The best places to visit at your holidays

Cambodia

Most visits to Cambodia are centered around exploring Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat — but now there’s a reason to head much further south, to an area that more accessible than ever thanks to the Shinta Mani Wild. Set inside the remote South Cardamom National Park (a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh), this all-inclusive luxury camp with 15 tented suites is the brainchild of hotel designer Bill Bensley, who made it a priority to protect hundreds of acres of surrounding land and the wild elephants, gibbons, and other wildlife that call it home. Guests will be able to join experts on guided hikes, explore Southeast Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem on custom expedition boats, and relax in a spa that uses natural, chemical-free products. Feeling extra adventurous? Instead of driving, you can opt to enter the property via a 1,247-foot-long zipline. —Brooke Porter Katz


Cambridge, England

One of England’s two great university cities, Cambridge doesn’t wear its history lightly. It’s impossible to visit and not feel catapulted back in time, from the medieval maze of streets to the dazzling Gothic buildings of its colleges. Yet the city is also looking to the future: more than 4,500 science and technology firms have opened in the region over the past two decades. Cambridge now has a superb hotel to match. The University Arms, which opened last summer, is both an elegant homage to neoclassical style and a whole lot of fun, with book-filled suites that use famous Cambridge graduates like Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawkins as decorating motifs. The city’s food scene is keeping apace, thanks to Parker’s Tavern, the hotel’s jovial, haute-British restaurant, and, across town, the subdued and sublime Restaurant 22. —Peter Terzian


Egypt

News of Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming movie adaptation of the Agatha Christie classic "Death on the Nile" comes just as Egypt prepares to welcome the luxe St. Regis Cairo. When it opens this spring, the 36-floor tower, overlooking Old Cairo and the Nile, will pamper guests with round-the-clock butler service. Luxury tour operators are responding to a strong uptick in visitor interest with new itineraries that cater to families. Abercrombie & Kent can combine a river cruise, camel rides, and hands-on crafts. Tourism will only grow once Giza’s $1.1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum makes its long-awaited debut in 2020. —Sarah Bruning


Elqui Valley, Chile

Eclipse chasers should book a trip to Chile’s Elqui Valley for the total solar eclipse this July 2. The remote region, whose lack of artificial light earned it a designation as the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary, is home to over a dozen observatories, making it a magnet for both scientists and stargazers. The lush valley is also hailed for its Andes-flanked nature trails, world-class wines, and distilleries where travelers can sample the country’s celebrated national spirit, pisco. Intrepid Travel is offering 6- and 11-day tours to the Path of Totality with award-winning English astronomer, Dr. John Mason. Guests will visit famous observatories like ALMA and Pangue, as well as prominent vineyards and top distilleries. Travel outfitter Red Savannah is also offering bespoke journeys to experience this rare celestial event, with overnight stays in Elqui Domos’ geodesic glamping domes and observatory-style cabins. And Upscape’s new Outpost pop-up camp will open in Elqui Valley starting June 29, just in time for guests to get a front row seat to one of nature’s most spectacular shows. —Nora Walsh


Etyek, Hungary

In the last two decades, Hungary has quietly been reclaiming its place as one of Europe’s most important wine producers. By now, wine connoisseurs are familiar with the most prominent of Hungary’s 22 wine regions: Tokaj, Eger, and Lake Batalon. But lately, the unassuming little town of Etyek — just 18 miles outside the capital — has emerged as a go-to destination for oenophiles and gourmands. Recognized in the 18th century as “the vineyards of Budapest,” Etyek has been gaining acclaim in recent years for its Champagne-like terroir that yields fine Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot (noir et blanc), and sparkling wines. While still under-the-radar among foreigners, Budapestians have been descending in droves onto the town’s “Gastro Walkway” (a cobblestone street in the older part of Etyek lined with restaurants and limestone cellars). Take a day to explore the town’s wineries on foot. Rókusfalvy Birtok, owned by a Hungarian radio celebrity, is revered by locals for having put Etyek on the oenological map — and Rókusfalvy also owns a restaurant and charming inn just a short walk away. A few doors down from those, Halmi Pince serves wine in an enchanting country setting complete with Tyrol-style furnishings and embroidered doilies, but it is their fruit and botanical syrups in dozens of intoxicating flavors (blackberry, pine needle, acacia) that will leave you swooning. One of the newest wineries in town, Anonym Pince, has a state-of-the-art concrete and glass tasting room, completed in 2015, offering sweeping views of the countryside. In 2019, the town will play host to four major gastronomic weekends (January 19, April 6-7, June 1-2, and September 7-8), organized by Etyek Piknik, with live music and public events highlighting local wines, cheeses, and other regional delicacies. —Elizabeth Warkentin


The Florida Keys

A year after Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys are bouncing back, with a slew of hotel openings that prove the region’s enduring appeal. In Key Largo, there’s the 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort, which reopened this fall following a major rebrand and reno, and the all-inclusive 135-room Bungalows Key Largo, which finally made its debut in December. The property is tailor-made for couples, with coastal cottages starting at 900 square feet, complete with bicycles, Adirondack chairs, and enormous soaking tubs. Over in Marathon, the 24-acre Isla Bella Beach Resort is set to open in March 2019 with 199 rooms, all with ocean views. And there’s yet another new place to bunk in the American literary capital of Key West: the Marquesa Hotel’s 414 annex, a cluster of rooms in a historic home across from the main property. While you’re there, book a sightseeing excursion with the Old Town Literary Walking Tour, which takes visitors to the former stomping grounds of Elizabeth Bishop and Ernest Hemingway, as well as local lit-scene favorites such as Books & Books. The Florida Keys is always good for a surprise or two, and this is no exception: Swing by the shop on the right day and you may get rung up by none other than proprietor Judy Blume. —Tom Austin


Georgia

With so much happening in the Peach State, Georgia should be on the mind of any savvy traveler these days. Atlanta continues its rise as a culinary capital: Notable recent openings include the Local Pizzaiolo, a downtown pizza spot, and Masterpiece, helmed by James Beard-nominated Rui Liu, while food halls like Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market are constantly adding new vendors. Meanwhile, the remarkable transformation of Hotel Clermont from a seedy motel into a dapper boutique property — complete with a superb French-leaning bistro and rooftop bar — has both locals and visitors buzzing. And the city famous for its gridlock is increasingly bike-friendly, thanks to the ongoing growth of the Beltline, a mixed-used trail that will span 33 miles when it’s completed in 2030. Over on the coast, Savannah is hopping with a flurry of hotel openings, including newcomers The Alida, a luxe riverfront property, and the upscale Perry Lane in the Historic District; 2019 openings include the Liberty and the Lark. On the food front, the Grey Market, a hybrid of New York-style bodega and Southern lunch counter, opened in late 2018 under Johno Morisano and Mashama Bailey, Savannah’s most celebrated restaurant team. It was inspired by their beloved restaurant, the Grey, which dishes up Southern-inspired cuisine in a refurbished Greyhound bus depot and has racked up a slew of accolades since its 2014 opening. —Blane Bachelor


The Grand Canyon

In 2019, the park dedicated to America’s most famous geologic marvel will celebrate its 100-year anniversary with a series of talks, concerts, and special exhibitions throughout the year. And while you can certainly have an awe-inspiring experience without venturing far from the designated lookout points, new tours make 2019 the ideal time to explore the Canyon’s less-traveled corners. Operator Austin Adventures has added more dates for its family-friendly Grand Canyon tour, as well as a brand-new itinerary that includes Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, while Tauck’s 8-day Sacred Lands: National Parks of the Southwest itinerary, created with help from documentarian Ken Burns, includes lunch on the canyon’s rim and two nights in an oft-overlooked section of the park. If you’d prefer a DIY adventure, plan a trip between May and October and head to the North Rim: less than 10 percent of the canyon’s 6.2 million annual visitors see this side of the park. With wild places both at home and abroad increasingly under threat, bearing witness to these natural wonders feels more urgent than ever. —Lila Harron Battis


The Grenadines

As the Caribbean continues to rebound from last year’s devastating hurricane season, now is the time to explore the depth and breadth of experiences available in this diverse region. The Grenadines, a chain of dozens of islands south of St. Vincent, were spared by the 2017 storms (in fact, the last time they experienced a direct hit from a hurricane was over 60 years ago). But only recently has the tourism infrastructure and local economy come to match the archipelago’s raw natural beauty. This year, one island in particular — Bequia — will be in focus thanks to the highly anticipated opening of the Liming, a sleek resort that comprises nine clean-lined private villas and a luxe manor home. But other islands are also on the up and up. Mandarin Oriental recently took over the management of a luxe property on the island of Canouan, which officially rebranded in July with just 26 suites and 13 exclusive villas on a prime section of Godahl Beach. Canouan has also built a runway to allow private and charter jet access. And Cotton House, on the famed private island of Mustique, continues to draw visitors two years after an extensive renovation. Thanks to a new airport on St. Vincent, which provides a hub for new direct flights from New York on Caribbean Airlines and Miami on American Airlines, these secluded island retreats are just a short ferry ride away. —Hannah Walhout


Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica

With its beach-meets-jungle coastline, splendid array of biodiversity, and climate as warm as the locals, it's no wonder Costa Rica's northwestern corner became an early paragon of ecotourism. That's a lot of paradise to protect. Now, Guanacaste is ripening into a sanctuary for overtired humans, too. Liberia’s airport is fresh off a multimillion-dollar expansion while the luxury playground at Peninsula Papagayo is in the midst of its own $100-million refresh. Miami-based Gencom is bringing fresh dining concepts, an electric bike-share program, and thoughtful updates to both the Andaz and Four Seasons resorts (the latter’s reimagined spa is a destination in its own right). If the road less paved is more your brand of adventure, a stylish new boutique property, the 45-room Santarena Hotel, will open in February in car-free Las Catalinas, and small surf towns like Nosara and their year-round, world-class swells are as welcoming as ever, whether you're a beginner or a pro on the board. —Richelle Szypulski