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The world is getting smaller, but the chances of having an extraordinary new experience are only increasing. Whether it's an emerging style hub in North Africa or a quiet stretch of sand in the Caribbean, this year's standout destinations are changing the travel map.
Best Places to Travel in 2015
It used to be that the reason for leisure travelers to stop in the teeming Indonesian capital was a layover on the way to more glamorous Bali. But times are changing, as hospitality power-players including Fairmont, Raffles, and St. Regis—slated to open in January 2015, February 2015, and January 2016, respectively—elbow their way into Jakarta. Airlines are getting in on the action too: a second airport just opened, and local carrier Garuda now offers direct flights from London’s Heathrow. Why all the fuss? This underrated Asian capital showcases Indonesia’s staggering diversity—most of the nation’s 300-odd ethnic groups are represented here—and warm hospitality, without Bali’s price tag or 3 million–plus annual tourists. Throw in some top-notch restaurants, including Eastern & Oriental from superstar chef Will Meyrick and the industrial-chic Union by Gordon Ramsay alum Adhika Maxi, as well as a lively nightlife scene. —Diana Hubbell
“Fez is multilayered, multifaceted,” says resident Tara Stevens. “Every time I go out the front door, I discover something. This is a city on the cusp of change—and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Stevens, a British food writer, and American Stephen Di Renza are behind Fez’s stylish Restaurant No. 7, which hosts a rotating series of guest chefs. They’re part of a group of expats restoring riads and encouraging experimentation—along with enterprising locals like Anis Sefrioui, who recently unveiled Hotel Sahrai, with 50 contemporary rooms overlooking an infinity pool and a light-filled spa with elaborate latticework.
The world is getting smaller, but the chances of having an extraordinary new experience are only increasing. We’ve identified 50 standout destinations, based on industry news and trends, with input from contributing writers, A-List travel agents, and our new local experts. These are the places changing the travel map, whether it’s an emerging arts hub in Germany or a quiet stretch of sand in the Caribbean.
So where else can 2015 take you? The panda capital of Chengdu, China, is appealing to a broader range of travelers with a new 72-hour no-visa policy and a packed lineup of hotel openings: Six Senses, Fairmont, and Swire’s Temple House. In Japan, meanwhile, the dollar has hit new highs—good timing for powder buffs who can also now use Vail’s Epic Pass at Hokkaido’s Niseko United resort.
And you may be surprised by what’s brewing close to home. We selected a dozen destinations in the U.S., including Houston, for its ambitious food scene, and Miami, where the spotlight has turned to the Mid-Beach neighborhood. The latest art-centric 21c Museum Hotel will open its doors in Durham, NC, a once-sleepy college town that now thrums with fair-trade coffee shops, micro-distilleries, and some of the best barbecue around.
What inspires a trip varies from person to person, of course. But as a head start, we’ve mapped out 12 months' worth of places with the kind of "it" factor that Fez's Tara Stevens describes.
Read on for our picks, and join the conversation with hashtag #bestplaces2015.