Looking ahead to 2022, one thing seems clear: it is the year of the bucket-list vacation. After a year and a half of cancelled plans, topped with a hefty dose of emotional recovery, we are unleashing our wildest, most over-the-top travel dreams in the year 2022. By Maya Kachroo-Levine
Even in the throes of a pandemic, the hospitality industry never stopped creating, and as a result, there is so much opportunity to see something new in your bucket-list vacation destinations. Whether you’re called to the crystal clear waters lining Sardinia or the revelatory Kyoto culinary scene, we invite you to plan your 2022 travel with these nine bucket-list trips.
Napa Valley, California
Napa is simultaneously a once-in-a-lifetime trip and a destination you’ll want to return to every year. After struggling through the pandemic and a heartbreaking string of wildfires, Napa has rebuilt — and its resilience is on full display at the hotels, restaurants, and wineries in the area. Start your over-the-top Napa vacation at Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection in Calistoga, California. Calistoga is known for an eclectic mix of off-the-beaten-path wineries and Michelin-starred restaurants. Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection just went through an elaborate renovation, and the dog-friendly property now has new multi-room suites; a brand-new restaurant, Picobar, from its impressive culinary team; and a stunning, reimagined pool area. On your 2022 trip to Calistoga, you’ll also find the highly anticipated Four Seasons Napa Valley — the brand’s first foray in Northern California wine country — where you can un(wine)d and dine in the lap of luxury.
Paterson, South Africa
For a South African safari unlike any other, stray from the classic Kruger National Park trip to instead seek out a private game reserve, which makes the wildlife experience more intimate and deeply impactful. Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in Paterson, South Africa, offers two daily game drives, bringing guests in search of the Big Five (black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, and Cape buffalo). These animals are actually native to the land Shamwari Private Game Reserve sits on. As a casualty of colonisation, the animals left the area but were ethically reintroduced when the private reserve was established in 1990. Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to eight luxury lodges — and only the guests of each lodge are allowed to safari here. The newest lodge, Sindile, is five-star glamping at its finest — the rooms offer plunge pools and views of the plains where you can see giraffes grazing from your sprawling balcony.
Loire Valley, France
An hour-long train ride whisks you out of Paris to the northern edge of Pays de la Loire, where you’ll find a château that was once under the ownership of an actual baron and baroness. Hotel Château du Grand Lucé opened to the public in 2019, but the property dates back to 1760 and is littered with statues given to the estate of Louis XV. Nothing says bucket list vacation quite like staying in an actual French château that formerly housed royalty. While the Loire Valley is known for its wineries, this trip is all about the château life, biking through and picnicking in the flower-filled Jardin Exotique, and exploring the ever-quaint surrounding town of Grand Lucé.
Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
While others may be tempted by beachside resorts in Costa Rica, avoid the crowded tourist hot spots and escape to Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica. With more than 150 acres of pristine natural landscape, you’ll have plenty to explore, including a coffee farm, remote tribal village, and lush rainforest. Hacienda AltaGracia, a new resort from the Auberge Resorts Collection, is your gateway to paradise and opens in late 2021. Take it all in the caballista way, riding on horseback and enjoying your desayuno by the river each morning. Feeling even more adventurous? Leave the grounds altogether and hop onto one of the resort’s ultralight flights to get a birds-eye view of all the rainforested area has to offer.
Perhaps the most coveted bucket list beach vacation destination in Italy (and certainly the most star-studded), Sardinia is home to mesmerising white sand beaches with glistening turquoise waters and an abundance of luxury resorts perfect for a triumphant return to travel. Baglioni Resort Sardinia just opened in June 2021 and is set on a beautiful marine reserve, while Hotel Pitrizza offers next-level villas that ensure serenity and privacy. Finally, make sure to look into Hotel Cala di Volpe for a classic luxury see-and-be-seen experience on Costa Smeralda — the property is newly renovated and home to chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s renowned restaurant, Matsuhisa.
Kyoto is emerging as an iconic Asian city destination, and one of the most necessary stops on a trip to Japan. Their luxury hotel scene continues to surge, as does the city’s culinary prowess, as more and more visitors realise how simple it is to tack a trip to Kyoto onto their Tokyo itinerary. To bring your trip to true bucket-list levels, the new FUFU Kyoto offers a wildly luxurious take on the classic Japanese ryokan. FUFU is home to exceptional hot springs baths (onsen) and, in true Kyoto fashion, a restaurant that sources local ingredients and prepares traditional Japanese dishes with contemporary flair. Continue your exploration of Kyoto by diving into Kaiseki (high-end Japanese dining) culture at restaurants like Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama.
Taghazout Bay, Morocco
Exploring Morocco on a multi-stop trip — visiting Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, and more colourful, souk-filled destinations — is an aspiration for plenty of global travellers. But travellers shouldn’t miss south Morocco, where, 200 miles south of Marrakech near Agadir, you’ll find Taghazout Bay, a fishing village turned luxury enclave right on the Moroccan coast. For the new hot spot to book, Fairmont Taghazout Bay just opened in July 2021 with a number of superfluous beach villas and ocean-facing suites. At the new hotel, you’ll experience an exemplary display of Middle Eastern and African hospitality, beautifully landscaped pools and grounds, and an exquisite stretch of the North African Atlantic coast.
Turks and Caicos
For those whose travel aspirations involve white-sand beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, Turks and Caicos is the pinnacle of Caribbean dream destinations. From the idyllic shores of Grace Bay to the private islands, like Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos offers some of the most lavish experiences in the Caribbean Sea. One of the must-book trips of 2022 will undoubtedly be The Ritz-Carlton, Turks and Caicos — the hotel just debuted in June 2021 with ocean-view suites, Club Level perks, two pools, and a spa, among other island offerings.
Immerse yourself in the healing culture of Sedona in 2022 and let the serenity of undiscovered hiking trails and the natural beauty of the red rocks feed your soul. At Enchantment Resort, the newly opened Trail House connects you with guides who will curate the exact outdoor experience you need — whether that’s learning to mountain bike in order to conquer your fear of heights or take a guided hike through the legendary Sedona energy vortexes. And for a brand-new luxury experience that honours the magnificent Sedona landscape, look into Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel, where each free-standing atrium suite offers panoramic views of the red rocks and a private rooftop with a fire pit.