2023 will be a year of travel - remarkable and unforgettable experiences scattered across the globe are waiting. Here are some top properties, destinations, and itineraries for travelers planning a trip in the New Year:
Best for Seeing Glaciers Up Close – The Singular Patagonia
Climate change tourism has seen an increase in recent years. Last-chance trips to places where travelers can see gigantic glaciers and ice caves before they melt away has specifically seen a rise, with dozens of tour operators offering cruises to the Poles and excursions to disappearing glaciers. Many adventurers want to get a good look at these amazing sites while they still can, but for a few locations that time has come and gone.
Grey Glacier, the Balmaceda Glacier the Serrano Glacier in Chilean Patagonia are just three of the glaciers that are melting at a supercharged pace. For travelers hoping to see these giants in person, hotels such as The Singular Patagonia offer excursions that allow guests to get up and personal with the glaciers. From kayaking Grey Lake to walking Grey Peninsula, hiking in Torres del Paine or Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, or taking boat rides right up to the glacier walls, travelers can catch a glimpse of the magnificent Grey, Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers before it’s too late or becomes too dangerous.
Chilean Patagonia is also becoming more accessible as there are new flights launching to connect Santiago to Puerto Natales on a regular basis. The new flights will make it easier and faster for travelers to access the region, just in time for Chile's busy 2023 summer season. For years, the more popular airport in Chilean Patagonia has been Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport in Punta Arenas due to a very limited flight schedule into the Teniente Julio Gallardo Airport in Puerto Natales, but travelers arriving in Punta Arenas then need to take a 3+ hour car transfer to their hotels or Torres del Paine. For 2023 travelers, there will be several new flight options to choose from on SKY, LATAM and JetSmart.
Best for Scenic Skiing – Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
With Japan easing its border restrictions and raising the daily arrival cap to 50,000 tourists, travelers are now allowed to visit the country without joining a guided tour for the first time since the early days of 2020. With that in mind, the 2023 winter season will be the perfect time for skiers and winter sports fanatics to visit the starkly snowy Japanese island of Hokkaido for the first time since Covid hit.
Resting at the foot of Mount Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village is a prime winter destination and haven for antsy ski lovers who appreciate and long for secluded luxury and culture. The winter wonderland in Hokkaido boasts extensive ski trails, hot springs, an amazing culinary scene, and its very own Snow School. Adventure-seekers can spend the day whisking through fresh white powder snow on skis or snowboards, and those seeking less adrenaline can enjoy the company of reindeer while sledding.
Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Japan and the fifth across the globe, acts as a gateway to Niseko’s mountains. The property provides access to 2,191 acres of skiable terrain, 70 runs, 29 lifts and gondolas, and extensive backcountry skiing. The property offers majestic, panoramic views of snowy Mount Yotei, 43 rooms and seven suites, two distinctive restaurants, a fitness center, an exclusive team of Higashiyama Reservists, and a world-class spa and traditional Japanese onsen – perfect for kicking back after whisking through the fresh white powder snow.
Best for Spirituality & Connecting with Nature – Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Bali has been chosen to host the next ANOC World Beach Games, an exciting opportunity to showcase that it is a world-class destination for major events. Taking place from August 5-15, 2023, the event is expected to be attended by 1,200 athletes and 1,400 officials from 100 countries across the globe, as well as to attract spectators from all over the world.
While Bali is known for its beautiful beaches with calming, crystal clear waters - sure to be popular during the World Beach Games - there is also a whole other side to island, also known as Land of the Gods. For travelers looking to immerse themselves in the deeply rooted culture and spiritual history that Bali has to offer, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud is the perfect fit. Beautifully set where the lush jungle meets the Ayung River and temples stand majestic against a backdrop of rice terraces, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is designed as a sanctuary to relax one’s mind, body and soul.
Whether travelers are looking for an adventurous getaway where they can go rafting down the river and zipping past rice fields in a private VW 181 to explore one of the island’s many temples, or a relaxing retreat with time spent at the property’s Mandapa Spa, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, travelers to Mandapa in 2023 will be among the first to experience the property’s brand-new bar, Ambar. Perched high on a cliff off of the lobby, Ambar will offer guests a relaxed setting for exotic handcrafted cocktails and small bites. Channeling the rainforests of Ubud, Ambar (meaning sky in Sanskrit) will feature some of the area’s best views, a dining space for up to 60 people and a small garden.
Best for Hiking on a Historic Trail – Trans Bhutan Trail
The Trans Bhutan Trail is a 250-mile historic pilgrimage trail traversing Bhutan that reopened in September 2022. Following years of extensive restoration, the Trail will welcome walkers and mountain bikers for the first time in over 60 years, allowing travelers and pilgrims to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and providing international hikers and bikers the ability to explore and connect with the remotest parts of Bhutan, deep in the Eastern Himalayas. Offering the opportunity to explore Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage and see the country in an authentic and sustainable way, the now fully cleared trail crosses through nine dzongkhags (districts), 27 gewogs (local governments), one municipality and two national parks. The Trail meanders through pristine virgin forest, offering distant vistas of Himalayan peaks on its way, offering access to parts of Bhutan seldom visited by foreigners.
The Trail is a path through Bhutan’s history, with 400 historic and cultural sites identified along the route to date. The Trail’s origins go back at least 500 years when it connected fortresses called Dzongs and served as the pilgrimage route for Buddhists in the east traveling to sacred sites in western Bhutan and Tibet.
Best for Engaging with Africa’s Artistic Heritage – Singita Sabi Sand & Singita Kruger National Park
With Singita’s first two dedicated contemporary African art galleries now open inSingita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park, it’s the perfect time to visit and experience the art concept that is unfolding across Singita's properties, creating opportunities for guests to engage with the depth of Africa’s artistic heritage. A crucial aspect of this new direction and the spaces they're developing—beyond serving as a platform to show African art by respected and internationally collected artists—is to partner with galleries, studios, artists and curators who share the same passion for elevating African excellence and conserving its natural heritage.
As a family-founded business rooted in a deep reverence for Africa’s culture, landscapes and people,Ardmore – a thriving artist community based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa and known primarily for its astounding ceramic works - was a natural choice for collaboration with Singita; both celebrate and are inspired by Africa’s wilderness and the people who live alongside it, and are driven by a desire to develop people’s skills and confidence.
The first project born of this partnership is an artist residency, currently underway at Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa, whereby two Ardmore artists will spend time at the property observing the wildlife and working on pieces inspired by the location, to be sold on completion later in the year through the Boutique & Gallery at the South African lodges. All proceeds will go to the Singita Lowveld Trust, whose primary purpose is to collaborate with local communities and in so doing protect and preserve the wilderness for future generations.
Best for Watching Wildlife – Natural Selection’s North Island Okavango
Natural Selection’s newest camp—North Island Okavango, in the lush and teeming Okavango Delta—is slated to open in June 2023. This intimate camp is in what is undoubtedly one of the most famous wildlife-watching destinations in the world; with only three tents, set on raised wooden platforms overlooking stunning views of the lagoon, it won’t take guests long to relax and soak in the tranquility. At North Island Okavango, you get to experience the Delta three ways; on land (game drives and game walks), on water (mokoro and boat meanders) and in the air (hot air ballooning and scenic helicopter flights). Located in an utterly beautiful and semi-private game rich concession on the northern fringes of the Okavango Delta, the camp’s position, unlike most other camps, has water-based activities almost all year round. Visitors will enjoy the very best of Botswana’s wild and wonderful places, surrounded by a mosaic of islands netted together by shining lagoons and transient channels. As you explore this incredible eco-system of floodplains, open savannah and woodlands, you’ll enjoy wildlife encounters like never before—from big cats, to buffalo, antelope, and aardvark. For birders, this is a dream come true with over 350 species of birds recorded in the area.
North Island Okavango offers exceptional comfort, style and luxury. The use of textures, fabrics and local craftsmanship celebrating the modern Africa extends through to the generously sized rooms. Here guests can enjoy 140 square meters of interior and outdoor space to relax and indulge in; with a private plunge pool, sunken sundeck, indoor and outdoor showers, bath, air-conditioning, fireplace, and Wi-Fi, each suite offers incredible comfort—without compromising on safari style.
Best for Remote Travel – Niarra Travel’s Unseen Tanzania Itinerary
Trekking with chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains, spotting incredible carnivores in wild Ruaha National Park, walking safaris in on Katavi’s plains, and dhow cruises and village life on Lake Tanganyika: this is a safari for enthusiasts who want a real East African adventure. With this Niarra Travel itinerary, Explore three of Tanzania’s most spectacular yet—thanks to their remoteness and complex logistics—least visited national parks, expect dramatic wildlife sightings, ever-changing landscapes and genuine wilderness.
First up is Ruaha, a vast park that's something of a hidden gem, it’s home to a great diversity of species and supports sizeable populations of lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs. Katavi, in the far west, is visited by just a few hundred people a year. A raw and rewarding landscape to explore, the walking safari here is excellent—if the resident elephants let you leave your canvas tent. A short hop north takes you to the beautiful Mahale National Park, whose forested slopes jut out into Lake Tanganyika. Hike into the jungle with expert trackers to share time with a troop of chimpanzees, relax on the sandy beach and explore its fresh waters.
The real luxury here is space, minimalism and excellent guiding. Among a handful of visitors, you will support these pioneering camps’ conservation and community work in hard-to-reach areas.
Best for a Chic European Getaway – Le Grand Mazarin
As Paris begins preparations to host the Summer Olympics in 2024, travelers will want to discover (or rediscover) the area before the crowds begin to flock and travel costs begin to rise. With Air France serving 171 destinations in the winter season of November 2022 – March 2023, those looking to take advantage and enjoy a Parisian experience outside of the traditional tourist attractions, should look no further then Le Marias District. Since the 13th century The Marais District has been a heavily Jewish community often referred to as the Pletzl – which is Yiddish for little place. While the area today, remains inclusive of the same community, it has expanded beyond a single culture and has transformed into one of the more progressive, trendsetting and creative locations within Paris. As the first neighborhood to welcome the LGBTQ + community, Le Marais District is seen as a place of life with multiple influences.
With that in mind, Maisons Pariente has chosen the heart of the Marais for its new 5-star address: Le Grand Mazarin, set to open in early 2023. In this creative and vibrant neighborhood—where cutting-edge trends and new avant-garde concepts are constantly emerging—Le Grand Mazarin will be the first urban hotel of the brand’s collection that embodies the cosmopolitan eclecticism emblematic of the Marais. With 61 uniquely decorated rooms and suites, a spectacular restaurant and bar, and a swimming pool, Maisons Pariente has created a festive, unexpected and privileged experience that’s an ode to the City of Light.
Best for a Summer Festival Trip – Zurich with Swiss Deluxe Hotels
2023 is the year to visit Zurich as the city's top summer festival, Züri Fäscht, will take place on July 7-9 after a four-year hiatus. The first edition of Züri Fäscht was in 1951, and ever since 1976, it has taken place every three years. Due to the pandemic, 2022’s Züri Fäscht was postponed until July 2023. Typically attracting millions of visitors per year, the festival is full of unique attractions, food, live music, parties, stunts, fireworks, rides, acrobatics, and stalls lining the main streets of the city and around the basin of Lake Zurich. After the opening ceremony, the party begins, and attendees can eat till their heart’s content, set sail in a water car, ride the ferris wheel, and behold the tight rope walkers until the fireworks display starts.
Swiss Deluxe Hotels offers plenty of accommodation for visitors to Zurich who are looking to experience Züri Fäsch after the long hiatus. Just off Bahnhofstrasse in the heart of Zurich’s Old Town, The Widder Hotel is comprised of 35 rooms and 14 suites in nine separate townhouses dating from the Middle Ages, and is an exceptional getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The hotel also has three apartment-type units, the Penthouse Maisonette Apartment, a Historic Three Bedroom Apartment, and a History Three Bedroom Apartment with a patio, offering guests the privilege of their own private residence in the heart of Zurich. On the lakeshore, the historic Baur au Lac boasts 119 luxuriously appointed and individually decorated rooms and suites, each providing ultimate luxury and evoking the atmosphere of a private home. From Empress Sissi to Audrey Hepburn, Baur au Lac has been setting standards for travelers all over the world since its opening in 1844. Following their time at Züri Fäscht, guests can relax at the Baur au Lac Terrace and indulge in the Côte d'Azurich lifestyle, in the heart of the pulsating city.
Best for a Family Adventure – Tswalu
During the months of May to October, South Africa is ideal for travelers looking to go on safari as dry season makes for easier animal sightings. While this remains true year after year, 2023 will provide more accessible flight routes allowing travelers to reconnect with nature much more conveniently. As Air France will have resumed flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Cape Town that was suspended since the beginning of Covid, United will continue providing non-stop services from Newark to Johannesburg/Cape Town after a brief hiatus in 2022. In addition, United has filed their application with the DOT for what will be the first non-stop service between Cape Town and DC. Upon approval, the services will commence in late 2022 making it ideal for families planning to travel with little ones in 2023.
As the largest, privately owned reserve in South Africa, Tswalu’s wide, open spaces have long drawn travelers of all ages seeking a deeply layered and immersive experience. Unlike other safari lodges, Tswalu is unique in that it provides families complete flexibility when it comes to their itinerary starting with the private Fireblade charters (with hangars located at both JNB and CPT airports). Whether families decide to stay at the new 2023, Loapi – made up of six individual micro-camps, each functioning as a stand-alone, independently run mini-camp with no shared space, the two bedroom accommodations at Motse or the five bedroom option at Tarkuni, parents can rest assured knowing a private guide, tracker and vehicle are at their disposal along with the kid friendly programs – an unbeatable option for families with infants, toddlers and small children.
Best for a Combined City & Nature Escape – Ellerman House & Tswalu Kalahari
With more convenient flight routes in 2023 (mentioned above), families looking to combine the city and safari experience can look no further then Ellerman House and Tswalu Kalahari. Beginning January 10, 2023, Ellerman House will be in partnership with Tswalu Tarkuni Homestead for a private villa experience in two unforgettable locations. The home in the heart of Cape Town, Ellerman House welcomes 6-10 guests for exclusive use of Villa One or Villa Two for four nights, offering the sophisticated beach lifestyle Cape Town is famous for from a luxurious home base on Bantry Bay. Perfect for multi-gen families and groups of friends, the abundant space in each villa features generously proportioned entertainment areas, spacious en-suite bedrooms, private infinity pools, and vast balconies for uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean.
After boarding a complimentary, one-way flight from Cape Town, the group will arrive in the Kalahari for a four-night retreat at Tarkuni Homestead. Accommodating up to 10 guests, Tarkuni features five guest suites with expansive bathrooms and private verandahs. The shaded outdoor living and dining spaces invite guests to immerse with nature throughout their stay. Klein JAN will host lunch or dinner for a traditional culinary experience after a day on the private game-viewing vehicle, riding through the Kalahari with a dedicated guide and tracker. This promotion offers a complimentary fourth night at Tarkuni Homestead. Guests must stay a minimum of four nights in either Villa One or Villa Two Ellerman House and four nights at Tswalu Tarkuni Homestead.
Best for a Winter Festival Trip – FORESTIS
From January 7th to 15th, hot air balloons will fly above the scenic Dolomites welcoming the new year during the Dolomitti Balloonfestival in Toblach. With the mountains covered in snow, bright and colorful balloons decorate the winter skies offering visitors a one-of-a-kind spectacle amidst the breathtaking scenario. An opening ceremony with the traditional Nightglow of model balloons takes place in the village center of Toblach, on January 7th. Travelers can embark on a unique balloon ride and enjoy the impressive Dolomites views from above. Sport fans can watch different European Teams compete against each other.
Travelers staying at FORESTIS are invited to experience the purifying peace of winter in the Dolomites. The neighboring snow-capped slopes provide stunning views and the perfect opportunity to enjoy the lesser-known ski-in ski-out along the Plose ski region. Guided ski tours take guests down off-the-beaten-track trails past the Schatzerhütte down to the ski hut for a cultural experience. Further, the densely forested environment surrounding FORESTIS offers crisp conditions walks through the snow. FORESTIS’ hiking guide Herbert leads guests over frozen brooks, snow-covered woodlands, and untouched snow fields for a rejuvenating snowshoe hiking experience in the Dolomites.
Best for an Expedition Cruise – Quasar Expeditions’ M/Y Grace
The Galapagos Islands are home to over 30 different species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and 100 species of birds, and offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences and photo ops. Located 600 miles of the coast of Ecuador, the islands are known for their crystal-clear waters and year-round warm temperatures. In 2023, sailing the Galapagos Islands with Quasar Expeditions will be more luxurious and environmentally friendly than ever as their M/Y Grace, the yacht once owned by Princess Grace Kelly, is undergoing extensive renovations at the end of 2022.
With upgraded engines, generators, and propellers, the renovated M/Y Grace will allow guests to sail the islands faster, in more comfort, and with less fuel consumption. Chilean interior design studio Enrique Concha & Co. will take the helm to upgrade the interior of the ship with new, contemporary décor, including tailored furniture and modern lighting that adjusts to different rooms. Guests on each departure will also have access to an upgraded bar, coffee lounge, and newly equipped kitchen, offering a new and improved cuisine experience. The staterooms and social areas will be redesigned to match practicality with modern décor and will be re-distributed to maximize space and improve comfort for guests on the departures, including a sofa in the Master Suite A4 that can be turned into an extra bed for peak comfort.