We tend to have grand getaways on the brain come winter, what with our annual travel issue hitting newsstands and chilly temps setting in across the North. Who better to give us advice on where to go in 2019 than ultimate globetrotter and founder of famed luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, Geoffrey Kent? Here are the 8 destinations Kent says should be on every jet setter’s itinerary this year.
Israel and Jordan
Why Go Now: It’s not about what’s new in these ancient lands, with their rich history tracing back to biblical times. It’s the dramatic increase in interest from culturally curious travelers.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “Jordan is a playground for active adventurers, and now there’s a new way to explore the 400-mile Jordan Trail. A&K Philanthropy teamed up with Working Bikes to send donated bicycles to Jordan. When each shipping container arrives, it’s converted into a bike shop staffed by locals who have been trained to repair and rent out bikes along sections of the trail.”
Why Go Now: It’s difficult to find a European destination where it’s possible to escape the crowds. This is one example — especially when you travel during the off-season — to see a more authentic side of Scandinavia.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “I recently led an expedition above the Arctic Circle, and everyone described it as the trip of a lifetime. Pictures simply do not do justice to the experience of losing yourself in this vast landscape.”
Why Go Now: After a challenging couple of years following the Olympics and the World Cup, Brazil is on the up again and is abuzz with new luxury hotel openings. New to Brazil is the first Asian hotel, the Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort, opening in July. The property boasts a beach setting next to the Bay of Camamu on the Maraú Peninsula in Bahia. Juma Amazon Lodge is opening a luxury hotel in downtown Manaus, a city bereft of quality accommodation for years until the recent opening of Hotel Villa Amazônia. And Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas just debuted in one of São Paulo’s fastest growing areas.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “A party unlike any other, Rio’s Carnival should be at the top of your list. We had an amazing time at the Samba parade — 80,000+ people all singing, dancing and having such a joyous time. If you haven’t been, I strongly recommend you go. This is a memory you will never forget.”
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Why Go Now: Rugged Mongolia is an adventurous destination where travelers can experience nomadic life in a vast landscape still relatively untouched by modern life. The country offers an authentic look at life off the grid.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “Nothing rivals the Naadam Games, the traditional contests of archery, wrestling and horsemanship that reflect Mongolia’s military history. Local experts recreate this thrilling experience for our guests.”
Why Go Now: Luxury travel has arrived in Rwanda with high-end hotels, lodges and camps opening. One&Only Nyungwe House debuted in 2017 alongside an ancient rainforest within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation. Coming soon is One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, situated in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range. In addition to a gorilla trek, guests can also see golden monkeys and visit Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Camp. Singita Kwitonda Lodge is set to open in August on the edge of Volcanoes National Park.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “Rwanda is where the abundant wildlife and verdant landscapes of the West African jungle meet the East African savanna.”
Why Go Now: The Iberian Peninsula reveals the many influences that the Moors, Jews and Europeans had on the history, culture and cuisine of this region.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “Don’t miss the National Tile Museum, housed in the 16th century Convent of Madre de Deus, to see some of the finest examples of the beautifully detailed painted tiles for which Lisbon is renowned.”
Why Go Now: Few areas on earth are as remote and untouched as the Northwest Passage, which is steeped in history and rich in wildlife. A voyage to the Canadian Arctic offers a once-in-a-lifetime adventure very few people have experienced.
Geoffrey Kent’s Take: “Think of this as a semester at sea with university-level courses in history, geology and marine biology, offered in the field from the comfort of a luxury expedition ship. The opportunity to visit remote villages and meet local Inuit people is so rewarding. Observing their traditional way of life and learning how they survive in the often-harsh Arctic environment is unforgettable.”