Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Tangalle is a gateway to Sri Lanka’s best beaches, incredible wildlife, and impressive heritage sites. Anantara Tangalle Peace Haven opened this year, adding a touch of luxury to this stretch of the southern coast. Between a standalone cooking school and a vast spa, the resort which sits on a private bay near town - is setting the bar high for properties opening in southern Sri Lanka.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
This sleepy island south of Saigon has recently been put on the map with new direct flights from Bangkok and around the country, in addition to a bevy of new openings. Most notable is the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, a 244-room hotel on the coast. Designer Bill Bensley introduced whimsy (jewel-tone textiles, graphic mosaics and tiled floors, gilded canine statues) to the otherwise stately, French-colonial property.
Under the radar, Langkawi has been put on the map with the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Langkawi, which debuted on a private bay to the island’s southeast. Contemporary luxury meets tropical jungle in their 75 guest rooms, 15 suits, and 29 villas. Because January falls in the middle of dry season, adventurous travelers can go zip-lining or join a sea safari without fear of getting caught in a downpour.
Safe and affordable, Uzbekistan is a culturally-rich destination — particularly the Silk Road cities like Samarkand — that remains remote and well-preserved. Tourism is high on the agenda for the country's new president, who just replaced the former authoritarian leader, Islam Karimov. Seen as the region’s cradle of culture, Uzbekistan is full of ancient cities brimming with interesting architecture; and still delightfully devoid of foreigners.
The annual Jaipur Literature Festival takes place this month, and with several noteworthy new openings in the northwestern state, this might be the year to visit Rajasthan. In central Jaipur, 28 Kothi is a five-room boutique housed in a two-story home owned by one of the region’s most famous jewelry designers. Travelers can also get out of the city and stay at Alila Fort Bishangarh, which sits on a hilltop in a refitted 18th-century fort.
Pyeongchang, South Korea
The Olympic city Pyeongchang is an exciting destination even before the games commence in February. With a new 70-minute train from Incheon International Airport, it’s easy to get to the resort town in the country’s northeast. Bed down at the InterContinental Alpensia Pyeongchang Resort, which offers luxurious digs at the foot of the Alpensia ski slopes and stellar views of the Taebaek Mountains.
Bali continues to keep our attention with its ever-buzzing food scene and chic boutique openings. Whether it’s a vegan cafe you are looking for (Moska in Ubud), or something a bit more sinful, the dining options are plentiful. One of the most exciting hotels to debut in 2017 was Hoshinoya Bali, by the Japanese chain Hoshino Resorts. Its 30 luxury thatched-roof villas are set in the rainforest just outside Ubud.
Tainan has always been in the shadows of Taipei and Taichung, but as Taiwan’s oldest city and the country’s cultural hub, it’s a destination intrepid travelers are beginning to set their eyes on. Hip food joints dot the old streets and night markets offer regional delicacies, but coming to Tainan in January means joining the Yanshui Beehive Firecracker Festival. After a day of celebrating, participants don helmets and cover their body head-to-toe as fireworks are shot out of towers to resemble a swarm of bees.