The holidays may have come and gone for most of the world, but in Singapore, the party is just beginning as the bustling city-state island puts on one of the greatest Lunar New Year celebrations in all of Asia. The festivities commence on January 23 with an eight-day carnival called River Hongbao and culminate with the famous Chingay Parade on January 31 and February 1, in which hundreds of colorful floats and thousands of performers – including dancing lions, dragons, and even robots – turn the streets into one huge city-wide celebration.
To enjoy all of the around-the-clock revelry, base yourself at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, located steps from NS Square, where both events are held. Guests of the marina-view hotel can watch the parade right from their suites or hit the streets in a vintage scooter and sidecar to join the merriment in style. Ring in the Year of the Rat with more excitement by heading to The St. Regis Singapore – where you can celebrate over authentic Cantonese cuisine at the Yan Ting restaurant – or the Andaz Singapore, which offers views of the festivities from 38 floors up at the 665°F steakhouse.
February is the time for Carnival around the world, but nowhere is the pre-Lent jamboree more magnificent than in Italy’s city of canals. Bring your mask, sequins, feathers, and cape, and check into the Baglioni Hotel Luna, whose St. Mark’s Square location puts you right in the middle of the celebrations, from the Festival of Mary (one of the main events that dates back more than 1,000 years), to the lively costume contest. Craving a more mellow Carnival stay? Just a quick gondola jaunt away from the action is the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice on the western end of Giudecca, offering panoramic views of the canals and the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, set on a private island for maximum peace and privacy.
Get summer started early with a trip Down Under for the last days of Australia’s warmest weather of the year. Park Hyatt Sydney is what summertime dreams are made of with its coveted waterfront location, breezy rooftop swimming pool, and unobstructed views of the city’s most famous landmark, the Sydney Opera House. When the weather’s this good, you’ll be eager to explore, so make sure your itinerary has all the sunny hot spots, from Bondi Beach and a boat tour of the harbor, to the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, Blu Bar on 36, where the elegant high tea is as memorable as the birds-eye vistas over the city.
This month, everyone will be flocking to Los Cabos, but a few exclusive resorts make it possible to take a much-needed south-of-the-border sojourn – without the Spring Break crowds. Montage Los Cabos is a top spot on the Golden Corridor (the stretch of highway that connects many of the destination’s top hotels) for its high-style, low-key vibe. Located in the Twin Dolphin community, the resort is secluded and chic, featuring sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez, a calm and swimmable beach, and access to a brand-new golf course and 40,000-squarefoot spa. On the other end of the corridor, The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, comes with a laid-back atmosphere and an artisanal touch, from the contemporary restaurant by Mexico City’s award-winning chef Enrique Olvera, to the custom artwork, tilework, and textiles in the rooms and villas. Nearby, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is the place to be for privacy. Accessed via the secret Dos Mares tunnel that burrows straight through a mountain, the resort sits on 24 secluded acres along an exclusive beach.
Every May, Monaco lights up – and revs up – with the star-studded Grand Prix. The glitzy event isn’t just about cars (though the high-speed race around this historic Mediterranean town is quite a sight to behold); it’s about the see-and-be-seen scene – and the best of it happens at Monte-Carlo’s hotels. It’s no surprise that the Hotel De Paris Monte-Carlo has some of the most impressive Grand Prix views – Albert II, Prince of Monaco, owns it after all. But no matter when you visit, the property buzzes with activity, whether in the Alain Ducasse restaurant, at the Thermes-Marins spa, or across the street at the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo. Equally royal is the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, with its al fresco café and lagoon-style pool overlooking Port Hercules’s mega yachts.
When it comes to Portugal, there are endless opportunities for basking in European charm – especially in the early summer, when the crowds are minimal and the weather is still pleasant. Start your trip off right with a tour of the wine country. Just a few hours east of the capital city of Lisbon, in the Alentejo region (known for its Tempranillo grapes), you can live like a Roman at the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel, set on a 14th-century vineyard. Then head north to Six Senses Douro Valley, a 19th-century manor house-turned-60-room-hotel where you can rest up in-between sips of 100-year-old port with treatments at the 24,000-square-foot spa. Cap off your trip with some sea and sand by going north to Estoril, an Atlantic beach town where the InterContinental Cascais-Estoril brings a touch of French Riviera style with its white-on-white contemporary design. Or go inland to the majestic Sintra Mountains for a stay at Penha Longa Resort, a magnificent estate set among 14th-century landmarks with exquisite rooms, eight restaurants, four pools, and a golf course.
Japan seems to be on every traveler’s list these days, especially this year, when summer games arrive in Tokyo. Opening ceremonies take place July 24 at the city’s New National Stadium, with games lasting through August 9. But sports mania is bound to echo throughout the city all summer long, with fans coming for events and staying for the Michelin stars – there are more here than any other city in the world – and world-class hotels. Leading the way among the latter are the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo (a culinary mecca inits own right with 10 restaurants and bars) and Aman Tokyo (an authentic Japanese retreat where the rooms have traditional soaking tubs with views of Mount Fuji). The Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, meanwhile, claims a burgeoning corner of Toranomon Hills, a neighborhood that will see a striking renaissance in the lead-up to the events.
Every five years, Amsterdam’s eastern harbor becomes a magnificent spectacle of hundreds of ships from around the world. In 2020, the 10th edition of SAIL Amsterdam, which takes place from August 12–16, will see the arrival of roughly 600 vessels, including Dutch Marine training ships and historic sailboats and replicas, as well as classical and jazz concerts. Check into the NH Collection Amsterdam Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and immerse yourself in the maritime extravaganza; the hotel is also close to top sights like the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House (both recently renovated). Or stay at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam and take a canal boat straight to the harbor for up-close glimpses of the seafaring spectacle.
September is the height of Napa’s harvest season, when hundreds of vineyards pick and crush the grapes that could become California’s next talked-about wines. Make the pilgrimage to drink up the experience at some of America’s most important wineries, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with fine dining, easy living, and the chance to enjoy a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Stay in a hotel that combines it all: Meadowood Napa Valley is home to The Restaurant, which has been award winning for more than a decade, and also has insider access to nearly all the top-tier wineries. Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort is a food-and-wine destination as well, thanks to its cellar housing thousands of labels and French restaurant by chef Robert Curry (who has led the eatery to be recognized for 13 consecutive years with top industry awards). In the heart of downtown, meanwhile, the River Terrace Inn Napa is a cozy home base for winery tours aboard the recently expanded Napa Valley Wine Train.
Abu Dhabi has been angling to join the ranks of the world’s great cultural cities for some time now – for evidence, look no further than the Emirati city’s new Louvre museum. This year, the burgeoning desert metropolis will further elevate its status when it welcomes several new institutions, including the Zayed National Museum and the National Aquarium, and breaks ground on architect Frank Gehry’s highly anticipated Guggenheim Museum.
Following suit on the culture path are The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi and Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Maryah Island, both of which are building impressive art collections of their own (the latter displays more than 2,000 works alone) and drawing culture vultures from far and wide to experience the new Abu Dhabi. Check into the St. Regis, and you’ll be right in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, mere steps from the Manarat Al Saadiyat contemporary arts center.
There’s a reason Thailand is one of the world’s most in-demand destinations. The Southeast-Asian nation’s idyllic islands have everything you could want in an exotic tropical getaway: wild jungles, pristine beaches, gilded temples, and, in November, perfect weather. The vibrant island of Phuket combines it all, plus mouthwatering cuisine, at top resorts like the Banyan Tree Phuket (a jasmine-scented retreat with sprawling villas, each with its own pool) and Keemala (an ultra-private treetop hideaway perched above Kamala Beach).
Island hopping is the best way to explore this country, so from Phuket, it’s on to nearby Ko Yao Noi, a small island where the Six Senses Yao Noi offers a healthy dose of wellness with a hilltop spa and farm-to-table cuisine. From there, a short flight to the Gulf of Thailand takes you to Koh Samui, home to red-roofed Buddhist temples, quaint fishing villages, and the chic W Koh Samui, set on the sugary sands of Maenam Beach.
Aspen will never go out of style. The mountainside ski town, along with family-friendly neighbor Snowmass, will forever be the cool winter retreat for snow bunnies of all levels. For convenient access to the slopes, stay in the shadows of Ajax Mountain at The Little Nell, located just steps away from the Silver Queen Gondola. The hotel’s ski concierges can assist with everything from tickets and lessons to snowmobile and ski rentals.
If it’s the Aspen social scene you crave, the Hotel Jerome, An Auberge Resort is the place to stay for its annual pop-up snow bar constructed from 24,000 pounds of ice, and its Prohibition inspired speakeasy, Bad Harriet. Meanwhile, the pace is slower – but no less ski-friendly – at the Viceroy Snowmass, a residential-style hotel where you can ski straight out the door to the Assay Hill chairlift.