Our 2019 Gold List issue is all about, well, the gold standard: hotels, resorts, and cruises we can’t get enough of. But we also had some destinations in our back pocket that are having a moment—burgeoning foodie scenes, cultural centers, and a beach town that none of your friends know about. Yet. Scroll through to see where we’re headed next year.
The Next Great Food Scene: Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
This boulder-strewn sweep of Baja California has been luring wine lovers and weekending West Coasters for some time (it’s just a 90-minute drive from the U.S. border). Now it’s earning itself the lofty billing of Mexico’s Napa Valley for its architect-designed tasting rooms and complex bottles—many of them innovatively organic, biodynamic, and minimum intervention. The foodie landscape has been maturing as well, drawing on farm-to-table ingredients and seafood from the Pacific. One of the area’s best-loved chefs is Javier Plascencia, who set up in the valley in 2012 when it first turned heads. His Finca Altozano now encompasses the original outdoor grill restaurant, a tortas truck, an ice-cream shop, and the pop-up dinner series Animalón under a 100-year-old oak tree. Close by, Finca La Divina is his beautiful four-bedroom B&B, and, in 2017, Plascencia launched the Valle Food & Wine Festival with L.A.-based chef Nancy Silverton.
Among the other foodie trailblazers is Laja (on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list, along with nearby Corazón de Tierra)—René Redzepi raves about its off-menu vegetable tostada. And at Deckman’s En El Mogor, American chef Drew Deckman cooks among the pines. Other outdoor hits include TrasLomita, and Baja-Med restaurant Malva. But the latest talked-about spot is Fauna, opened in 2017 at slick winery-hotel Bruma. Its chef, David Castro Hussong, a graduate of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Eleven Madison Park, crafts elevated tasting menus that play with Mexican classics. Fresh places to stay are ramping up the options in the valley, too. In August, Hotel Partana’s striking steel, wood, and glass rooms were revealed, while Mexico design-hotel hitmakers Grupo Habita are working on glampsite Cuatro Cuatros to add a hotel, cabins, a spa, and a restaurant, all set to open in summer 2019. Following in the tradition of Napa and Sonoma, Valle de Guadalupe is well on its way to having a restaurant scene as world-class as its vineyards. —Fiona Kerr
The City to Check Into: New Orleans, U.S.
What is that amazing smell? In New Orleans, you’ll pick up wafts of chicory, spilled rum, and warm beignets—but in the lobby of Hotel Peter and Paul in the Marigny, it’s more like…gardenias. This is one of the most anticipated hotel openings in a city overrun with fusty properties. Hotel Peter and Paul is actually a bundle of buildings: a 19th-century Catholic church, schoolhouse, convent, and rectory reimagined by Ash NYC with gingham drapes woven in Switzerland and antique furniture shipped from Europe. The Eliza Jane near the French Quarter has taken over the space that once housed the printing presses for The Times-Picayune. It has a vintage aesthetic—exposed brick in the hallways, subway tile in the bathrooms—but still feels fresh. And this spring, the Atelier Ace team opens Maison De La Luz, a smaller guesthouse across the street from the Ace Hotel New Orleans in the Warehouse District. There’s no pool or music venue, but that’s precisely the point, as Maison De La Luz is designed to be a sanctuary. Don’t stress: There will still be craft cocktails, naturally, and at Hotel Peter and Paul, the Elysian Bar is brought to you by local wine bar Bacchanal, which hosts the best backyard party in the Bywater. This is still New Orleans, after all. —Laura Dannen Redman
The In-The-Know Beach Town: Zapallar, Chile
This tiny spot, two hours northwest of Santiago, has a craggy beauty that evokes Big Sur and a breezy, casual-chic vibe to match. But it’s also home to an impressive cluster of modern houses with significant architectural cachet. In the late 19th century, Olegario Ovalle Vicuña, the scion of a wealthy Chilean family, got inspired by a visit to the French Riviera and gave friends plots of land in Zapallar, horseshoed around a sapphire bay. They dotted the hillsides with an eclectic array of villas, mixing old-world styles—peaked chalets, Mediterranean tile roofs, Tudor timbering—with Chilean utilitarianism and folksy touches, like carved wooden figures and faces. Today, steel-and-glass cottages and bone-pale cantilevered structures with rooftop infinity pools—designed by architects such as Mathias Klotz, Enrique Browne, Gonzalo Mardones, LAND Arquitectos—climb the steep slopes and have sweeping views of the Pacific. But visitors can still get a taste of the town’s appeal. Camp out at the wood-steel-and-glass Casa Zapallar hotel, the 41-room mod-trad Isla Seca, or an architectural villa of your own—a number are available for rent on Airbnb. Feast on machas la parmesana—local clams baked on the half-shell with a dash of cheese— with the insider set at Zapallar’s two restaurants, Cesar and El Chiringuito. This town is a hush-hush hideout that Chileans are only just starting to share. —Sara Clemence
The Future Arts Hub: Arles, France
In 1888, when Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh spent nine absinthe-fueled weeks together in Arles, they envisioned this Provençal town as the home of a new experimental artistic community. It proved a short-lived dream, due to Van Gogh’s mental breakdown (he famously cut off his ear here). But Arles’s arts scene is thriving again with LUMA Arles, a vast, 20-acre arts complex built with warehouses turned exhibition spaces, a bio-design workshop, and a canteen-style restaurant. The key player behind this reinvention is the philanthropist Maja Hoffmann. In addition to founding and bankrolling the LUMA Foundation, she also owns foodie haunt La Chassagnette, plus two boutique hotels here, including L’Arlatan, a former 15th-century palace revamped by Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo. This summer is the 50th anniversary of photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles, and the futuristic 10-story Gehry Tower, clad in stainless steel panels inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night, is due in 2020. This once sleepy spot has emerged as a game-changing cultural center. —Lanie Goodman
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