The start of a new year means making resolutions, sticking to a post-holiday diet and generally setting yourself up for a successful year ahead, but our favourite part has to do with looking at the calendar and planning all our travels. Whether you’re at a loss for where to go this year or you’re just looking to plan your next long weekend getaway, take inspiration from these destinations that are at the top of our 2019 bucket list.
Great for: Relaxation
This archipelago on the west coast of Malaysia is the unspoilt tropical paradise you’ve been looking for, surrounded by gorgeous turquoise waters, pristine beaches and natural landscapes. Need more reasons to go? Explore the mangroves by boat and watch the local wildlife, or brave the steepest cable car in the world. Oh, and did we mention that Langkawid is tax-free? Let the shopping commence!
Stay at: The St. Regis Langkawi
Five-star luxury and exquisite service, those are St. Regis hallmarks, but what the Langkawi outpost also offers is in its stunning location. Nestled between centuries-old rainforest and beaches overlooking the Andaman Sea, guests can expect to experience tropical bliss here. Opt for the over-water villas to experience the private pool and beachfront access, not to mention the signature butler service.
Great for: Culture
Time travel to China’s ancient eastern capital, Xi’an, and discover a wealth of cultural and historical sites, which contrast with a modern cityscape now shaped by a burgeoning art and epicurean scene. A visit to see the Terracotta Army is a must, so you can gawk at the 2,000-year-old collection of life-size sculptures built and buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China (260-210 BCE).
Stay at: W Hotel Xi’an
Situated near some cultural sites itself, the newly opened W Xi’an is a lively hotel that commands spectacular views over a royal garden dating back to the Tang Dynasty and the Great Wild Goose Pagoda. Designed by acclaimed interior design firm AB Concept, the spacious hotel covers 80,000 square metres with 385 guest rooms to choose from — all of which offer the brand’s “Whatever/Whenever®” service, which gives guests exactly that at a push of a button.
Great for: Health & Wellness
Not only is Bali full of awe–inspiring geological wonders, but it’s also the ultimate destination for wellness. Attracting people from across the globe with its calming natural settings, this soul-soothing — and maybe even life-changing! — holiday destination is just what the doctor ordered to kickstart the new year.
Stay at: COMO Shambhala Estate
Get yourself to the retreat your mind, body and soul needs at the COMO Shambhala Estate, located in picturesque Ubud, and make full use of their wellness programme. Aptly named ‘Starting Anew’, you’ll be given a daily schedule of activities including yoga, lifestyle lectures and meditation walks, all of which are perfect for your 2019 goal to detox, improve fitness, or find balance in your life.
Great for: Food
Of all the great reasons to visit Singapore (nightlife, cultural diversity, even cleanliness), our favourite is the food. From some of the best street food in all of Asia to fine-dining spots, the Lion City has it all. Travellers can indulge at the many hawker centres and fill up on iconic chilli crab, visit one of the Michelin-starred vendors for chicken rice, or take on a grander dining experience at one of the many luxury restaurants around town.
Stay at: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
Located in the heart of Singapore, just walking distance from Marina Bay, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is a 32-storey luxury hotel that will meet the needs of even a ‘Crazy Rich Asian’. With distinctive architecture design and style, an impressive modern art collection, as well as its own dining options that include local cuisine and fine Cantonese fare, this is one of the city’s standout accommodations.
Rotorua, New Zealand
Great for: Nature
Featuring Māori culture and geothermal activity, Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities, and is known for its natural landscapes. Filled with hot springs, mud pools, lakes and lush forests, your eyes (and nose, once you get used to the smell of sulphur) are in for a treat on this adventure into the great outdoors.
Stay at: Treetops Lodge & Estate
Enjoy the rustic charm of this captivating estate, which is set against virgin jungles and rolling hills, and take part in the many outdoor activities they organise. Hop onto a helicopter and take in the views of hot springs, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Or interact with wildlife in the sanctuaries, go horseback riding, mountain climbing, explore Māori culture and visit the White Island Volcano; there’s more than enough nature on this trip to last a lifetime.