And just like that, another extraordinary year nears its end. In between wrapping up the rest of 2021 with subdued holiday gatherings and quiet champagne toasts at home, the mind inevitably wanders. To what could be in 2022. To the trips we may finally get to check off that bucket list, whether it’s to see the Scottish countryside from a sumptuous train fit for a royal, or to soak in the same ochre-hued New Mexico landscape that so captivated Georgia O’Keeffe for many years. Or to old haunts we just can’t wait to visit again with a fresh perspective and peace of mind. Or to the fabulous new hotels ready to welcome us with superb hospitality and plush digs. These are still uncertain times, but we can dream—and tentatively plan—for the future. Below, 17 of the best destinations to put on the travel list for 2022.
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Overtourism in Hawaii has been a hot button issue in recent years (even more so in 2021 after the idyllic state experienced a major boom in travelers once its borders reopened), and one that was brilliantly satirized in HBO’s The White Lotus. So then, how can travelers do Hawaii with a conscience? First, don’t add to the strain on Maui and head for much more remote Lanai instead. Back in 2012, Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison bought 98% of the island for $3oo million with the ambition to turn it into an exclusive destination. He then spent another $450 million on the Four Seasons Lanai, filling it with museum-quality art and outposts of Malibu Farm and Nobu, along with all the requisite amenities of a 5-star oceanfront resort. Sans kids and looking to get back in touch with mind, body, and soul? Then head inland to the Four Seasons’ sister property, the Sensei Lanai, a 24-acre oasis of tropical flora and verdant hills where the wellness-focused itinerary may include horseback riding, meditation, forest bathing, a thermal body mapping and sleep analysis, and deep soaks in Japanese onsen tubs, with all food courtesy of Nobu.
READ REVIEWS Four Seasons Resort Lanai
READ REVIEWS Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort
Napa Valley, California
Even for those who aren’t diehard oenophiles, there is still plenty to do in Napa. In fact, vineyards make up only 9% of the region with the rest—including 53,000 acres that are under the care of the Napa Valley Land Trust—ripe for all manner of outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and hot springs. Brand new in Calistoga is the Four Seasons Napa Valley, which opened in November and is the first resort here to be set within a working winery. Also coming soon, in February, will be a new Auberge Resort called Stanly Ranch, where just 78 cottage suites, all equipped with outdoor terraces with fire pits, will be spread out over a 700-acre private ranch that dates back to the 19th century.
READ REVIEWS Four Seasons Napa Valley
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Undoubtedly one of the most unique cities in the U.S., Santa Fe has rich Native American history, strong Spanish influences, and a vibrant arts scene, from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to Canyon Road, a stretch of art galleries featuring a diverse selection (think: Fernando Botero sculptures, handwoven Navajo rugs). Then, there is Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu (an hour’s drive from Santa Fe), a 21,000-acre retreat that so impressed O’Keeffe, she lived there for forty years and prominently featured its landscapes in her work. A trip to the city is worth it alone just to check out its hottest new hotel, Bishop’s Lodge, a legendary 150-year-old landmark that Auberge Resorts restored into a luxurious property sitting on 317 acres bordering the Santa Fe National Forest. It beautifully pays homage to the city’s Southwestern heritage with activities like sunrise horseback riding and guided pueblo tours.
READ REVIEWS Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection
Members of the new pot elite, rejoice. Malta just became the first country in the European Union to legalize marijuana. Not so into the cannabis? As a picturesque archipelago that has served as a filming location for a number of period epics, from Gladiator and Troy, to Munich and Murder on the Orient Express, Malta hardly wants for scenic sights (and FOMO-inducing Instagram backdrops). And having long ago suffered through a succession of invasions—by the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, the Kingdom of Aragon, the French, and the British—the Mediterranean country has a panoply of rich history, culture, and architecture. Stay at the Xara Palace, a former 17th-century palazzo that is now a Relais & Chateaux and the only hotel located in Mdina, the medieval walled city that used to be the island’s capital (until 1530) and served as the center of Maltese nobility.
READ REVIEWS The Xara Palace
New York City
After being hit hard during the pandemic in 2020, NYC has been on the rebound ever since, slowly but surely getting back to the bustling and dynamic metropolis it was in the Before Times. By February a brand new Ritz-Carlton opens in Manhattan’s NoMad district—and it conveniently fills a gaping hole in the neighborhood left by the abrupt closure of the NoMad Hotel earlier this year. The Ritz will bring on a celebrity chef of its own, José Andrés, who will open an outpost of his popular DC power spot, Zaytinya, plus a high-end restaurant called the Bazaar later in the year. The 250-room hotel will also have the most coveted of NYC hotel amenities: a rooftop bar.
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her platinum jubilee in 2022, and while that may be reason enough to go to London to witness all of the official celebrations that will swirl around Buckingham Palace in June, how about paying tribute to the UK’s longest reigning monarch with a pilgrimage through her beloved Scotland? It’s not hard to see why she retreats to the Highlands every summer to rest at Balmoral Castle, said to be her favorite palace. But first, start in capital city Edinburgh to marvel at its eclectic mix of medieval and Georgian architecture and then check into the Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel (not to be confused with the queen’s pad), for a night or two of 5-star pampering and Michelin-starred dining. Then it’s up to the Scottish Highlands and the town of Braemar, which neighbors the queen’s Balmoral, to stay at the the Fife Arms, a former Victorian-era coaching inn that was completely transformed by art world power couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth into an absolute jewel box of a property bursting with more than 16,000 works of art. Not so confident about driving on the other side of the road? Enter: the Royal Scotsman, a Belmond Train that is quite possibly the most luxuriously appointed way to take in the stunning countryside.
READ REVIEWS The Balmoral
READ REVIEWS The Fife Arms
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is absolute heaven for foodies (musts: the modern twist on Southern cuisine at Husk and Fig, the unbelievably fresh oysters and seafood at 167 Raw and the Ordinary), history buffs, and architecture nerds. It’s probably also one of the most introspective cities in the South, making concerted efforts to confront its painful and complicated past (be sure to check out the South Carolina Historical Society Museum and the Gibbes Museum of Art for important lessons). Right in the heart of the city is the palatial Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel, a bastion of luxurious Southern hospitality with more than 400 rooms, all outfitted in elegant touches like mahogany beds and marble showers.
READ REVIEWS Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel
Big Sky, Montana
For a certain subset of the population, the luxury western ranch trip has become a near-obligatory rite of passage in recent years. Montage is just the latest to seize on this opportunity—on December 15, it officially opened the doors to a sprawling new resort in Big Sky, Montana, becoming the first luxury ski hotel to ever be built in this picturesque region. The location is unparalleled. Just 45 minutes north of Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by the Spanish Peaks mountain range. And the list of things to do? Endless: direct access to Big Sky resort’s 5,800 acres of ski terrain and to a championship golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, snowshoeing, horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, the list goes on.
As far as European cities go, it’s hard to beat the many charms of Madrid. The Spanish capital has it all: beautiful old world architecture, blue chip museums, amazing food, lovely parks and gardens, great shopping, a wonderful locals’ vibe, and royal clout. Just as the iconic Ritz near El Retiro Park was recently converted to a Mandarin Oriental property, so too has Villa Magna, another aging grande dame in need of a refresh, courtesy of Rosewood—in October it officially reopened as the Rosewood Villa Magna. Located in the tony Salamanca neighborhood, the hotel has 154 accommodations, all designed to evoke the feel of a contemporary Spanish villa, and a signature restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jesús Sánchez.
READ REVIEWS Rosewood Villa Magna
Las Vegas, Nevada
What happens in Vegas? Well, that depends what your interests are. With best in class offerings across the board when it comes to dining, shopping, and accommodations, you have to go out of your way to have a disappointing time in the infamous city. For starters, Adele announced her Vegas residency starting in 2022—all the more reason to plan a trip. And if you really want to lean into the Las Vegas experience, book yourself at the Cosmopolitan, smack dab in the lap of luxury and heart of the strip. The hotel has a wide range of cant-be-beat restaurants to choose from including Momofuku, Scarpetta, and Blue Ribbon, as well as expansive rooms and suites designed with a contemporary infusion so there’s a calm refuge from whatever hijinks may unfold.
Another great option? The European-inspired Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which offers fine dining options such as Le Cirque and the Mayfair Supper Club, and of course is situated near some of the best luxury shopping the world has to offer.
READ REVIEWS Bellagio Hotel & Casino
READ REVIEWS The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
There are numerous compelling reasons to visit Ireland, whether you’re a history buff, love literature (it is the home of William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Sally Rooney after all), or are simply outdoorsy and a golf fanatic. But regardless of your interests, the island is temperate nearly all of the year—and offers unforgettable experiences from scenic drives up the coast, to picturesque national parks, and even unique opportunities to watch the Winter Solstice. However, one cannot miss trip is Adare Manor, just outside of Limerick.
The Neo-Gothic manor was once home to the Earls of Dunraven, but these days, the historic castle is a 5-star luxury resort, surrounded by charming medieval ruins, winding gardens and woodland paths that you could lose yourself on—in the best way possible. Not only are the guest rooms lavishly decorated and fitted with Georgian-era furnishings, but the resort offers a wide range of activities from falconry and golf to clay shooting and fishing.
READ REVIEWS Adare Manor
For years, travelers have flocked to the tiny island of Bermuda, and it’s no wonder why. The pristine beaches are known the world over for their soft pink sand, and what’s more, travel to the escape is a breeze—just a 90-minute flight from New York City. And two new hotels on the island offer the height of luxury. First there is the St. Regis Bermuda, which opened its doors to vacationers in summer 2021 and is located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can expect a hybrid of avant-garde design with local flare as well as sophisticated touches that are the hallmark of the St. Regis brand. Also on the world class property? A golf-course, a state of the art spa, and a designated children’s club for families who visit.
Also new to the island is the luxury boutique hotel the Loren at Pink Beach, which is located on Tucker’s Point. With just 45 rooms complete with panoramic views and a Sisley Spa, it’s the perfect beachside hideaway when you want to really disappear into the sun and sand.
READ REVIEWS St. Regis Bermuda
READ REVIEWS Loren at Pink Beach
On the western edge of Switzerland, surrounded by the Alps, is the serene cobblestone city of Geneva, whose views on Mont Blanc alone are worthy of a visit. While the cosmopolitan area is both home to the European headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross, the international financial hub makes for a great slow-paced getaway, or dare we say it, a fantastic breather while on a business trip.
First on your list should you visit is the Oetker Collection’s latest jewel, the Woodward. Originally built in 1901, the property has been reimagined by Pierre Yves Rochon and boasts two restaurants, the Michelin-starred L’Atelier Robuchon and Le Jardin, a spa appointed by Guerlain, and breathtaking views. There’s a reason why they’re calling it the lakeside home of haute living.
Palm Beach, Florida
One could argue that Palm Beach is to Eastern Florida, as Cannes is the Riviera. It’s been the vacation home and haunt of Swans—with a capital S— for the better part of a hundred years. And with the recent infusion of New York hotspots such as Le Bilboquet and La Goulue in the last few years, it almost feels as though NYC has been transported to the sandy palm beaches.
Known for it’s low-key ambiance and relaxed luxury, The Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa is the perfect place to hit pause. Not only is the property a hop, skip, and a jump from the go-to performing arts venues, but the neighboring area is replete with fantastic shopping and dining should you need a pause from the hotel’s five-star spa and seven-acre private beach. It’s the kind of place that once you visit, you can’t help but make a plan to dash back for more.
READ REVIEWS Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Nambiti, South Africa
While travel to Southern Africa is currently off limits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a safari in South Africa remains bucket list worthy—just don’t book the trip without double-checking travel advisories.
What’s worth the wait? The Homestead—the Nambiti Game Reserve’s soon-to-be opened luxury safari in one of the most widely biodiverse regions in all of Africa. The Homestead’s bespoke safari experiences are also created to hold conservation and sustainability at the highest importance, as made evident by the twelve suite “super luxury” eco lodge accommodations which are entirely solar-powered. Menus are designed by world-renowned chefs, and the food is made with local ingredients—all with the hope of both a positive impact on the planet and those who visit.
Lake Como, Italy
It should come as no surprise that year after year, the gliteratti heads out to the glamorous region in Northern Italy (which also recently made appearances in The Morning Show, Succession, and House of Gucci). Between exploring the remnants of medieval villages, the opulent villas, and of course, the gorgeous lake, it’s no wonder that the locale never goes out of style.
Summer is when the region really shines, and 2022 is the perfect opportunity to make an occasion of it at Villa Passalacqua. Originally built in the 18th century by Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua (both Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill were known to visit), the stately mansion is the sister property to Grand Hotel Tremezzo, and offers only the best of luxury. Think: 24 suites designed by Paolo, Antonella, and Valentina De Santis, but with a preservation of the original structure in mind. Villa Passalacqua also offers swimming in the lake, an open-air gym in the olive grove, vintage boat trips from a private dock, farm to fork dining and gorgeous manicured gardens.
No, this isn’t Dirty Dancing but the Borscht Belt has experienced a serious travel boom in the last two years. From new hotels and inns, to a bountiful supply of AirBnbs, the mountainous region in Southeastern New York is once again an it-destination for the Tri-State area during the summer, for leaf peeping in the fall, and even in the cold months.
Whether you’re taking a quick spin around Kaaterskill Falls, heading into Hudson for some antiquing and a bite at Lil’ Debs Oasis or just simply taking in everything the region has to offer with a scenic drive, you’ll find your days are packed with a wide variety of fun offerings. Fan favorite stays include the Eastwind Hotel and of course Scribner’s Catskill Lodge, but if you’re looking to lean into the region’s retro resort roots, check out Calicoon Hills.
READ REVIEWS Scribner’s Catskill Lodge
READ REVIEWS Eastwind Hotel & Bar
READ REVIEWS Calicoon Hills
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