To help you plan some truly special trips for the New Year we asked some of the top female travel editors in the UK for their favourite 2019 destinations, and it’s got us booking. From Bhutan to Romania, check out their insider suggestions below.
Pamela Goodman is the Travel Editor at House & Garden.
My top recommendation for 2019
Follow her on @pamelagoodman24
Harriet Jones is the Deputy Editor and Travel Editor at Brides.
If there is one destination that I consistently recommend to people since visiting for the first time back in 2015 (and that I feel is really going to come onto luxe, adventure travel enthusiasts radars in 2019) then it has to be Bhutan. This magical kingdom is, well, just that… magical. It’s like something out of a fairytale: ethereal, wild (and yet also pristine), truly off-the-beaten track (which is so genuinely rare these days) utterly free of commercialism and packed full of some of most heart-soaring mountain views and outdoor activities imaginable… Even the plane journey in through the Himalayas is unforgettable – you might get to spy the peak of Everest on a clear day.
The best part? Yes, I would encourage you to go asap, but the likelihood of this gem being spoilt any time soon? Zero to none. Its high-value, low-impact tourism policy ensures that the droves of backpackers stay out – the only way you can travel to this country is through a specialised travel agent and pretty much the only accommodation available to you is through the luxe, eco brands. We’re talking the COMO’s and the Aman’s of this world… So be prepared for an expensive destination, but trust me, its price tag vs. the ‘oh-so special’ factor is truly off-the-scale in favour of the latter. It’s why I recommend it as a honeymoon destination to anyone who wants a high-end adventure trip.
Personally, I believe it beats the Maldives hands-down when it comes to offering something truly once-in-a-lifetime and unique. FYI, I travelled as a lone female (and fell so in love with the destination, I felt I didn’t need anyone else), so it’s definitely not just for honeymooners. But most excitingly for 2019? The ever-stunning, sustainability heroes Six Senses will (finally) be opening their five lodges throughout the kingdom and if that’s not a reason to book right now, I don’t know what is…
Follow Harriet on @harriet.a.jones
Rhiannon Batten is Travel Editor at Olive magazine.
Shimmering turquoise coastlines, ancient culture, sun-soaked skies, affordable prices and a food culture that veered towards small-plate, mezze dining (and the jewel-like salads, charcoal-grilled meats, comforting flatbreads and honeyed desserts) long before Ottolenghi came along… it’s little wonder that Turkey has traditionally been a hot summer ticket for European travellers.
After some challenging years for the Turkish tourist industry the beach-party crowd started returning to its shores in large numbers in 2018 (Thomas Cook saw a 60% increase in UK bookings alone) and that trend is likely to continue in 2019.
Also close to Antalya, the travel editors’ favourite escape, Hotel Azur in postcard-perfect Cirali, is due an upswing in bookings this year. With simple but carefully tended cottages set among gardens heady with roses, jasmine and mulberries, and a swimming pool, restaurant and bar to boot, its the perfect basecamp for all-ages forays down to the village’s vast crescent-shaped beach, boat trips to swim off deserted coves, bike rides below mountains hugged by pomegranate and orange groves and lazy afternoons spent eating mulberry ice creams or proper Turkish delight in shady cushioned cafes.
Follow Rhiannon on @rhiannonbatten
Ella Alexander is the Deputy Digital Editor at Harper’s Bazaar.
There are so many places I want to visit in the new year, Rwanda, Jordan, Belize and Jamaica are all on my dream list of destinations to visit in 2019 based on their cultural depth and unique identity which I still don’t think has been explored fully by tourists. However, if I were to recommend somewhere everyone should visit next year based on personal experience, it would be New Orleans. Having spent four nights there in 2018, it is one of the most distinctive and beguiling cities in the world. In fact, it’s impossible to talk about NO without using excessive hyperbole. Its jazz is crucial to anyone with an interest in music; its food is one of the most distinctive and delicious in all of America and its architecture will impress anyone with eyes. It is the gold standard of what diversity and multi-culturalism can create. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its issues and its darkness – there is a feeling being here that, as Bob Dylan said when he visited, the city could just swallow you up. But that’s what makes it so appealing. New Orleans is too steamy for most to handle, but if you work with it then you can’t fail to fall for this city’s magic.
You can follow Ella on @ella_alexander1