freud-museum.at) has moved into two temporary locations while its main building readies for a May reopening. Like a psychoanalytic pop-up store, the interim spots showcase furnishings, documents, and images from the career of the high priest of the subconscious; the expanded space will give access to Freud’s family quarters and add a nearly 40,000-volume library.
It’s a celebration-packed year for Austria’s classical music world: the legendary concert hall Musikverein (musikverein.at)—where giants from Brahms to Mahler and Schoenberg premiered many of their most memorable works—turns 150. This year also marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, and his party in Vienna will last through 2020, with events like a weeks-long series of all of his symphonies by the Vienna Philharmonic and dozens of Beethoven-centric concerts at Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein (musik2020.wien.info). The world-renowned Salzburg Festival (salzburgerfestspiele.at) celebrates its centennial this summer with theatrical premieres and performances ranging from avant-garde chamber music to lavish productions of opera classics such as Tosca, Don Giovanni, and Elektra.
Celebrated chef Markus Mayr just opened the Glass Garden (monchstein.at; entrées $21–$43) inside Salzburg’s Hotel Schloss Mönchstein, combining haute cuisine with traditional Austrian fare in a transparent dome with glorious city views.
For Alpine art, a two-hour drive through the mountains will take you to the Innsbruck International (2020.innsbruckinternational.com">international.com; March 7–22), an up-and-coming biennial marking its fourth incarnation in 2020. The experience is as far from horse-drawn carriages as it’s possible to get. Aunt Gladys wouldn’t recognize the place.
9 Lille, France
Crowned the World Design Capital for 2020, this industrial city is now a stylish getaway. Bohemian-chic hotel Mama Shelter (mamashelter.com; doubles from $89) debuted last summer, and Brasserie Coke (brasseriecokelille.fr; entrées $25–$35) serves modern French cuisine under crystal chandeliers. Stop in nearby Roubaix at the renovated La Piscine (roubaixlapiscine.com), an Art Deco pool turned museum showing textiles, portraiture, sculpture, and more.
The Qatari capital’s cultural cred is giving travelers a reason to visit even before the crowds arrive for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The National Museum of Qatar (left; qm.org.qa), designed by Jean Nouvel, opened last year, with exhibits that explore the region from prehistory to the present. It rounds out the city’s collection of art hubs, which include Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (mathaf.org.qa) and the Museum of Islamic Art (mia.org.qa). A just-built railway system will make it a breeze to go from museums to stylish stays like the new Mandarin Oriental (mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $327) and the Al Najada Doha Hotel by Tivoli (tivolihotels.com; doubles from $160).
11 North Macedonia
Though currently free of global chains and tourists, the Republic of North Macedonia won’t fly under the radar for much longer. The newly renamed country has a wealth of historic sights: the Kale (or fortress) in the capital, Skopje; Kokino, a megalithic observatory; the ancient city of Heraclea Lyncestis, on the outskirts of Bitola. In Ohrid (above), the new Sky Corner Hotel (skycorner.mk; doubles from $55) will add more rooms and a restaurant later this year. And in June, Bitola will host the Slow Food festival Terra Madre Balkans (fb.com/terramadrebalkans).
12 Rajasthan, India
The state’s opulent palaces are the stuff of legend, and this year, travelers can live as the rajahs did when Six Senses’ first India property, the 48-suite Fort Barwara (right; sixsenses.com; rates not available at press time), launches in a 14th-century fortress south of Jaipur. Don’t miss new attractions, like India’s first contemporary sculpture park, set within the Madhavendra Palace (thesculpturepark.in), and the Amrapali Museum Jaipur (amrapalimuseum.com), with its collection of 4,000 gems.
Kimonos in the Gion district of Kyoto(RAYMOND PATRICK)
13 Old Meets New in Kyoto
Just beyond the thrum of the city center, a striking hotel is giving travelers an intimate look at local history and tradition.
BY LAWRENCE OSBORNE
FAR FROM THE ANONYMOUS urban grids of central Kyoto and the manicured tourist neighborhoods of Gion and Higashiyama, the new Aman Kyoto (aman.com; doubles from $1,015) sits in a small valley surrounded by forested foothills in the northeastern suburbs. Around it lie winding mountain roads edged with bear-warning signs, little-known temples, and serene cedar groves.
The hotel is built on the Asimono estate, where a wealthy obi collector once hoped to build a textile museum. Instead he left behind something equally enduring: a meandering garden of huge boulders and flagstones, now covered with moss, which give the illusion of an ancient ruin. The Aman’s guest pavilions, all minimalist in style and largely made of cedar, are set along a mountain stream.
a guest room at the new Aman Kyoto.(COURTESY OF AMAN)
The surrounding garden is landscaped with monumental stone walls and pathways. At night they are dimly lit, and one can feel the forest close by. The onsen is outdoors, surrounded by ornamental boulders, and the guest rooms overlook trees glittering with fireflies; the ofuro tubs in the bathrooms are made of aromatic cypress. The whole effect is one of simplicity and understatement.
Japan’s traditions are exactly what people come to Kyoto to savor, so it makes sense to explore the hills surrounding the city, where much of Kyoto’s cultural and spiritual life has always been centered. During my stay, I rode one of the hotel’s electric bikes up to Hidari Daimonji, the mountain above the resort, visiting temples like the Ginshoji, with its lush gardens, and then ventured into the streets that tumble down toward Kyoto proper. Although the crowds tend to head to the more famous Golden Pavilion, I chose instead to bike to Ryogen-in, a temple in the Murasakino district that’s famous for its five interlocking gardens dating back to the 16th century. Here one can sit in the Totekiko, thought to be the smallest stone garden in Japan, and contemplate the sand ridges, said to represent the Zen idea that the more power a stone is thrown with, the larger the ripples.
As Kyoto rapidly becomes one of the most visited cities in Asia, a trend that will only intensify when the Olympics come to Japan this summer, innovative hotels and museums are opening. The Fukuda Art Museum (fukuda-art-museum.jp), which focuses largely on Kyoto artists from the Edo period to today, debuted in October, and the Kyocera Museum of Art (kyotocity-kyocera.museum) is slated to reopen this March after a three-year expansion that added contemporary art galleries to supplement the existing 1933 building. The Park Hyatt Kyoto (hyatt.com; doubles from $1,023), another hillside retreat that launched last fall, echoes Kyoto’s imperial history and its time-honored aesthetics, including those of the ryokan. The Kengo Kuma–designed Ace Hotel (acehotel.com; doubles from $350), opening this spring, is inspired by the restored machiya shop-houses that have played a large role in Kyoto’s self-renewal.
All eyes are on the historic Raffles Singapore (below; raffles.com; doubles from $1,300), which reopened in August after a two-year restoration. In its new iteration, the property retains classic details—parquetry, mullioned French doors, the dramatic black-stained beams and banisters of the Grand Lobby—but has a fresh, bright look. At Changi Airport (changiairport.com), meanwhile, the new glass-enclosed Jewel complex makes a long layover a pleasure, with nearly 300 shops, a movie theater, and a hotel. It has the feel of an enormous botanical garden, thanks to lush plantings and a towering central waterfall. Later this year, the city-state will also roll out new green spaces, overhauled railway stations, and pedestrian corridors linking parks and gardens.
15 St. Bart’s
When Hurricane Irma pummeled St. Bart’s in 2017, it put most of the French territory’s hotels out of commission. But after a slew of improvements and renovations, the island is back in business. Last November marked a new chapter for the fabled Eden Rock (above; oetkercollection.com; doubles from $1,150), which originally opened in the 1950s as the first luxury hotel in St. Bart’s. Fresh off a two-year overhaul, the iconic resort harks back to its early days with 37 retro rooms featuring bold colors and Midcentury Modern furniture. A brand-new spa offers seaside treatments that use locally made Ligne St. Barth products. In February, Barrière—the group behind Le Majestic, in Cannes—will debut Le Carl Gustaf (hotelsbarriere.com; doubles from $830) in the capital, Gustavia. Situated on a hillside, the 16-room property will have suites with sea-view terraces and private plunge pools. If response to the hotel’s already-open restaurant Shellona is any indicator, it’s set to be the town’s new hot spot.
16 Join the Action in Addis Ababa
With reformist leadership in power, a lively creative scene, and a gleaming new port of entry, Ethiopia’s capital is thrumming with energy—and ready for its close-up.
BY HANNAH GIORGIS
FOR MUCH OF THE PAST four decades, Menelik Palace loomed over Addis Ababa as a symbol of imperial imposition. I remember seeing the cordoned-off complex on family trips to the country of my parents’ birth. Now, nearly two years into his term and with a Nobel Peace Prize already under his belt, the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is breathing life into Menelik’s halls. He has opened the 19th-century palace to the public, and tapped local artist Elias Sime to build a public garden, slated to open midyear alongside the once-forbidding space.
It’s the latest sign that something has shifted in Ethiopia’s capital—and thanks to a major expansion of Addis Ababa’s airport, U.S. travelers can easily witness the change firsthand.
The Menelik Palace joins several other new artistic spaces across Addis. Last year, Sime and his partner, the curator and cultural anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, opened the Zoma Museum (zomamuseum.org) after a 20-year planning and building process. Situated in the Mekanisa neighborhood, the museum blends Ethiopia old and new, using vernacular architecture as a backdrop for contemporary art—including some of Sime’s own pieces, which are composed of discarded cell phones and electrical wiring. In its attention to both traditional and modern influences, Zoma parallels the aims of Addis Foto Fest (addisfotofest.com), a biennial photography festival that will be held again this December. Throughout the year, find work by the country’s finest artists on display at institutions such as St. George Gallery (stgeorgeofethiopia.com), Addis Fine Art (addisfineart.com), and LeLa Gallery (lela-gallery.com).
Traditional-music clubs—known as azmari bet—often fuse visual-arts exhibitions with live music (and plenty of audience interaction). The Fendika Cultural Center (fendika.org), with its themed music nights, remains one of my favorites—even if the azmari singers gently tease me for my accented Amharic. Other venues, like Yod Abyssinia (yodethiopia.com), pair performances of dance styles from around Ethiopia with another obvious draw: home-style food and tej, a honey wine that’s sweet but never cloying.
For a more low-key dining experience, visit Dashen Terara (dashenterara.com; entrées $4–$12). The fasting traditions of Ethiopia’s many Orthodox Christians means you’ll find meat-free options at nearly any restaurant, but the vegetarian combination here is among the best I’ve ever had. Light, airy injera is paired with dishes like fossolia, with green beans that retain their bite even after being cooked with onions and garlic. Chase it all with a Habesha beer or the Ethiopian urbanite’s drink of choice, a macchiato.
17 Douro River, Portugal
Portugal remains a popular getaway—and in 2020, it’s all about experiencing it from the water. Last spring, Viking River Cruises (vikingrivercruises.com) christened the Viking Helgrim, a vessel built for its new Douro itinerary. A few weeks later, AmaWaterways (amawaterways.com) debuted the AmaDouro, which sails between Porto and Vega de Terrón in Spain. This year, Tauck (tauck.com) will launch the 84-passenger Andorinha, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection (uniworld.com) will christen the S.S. Saõ Gabriel, which has décor that channels the ambience of the Douro Valley (below). On land, wineries like Quinta do Portal (quintadoportal.com) and Quinta do Seixo (sandeman.com) serve light reds, vinho verde, and the ubiquitous port. Stay in Porto at recent additions like the Art Deco stunner Le Monumental Palace (maison-albar-hotels-le-monumental-palace.com; doubles from $235) or the art-filled Torel 1884 (torelboutiques.com; doubles from $255).
18 Asheville, North Carolina
With a small-town feel and big-city cultural cred, Asheville is home to entrepreneurs who were making microbrews and serving farm-to-table meals long before such things were de rigueur. The latest additions show off the city’s sophisticated side. The Asheville Art Museum (ashevilleart.org) reopened in November with 70 percent more gallery space, including a new wing and rooftop sculpture garden. Last September, the city hosted the inaugural Chow Chow (above; chowchowasheville.com), an Appalachian food festival featuring chefs like Katie Button and John Fleer. There are new bars, like Asheville Beauty Academy (avlbeautyacademy.com), the Golden Pineapple (goldenpineapplebar.com), and the Barksdale (42 Barks Ave.; 828-424-7449). And Asheville still lives up to its nickname, Beer City, with openings like Burial Beer Co.’s Forestry Camp (forestrycamp.com) and the forthcoming Dssolvr (dssolvr.com), a taproom with experiments in beer, cider, mead, and wine.
19 Maldonado Dept., Uruguay
The playground of South America’s elite is catching on stateside. The buzz began picking up with the arrival of Sacromonte Landscape Hotel (above; sacromonte.com; doubles from $700), a high-design vineyard retreat with 12 mirrored cabins. In Garzón, winery Bodega Garzón (bodegagarzon.com) will soon unveil a second hotel. In the meantime, creatives are flocking to Campo (campogarzon.com), a new artistic community where an on-site gallery, café, and food lab, Canteen, opened just weeks ago. Nearby, Garzón Sculpture Park (garzonsculpturepark.com), a nearly 400-acre outdoor museum, will host its first exhibition in December. And in José Ignacio, Bahia Vik (bahiavik.com; doubles from $900) just added new bungalows and a spa. Still to come: the Museum of Latin American Art, slated to open near Punta del Este in 2021.
20 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
With its mix of Chinese, Indian, and indigenous influences, Straits cuisine is among the world’s greats—and now it’s finally showing up in the capital’s high-end restaurants. The sleek Atas (theruma.com; tasting menu $73), hipster magnet ChoCha Foodstore (chochafoodstore.com; entrées $5–$14), and the life-changingly good (no, really!) OpenHouse (openhouse.my; tasting menu $14) each offer a different angle on modern Malay cuisine. Four Seasons and W arrived in town in 2018, and a Conrad and a Kempinski are on the horizon. But the hottest digs are at the Chow Kit (thechowkit.com; doubles from $64), which opened last fall with spaces by Studio Tack, the Brooklyn-based design firm behind Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in upstate New York and Anvil Hotel in Wyoming.
Reporting by Scott Bay, Sarah Bruning, Mary Holland, Carey Jones, Courtney Lichtermann, Chadner Navarro, Siobhan Reid, Sarah Souli, Flora Stubbs, and Hannah Walhout.
CÉSAR BÉJAR @CESARBEJARSTUDIO/COURTESY OF JUANA BAUTISTA ■