Travel. A word, a thousand variations. When you decide to leave, the first thing to establish is undoubtedly the destination, after which you can think of the rest. In the midst of the flood of opportunities that stands before the modern traveler, how can you choose the best destination?
Top Destinations 2019: Where Will You Go?
If the dilemma of choosing between Paris and Zanzibar, or between Australia and the ruins of Angkor Wat, is unsolvable, a lifeline is offered to us by the managers of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, who have drawn up a list with the Top 10 destinations for 2019. The destinations, a bit like the empire on which the sun never sets, span the globe and have been selected also and above all in relation to international events, anniversaries and inaugurations of new hotels.
A Couple of References
In terms of travel, the managerial staff of Preferred Hotels & Resorts is certainly not made up of beginners, since the US group represents about 700 prestigious hotels spread in 85 different countries. Therefore, every suggested destination is to be considered as a must-see.
The Preferred 10
Preferred Destination 1: NEW YORK, United States
The first destination, chosen by Rick Stiffler, Vice President of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is the beloved Big Apple, a cultural, economic and political center of global importance. New York certainly deserves at least one visit in a lifetime, primarily for its museums, including the Guggenheim, but also for its famous skyline, for Broadway theatres and for the fashion shows.
There is also a large space for gourmet travelers, who, in this melting pot of different cultures, can meet all the gastronomic cultures of the world. From the Chinese one that has its core in China Town to the Italian one in Little Italy.
Furthermore, 2019 will be a particularly special year for the city, which, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, will host the World Pride in June. The City will be tinged with a rainbow, thanks to the many events that will range from parades, exhibitions and concerts to the LGBTQ+ film projections.
Preferred Destination 2: JAPAN
For the second destination, we move to East Asia, thanks to Kaori Yamaguchi, Managing Director, who takes us to his Japan. From the snows of Hokkaidō to the tropical beaches of Okinawa, this country offers the most diverse and evocative landscapes, dotted with impressive castles, like the one of Nagoya, and evocative temples, such as the Todaiji of Nara and the Kiyomizu, which are references to a fascinating past framed by futuristic buildings and technologies.
Even in the Empire of the Rising Sun there is no lack of the best delicacies of a cuisine whose value has also been recognized by UNESCO. You can easily switch from the most delicious sushi to the richest ramen, passing through the street food as the takoyaki or the okonomiyaki.
For the sporty travelers, especially for rugby lovers, the days between September 20 and November 2, 2019 will be a golden year, as the Japanese archipelago will be the venue for the IX edition of the quadrennial Rugby World Cup, with 48 matches in 12 different cities.
Preferred Destination 3: SINGAPORE
Remaining in Asia and proceeding to the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, it is possible to reach the third destination, Singapore, recommended by Josephine Lim, Managing Director. This city-state, an important economic and technological centre, boasts the ability to make the urban style of its approximately 4000 skyscrapers coexist with the natural environment, as in the case of the Botanical Garden, recognized as a World Heritage Site.
Thanks to the commercial vocation and to the location of the city, the local gastronomy is the result of a mix of different traditions, starting with those arrived with the immigration of Chinese and Indians, to get to the Malay and Thai influences.
The arrival of 2019 will be particularly important for modern Singapore, as its bicentennial will be celebrated with events and thematic exhibitions related to the history of the city. The festivities will start on the first of January, and they will continue throughout the rest of the year.
Preferred Destination 4: ARGENTINA
Going now to the antipodes, we can reach the fourth destination, Argentina, indicated to us by Rodrigo Tsutsumi, Regional Director for Latin America. This great country is first of all (but not only) represented by its capital, Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America and queen of the tango. Other highlights are the mountain towns like Bariloche, which has nothing to envy to the Alps, or the pampa, the large prairie populated by the Gauchos, the Argentine cowboys.
Thanks to the farms located in its great plains, Argentina can boast the production of fine beef, whose consumption is also reflected in the local cuisine, characterized by preparations such as churrasco, the Argentine barbecue.
Next year, however, especially on July 2, 2019, there will be one more reason to choose Argentina as a destination: in fact, it will be one of the best places to observe the total Great Eclipse scheduled for that date, which has already animated several lovers of Astro-tourism.
Preferred Destination 5: BUDAPEST, Hungary
Returning to Europe, we can now deviate to the fifth destination, the Queen of the Danube: Budapest, recommended by Christopher Cox, Regional Director for the Central European area. The Hungarian capital can boast – in addition to the vestiges of a millennial history that starts from the Roman domination and that saw the passage of the Habsburgs – a multitude of natural thermal baths, appreciated in all ages and that led to the construction of venues such as the Rudas Baths during the Ottoman period, and the Kiraly.
Food lovers will find a wide range of Central European cuisines in Budapest, starting with the very famous goulash, made with beef and paprika, and arriving at delicious desserts such as Dobos or Esterhazy Torta.
The central position on the continent already makes it easy to reach the capital, but starting from February 19, 2019, it will be even easier, for two daily flights from London will be added by the Polish company LOT.
Preferred Destination 6: BEIJING, China
For those who continue to be fascinated by the atmosphere of East Asia, there is good news: the sixth destination, chosen by Blaise Jing, Chinese Regional Director, is the capital of the Celestial Empire, Beijing. Heart of the People Republic of China – and of a millennial empire before that -, the “Capital of the North” is full of testimonies of its glory, which explodes in the imposing Tiananmen Square, from which you may access the Forbidden City, the seat of the Imperial Court.
With a deep-rooted gastronomic tradition behind it, Beijing can also be considered a favoured destination for gourmands, who can taste the absolute speciality of the place, the Peking duck, or the more classic grilled dumplings, the jiaozi.
Similarly to Budapest, Beijing will also see the expansion of its airport system in 2019, with the opening of Daxing Airport, designed to be the largest in the world and effectively operational this autumn. Visiting the area and its surroundings will be as easy as ever.
Preferred Destination 7: MATERA, Italy
Running around the world, another mandatory stop is the seventh destination, the one recommended by Roberta Possenti, Managing Director in Southern Europe: Matera. A charming city in central-southern Italy, it is known worldwide for its Sassi, dwellings carved into the rock over 7,000 years ago. As awe-inspiring as they are, they have been included in the list of the UNESCO sites.
Like all other Italian regions, also Basilicata, and consequently Matera, boasts an excellent culinary tradition. One of the most used and undoubtedly most appreciated ingredients is the pepper, which gives life to exceptional dishes.
If normally the city is a provincial capital, in 2019 its status will grow. In fact, Matera has been designated as the 2019 European Capital of Culture. Many visitors are expected, attracted by the magic of a place that is still little known but waiting to be discovered.
Preferred Destination 8: VIRGINIA, United States
After New York, we return to the United States of America, this time in Virginia, a destination chosen by John Enright, Regional Director. The state, whose name is a tribute to Elisabeth Tudor, the Virgin Queen, is characterized by different landscapes, from the mountainous Appalachian to the Atlantic Ocean, interspersed with many natural parks, including the Shenandoah National Park.
Speaking of cooking traditions, those of Virginia have the Southern States’ characteristics, with a wide use of barbecue. Local peculiarities and typical products also find their place here, such as the Smithfield ham.
2019 will be a year of celebrations also for Virginia. In this case, the theme will be the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the first English colony on American soil and of the first official celebration of Thanksgiving.
Preferred Destination 9: OSLO, Norway
It is now time to move to the North and to reach the ninth destination, Oslo, chosen by the Managing Director Brenda Collin. Located at the bottom of a fjord, the Norwegian capital, which has just celebrated its first millennium, is a modern and man-sized city. Here ample space is given to culture inside theatres and museums, such as the one dedicated to the artworks of Edward Munch. The Akershus Fortress, born as a defensive bulwark, deserves a visit too.
The Norwegian gastronomy is influenced by the climate and the country’s ties with the sea. Therefore, among the main ingredients that distinguish this cuisine, there’s fish, mainly salmon, a particularly renowned and appreciated product.
As Matera will be the Capital of Culture, Oslo will be the European Green Capital of 2019. A recognition obtained thanks to the constant commitment of its administration in safeguarding the woods and the waters that surround it.
Preferred Destination 10: BODRUM, Turkey
Finally, as the tenth and last destination, but certainly not less important, we have Bodrum, in Turkey, chosen by Nicolas Villemin, Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East. The modern city rises on the ruins of the Doric colony of Halicarnassus, the seat of the Mausoleum which in ancient times was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Located on the shores of the Aegean Sea, Bodrum is the perfect destination for both history lovers and those who prefer seaside holidays in an excellent climate.
Given its position overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the local cuisine is strongly influenced by it, both for the products used and for the contaminations, with a certain Greek prevalence that harmonizes with the Middle Eastern flavors.
After the political stabilization in Turkey, 2018 witnessed a boom in bookings in the main tourist locations, including Bodrum. The same trend is expected in 2019, with a possible increase.
At this point, all you have to do is choose your favourite destination, book, pack and leave.
Some useful addresses
NOMO SOHO, 9 Crosby Street, New York, NY, United States.
New Otani Tokyo, EXECUTIVE HOUSE ZEN, 11F 4 1 Kioi Cho, Tōkyō, Japan.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore.
CasaSur Bellini Hotel, Cabello 3780, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mystery Hotel Budapest, Podmaniczky Utca 45, Budapest, Hungary.
The Opposite House, Building 1, No11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
Kalidria Hotel & Thalasso SPA, Contrada Principessa 1, Castellaneta Marina, Italy.
The Jefferson Hotel, 101 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA, United States.
THE THIEF, Landgangen 1, Oslo, Norway.
Allium Villas Resort, Yalikavak mh. Coekertme cad No 68, Bodrum, Muğla, Turkey.