WHY: The country is about to play host to the most important sporting event in the world - the Summer Olympics from 24 July to 9 August. But whether your passion is sport, food, culture or adventure, you are sure to find plenty of reasons to visit this elegant archipelago. STAY: A wave of new hotels are launching across the country. The Four Seasons Otemachi is launching in Tokyo and in Kyoto, Aman Kyoto and Park Hyatt Kyoto are ready to spoil guests. EAT: You are not short of places to dine out in Tokyo. The city has more Michelin-star restaurants than Paris. Den and Narisawa in Tokyo are just two of these tastebud tingling restaurants, which also appear on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards List. EXPLORE: A new direct flight between Singapore and Japan’s third largest island Kyushu will introduce guests to tropical coastlines, volcanic peaks and hot springs.
WHY: After a tough year, Sri Lanka is thanking guests returning to the country in 2020 with cheap flights, relaxed visa rules and improved highways. STAY: Alila Koggala on Koggala Lake in southern Sri Lanka. If you can tear yourself away from your lakeside villa, you can visit nearby sandy beaches, discover the area’s richly biodiverse rainforests or enjoy a scenic train ride to Galle. EAT: Visit the Ministry of Crab in Colombo. This award-winning restaurant set in a 400-year-old heritage building is a must-visit for crustacean fans. What they don’t know about shellfish isn’t worth knowing - you can even enjoy the signature lagoon crab prepared in four different ways. EXPLORE: From whale watching on the south coast to safaris on the east coast and tea plantations in the North – you won’t be short of things to do.
WHY: If the fervour surrounding The Crown and Downton Abbey doesn’t have you rushing to the UK, the raft of new hotels will. STAY: Among the record number of hotels opening in London in 2020 includes Nobu at Portman Square and The Londoner, which has six floors below ground. This is even before Rosewood opens on the site of the former US Embassy in Grosvenor Square in 2023. EAT: Enjoy cocktails at the artful Connaught bar, which is famed for creating its own gin and then reserve a table at The Clove Club where you can enjoy modern British fare. Or take a seat at the new Davies and Brook restaurant at Claridge’s, which is helmed by none other than Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park. Michelin-stars guaranteed. EXPLORE: In 2020, new sections of the England Coast Path will open, making this 3000 mile track one of the longest continuous trails in the world. Make sure that you stop off for some of the UK’s famed fish and chips en route.
WHY: Forbes called Montenegro the Adriatic’s hidden treasure and named it as one of the hottest places to visit in 2020. With the arrival of new luxury hotels, its neighbour Croatia will no longer hog the spotlight. STAY: One&Only has chosen Montenegro as the home of its first European resort. One&Only Portonovi will be set in the heart of Boka Bay, framed by lush mountainside and overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Feeling flush, book Villa One, a three-bedroom villa, which comes with its own hydrotherapy pool. EAT: Enjoy wild Adriatic seafood in a former 16th-century flour mill that is now a world-class restaurant. They use centuries old cooking methods to create contemporary cuisine in this romantic setting by the bay. EXPLORE: Discover pretty villages and beaches around the coast or drive inland to see its mountainous and rugged countryside.
WHY: Brand new flight routes, a new high-speed train and new luxury hotels will have everyone rushing to visit Morocco next year. If that’s not enough, Marrakech has been crowned Africa’s first Capital of Culture for 2020. STAY: Luxury lovers will be treated to a host of new hideaways in 2020. There will be Anantara Al Houara in Tangier, Fairmont Taghazout Bay, the Ritz-Carlton Rabat in Dar es Salam, and the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and St Regis both in Tamuda Bay. EAT: Celebrity chef Yannick Alleno is combing French flare with Morocco spice at the La Grand Table Marocaine in Marrakech. Enjoy Moroccan classics with a twist. EXPLORE: Ride the new high-speed train from Casablanca to Tangier, which take you there in less than two hours. Or if you are an outdoorsy type, go for a hike in the Atlas mountains.
WHY: Touted as the ‘new Tuscany’, the rolling hills of Romania filled with ancient churches and picturesque villages are set to steal everyone’s hearts in 2020. It’s already stolen the heart of Prince Charles – he recently opened a countryside retreat in Transylvania, near the forested hills of Zalan Valley. STAY: Apart from Prince Charles’ new B&B – the Prince of Wales’ Guesthouse, which features a centre to support local crafts, there is also the new Corinthia Bucharest, which has taken over a 19th-century building in the capital. EAT: For a unique dining experience visit the Attic Lab Bucharest, where Romanian chef Adi Hadean creates highly customised dining experiences in his rooftop restaurant. Ask your Lightfoot Travel Designer to make sure you’re on the guest list. EXPLORE: The ancient monasteries, fortified churches, spooky castles and medieval towns, which dot the countyside of Romania. Touted as ‘the new Tuscany’, this is a country that combines a step-back-in-time with natural beauty and a vibrant energy in the towns and cities. From the cobbled walkways in Braşov and Sibiu to the forested region of Transylvania, discover the magic and intrigue before everybody else.
WHY: While Indonesia’s star continues to shine, it’s the lesser-known islands of Flores and Komodo that will attract travellers with their wild natural scenery, outdoorsy activities and local culture in 2020. Then there’s Sulawesi with its prehistoric megalithic sculptures, cave paintings and endemic animals. STAY: Return to the golden age of travel and set sail on Silolona, a traditional handcrafted schooner. Upon this floating palace you can even request spa treatments. Or book the Tiger Blue vessel, which features a PADI Divemaster. EAT: Enjoy a variety of dishes cooked up by your private chef onboard your chosen yacht. EXPLORE: Make sure that you see the Komodo dragons at Komodo National Park, especially as there’s talk of a rise in the entrance fee, from $10 to $1,000.
WHY: Those who have already ticked off Uzbekistan are now looking for the next adventure. They are now turning to its mountainous neighbour Kyrgyzstan to go off-the-beaten track. STAY: The mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan has remained faithful to its nomadic culture and heritage. You can experience this when you stay in one of the traditional yurts. EAT: The Kyrgyz are famed for their hospitality. Expect to be plied with bowls of shorpo, a traditional broth as well as hot tea or kumis (fermented mare’s milk). EXPLORE: Pull on your hiking boots and check out the 500-mile-long Issyk Kol Trail Network, which leads you through the famed hiking spots. A horseback riding trail will soon follow.
WHY: Looking to get away from it all? Then travel to Western Mexico. Here you will find one of the country’s last beachfront jungles and discover a raw, untapped side to Mexico. STAY: Check into the new One&Only Mandarina, which will boast chic resort living, tropical relaxation and outdoor adventure in a region famous for its lagoons, rivers, jungle vegetation and endless beachfront. EAT: Dine at The Point at the One&Only Mandarina. Helmed by a celebrity chef, this clifftop restaurant will surprise all of your senses. EXPLORE: On land you can enjoy the miles of nature trails that wind through the Mandarina landscape and you can discover on foot, on horseback or on a mountain bike. While on water you can kayak or paddleboard along an estuary that is home to flora, fauna and hundreds of migrating birds.
WHY: If you are looking for a sustainable break, look no further than Sweden. It has just launched the award-winning Arctic Bath hotel; a minimal emissions holiday island and Sweden is also home to plogging – the eco-friendly workout. STAY: At the floating Arctic Bath hotel. As clever as it is beautiful, this eco-chic hideaway is sure to be lighting up Instagram in 2020. EAT: Why go out for dinner, when you can go on a food journey. At Frantzen in Stockholm 23 diners at one time are invited to traverse the rooms and floors of a 19th-century townhouse, where they will be able to sample its innovative 10-course menu en-route. Think Nordic dishes with Asian twist. EXPLORE: If you are looking for an adventure in Sweden, you can take part in a photography masterclass in Abisko National Park, explore the snowy wilderness by dogsled, reindeer sleigh or snowmobile, and dine while watching the Northern Lights.