Everyone is aware by now that travel is back and better than ever. The Caribbean’s popularity as a pandemic escape combined with newfound remote work flexibility has led to a development boom and increased interest in villa-style accommodations that offer privacy and seclusion with access to resort amenities. Oahu, Hawaii, the birthplace of modern surfing, will debut the world’s largest deep-water standing wave and a new surf-inspired hotel. Ibiza, Spain, known for its hedonistic pleasures, emerges not only as a wellness destination but as a world-renowned culinary hotspot. And Loreto, Mexico is gaining traction as a hidden jewel on the Baja Peninsula and a less crowded alternative to Cabo.
Oahu, Hawaii: (pictured)
Wai Kai, Oahu’s hottest new surf-centric entertainment destination is set to open on February 10, 2023 within Hoakalei Resort in Ewa Beach. The highly anticipated development is the first of its kind in Hawaii and is poised to become an active year-round destination that inspires locals and visitors to connect to the water, land and rich Hawaiian culture. Amenities include the world’s largest deep-water standing surf wave; the 52-acre Wai Kai Lagoon for water sports; three delectable restaurants, including a dual-concept restaurant presented by Michelin awarded Chef Todd Humphries of Kitchen Door Napa; sprawling event lawn, waterman’s club and retail shop. Powered by citywave®, the Wai Kai Wave creates authentic surfing conditions with perfect endless and adjustable waves ranging from two- to six-feet for all skill levels. Images can be found here.
The Twin Fin will open in November 2022 following a multi-million-dollar renovation and will serve as a hub for discovering local music, art and a lasting connection with the local Hawaiian community. Lovingly named after a surfboard with two fins, the updated hotel embraces Hawaii’s laidback and lively spirit with an oceanfront backdrop and tropical ambiance. The updated rooms are comfortably stylish with stunning, front-row views of Waikiki Beach and thoughtful touches such as custom printed surf ponchos and custom phone mounts from Tentikle. The Twin Fin has partnered with Surfline, the world’s leading company for wave forecasting and surf reports, to install HD cameras that will stream real-time surf conditions in the lobby and throughout the hotel.
British Virgin Islands: Tucked away in the desirable North Sound region of Virgin Gorda lies Oil Nut Bay, an idyllic 400-acre resort with luxury homes and villa rentals, only accessible by boat or helicopter. The resort will unveil several exciting enhancements for 2023, including a reimagined Beach Club with an updated restaurant space featuring revamped lounge areas, a new menu concept and a private dining area. The Pavilion will be transformed into a guest arrival lounge experience with a revamped bar. Most notably, Oil Nut Bay has a brand-new heliport certified for international arrivals, the first and only in the region. This new service saves valuable transit time for guests and allows for easier travel access within the Caribbean. Additional new offerings include a more comprehensive butler and chef service, an on-call rum butler, a curated cigar menu and sushi-making classes.
Saint Lucia: Cabot Saint Lucia and its highly anticipated Point Hardy Golf Club will open in 2023 on a spectacular 375-acre peninsula at the northern tip of Saint Lucia. Point Hardy Golf Club includes the first Caribbean golf course from golf’s hottest duo, Coore & Crenshaw, and will wow golfers and spectators with dramatic routing through lush terrain, over rocky outcrops and along tropical bays and sandy beaches. The first phase of stunning residences and guest accommodations are also set to be unveiled along with retail, tennis courts, and comfort stations with a food and beverage experience. Other exciting development plans in the works include multiple dining venues, a Cabot Spa, a full-service beach club and sports facility.
Beyond the glamorous parties that the island is known for, Ibiza Gran Hotel is committed to providing something different on the island, and offers true five-star service that caters to guests’ every whim. The resort continues to spearhead Ibiza’s epicurean revival with the recent launch of two new restaurants, Zuma Ibiza and ASAL, from international culinary superstars Rainer Becker and Chef Mario Sandoval. The new restaurants are accompanied by a vibrant new late-night venue, Club Chinois, from the team at the world-famous Park Chinois in London. In addition, Ibiza Gran Hotel’s flagship restaurant, La Gaia by Óscar Molina, was recently awarded its first Michelin star, the first and only hotel on the island to be awarded this prestigious accolade.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Sierra de la Giganta mountains and the Sea of Cortez, Loreto, Mexico has remained a hidden gem locale on the eastern coast of the Baja California Peninsula. Many visitors who have frequented Cabo since its sleepy beach town days are heading north 200 miles to Loreto seeking less density and more peacefulness. American Airlines is increasing service from Phoenix to Loreto to six days per week starting in January as it is one of the best booked markets in Mexico this winter. The resort is best known for its secluded, unspoiled setting on the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, A UNESCO World Heritage site, and rich history dating back to 1697. Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto overlooks the Sea of Cortez from its 4,447 acres with exceptional TPC Danzante Bay golf course, four restaurants; 39,000 square foot Sabila Spa; and five pools. Guests enjoy scuba diving, cultural city tours, hiking Tabor Canyon, whale watching, kayaking, ATV desert tours, LED stand up paddle boarding at night, fishing and surfing.
Mendoza, Argentina + SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites
This wine-lover’s dream destination is a great escape during the winter as the season offers long days of sunshine and warmth. Travelers can take advantage of culinary experiences outdoors with one of the many unique experiences offered at the newly opened SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites. The new boutique hotel was designed for wine lovers by famed Argentine winemaker, and the country’s first female winemaker, Susana Balbo, and her daughter Ana Lovaglio Balbo. Wine experiences include luxury wine safaris via seaplane, ultra-premium wine tastings, a chef’s table paired with Susana Balbo and rare world wines, vinotherapeutic spa treatments, custom blending classes, and more.
Dubrovnik, Croatia + Adriatic Luxury Hotels
While Dubrovnik is mostly known as a summer destination, the destination is ideal to visit in winter due to fewer tourists, mild weather, and local festivities. After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 9th annual Dubrovnik Winter Festival is returning with rich musical entertainment, gastronomic celebrations, children's activities, and more. During the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, travelers can enjoy the rich cultural entertainment as they enjoy the historic Old Town almost exclusively. Festive activities include live music, ice skating, art workshops, and a chance to see traditional craftsmen displaying their local handicrafts. Hotel Excelsior, an iconic landmark hotel overlooking both the Adriatic and Old Town and located just 900m away from the Christmas Market,offers special holiday offers for guests with discounted rates and charming holiday decorations.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico + Grand Velas Los Cabos
Escape the chill and head down south to enjoy sunshine, Blue Flag beaches, and culinary delights in Los Cabos, Mexico. While the 20 mile stretch between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo is booming with luxurious hotels, there’s no better place to spend December than at Grand Velas Los Cabos. Activities over the holiday period abound at Grand Velas Los Cabos. In addition to its annual insuite Christmas Tree offering, the hotel will host a Christmas tree lighting, Christmas dinner and brunch, various holiday parties and an impressive visit from Santa Claus at the resort by helicopter.
Norway + Up Norway
From northern light tours to dog sledding, arctic surfing and more, there are numerous ways to explore and enjoy Norway in the winter. Sustainable luxury travel curator Up Norway has launched new journeys for travelers looking to be immersed in the arctic region, without the worry of logistics. The Northern Lights in Norway at 70 Degrees North journey combines winter adventure and relaxation with excursions such as dogsledding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, unique dining experiences, and more. Travelers also have the opportunity to stay in three varied accommodations including an ice hotel and an igloo-style dome with chances of viewing the Northern Lights from the bed. The Lofoten Islands and Manshausen Sea Cabins: Nature & Culture in Harmony journey includes travel to Steigen and the Lofoten Islands for authentic immersion in Norwegian culture, tradition, nature, architecture, art, and design. Then, there is the Frozen Fairytale, Explore Northern Norway in Anna & Elsa’s Footsteps - perfect for families. The seven day Frozen inspired journey is filled with reindeer, snowmen, winter activities, and characters worth melting for.