While there’s nothing wrong with returning to favorite destinations, let the new year inspire some creativity.
Here are five popular places to visit in 2019, offering distinctive experiences for adventurers, culture seekers, families, golf fans, beachgoers, wine lovers and more.
Pebble Beach, California
Pebble Beach, the golf resort renowned for its coastal links, 17-Mile Drive and co-owner Clint Eastwood, turns 100 in 2019 with its star power intact. Celebrities and champions compete in the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Feb. 4-10, begun by Bing Crosby in 1937, while the U.S. Open returns for the sixth time June 13-16. Pop into the new visitors’ center to learn about Pebble Beach’s first USGA tournament, the U.S. Amateur in 1929, and more of its stellar past.
The luxurious lodgings also sport fresh luster, including Mediterranean-style Casa Palmero, its recently updated 24 rooms (from $1,060) located invitingly close to the spa. Fairway One, which debuted in 2017, boasts 38 spacious rooms and two four-bedroom cottages, the latter inspired by Eastwood and Arnold Palmer (from $975). pebblebeach.com
Los Cabos, Mexico
The boom in new oceanfront resorts continues at Baja California’s southern tip. Set to open in early 2019, the 200-room Nobu Hotel Los Cabos near bustling Cabo San Lucas will include an eponymous restaurant, a 5-acre spa and a desert botanical garden, while Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will feature 115 suites and villas with private butlers, plus three championship golf courses and a botanical park near tranquil San José del Cabo.
Solaz Resort, a new Luxury Collection hotel that opened in September along the region’s rugged “Corridor,” also provides butlers for its 128 modern guest rooms and suites with private entrances and patios (from $409). The dramatically terraced resort with two infinity pools overlooks a white sand, swimmable beach on the Sea of Cortez.
Families will find this South Pacific archipelago a surprisingly welcoming oasis, accessible from the West Coast via nonstop flights on Air Fiji. Thanks to government support of tourism and infrastructure, not to mention the status of English as an official language, traveling in Fiji is easy — and so is experiencing its unique geography and culture.
You can savor both at the InterContintental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa on Natadola Bay (from $265). The 35-acre, 266-room resort on the main island of Viti Levu offers parasailing, snorkeling amid brilliant coral reefs and other water sports, numerous children’s activities and three pools. All ages may appreciate the hotel’s meke (Fijian song and dance), craft demonstrations and excursions to traditional villages and the scenic Sigatoka River.
Douro Valley, Portugal
Whether explored by riverboat, rail or car, Portugal’s steeply terraced wine country offers more than just sampling port, as delicious as that may be.
The Douro Museum thoughtfully reveals the history of Europe’s first officially demarcated wine region, home to some 80 varietals and the sinuous Douro River. At Quinta da Pacheca, founded in 1738, try your foot at crushing grapes, then stay overnight in a barrel-shaped cottage among the vines. Enjoy a picnic with sweeping views from Sandeman’s hilltop Quinta do Seixo before poking around picturesque towns such as Provesende and Pinhao. Cox and Kings USA can create a custom itinerary that includes a driver, tour guide and exclusive experiences in Lisbon and Porto, too. coxandkingsusa.com, visitportugal.com.
Stretch your muscles as well as your horizons with a yoga- or surf-themed vacation in some of the North African country’s most sublime settings, from the mountains to the sea.
Launched in 2018, London-based travel operator Sunny Side Up combines yoga classes with jazz experiences in Tangiers, Sufi Gnawa music in Essaouira, local artists in Marrakech and meditation in the Atlas Mountains (four nights from $1,860, including boutique lodgings and most meals). Surfers will want to wend their way to Taghazout, where Fairmont and other luxury hotels will soon join the half-dozen intimate inns in this picturesque fishing village with superlative breaks on the North Atlantic. sunnysideup.travel, visitmorocco.com