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Where to Go in 2022

Where to Go in 2022

The 5 most exciting destinations to share with family and friends this year—and the data you need to plan your trip safely.

January 7, 2022

We miss the world. Although 2021 brought some encouraging cracks in the pandemic’s barriers to travel, there were still too many places we couldn’t go. And painfully, seeing everyone we missed was impossible. When planning group trips, attempting to reach distant loved ones, or trying to attend social events abroad, we faced obstacles at every turn. The current wave of the Covid-19 omicron variant has us feeling we may never again get together the way we once did.

So for this edition of the most compelling places to visit in the year ahead, we focus on new ways to gather. Whether it’s a villa in the lush mountains of Portugal that caters to groups, a cruise in the Galápagos that matches families with kids the same age, or a hotel in Thailand that encourages drinking games, these recommendations intend to conjure a feeling of joyful reunion, no matter your risk tolerance.

To that end we’ve also gathered a slew of data to help you navigate the uncertainties of planning travel in 2022. Click through to Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking and you’ll see whether a place is locked-down or restriction-free; its real-time, destination-specific scores factor everything from current case loads to vaccine uptake and even flight capacity. And graphs using custom data from Google indicate which months of the year will offer optimal prices for high-end hotels; you can also use these charts to quickly compare a destination’s pre-pandemic prices to 2021 figures, a way to predict the likelihood of snagging a good deal. 

A glamping expedition in the Argentine wilderness is made all the more memorable with family at your side, and a whisky-tasting adventure in Wales wouldn’t be the same without friends, would it? Here are some ideas to inspire you to enjoy the world—and one another—again.

Camp Out in Rural Argentina

Only Harry Hastings, founder of Plan South America, could dream up an experience in which the remote Andes and windswept Pampas are the backdrops for multiple generations to gather in luxury. It’s a family reunion scenario that sounds like a wild reality show. The company’s new Nomadic Camp deploys leave-no-trace glamping sites, which can accommodate as many as 100 guests in the most far-flung pockets of the country, be it the high puna desert or Los Glaciares National Park, with amenities that include Malbec-paired asado dinners. Base yourself in the Lakes Region, and you can take helicopter safaris to a high-altitude winery in Salta or visit a ranch in Corrientes to ride with gauchos. Connect it all with a few nights at the recently opened, all-inclusive Explora el Chaltén, a 20-room, estancia-inspired adventure lodge within the 14,300-acre Los Huemules Natural Reserve in Argentine Patagonia. An all-female guide team leads excursions ranging from mountain ascents to overland trips to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. End the day in one of five open-air Jacuzzis overlooking the snow-capped peaks of Río Eléctrico valley—a worthy reward for your rugged endeavors.

Book a Volcano-Facing Villa in Madeira

Want the trappings of the Mediterranean with only a fraction of the visitors? Try the volcanic island of Madeira, a remnant of Portugal’s colonial empire off the northwest coast of Africa, where the travel demographic is fast shifting from British pensioners to global luxury seekers. There you’ll find beach bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, and lavish quintas (as private villas are called). And it’s all newly accessible via direct flights from Boston and New York on Sata Azores Airlines. Make time to hike through an intricate system of historic levadas, or irrigation channels dramatically dredged and terraced into the rocky mountain faces, to see stunning canyons and waterfalls. Then treat yourself to the island’s famed fortified wine: At shoreside Fajã do Padres, accessible only by cable car, tasting tables are set in the sand at the bottom of a precipitous cliff. And don’t miss the intimate, convivial dinners at the Wanderer. Its chef doubles as a forager, gathering edible flowers and seaweed to pair with locally farmed and fished proteins. The flavors on the five-course “discovery” menu, which changes constantly, are as explosive as the island’s caldera once was.

Share Trippy Dinners in Melbourne

After six lockdowns in almost two years, Australia’s culture capital is preparing to show off a marvelous array of architectural and culinary tricks. West Side Place, a $1 billion mixed-use development in the heart of the central business district, is changing the city’s skyline with four neck-craning condo buildings, one of which will include a Ritz-Carlton hotel with a sky lobby on the 80th floor to open in 2022. A gravity-defying set of towers called Sapphire by the Gardens, linked together by a floating gold bridge, will include another in-the-clouds hotel this year, the Shangri-La. And all of it is visible from the rooftop at Fable Melbourne on Lonsdale Street—one of Melbourne’s best new bars, with its Greek-inspired mezze and mythology-inspired cocktails. (Get the Hephaestus Craft, with malt, cognac, and chocolate bitters that get set on fire—a nod to the blacksmith of the gods.) Local chef Scott Pickett is also going stratospheric, but in a different way. His Higher Order restaurant transcends the norms of dinner service with an experiential concept that’s described as a “culinary hallucination”; it takes patrons through a series of theatrically staged rooms where food is presented by snow queens and robots. And though the W Melbourne will have a spectacular pool soaring over the city, its biggest thrill will be Curious, a subterranean bar and restaurant where the design scheme—all mirrored panels and geometric installations—is like walking into a kaleidoscope.

Catch a Feel-Good Beach Break in Costalegre, Mexico

The name Costalegre translates to “happy coast,” and considering the history of the region, it fits. Stretching 93 miles along the Pacific, its 43 beaches, capes, and bays are blissfully removed from the mass tourism of nearby Puerto Vallarta and have been a secret retreat for well-heeled families since the 1960s. That’s when a former banker from Italy named Gian Franco Brignone established Costalegre’s first resort, Costa Careyes, on a 20,000-acre nature reserve that has since attracted cultural luminaries including Paul Matisse and Madonna. Soon enough, neighboring resorts Las Alamandas and Cuixmala joined with equally A-list-worthy amenities and conservation initiatives. This March the new Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo will carry that legacy forward by earmarking 98% of its 3,000 acres for an eco-reserve; the remaining beachfront land will feature 157 rooms and suites, mostly facing the Pacific or the jungle, plus miles of hiking trails and a traditional temazcal sauna.Although the area is exclusive, getting there will be easier: A new international airport is set to open in 2022, and freshly paved roads from Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo are replacing the crude paths that previously made for long, bumpy journeys.

See the Next “It” Place in Romania

With few well-known international touchstones beyond mythical bloodsuckers, Romania is touting its manageable size (similar to Utah’s) and status as one of Europe’s most biodiverse places to become an easy add-on for visitors to Croatia or Montenegro. There are painted monasteries in the Bucovina hills to the north, villages on the Danube River with storybook historic centers, and winemakers and chefs tapping into a rich heritage that was almost lost after 40 years of communist rule. In Bucharest faded boulevards are slowly being restored to their former grandeur; they’re also home to five-star hotels such as the Corinthia and the Marmorosch, the latter of which opened last year in a belle epoque bank building. That sophistication extends to the countryside, where Bethlen Estates in Cris and Schuster Boarding House in Brasov make stylish departure points for day trips that can include truffle hunting or bear tracking. See it all with the help of Beyond Dracula, a travel outfit on a mission to rebrand its home turf as Europe’s next great destination—instead of, you know, a place with counts and vampires.




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