WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED – the joy that a cute little calf could give at super-super Six Senses Zighy Bay. Especially since it’s called Mary.
Surprises are in. That includes in the travel sphere. As that pundit Jack Ezon, of EnbarkBeyond, says, go beyond the obvious, namely such destinations as Paris, Japan, Iceland, Italy…), Instead, consider these:
- Montenegro – One of the best values in the Med, Montenegro continues to grow. It’s the ideal locale for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts and beach lovers. The new Sirio not only debuts One & Only’s sexy new Gen-Z brand, but also infuses the country with an active and wellness narrative. Though Aman Sveti Stefan has a just a glimpse of reopening, its acclaimed Villa Miločer continues to attract Amanjunkies to its shores. The villas of One&Only Portonovi is a family haven and a new yacht haven of the Med. Couple this with the spectacular fjords of Kotor and a short boat ride to Croatia, it’s the ultimate summer getaway.
- Los Cabos: the beach destination with the strongest growth, Los Cabos is undergoing another reinvention. The development of nearby Todos Santos as a boho-explorer’s destination combined with the endless active desert adventures in Los Cabos, new culinary magnets and even more luxury hotels opening is attracting people to return to Cabos to re-explore this desert beach resort. The new 1,800-acre Cabo del Sol community will have two miles of beach and two 18-hole golf courses, all centered around the new hacienda-style Four Seasons Resort Cabo San Lucas at Cabo Del Sol and Soho House Beach Club. Later this year, Park Hyatt joins in the mix while the new St Regis Los Cabos at Quivira opens on the southern shore of the peninsula with access to its own Jack Nicklaus golf course.
- Greece –– Greece exploded in popularity in 2021 but softened in 2022. We predict a comeback in Greece, especially in the ‘outer islands’. We think Paros is going to be the new Mykonos with so many luxury hotels now firmly planted outside the label-free but vibrant town of Nauossa. The secluded, pristine Kéa gets a new One&Only resort this summer, or even Corfu that was often overlooked as a middle-market destination attracts travelers with new resorts such as the Ikos Odisia and Banyan Tree’s new lifestyle Angsana. Even the remote island of Folegandros, with a population of 600, gets its first luxury hotel this year, the Gundari, which affords luxury travelers an opportunity to truly disconnect like a local.
- The Red Sea – despite the Middle East conflict we are hot on the Red Sea. The amount of money being invested, the exposure, promotion, unique experiences and varied environments will made Red Sea one of the fastest growing destinations in the world. This year sees the launch of the first four resorts with almost 30 unique resorts opening in the next 3 years.
- Switzerland – Nadal and Trevor Noah took the Glacier Express’ Grand Tour of Switzerland viral last summer and it looks like it will continue to stick around in 2023. Switzerland is finally becoming sexy and offering a host of next-generation resorts to younger active travelers. 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 Bürgenstock, the Alpina Gstaad and the Omnia provide chic basecamps while the renewed allure of train travel has made it even more appealing to easily connect several destinations along some of the world’s most
- French Winelands – The French winelands are getting a boost with new luxury hotels to explore outside of the Provence. Cognac now boats the fabulous new La Nauve as well as the private takeover dream, Le Logis, part of the former Gray Goose estate. Meanwhile in Champagne, LVMH’s new Belmond Coquelicot luxury barge promises insider access to their brand’s best champagne including Dom, Ruinart, Krug and Moet. Burgundy, the holy grail of pinot noir and chardonnay, has lacked good accommodations for years, now gets a new Como resort, Le Montrachet, along with a darling 14-room Maison 1896 in Beaune and the new Chateau Sainte Sabine, giving oenophiles a more plush to explore their favorite vinters.
- Argentina – Emerging as a winter hot-spot for northerners. Extreme inflation and the “Blue Market” money exchange literally puts 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 caliber.
- Austria: With Paris in the spotlight, what better alternative than Vienna. As clients flee from over-crowded cities we see Austria having its moment in 2024. New hotels in Vienna are bringing it a new limelight, while Rosewood’s reinvention of the iconic Schloss Fuschl will shed attention on Salzburg and its spectacular countryside. From UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stunning Lake Neusiedl, and a hot new wine scene in Burgenland.
- Scandinavia – The demand for Scandinavia is already up over 20% for 2024. The cool capitals of Stockholm and Copenhagen continue to draw design and gastronomic aficionados. While new nature-focused resorts and luxury yachts open up the Lapland, the Fjordlands, and more remote locales.
- Portugal – Portugal remains one of the best values in the Mediterranean, if not all of Europe. Lisbon continues to thrive as a cool capital city, with hot new restaurants and art installs, while popularity of Portuguese wines of the Alentejo and Douro Valley bring oenophiles to a growing roster of luxury hotels. Beach resorts in the Algarve and Comporta are finally attracting jetsetters who want a little more calm, while design aficionados are fixated on new properties like the Palácio Príncipe Real in Lisbon and Christian Louboutin’s Vermehlo outside of Comporta Contact Jack Ezon at https://www.embarkbeyond.com