The shot, above, of a corridor at THE ROYAL MANSOUR MARRAKECH, a Leading Hotel, is a reminder of the serene lure of much of Marrakech. In fact, says Embark Beyond’s sage Jack Ezon, continuing his predictions for 2023, “Morocco – its colours, design, fashion, flavours, buzzy nightlife, and easy access has made Morocco truly HOT! New hotels like PARK HYATT enter the Marrakech marketplace; the posh ROYAL MANSOUR hotels in both Casablanca and Tamouda Bay; and the ultra-chic Italian LA FIERMONTINA OCEAN opens in Larache, a remote beach village just south of Tangier.
“Switzerland is becoming sexy, and offering a host of next-generation resorts to younger active travellers. It’s becoming ground-zero for thrill seekers in Europe, from bungee jumping to ultra-hiking with magnificent Via Ferrata courses, rappelling and extreme mountain biking. Properties like BURGENSTOCK above Lucerne, ALPINA GRAND in Gstaad and the OMNIA, Zermatt, provide chic basecamps while the renewed allure of train travel has made Switzerland even more appealing to easily connect several destinations along some of the world’s most dramatic topography.
“Argentina is emerging as a winter hot-spot for northerners. Extreme inflation and the ‘blue market’ money exchange literally put the country on a half-off sale. There’s never been a better time to explore the glacier-cut mountains of Patagonia, the winelands of Mendoza or the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. Everything from hotel rates, restaurants and experiences are less than a third of what they may be in other countries of its calibre.
“Greece exploded in popularity in 2021 as the first country to open to Americans mid-Covid. While Mykonos continues to draw in crowds it’s the newly discovered islands like Paros that are the real attraction. With new luxury resorts such as COSME in Paros, the pristine Kéa that gets a new ONE&ONLY resort this summer, or even Corfu, often overlooked as a middle-market destination, now attracts travellers with such additions as the IKOS ODISIA and Banyan Tree’s lifestyle ANGSANA. The Peleponnese Peninsula continues to draw followers: COSTA NAVARINO expands with great new resorts, AMANZOE continues to draw the uber-wealthy, and jetsetters bask in the Athenian Rivera at places like FOUR SEASONS and the new ONE&ONLY AESTHESIS.
“Spain emerged as a leading destination in 2022 and it looks as if it may reach Embark Beyond’s third or fourth most popular summer locale this year (right now it’s neck and neck with Greece). Madrid has come on strong as one of Europe’s coolest capitals, with five luxury hotels opening in a city that never had one. The elegant RITZ MADRID BY MANDARIN ORIENTAL opened with fabulous flair, with the cool ROSEWOOD VILLA MAGNA flanking the other side of Salamanca’s buzzing lifestyle district. Brimming with sleek lounges, notable restaurants and incredible shops, Salamanca’s a magnet to international visitors and locals alike. The city spills into Andalucia which has seen a 19% growth in popularity, including Marbella as a considerable beach destination. Ibiza continues its growth, up almost 26% in pace for 2023, and for the first time, Mallorca saw an almost 40% growth in business.
“Australia, New Zealand and the entire South Pacific, by the way, have finally opened to the world, and though they experienced a slow start, the pace now looks extremely promising.”
And with that, Jack Ezon bounded off, his usual creativity ensuring he will have yet other destinations-to-watch up his proverbial sleeve.