With rolling hills, craggy caves and a varied coastline, it’s impossible to tire of the dramatic Somerset scenery – and with local delicacies aplenty (particularly in the cider and cheese departments), there is something to tempt everybody to the south-west county. When hit hotel The Newt opened its doors in 2019, it became an instant favorite (and nigh-on impossible to book), thanks to its sprawling estate of grounds, gardens and overall grandeur. Lucky, then, that this year it is opening The Farmyard – a more understated and traditional array of rooms housed in the transformed farmhouse, apple loft and cider mill.
Mallorca’s status as a favored vacation hot spot rarely wains – the landscapes are luscious, the cuisine is delicious and the climate is pretty idyllic year-round – but it isn’t too difficult to avoid the busier settings on the largest of the Balearic Islands. To enjoy its abundant wonders without the crowds, head to the island’s more rural locales. The quaint town of Santanyí (also known as the golden-stone village) in the south east welcomes the opening of Can Ferrereta this year – a 17th-century farmhouse transformed into an exquisite boutique hotel by the team behind Sant Francesc in Palma. From the tranquil bedrooms and verdant terraces to the sublime landscaped pool, it’s a slice of paradise in, well, paradise.
Napa Valley, California
There’s nothing quite like wine-country wanderlust for truly indulgent traveling, where your itinerary takes care of itself. And here, in the heart of Napa Valley, a new launch promises to be a luxurious addition to the region. Situated alongside the banks of the Napa River, Stanly Ranch is encircled by an endless stretch of picture-perfect vineyards, with revamped farmstead-turned-cottages allowing guests to stay amid the tantalizing and atmospheric surroundings.
Baja’s East Cape, Mexico
At the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, in recent years Cabo San Lucas has secured its place as the buzzy destination to be seen at, only enhanced by an array of high-profile hotel openings, from Nobu Hotel to the Four Seasons Resort. (It’s also speculated to be the location of the forthcoming first Soho House property in Mexico.) And now, Los Cabos’s lesser-known neighbor, East Cape, is catching up on the luxurious-accommodation front, with the Aman group set to open another jewel in the crown, Amanvari (pictured above). Superlative accommodation options aside, the scenery here speaks for itself – from mangrove jungle to rural farmland and, of course, the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez.
A different kind of Cycladic charm, Kea (also known as Tzia) is more wild, earthy and low-key than its white-washed, blue-domed neighbors in the Aegean Sea. To the south of Attica, an hour’s boat ride from Athens, the golden coast and rugged landscape has stayed comparatively under the radar. It’s also home to the soon-to-open, elegant new resort from One&Only, which is set in a huge secluded bay on the island’s west coast.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is often overlooked as an Asian city break compared to some of its more-frequented counterparts. But from the magnificent cultural landmarks and exquisite architecture to its famed vibrant nightlife and culinary offering, the mountain-surrounded metropolis is deserving of bucket-list recognition. The Mondrian hotel group has expanded into Asia with an arrival in the South Korean capital: Mondrian Seoul Itaewon brings the brand’s signature playfulness as an “immersive lifestyle destination” to one of the city’s buzziest neighborhoods.
The Italian capital rarely goes out of style as a cultural city break, but a flurry of chic new hotel additions serves to reinvigorate its enchantment. These include a W Hotel located near the boutique shopping destination of via Condotti, the spectacular palazzo of Hotel de la Ville atop the Spanish Steps, and a forthcoming Six Senses urban property – the brand’s entry to Italy – in the heart of the city, close to the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon.
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
The stunning shores of Lake Lucerne make for a picturesque and quintessential Swiss stay, with the area also offering plenty of cultural delights and landmark sights. The magnificent Hotel Palace, Luzern is currently undergoing a reimagining by Mandarin Oriental to create a contemporary update of the iconic and well-situated property, which boasts an awe-inspiring panorama of the surrounding lake and mountains.
The Loire Valley, France
There is an endless allure about the Loire Valley, with its location along the middle stretch of the Loire river, where northern and southern France meet. The region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, might be most well-known for its opulent wine offering, but it also boasts a glittering history – hence the array of splendid chateaux that populate its hillsides. The palatial, neoclassical Château du Grand-Lucé is one of its most renowned and has recently undergone meticulous renovations to bring the elegant interiors in line with the grandeur of its exterior.
With the Tokyo Olympics postponed to this year, Japan is likely to be top of the list for those seeking a serious sports and culture fix in 2021 (should it be able to go ahead). Whatever brings you to the country, you should look beyond the most-frequented cities – Tokyo and Kyoto – to add somewhere rather different to your itinerary. The large port city of Osaka, with its effervescent energy and historical spots (Osaka Castle is particularly wonderful for a visit during cherry-blossom season), has enjoyed a wealth of openings of late, such as the new Zentis, an impressive design-led hotel near the Dojima river.
The Maldives remain unparalleled when it comes to pure, paradisal escape. Among the tantalizing new resorts tempting us to the archipelago is the dreamy wellbeing destination of Kagi Maldives Spa Island (yes, spa island), the debut of Raffles in its first Maldivian outlet, and the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which features a treetop restaurant and dazzling, expansive villas.
To the east of Bali, the Indonesian island of Lombok offers rather more off-radar relaxation, but with the similarly spectacular beauty that the region is famed for. Home to some of the most outstanding beaches in the world, vacations here revolve around powder-white sands and the lush tropical landscape – with untouched coves, impressive waterfalls and hot springs, and the country’s second-highest volcano, Mount Rinjani. Whether total rest and relaxation or something a little more adventurous (water sports and hiking are popular) is on the itinerary, you’ll find ample opportunities for both.
Toronto is slated to welcome a host of thrilling new openings to its hotel scene soon, from the sleek W Toronto in the fashionable Yorkville neighborhood to 1 Hotel’s first outpost in Canada, which will continue the brand’s commitment to sustainability with interiors inspired by the glorious natural surroundings. Ace Hotel is also making its Canadian debut, as is Nobu. Based in the locale of the original Pilkington Glass Factory, which is a designated heritage site, the Nobu Residences and Hotel will inhabit two soaring towers, anchored by the brand’s flagship restaurant in the city.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town’s cool is ever on the rise, and rarely more so than at the moment, when its line-up of boutique-hotel openings continues to increase. Choose from Camissa House, with the ideal position aside Table Mountain, or the trendy, design-focused Gorgeous George downtown, and not forgetting the charming, beautifully restored Labotessa in the historic Church Square.