Start planning your stay. View hotels.
woman doing indigenous healing session with guest

5 extraordinary destinations for your next elevated escape

Embrace a change of scenery in the new year in these enticing global destinations.

By Paul Oswell | November 29, 2023

We all love our favorite tried and tested vacation destinations, but to celebrate the new year, consider broadening your horizons in an inspiring new location. From Doha and Bali to Edinburgh and beyond, these spectacular destinations promise natural beauty, fascinating history, gourmet delicacies, lavish accommodations and more.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Ancient castles, dramatic architecture and a rich history all await in the Scottish capital. Edinburgh Castle dates back to the 12th century and stands watch over the endlessly photogenic streets — from the cobblestones of Royal Mile to the boutiques of Princes Street. In winter, enjoy the city’s festive holiday markets and world-famous New Year’s celebrations. Come summertime, there are days of art, culture and comedy offered by Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian has been a city institution since 1903, located steps from Edinburgh Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Local flavors shine throughout the gourmet, seven-course tasting menu at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Dean Banks at The Pompadour, while the relaxing indoor pool and several guest rooms offer superb castle views.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a festival for the senses, from the beauty of its ancient temples and the fragrance of wild frangipani to the calming tones of traditional gamelan music. World-class beaches add to the allure, with their aquamarine waters, golden sands and surfable waves. Take a tranquil bike tour through UNESCO-recognized rice fields or bathe in the holy spring waters and stone-carved baths of hilltop temples. There are similarly inspiring views to be had at the cliffside, all-villa Umana Bali, LXR Hotels & Resorts, perched 230 feet (70 meters) above the beach. The hotel's expert concierge team can arrange guided visits to traditional villages, before returning to the property to enjoy Southeast Asian delicacies, including satay and traditional barbecue. At the end of the day, unwind with a relaxing moment in the private infinity pool and whirlpool found in each villa, complete with ocean or lush garden views.

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun is an idyllic spot for exploration, surrounded by pristine sands, tropical forests and welcoming waters. If you love snorkeling or scuba diving, you’ll be in your element at the Cancun National Marine Park and the Underwater Museum of Art with over 500 subaquatic sculptures. Further adventures await at the dramatic cenotes (underground caves with gleaming pools) or the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba or Chichen Itza. Stay at Waldorf Astoria Cancun and be surrounded by fragrant mangrove forests and spectacular beaches. After a day of sightseeing, unwind back at the hotel in a poolside cabana or head to the stylish spa, with treatments inspired by Mayan culture. Treat your taste buds to the region’s freshest seafood at signature restaurant Malpeque, complete with ocean views from the al fresco terrace.

Doha, Qatar

Cutting-edge architecture and traditional ways of life live side by side in a city that’s quickly becoming a must-visit destination in the Middle East. Look out over Doha’s Dhow Harbour and you’ll see a futuristic skyline looming over traditional wooden fishing boats. Doha’s cultural institutions should be among your first stops, including the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Shop to your heart’s content at Souq Waqif, a market with around 250 years of history, or marvel at the UNESCO-listed Inland Sea. The Plaza Doha, LXR Resorts & Hotels enjoys a prime location near the Qatar National Museum, as well as several high-end shopping boutiques. Choose from indoor or outdoor swimming pools, and three elegant restaurants, including The Courtyard, with its gilded, Parisian-style interior.


Singapore continues to skyrocket as a popular travel destination, offering an almost futuristic, utopian feel with impressive architecture and a focus on urban greenery. Dive into its dynamic culinary scene, from Michelin-starred restaurants like Odette and Les Amis to locally loved street food stalls — several of which are Michelin-recognized, too. Find a wealth of conversation-starting designer goods along Orchard Road, an upscale retail paradise. Many of the city’s highlights are within close proximity to Conrad Centennial Singapore, found in the modern hub of Marina Bay. Admire the epic city skyline from the hotel’s rooftop pool, or retreat into a cocoon of serenity at the on-site spa. Savor gourmet Cantonese cuisine at the hotel’s signature restaurant Golden Peony, one of the city’s most elegant dining rooms.

Whatever your dreams for exploring the world in 2024 include, these diverse destinations will deliver a memorable trip. Fun-filled days of adventure await, broadening your cultural horizons with equal parts inspiration and relaxation. Fire up your imagination and start planning your next getaway.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.

Find your stay