I hope everyone took the time out to get their passports in 2017 because in 2018 we are showing you the best places to travel inside and outside of the United States. To kick this travel year off we have 6 places you should look into for your next trip!
With 365 beaches, one for every day of the year, it’s no surprise that the sister islands of Antigua + Barbuda, have captured the hearts and attention of both American travelers and international hoteliers, including Elegant Hotels Group, the largest hotel owner in Barbados. The newest edition to the company’s rapidly expanding portfolio of gorgeous beachfront hotels is Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, a $100 million resort just 10 minutes from downtown St. John’s. The ultra-chic property, expected to be a flagship development for the island, will open in early 2018 and will offer luxurious accommodations, including spacious one, two and three-bedroom villas. The modern rooms, outfitted with varying beige tones and pops of lemon, coral and turquoise, feature clean design lines and have king-sized beds, in-room yoga mats and more. The beachfront oasis also includes three on-site restaurants, including a swim-up bar and rooftop bar, two swimming pools, a luxury spa, and poolside cabanas. Paired with complimentary motorized and non-motorized water sports, Aqua School, fitness classes, pool/beach service ambassador, and private in-room cooking demos with a chef, Hodges Bay is a stylish, Instagram-worthy vacation that deserves a top spot on travelers’ 2018 wish lists.
For a life changing escape, make your way to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala – famous for its natural beauty, ringed by three mesmerizing volcanoes and 12 colorful Mayan villages, each with its own personality, and only a short boat ride away from one another. Lake Atitlan is the perfect escape for travelers looking to experience a combination of true culture and scenic beauty in a tranquil atmosphere. Or if a little adventure and history is on your radar, head to Flores — a colonial style town surrounded by beautiful lakes, local shops, historic churches, and charming restaurants. The city is best known for both discovered and undiscovered Mayan ruins.
A short drive away from the magnificent Tikal, Uaxactún and Yaxhá ruins, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel offers more than 300+acres of lush, private reserve that focuses in the conservation of Guatemala’s native species. At this luxe property, you’ll be get to embark on safari-like adventures from daily ATV tours through the jungle where you’ll spot ocelots, boars, and deers, to boat rides to Monkey Island, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet-and-greet friendly monkeys, and even feed them fruits and vegetables for breakfast! Las Lagunas also offers other eco-adventure activities including trekking, bird watching trails, bicycling and kayaking. The hotel comes complete with 19 suites each boasting a private dock with Jacuzzi overlooking views of the jungle, in-house Shultún restaurant, a half-moon shaped swimming pool, and most recently a brand new spa facility and museum (first of its kind in the region)!
A gem among its lush highlands, Lake Atitlan offers a serene getaway that is rich in culture and scenery. Stay at Casa Palopo a private home turned boutique hotel that overlooks the lake and the three volcanoes across the shore. With recent additions to be completed by 2018, the charming hotel that was once a 9 room hotel will now boast 15 new individually decorated rooms and Latin American artworks throughout, so there’s plenty to marvel at without leaving the property. Around the lake, 12 indigenous Mayan towns beg to be explored, each known for a distinctive offering — from handmade textiles to ceramics to healing and meditation. Zero in on Santa Catarina Palopó, one of Lake Atitlán’s towns in which Casa Palopo resides, and watch a community transform right before your eyes. Through the “Pintando Santa Catarina” initiative, the town is undergoing a colorful transformation where its homes and buildings are being covered in vibrant murals and patterns that will capture the eyes (and hearts) of visitors. The project launched in 2017 and while it is projected that it’ll take up to two more years to complete, the beginning stages of the project are already considerably apparent and travelers visiting throughout the next year not only witness the process, but also be a part of it and help paint the homes of the indigenous people. Back at the hotel guests will enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, and horseback riding, among other activities, plus gourmet cuisine at the intimate in-house 6.8 Palopó restaurant. A brand new spa-room and top notch personal service are among the hotel’s other offerings to ensure a peaceful and revitalizing escape.
When partying Miami-style gets old and you’re looking for a low key, sophisticated and culturally enriching trip for the new year, while still hitting up the most beautiful beaches in Florida, Sarasota is the destination for you. The city’s hotel industry is growing with new hotel properties (an estimated of 1,000+ hotel rooms) in the downtown area — a major development project that hasn’t taken place in the art-driven city in over a decade.
Inspired by Sarasota’s vibrant culture and arts scene, Art Ovation Hotel is a new build on Florida’s Gulf Coast that will officially debut in January 2018. The 162-room boutique hotel is an Autograph Collection Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, surrounded by an enviable number of art galleries, theaters, and restaurants. The growth of Sarasota as a destination offers a unique opportunity for a hotel to embrace its reputation for performing and visual arts and deliver a guest experience like none other in the United States. Designed to fully immerse guests in the creative and artistic experience, Art Ovation will offer a robust Artists in Residence program that includes exclusive access for guests to enjoy area events and experiences, in-house art curators, in-room art amenities such as instruments for jam sessions at any time throughout the day, as well as the “Project Notebook” program which encourages guests to fill in-room notebooks with creative material such as musical lyrics, journal entries and drawings all left for the next guests to enjoy — the hotel will then display these entries in a room once a year for other guests to admire and get inspired. Ideal for art aficionados, leisure and business travelers alike, the property will also feature a full-service restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and rooftop pool and bar to get the party started. From an art-filled, and good dining to the most incredible beaches and sunsets you’ll ever see, Sarasota is a must-visit this 2018. Another option in the United States that you can’t go wrong with is California. Many have said that whale watching California is not to be missed!
For guys that enjoy boating, fishing, an upscale lifestyle, and a welcomed break from life’s hustle and bustle, Bahamian out island Eleuthera is the place to be. Less than 300 miles from South Florida, French Leave Resort in Governor’s Harbour allows for an easy and fun boating getaway for the guys with its marina and yacht slips. Guys can captain their own boat to the island or hop on a quick connecting flight through Miami/Fort Lauderdale and charter a boat through companies in Eleuthera. The boutique 14-villa French Leave Resort overlooks the picturesque Cupid’s Cay with a lot of interesting sights nearby available to see by boat including the Glass Window Bridge and Queen’s Bath as well as wildlife including manatees, dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and many kinds of fish. With two piers, the marina has a mega yacht slip that can accommodate 2 yachts up to 180 feet and 5 additional yachts at 16-foot moorings. When not out on the water, guys can enjoy complimentary water sport equipment, a laid-back vibe at the infinity pool, or ride around the property grounds and over to the resort’s pink sand beach on their own personal golf cart.
TURKS & CAICOS
Consisting of 40 different islands and cays and covering 193 square miles, Turks & Caicos Islands are known for the tranquil, crystalline white sand beaches and natural beauty. With only eight of the 40 islands inhabited, but all accessible by plane or boat, this is the perfect destination to visit for a secluded, luxurious and relaxing hideaway. This tropical vacation destination is home to some of the finest beaches in the world including the famous 12-mile Grace Bay Beach, frequently voted one of the world’s best beaches by major publications.
Home to more than 35 captivating beaches, a diverse heritage spanning over 55 different cultures, including Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese, a ‘live and let live’ attitude and stunning European architecture; Curaçao remains an unrivaled tropical escape in the Southern Caribbean. Recently ranked by USA Today as having some of the “Best Caribbean Beaches,” Curaçao’s natural beauty, world-class diving, and snorkeling sites are also a favorite with divers and adventure travelers, and its pristine beaches and idyllic weather, situated on the outer fringes of the Hurricane Belt, has won it further accolade and recognition. Its capital city, Willemstad – a UNESCO World Heritage site – features an iconic colorful Handelskade backdrop, an eclectic roster of museums, monuments, flavorful restaurants and shopping; just a few of the many reasons why Curaçao continues to flourish as one of the most exceptional islands in the region.
Know of a place we missed? Let us know!