From canalside lounging in Amsterdam to boho beaching in Bali, we reveal the buzziest hotspots in the world right now, on our travel wish list for the year ahead. Prepare for some serious wanderlust…
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Famed for its quaint cobbled streets, ancient canals, and swarms of shopper bikes Amsterdam makes a charming weekend city break, packed with culture. A treasure trove of museums, vintage-filled shops and innovative design, this alluring city teeming with achingly cool bars and ultra-niche restaurants has plenty to keep you occupied. It's easy to explore the rich cultural delights of this canal-side jewel box of a city in just a few days.
Stay Here: The Hoxton
Doused in gentlemanly style with gleaming copper pipes and Vermeer-inspired paintwork, The Hoxton’s warren-like canal houses provide the perfect base to explore Europe’s quirkiest city. Once home to the Mayor, this grand old building dates back to the 17th century, and still retains some of its original features. Expect waterside views and top-notch dining at Lotti's trendy brasserie-style restaurant, which also features a retractable glass roof, so when the sun's out you can catch a few rays with a cocktail in hand.
From the bright-green floodplains of the Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert in all its breathtaking splendour, Botswana is one of the world’s unique travel destinations, and also where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to tie the knot. But even if you’re not expecting the distant hum of wedding bells, the swarming wildlife and dreamy desert-like plains are enough to indulge your wanderlust.
STAY HERE: Qorokwe Camp
Set on the banks of an Okavango lagoon, Qorokwe Camp’s safari-chic lodgings are made up nine eco-friendly luxury tented solar-powered suites, all drenched in bleached timbers, exotic prints and brass, with private decks overlooking the Moremi Game Reserve. Walking, boating and 4x4 safari exploits await.
Bali: an island lover’s fantasy, where surfers and beach dwellers alike flock to languidly laze atop incredible stretches of white and black sands, soaking up stunning views of sapphire waters and burning orange sunsets. Whilst most favour Kuta or the sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak, Canguu is where Boho Bali is reborn. Dubbed as “Brooklyn-on-Sea”, Canguu is one of Indonesia’s hottest new hangouts, with trendy hotels and penthouses, airy cafés and boutiques, rooftop pools and slick beach clubs busting out old-school hip-hop.
STAY HERE: The Slow
Achingly cool, The Slow’s retro-modernist interiors mix high fashion with laid-back surfer vibes, for a stylish escape set in Bali’s boho beach town.
A bustling city made up of wide, leafy avenues, charming plazas and cosmopolitan cafés, Mendoza is the perfect pit stop for a South American sojourn. Stunning landscapes surround, with glorious grape-specked vineyeards, colourful mountains and verdant countryside, whilst the city itself sings with achingly cool, eco-friendly cantinas, slick hotels and rich palette of architecture that combines Art Deco with 1960s modern. Just a short drive away you’ll discover vineyards, adventure sports and resorts under the shadow of the Andes, where you can sample some of the best wines of the region.
STAY HERE Casa de Uco
A dream land for wine lovers, this rustic eco-friendly wine resort is set on Mendoza’s breathtaking Uco Valley, where secluded modern-style villas in all their full glass and steel glory contrast its rural vineyard setting. Stunning views of the vineyards and mountains haze into the reflection of the surrounding lagoon, whilst the outdoor pool and comfy daybeds encourage complete relaxation, before working your way through the region’s extraordinary wine selection.
A grown-up, glamorous alternative to Ibiza’s hedonistic party scene, the white sandy beaches and blue crystal waters of Mykonos comes with its own kind of sparkling allure. Peppered with lively beach bars and chic waterfront restaurants, Europe’s style set flock to Chora’s main town for sun drenched lunches and daytime DJ beats.
STAY HERE: Grace Mykonos
Steeped in charm, Grace Mykonos is one of the most sought-after hotels in the area. A boutique bolthole that whispers style and sophistication throughout. Many of the suites come with their own temperature-controlled plunge pool, but the communal pool more than makes up for those that don’t. The main restaurant serves traditional Greek cuisine, and the beautiful Agios Stefanos beach, protected from the wind, is just a short walk away.
Country music fans will already have Nashville firmly bookmarked on their travel bucket list – everyone from Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley to Jimmi Hendrix and Johnny Cash have graced many a Nashville stage – but this destination is the ultimate pilgrimage for any music lover, whether a country fan or not. Known as the song writing capital of the world, this vibrant city has over 100 live music venues, playing host to all kinds of different genres, from gospel and jazz to bluegrass and country. During downtime, there are also gorgeous parks and vibrant neighbourhoods packed with boutique shops, indie coffee houses, artisan bakeries, world cuisine eateries and local breweries, beckoning to be explored.
STAY HERE: Thompson Nashville
Unapologetically trendy, the Thompson is where all the cool kids head. With a sleek urban aesthetic and alt-rock spirit, this design-led boutique attracts touring musicians and fashionistas in their droves. But despite its trendy following, Thompson Nashville has a surprisingly laid-vibe vibe, where you can go from seafood specials to rooftop cocktails, without even having to step foot outside. Be sure to venture outdoors at some point though; the famous Station Inn is a mere 1-minute walk, and having welcomed everyone including Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson to the stage, it’s well worth a visit.
If Lisbon was the new Barcelona, we’ve heard on the grapevine that Porto is swiftly becoming the new Lisbon. With less crowds and the same laid-back Portuguese vibe, Portugal’s second city is growing ever more popular. Wander through the old town’s sleepy cobbled streets, where you’ll find a sea of colourful buildings, quaint wine bars and buzzy restaurants set amid golden rooftops and designer boutiques.
STAY HERE: My Home In Porto
Impeccably styled, this elegant 1930s guesthouse is an Instagrammer’s dream with gorgeously retro interiors and plenty of personal touches. Bedrooms are light and airy and come armed with soft white walls, stripped wood floors, squashy sofas and fresh flowers, whilst scatterings of Scandi furniture bring this mid-century townhouse bang up to date. Casually cool, with a sophisticated, contemporary twist, this is one of Porto’s most glamorous dens.
The remote heel of Italy’s boot welcomes a dramatic mix of fairytale cottages, Baroque architecture and some of the best sandy beaches in mainline Italy. Quaint towns steeped in history come scattered with Basilian chapels and prehistoric dolmens, but it’s the glorious food scene - a combination of top-quality local produce and authentic Italian home cooking - that wows the crowds. Feast on the silkiest of handmade pastas, locally pressed olive oils and fresh seafood catches, grilled to perfection and served al fresco in basking sun.
STAY HERE: Don Totu, Salento
City slickers will still feel at home in this rural idyll, which balances secluded pools, homely, rustic decor and ancient exteriors. Concealed behind a demure façade, Don Totu’s glamorous 18th-century palazzo comes with sun-blushed courtyards, a dreamy pool and romantic four-poster bedrooms. Sun soaked terraces and silvery olive trees surround whilst the wealth of facilities and activities - from film screenings under the stars to cooking classes with an opera-singing chef - will keep you suitably entertained.
Seoul, South Korea
Poised to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea is set to be big on the travel scene this year. But beyond the white powder and sleepy backdrop of Buddhist temples and scenic mountain landscapes, the bright lights of Seoul await. A bustling urban ideal of parks, culture and design stretching out over a sprawl of skyscrapers and village-style neighbourhoods. The Tokyo-like video game glow of the city will leave you breathless, yet within this modern city, you’ll discover serene pockets of palaces and temples that recall the important history of the Korean peninsula stretching back 700 years. The food scene is legendary - The food bible’s 2018 shortlist features 24 Michelin-starred restaurants - and there are plenty of boutiques to indulge your shopping fix.
STAY HERE: Imperial Palace
Dripping in five-star luxury, step into the ritzy lobby at Imperial Palace and you’ll be greeted by marble walls, twinkling lights and glitzy chandeliers. At this slick, European-style, opulence abounds. Located in the stylish Gangnam area, there are plenty of upmarket boutiques, bars and restaurants to keep you entertained, but the hotel’s sauna, indoor and and outdoor pool, slick restaurants and rooftop golf course are reason enough to spend a day on Imperial soils.
With beautiful landscapes, eye-catching architecture and exceptional food, it’s little wonder Georgia’s tourism is starting to heat up. If there’s one Georgian city to add to your wish list, make it Tbilisi. An unruly capital with unique appeal – you’ll find a chaotic jumble of brightly coloured balconies, crumbling Art Nouveau facades and Eastern Orthodox churches, set amongst a sea of flea markets, chic apartment cafés and comically-themed KGB-themed restaurants. A fabulously fun and affordable destination – you can fly direct from London from around £30 with Wizz air – Georgia’s Tbilis is one to watch.
STAY HERE: Rooms Hotel Tbilisi
Retro-Soviet meets industrial chic; this Soho House-inspired former publishing house is the epitome of Caucasus cool. The place to stay in Tbilisi, Rooms Hotel is a hipster’s paradise wavering between traditional Georgia and contemporary New York, with throwback décor of antique rugs, plush lounge couches and vivid artwork by Georgian artists. Rooms are seductive and cosy, and the hotel itself is conveniently positioned close to the centre, in the quiet, green neighbourhood of Vera, where you can easily access the Old Town and main strip of museums, bars and restaurants, and the funicular that climbs to Mtatsminda peak.
With biscuit sands, glistening jade-green waters and a balmy temperature to boot, Tulum has earnt its place as one of Mexico’s dreamiest beaches. A place where A-listers and beach lovers go for a fix of glam zen, this boho beach hangout promises everything from beachside yoga to ceviche sharing platters, with a few punchy margaritas thrown in for boozy measure along the way. Fresh fish and seafood sizzle on outdoor barbecues by day, whilst during the night, Tulum comes alive with fire and flickering candles.
STAY HERE: Sanarà Tulum
A heavenly jungle-meets-beach Mexican hideout, Sanarà Tulum ticks every box imaginable. Crisp white minimalist interiors mirror the pristine white sands of the beach – which is literally on your doorstep – whilst the hotel’s world-renowned wellness centre and acclaimed restaurant provides sanctuary to dedicated yogis and healthy gourmands alike.