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The Top 16 Destinations for 2016

The Top 16 Destinations for 2016

06.1.2016

Need inspiration for your 2016 travel wish list? Read on to discover the top destinations that everyone will be talking about this year.


Aarhus

 

Aarhus, Denmark

Why Now Recent years have seen Copenhagen hogging the spotlight when it comes to Scandinavian destinations. But this year might shape up to be all about the city’s Danish sister, Aarhus. The picturesque canal town on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula has revolutionary culinary scene to rival that of Copenhagen. Chef Wassim Hallal has been a leader in the city’s gastronomic rebirth. And his Frederikshøj is at the forefront of Nordic cooking. It, along with restaurants Gastromé and Substans, were awarded the first Michelin stars in Denmark outside of Copenhagen. Aarhus is also gearing up to be one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2017. In preparation, the city’s waterfront is undergoing a major brush-up and a number of cultural institutions are being opened or reinvigorated. The city also has buildings boasting innovative architecture, like Olafur Eliasson’s rainbow-colored walkway atop the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.

Check-In All rooms at the First Hotel Atlantic, which is centrally located near the waterfront, were recently renovated and feature lovely views out over the city or harbour.


Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Why Now Abu Dhabi has been a boomtown for the last several years, with countless venues opening. But 2016 is shaping up to be the biggest year yet – especially if you are culturally-inclined. Everything is on track for the Louvre – yes, sister of that Louvre – to open during the second half of the year. This will be the first in a series of big museum openings in the city, which will eventually also see an outpost of the Guggenheim (scheduled for 2017). Of course, it’s not all arts and culture in the exciting UAE city. For racing fanatics, Formula 1’s 2016 season ends in the city in November.

Check-In DISCOVERY members have access to a whopping seven properties in and around Abu Dhabi. The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to base yourself for Formula 1, et al – it’s adjacent to the tracks. And part of the hotel is even built straddling the lanes. For truly palatial accommodations, opt for Emirates Palace.


Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia

Why Now South Australia’s capital has turned into a culinary wonderland, with innovative chefs and top-notch restaurants. The nightlife scene is also plenty buzzy. And the city once known for its many churches now features more pubs and bars than chapels and steeples. But, by our measure, it’s the wine region just outside of Adelaide that is the most exciting story. An hour’s drive from Adelaide, the Barossa is where Australia’s (and some say, the world’s) oldest Shiraz vines are located. The region is undergoing a bit of a renaissance, with an enterprising group of chefs, farmers, artisans, and vintners hoping to turn visitors on to the Barossa’s charms outside of the glass. New shops and boutiques proffer wares from area artists and food purveyors. A host of fresh restaurants offer a gourmand-influenced take on the Barossa’s bounty. Boutique wineries showcase different techniques in their new tasting rooms (called cellar doors here). And just-launched experiences, like cooking schools and knife-making workshops, cater to those who look for pleasures beyond the cellar room doors.

Check-In The Barossa is an easy daytrip from Adelaide, thanks to the region’s close proximity. Base yourself at one of the two DISCOVERY properties in the city. Guests of The Watson – part of the aptly-named Art Series Hotel Group – stay in a property inspired entirely by noted Aboriginal contemporary artist Yannima Pikarli Tommy Watson.


Brazil

Brazil

Why Now All eyes are on Brazil this year, with the Summer Olympic Games descending on Rio in August (during the Southern Hemisphere city’s winter, interestingly enough). And new airline connections from major international hubs make the country more accessible than ever. So, consider both facts the perfect excuse to explore the country’s many diverse sides. Tap into one of South America’s most exciting arts, design, and food scenes in São Paulo. After enjoying the thrill of city life, head to the coast to decompress. The beach communities along the coast of the north-eastern state of Bahia have been spreading the gospel of chill out to the over-stressed for years. And city folk head to the region to embrace its signature no-fuss beach life. Spend your days lounging on nearly deserted white sand beaches backed by lush palm tree-filled foliage, exploring sleepy fishing village and laid-back surf towns, and discovering pastel-coloured colonial towns. Come night, kick back at an al fresco bar, caipirinha in-hand.

Check-In DISCOVERY’s two Brazilian properties cater to both city and beach lovers. Start at the Tivoli São Paulo – Mofarrej, which is just two blocks from the São Paulo Museum of Art and a short walk from some of the city’s best restaurants in the Jardins district. Then, venture to the Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte, an eco-friendly hideaway in an idyllic beachfront spot in Bahia.


Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

Why Now Dublin was hard hit during the recent global recession. But its recovery has been equally as spectacular. And now the city is bustling with new restaurants – from ritzy, multi-course affairs to charmingly stylish gastropubs – shops, bars, and the like. But it’s the city’s design scene that is perhaps most exciting. From ancient Celtic folklore, to the works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, the Irish have always had an indelible penchant for storytelling. And Ireland has a long tradition of craftsmen taking inspiration from their native land to create outlets of a different sort for their tales. Nowadays, this creative culture is still going strong, with woodworkers, metalsmiths, weavers, and other highly-skilled artisans producing unique treasures for a modern age; while a thriving contemporary art scene creates a new outlet for creative expression as painters, sculptors, mixed media artists, and the like test the boundaries of artistic expression. Nowhere is this more apparent than in modern-day Dublin, where top-notch galleries filled with works from Irish artists sit next to modern-day design shops proffering locally-made art of a more practical nature. In short, for shoppers, Dublin’s creative story is more than ready to be told.

Check-In For Irish art-lovers, The Westbury Hotel is a dream come true: it’s home to works from modern Irish painter Louis le Brocquy and famed portraitist Sir John Lavery, along with PORTFOLIO @ Solomon, a design and craft gallery run in partnership with the nearby acclaimed Solomon Gallery. Dublin-bound DISCOVERY members can also enjoy the The Croke Park. 2016 marks the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, and both hotels are ideally located to take advantage of commemorative festivities.


Hangzhou

Hangzhou, China

Why Now Visitors to this destination that Marco Polo once referred to as paradise on earth will find the picturesque West Lake surrounded by pagodas and temples, verdant hills holding tea plantations where some of China’s best varieties are grown, and classical Chinese gardens tucked behind walls lining the town’s streets. The city and surrounding countryside are overflowing with tea houses where you can sample the area’s famed brews.

Check-In DISCOVERY members have the upcoming Anantara Qiandao Lake Resort & Spa to look forward to. A 90-minute drive from the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, the property set on a hillside overlooking Qiandao Lake gives access to both Hangzhou and the pastoral regions surrounding it.


Miami

Miami, Florida

Why Now From just-opened restaurants to cutting-edge art galleries and exciting shopping, Miami is always full of news. And now DISCOVERY members can get up-close and personal with one of America’s most exciting cities and its distinct Latin flavour, thanks to the Viceroy Miami, which is set to join our roster of hotels next month.

Check-In Located in Downtown, the Viceroy doesn’t just inspire with its high-design interiors and cool-kid vibe. It’s also ideally set for discovering the city’s most electrifying area. More than 400 restaurants have debuted of late or are planning on opening along the neighbourhood’s streets. Downtown is also an arts and culture nerve centre, with numerous galleries and museums. To wit, the widely-acclaimed Perez Art Museum, which opened in 2013, is being joined this year by the Frost Museum of Science. After exploring Downtown’s mind-enriching venues, head over to Miami Beach, where the upcoming Faena Arts Center will be based. The centre will occasionally display art; but it will also be a repository for dance, theatre, political debates, lectures and a wide range of other cultural happenings.


Mumbai

Mumbai, India

Why Now Mumbai is a city fast jetting into the future. To wit, the airport has a gleaming new terminal, and residents and visitors alike now travel around via the sparkling new monorail system. This year, the city will also unveil the world’s tallest residential building in a bid to take attention from its neighbour down the road Dubai.

Check-In In the heart of Mumbai’s commercial district The Leela Mumbai spreads out over 11 acres filled with gardens and cascading waterfalls.


Munich

Munich, Germany

Why Now Here’s cause to celebrate: this year, Bavaria celebrates the 500-year anniversary of the Beer Purity Law, which spelled out what ingredients were allowed in the brewing of beer (barley, hops and water, per the 1516 regulation). In July, Munich will celebrate its birthday with a big beer festival. From 22 July – 24 July, more than 100 Bavarian brewers will pour during the three-day event. Oktoberfest will also prove to be especially monumental this year, thanks to the generally celebratory spirit that will overtake the region throughout 2016.

Check-In Celebrate one of Bavaria’s most storied traditions at one of the region’s most storied hotels, the famed Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski.


Oman

Oman

Why Now Oman boasts spectacular natural beauty (think: rugged peaks, stunning rock formations, dramatic coastlines, and sandy plains), along with well-preserved villages where Bedouins still bring their goats to market and the alleyways are scented with frankincense. It’s a place that few get the chance to experience, as the country has been deliberately slow to develop its tourism in order to preserve its authentic charm and natural splendour. But DISCOVERY members are among the select few being welcomed in to experience the majesty that is Oman, thanks to our existing and upcoming properties in the country.

Check-In The spectacularly-located Alila Jabal Akhdar opened in a dramatic setting in the Al Hajar mountain range in 2014. This year, the high-design hotel will be joined in the country by the upcoming Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, also in the beautiful mountain range, and the Anantara Salalah Resort, slated to debut in August in-between a beach and a natural lagoon on the south coast of Dhofar in Salalah.


San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

Why Now Austin typically gets all the attention in Texas. But this year, San Antonio is striking back in the battle for headlines. The city’s missions were recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they can now be reached via the redone River Walk, which has been elevated from a congested bypass to a series of beautiful trails that connect the city to the historic site. After getting a taste for the old, venture into reinvigorated districts like the Pearl, and discover the city’s exciting new options. Once a 23-acre brewery complex, the neighbourhood is now chock-a-block with new restaurants and shops. And it even has an outpost of the Culinary Institute of America, where top chefs (and those who want to play at being one for a day) can take classes and workshops from some of America’s best culinary talents.

Check-In Both Omni La Mansión del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa are idyllically set on the River Walk. Venture out from both properties to the San Antonio Missions, just a short walk away. Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade also offers a lovely location, overlooking the rolling landscape of the region’s Hill Country.


Seattle

Seattle, Washington

Why Now  Seattle has a lot going for it. Sitting in the shadows of the Cascade Mountains in the east and the Olympic Mountains in the west, and surrounded on three sides by water, the city is surely one of the most stunning to be found in America’s Pacific Northwest region. But it’s not all natural beauty here, as this city of charming neighbourhoods has been reinvigorated with exciting cosmopolitan pursuits. New nightlife venues showcasing the city’s vaunted music scene, buzzy boutiques, and artsy galleries abound. And the culinary scene – fuelled by creative young chefs, stellar access to top notch local ingredients from both the land and sea, and a multi-ethnic population – is one of the most exciting to be found in the U.S.

Check-In  Guests at the Pan Pacific Seattle are perfectly primed to discover Seattle’s many charms, thanks to the hotel’s central location in the South Lake Union neighbourhood.


Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Why Now The teardrop island of Sri Lanka packs quite the proverbial punch, with its beautiful coastlines, historic hill towns, verdant rain forests, charming villages, Buddhist temples, and ancient sites (many of which are UNESCO-designated). DISCOVERY members have more reason than ever to explore the island’s charms, thanks to our host of new hotels.

Check-In AVANI Hotels & Resorts currently operates two beachfront properties in the country: the AVANI Bentota Resort & Spa, which was designed by famed architect Geoffrey Bawa and modelled after an 18th century Dutch colonial village, and the AVANI Kalutara Resort. They will soon be joined by sister resort Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, located on a 42-acre coconut plantation on the country’s southern coast.


Venice

Venice, Italy

Why Now  Its labyrinthine canals, bridges, islands, piazzas, gondolas, and marble buildings are the stuff of legends. And yes, the city does look just as historically beautiful in real life as in the countless photographs, paintings, and movies that feature it. But Venice also has quite a bit of the new invigorating its watery ways. The city has turned into the centre of contemporary art in Italy (to wit, La Biennale di Venezia has turned into the art world’s preeminent international event). Explore the galleries and museum-quality collections in Venice’s palaces by day. Come night, experience the city’s latest restaurants and nightlife haunts.

Check-In  DISCOVERY members have a new hotel to appreciate in Venice come this spring. The San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice will be the first DISCOVERY hotel in the city when it opens in March. Located on a private island, the property is idyllically surrounded by lush gardens, a centuries-old park, and historic monastery buildings.


Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Why Now New and expanded airports are making one of Africa’s most storied sites more accessible than ever. Located in Zambia, the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport recently opened a new terminal to increase its international flight capacity. The airport also upgraded its facilities. On the other side of the falls in Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls International Airport opened late last year. The $150 million airport is currently being serviced by five major airlines, and there are rumours of more (including Qatar) to come. Both airports news’ increases capacity to the region and lowers ticket costs. Which means accessing the spectacular falls situated on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe is a more attractive proposition than ever.

Check-In Located on the Zambian side of the falls in a prime spot along the banks of the Zambezi River, the Royal Livingstone Resort is one of the latest hotels to join DISCOVERY. The resort is a pure escapist fantasy: spend your days enjoying relaxing moments on the onsite observation deck in view of the falls’ water vapour cloud, exploring the surrounding national forest, and indulging in al fresco massages to a soothing soundtrack of the falls crashing in the distance. The Royal Livingstone is also joined by the AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, a younger, more value-oriented take on the falls experience. After exploring the area’s many charms, return to the style-focused property that modernises visual ideas of Africana with its contemporary approach to Zambian design.


Zanzibar

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Why Now The Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar has come to be known as the Spice Islands because of its history as a trading port for Swahili, Portuguese, Omani, and Chinese traders (all of whom have left their marks on the archipelago). Of course for beach bunnies, there’s plenty to love – namely some of Africa’s best and most beautiful coral beaches. DISCOVERY members can now enjoy this exotic paradise thanks to our new property set to open in a jaw-dropping seaside spot early this year.

Check In Nestled in a sheltered cover on the main island’s northern end, PER AQUUM’s upcoming Essque Zalu Zanzibar is poised to impress with its 49 suites and multi-room villas, all steps from the sand.

 

 

 

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