The spotlight shone on the country in 2018 with the release of Crazy Rich Asians and the Trump-Kim summit at Five-Star Capella Singapore. This year promises much more. Singapore will celebrate its bicentennial with exhibits, festivals and a host of openings. Changi Airport will debut the Jewel complex, a glass-and-steel dome housing lush gardens, attractions (the world’s tallest indoor waterfall at 131 feet), shops, restaurants and more.
Hudson Yards, New York
There’s always something going on in New York to capture our interest, but the 28-acre, multi-purpose Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the country, has us fixated on Chelsea. The Shed is a dreamy architectural wonder featuring a theater, art galleries and more opening in April. The Shops at Hudson Yards, debuting in March, has nearly 100 retailers, including the city’s first Neiman Marcus. Still, June’s Equinox Hotel, a 200-plus-room first from the fitness brand with a restaurant, a SoulCycle and the biggest Equinox gym in the world, may be the biggest draw.
|Hudson Yards, New York
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first legislative assembly and other landmark occurrences, Colonial Williamsburg (and neighboring towns) has a slew of history-rich programs on the 2019 agenda. But not every story has a scholarly slant in these parts. Busch Gardens (Finnegan’s Flyer) and Water Country USA (Cutback Water Coaster) are debuting new rides. And, as always, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Williamsburg Inn proves an ideal resting place for all the excitement.
California’s Central Coast
There’s just something about Carmel-By-The-Sea’s craggy coast that will forever make this corner of California a worthy stop. But with Pebble Beach Resorts celebrating its 100th birthday in grand style (complete room renovation across its three hotels, hosting the 2019 U.S. Open) and Santa Barbara taking its high-end hospitality up a few notches (the new Rosewood Miramar Beach, the renovated San Ysidro Ranch), we’re especially excited about the area right now.
Rosewood Miramar Beach
Eclipsed by other Asian cities, Vietnam finally is getting its moment. Yes, the pho is always flavorful, the Buddhist pagodas remain breathtaking and the festivals continue to be vibrant. But add on some elevated experiences: Four Seasons Resorts The Nam Hai, Hoi An’s new spa services (Visiting Masters and Mindful Moments initiatives); IntertContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort’s basket boat piloting and lantern-making lessons; and Pullman Danang Deach Resort’s unique coffee-making class.
|Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An
A pinnacle U.S. destination for adventurers and artists alike, this beloved national park marks its centennial on February 26. To commemorate the milestone, the landmark is hosting a year-long roster of cultural events and exhibits. Get an intimate look at this national treasure with L’Auberge de SedonaL, which will send you out on a special 100th anniversary Pink Jeep tour for a 10-hour journey.
|L’Auberge de Sedona
Hurricane Irma battered the French-Caribbean island, but it’s back. Most hotels have reopened: Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France added 19 rooms, Le Sereno has a new restaurant and an expanded spa with Valmont treatments, Hotel Le Toiny incorporated eight new suites and a beachfront pool, and Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa debuted rooftop bar Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.
The Turkish city is modernizing its cultural offerings in 2019 by breaking ground on a brand-new Atatürk Cultural Center. The reimagined, multi-million-dollar complex is expected to include a movie theater, exhibition space, a rooftop restaurant and the state-of-the-art, 2,500-seat Istanbul Opera House when it reopens in 2021.
To accommodate adoring fans, the city offers opulent overnight options and also will debut the world’s largest airport in March, projected to welcome 200 million visitors annually.
The SoCal city hits many milestones in 2019: it’s the 250th anniversary of San Diego’s birthplace, the 50th season for the Padres, the 50th anniversary of Comic-Con and the inaugural year for the ANOC World Beach Games (October 9-15), which melds beach, surf and extreme sports into one competition.
Taiwanese xiao long bao purveyor Din Tai Fung recently brought its beloved soup dumplings to town.
|San Diego Joanne DiBona/SanDiego.org
A hidden gem in the Middle East, Oman’s picturesque capital is earning its place in the sun with a host of luxury hotel (Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort, The Chedi Chedi Muscat) and monumental museum (The National Museum) debuts in recent years.
And thanks to the grand opening of the new passenger terminal at Muscat International Airport in November 2018, more visitors than ever can experience this historic hideaway for themselves.
|Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort
Exciting things are happening Down Under, thanks to an array of recent urban development in Western Australia’s capital. Last year saw the grand opening of Yagan Square (part park, dining destination, art display and transportation hub) and the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.
And in 2019, brand-new foodie fest Western Australia Gourmet Escape (an expanded edition of Margaret River Gourmet Escape) will extend into Swan Valley wine country and Perth for a 10-day culinary celebration (November 8-17).
|Perth’s Elizabeth Quay Bridge
This year marks the 350th anniversary of renowned painter Rembrandt van Rijn’s death, and the city is going all out with special exhibits and events to celebrate the storied artist’s life.
Follow in the Dutch master’s footsteps with a custom walking tour and visit Amsterdam’s stellar museums (The Rijksmuseum and Rembrandt House Museum, among others) to see his famous works firsthand.
There’s always a reason to visit the City of Light. But if you need an excuse, the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in France during June. Paris will be one of the host cities, and the final will be at Stade de France, just north of the city.
Plus, Paris’ cultural offerings never disappoint. The new Atelier des Lumières mesmerizes with immersive installations that turn paintings into projectable 3D art throughout the walls of an industrial space set to music. “Van Gogh, The Starry Night” runs February 22 to December 31. The city also will get its first permanent fashion museum when Palais Galliera opens new Chanel-sponsored spaces dedicated to fashion history from the 18th century onward.
Not only did the resilient island bounce back from the devastating 2017 hurricanes, it’s working to become even better than before. To make it easier to access Anguilla, Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport is expanding (now you have to fly into St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport and then transfer via boat unless you’re flying private jet).
Among the many post-hurricane reopenings, Belmond Cap Juluca kept the best parts of its former self (the distinctive Greco-Moorish architecture) but added fresh amenities (an infinity-edge pool and 25 beachside accommodations). The island even had a new opening: the intimate nine-suite Quintessence Hotel.
|Belmond Cap Juluca