For many professionals and adventurers seeking change and excitement, 2020 was not a year that delivered. A new report from Hotels.com, The 2021 Upgrade, showed that 32 per cent dubbed 2020 as the ‘lost year’ for travel, prompting more than a third of travellers to be more likely to holiday in 2021. Following last year’s cancelled trips and boredom, people are feeling spontaneous.
To inspire, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Avani Hotels & Resorts have curated a list of the top destinations for when travellers are ready to explore again. The hotel businesses also offer advice on where to stay when visiting these iconic destinations.
Top holiday destinations for 2021
IHG Hotels & Resorts
Belgrade, Serbia. One of the lesser-known European destinations, Belgrade is built on the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. The city, which is split into the Old Belgrade and New Belgrade, offers mid-century design and architecture, and is increasingly becoming popular with young travellers. Stay at Hotel Indigo Belgrade: The boutique hotel’s architecture showcases a mix of cultures and styles born from the neighbourhood’s history. The 44-room property – which is set to open in Q2 – sits above luxury retail stores and is close to the grand Belgrade Fortress, Church of Saint Sava, Republic Square and the National Theatre.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 2006, and with half of the island covered by a national park, Phu Quoc provides the perfect location for an idyllic holiday. The island also features around 20 unspoilt beaches to explore. Stay at Regent Phu Quoc: Set on the waterfront, Regent Phu Quoc will open in Q2 along the white sands of Long Beach. The resort features suites and villas, along with amenities including six dining experiences, a private beach, spa, five pools and gym facilities.
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Ras Al Khaimah is the lesser-known emirate with much to offer. It is becoming a fast-growing destination, with an approach based around sustainable tourism. The location features 64km of beachfront and the 7,000-plus years of culture and heritage. The 16th century Dhayah Fort and the crumbling ruins of Sheba’s Palace, noted to be the oldest palace in the UAE, are two of the emirate’s charms. Stay at InterContinental Mina Al Arab: InterContinental Mina Al Arab will welcome guests to Ras Al Khaimah in Q2. The hotel offers 350 guest rooms and suites, a health club, spa, two swimming pools and several restaurants. Covering an area of 43,770 sqare metres, the resort is a short drive Dhayah Fort and Sheba’s Palace.
Negev Desert, Israel. Shaharut sits on the Arava Valley in the Negev Desert and is located just 45 minutes from Ramon International Airport. Buried in the desert lie several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Shivta and Avdat, which form part of the Nabataean spice route that continues down to Petra. Stay at Six Senses Shaharut: Six Senses Shaharut, opening in June, is situated in the Negev Desert and comprises 60 villas and suites, as well as a Six Senses Spa. The resort is integrated into the surrounding landscape and built using materials sourced from the local area. Buildings were designed to be reminiscent of the structures inhabited by the Nabataeans, the nomadic community that lived in the desert 2,000 years before.
Brickell, US. Brickell, Miami’s financial district, has transformed into a lively destination over the years. The city is now home to a new shopping centre along with buzzing bars and restaurants. Stay at Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell: Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell, which opens in Q1, contains 140 rooms with spectacular views of the Miami skyline and ocean. The property also offers a 24-hour fitness centre and pool, Mosaico restaurant, coffee and craft beer in a casual indoor and outdoor garden.
Adelaide, Australia. Stretching from South Australia’s coast to the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide offers beauty, culture and acclaimed wineries including those along the Barossa Valley. Travellers are encouraged to also visit the Adelaide Central Markets featuring 80 stalls brimming with fruit, vegetables and artisanal products. Stay at Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets: Hotel Indigo will make its Australian debut with Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets in Q1. Located on Market Street – a vibrant culinary hub seconds from the Adelaide Central Markets – the 145-room hotel offers several restaurants and bars.
Avani Hotels & Resorts
Deadvlei, Namibia. From the Fish River Canyon to the moonscape formations of the Skeleton Coast, to the red dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia is a place for thrill-seekers and adventurers. Towering up to 325 metres above the valley floor, Deadvlei dunes are some of the highest in the world. Stay at Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino: Windhoek is the capital of Namibia and its largest city. At its heart is Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino, which boasts impressive views of the city, the distant Auas Mountains and Khomas Hochland escarpment.
Victoria Falls, Zambia. Experience a bucket list adventure in Devils Pool, where you peer over the naturally formed rock barrier on the edge of Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. To reach Devils Pool (only accessible from August to January from Livingstone Island), travellers need to swim a short distance across the Zambezi River. There are guides to ensure swimmers get across safely. Stay at Avani Victoria Falls Resort: Zebras and giraffes roam freely in Avani Victoria Falls Resort’s gardens. The property is highly sought-after for its World Heritage location, outdoor activities and pool scene.
Lisbon, Portugal. Explore Lisbon either by foot, tuk-tuk or tram – the most scenic route is the number 28, which crosses the Alfama district. Travellers can visit the 12th century Sé de Lisboa cathedral and Miradouro das Portas do Sol viewpoint for sweeping views of the city’s terracotta-tiled rooftops. On the riverfront you’ll find the 16th-century Belém Tower and futuristic architecture of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. Stay at Avani Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel: Avani Avenida Liberdade Lisbon Hotel is a short stroll from the cobblestoned neighbourhoods of Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real and Chiado. The 119-room property is home to the Olivier Avenida restaurant by Olivier da Costa, considered one of Lisbon’s most celebrated chefs.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Visitors can watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat and take in the stone faces at the Bayon Temple. Travellers can also photograph banyan tree roots strangling ancient stonework at Ta Prohm or discover the ancient Kingdom of Khmer by cycling through the Angkor Archaeological Park. Stay at FCC Angkor by Avani: FCC Angkor by Avani is a stylish base in the Old French Quarter of Siem Reap. The hotel features 80 colonial-style rooms and suites, event spaces, and gym and spa facilities.
Quy Nhon, Vietnam. Embrace train travel with a luxurious railway adventure through the landscapes and coastlines of Central Vietnam aboard The Vietage. The journey links the UNESCO-listed town of Hoi An with the shores of Quy Nhon. Stay at Avani Quy Nhon Resort: Nestled between the beach and mountains is Avani Quy Nhon Resort. The property features a high-end restaurant serving local seafood cliff-side, as well as a spa, which offers coconut milk bath soaks in an alfresco pavilion.