Our Pick of Must-Visit Travel Destinations in 2024
Demand for travel is continuing to soar. With many important events taking place in 2024, from the Paris Olympics to the total solar eclipse passing through Texas, the Midwest and New York state, that likely won’t stop anytime soon. Rather than encouraging travel to the obvious destinations, we thought we’d share locales that may not have made your list — until now.
Costa Rica: A Health Lover’s Dream
Costa Rica and the Nicoya Peninsula, in particular, are increasingly on the minds of wellness-seeking travelers. On the peninsula, a longevity Blue Zone, the car-free, coastal town of Las Catalinas (from $250 per night) in 2024 is opening La Rambla, a walkable mixed-use center with restaurants, retail and condos (villa and apartment rentals are available) that offers guests and visitors new wellness experiences, like forest bathing.
Hotel Nantipa’s (from $495 per night) new Blue Wellness Experience is customizable, but an itinerary for two might include yoga each morning, a private surf lesson and volunteering with a nonprofit (in keeping with Blue Zone criteria, which include social culture and community, activity in nature and eating local).
Other parts of Costa Rica are worth exploring, too. In the Talamanca Mountains, Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection’s THE WELL spa (from $1,550 per night) has been generating buzz since it opened in November 2021. The resort isn’t only for yogis and couples. A children’s rope course and butterfly garden opened in 2023. Nayara Tented Camp (from $760 per night), a family-friendly property near Arenal Volcano, has a new reception area, pool deck and larger tented suites for families, complete with hot-spring-fed plunge pools.
Alentejo: A Design Lover’s Haven
Portugal continues to top travelers’ wish lists, and while Lisbon and the Algarve are worth visiting, travelers should explore another less-tourist-trodden region. The unruly Alentejo in south Central Portugal includes a dramatic coastline and gently rolling hills covered in cork oak and olive trees. One particular hotel is drawing attention to the region. Shoe designer Christian Louboutin’s Vermelho (from $285 per night), which means “red” in Portuguese, opened this year in Melides and is a dreamy refuge with just 13 guest rooms, decorated with frescoes, antique furnishings and local tiles — the intricately patterned azulejos found throughout Portugal are typically made in the Alentejo.
In the beach town of Comporta just south of Lisbon, two new design hotels are refuges for aesthetes. Spatia Comporta (from $249 per night) is a study in lines — modern single-story buildings sit next to tall pine trees. AlmaLusa Comporta (from $160 per night) showcases the region’s raw materials in its rooms and public spaces. The breezy seafood restaurant SAL also has a new location on Carvalho Beach.
Amalfi Coast: The Most Stylish Summer
New hotels don’t often open on the Amalfi Coast. But on the heels of Borgo Santandrea, the first hotel to open in the area in 15 years, another long-awaited reopening is the talk of the town. Hotel La Palma (from $736 per night) debuted on the island of Capri this summer. Oetker Collection transformed the historic property, originally opened in 1822, into an exclusive 50-room escape inspired by the glamorous 1950s with a new pool deck and spa and a private beach club a few minutes away.
On the mainland, Palazzo Avino (from $567 per night) offers a respite from the crowds in places like Amalfi and Positano. In the medieval hilltop village of Ravello, the hotel reopens in April with a new tower suite designed by architect Giuliano Dell’Uva and offering Italy’s most decadent aperitivo: fresh local lobster paired with a new white wine created by the sisters who own the hotel.
Sea Ranch: A Nearby Getaway is Complete
About two hours north of Marin, Sea Ranch has officially entered a new era with the completion of its extensive multiyear revitalization project. Originally built in the ‘60s, the groundbreaking community brought together a group of legendary architects inspired by the principle of harmony with nature. Taking cues from a remarkably sturdy barn built by German farmers in the 1800s — it still sits in arrested decay on the property — they built structures with pitched roofs, partially facing the ocean to withstand the Northern California coastline’s howling winds. Renovation work on the lodge, a community gathering place, began in 2018, and while public spaces opened in 2021, guest rooms, conceived by San Francisco–based design collective NICOLEHOLLIS, opened this summer.
Just as architects originally intended, the 17 renovated rooms at The Sea Ranch Lodge (from $500 per night) inspire guests to live lightly on the land. Guest rooms’ marine and burnt orange accents complement the warm wooden ceilings, floors and sea views. Guests can watch the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean while cozying up on a cushioned window bench.
Through the lodge’s new Sea Ranch Living program, guests looking for more space can book one of seven rental homes designed by original Sea Ranch architects such as Charles Moore and Donlyn Lyndon.
Bordeaux: An Alternative to Paris
While Paris will be getting all the buzz, 2024 is the year to check out France’s other cultural hub, Bordeaux, which has new hotels, art exhibitions and wine offerings. Bassins des Lumières, the largest digital art space in France, is debuting two new exhibitions in February, including a show where visitors follow in the footsteps of master Dutch painters from Vermeer to Van Gogh and an exhibition on Piet Mondrian. La Cité du Vin, a wine museum and cultural center in a curvaceous building inspired by swirling wine in a glass, has redesigned its Permanent Exhibition — guests explore 18 interactive thematic spaces like a sensory area where visitors experience the aromas, colors and textures of wine.
Just north of the city center in bourgeois Chartrons, the brand spanking new Mondrian Bordeaux Les Carmes (price not available at press time), designed by Philippe Starck, is in the former wine cellars of the Calvet winery. A true five-star property, it has a large terrace, a Japanese-inspired bar and a spa with an indoor pool. On the edge of the city, Domaine de Raba (from $365 per night), a wine estate with park-like grounds, has expanded with new accommodations, including four spring-inspired roof lodges and a larger spa with a glass roof, terracotta floors and a Moroccan spa menu.
Olympics fans take note. The city will host much of the 2024 Olympic Games soccer tournament, including men’s and women’s matches, at Matmut Atlantique stadium.
Aspen: A Ski Town Welcomes Change
Aspen is undeniably America’s glitziest mountain town. (What other ski town has a snowcat-towed champagne bar?) Its appeal lies also in its storybook charm and limited growth. There hasn’t been a significant lift and terrain addition to legendary Aspen Mountain, one of Aspen Snowmass’ four ski hills, since the opening of the Silver Queen Gondola in December of 1985, but that is changing this ski season. The new high-speed quad Hero’s on Aspen Mountain is increasing the mountain’s lift-served terrain by 150 acres (more than 20 percent), including new expert terrain and groomed runs.
In addition to favorites like the Little Nell and Hotel Jerome, visitors can check into the new MOLLIE Aspen (from $500 per night), which opened this month in the heart of town, offering a modern take on alpine living. In Aspen’s West End, Aspen Meadows Resort (from $359 per night) unveiled a Bauhaus-inspired renovation earlier this year. New restaurants and cafes are also elevating Aspen’s already excellent dining scene, such as Milanese-style bakery and coffee bar Saint Ambroeus and Alpina, a restaurant focused on lunch and happy hour (think crostini topped with whipped ricotta and stone fruit, and a bison burger).
The area is not only a winter destination: this summer will mark the 75th anniversary of the Aspen Music Festival and School, one of the country’s most renowned classical music festivals.