Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

These far-flung destinations promise to banish your winter blues...

Let’s be frank, there couldn’t be a worse month to kick start the calendar year with than January. A 31-day-strong struggle through grey days, back-to-work blues, and unattainable resolutions — there’s a reason they call it the Blue Month.

With this in mind, we cannot think of a better time of year to hop on a plane bound for warmer climes, and escape the company of newly-committed fitness fanatics until February (by which time their best intentions will have been safely laid to waste).

Now, in our quest to make January the month of unapologetic anti-abstinence, GJ can present a curated list of the destinations that will have you looking at January in a whole new light. We asked the experts at two world-renowned luxury travel agents, Abercrombie & Kent and Black Tomato, to give us their top choices for unusual winter destinations — as they know a thing or two about crafting holiday experiences beyond the reach of the ordinary traveller.

Read on for our list of the top travel destinations to set your sights and flights to this January…

For spectacular wildlife: Zimbabwe

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

According to our friends at A&K, there’s never been a better time to visit Zimbabwe. A changing political landscape has inspired a new spirit of optimism amongst the country, and attracted new infrastructure for tourists.

Home to no less five different UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Zimbabwe also plays host to an array of established hotels and safaris, where you can spot every one of the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo).  

Where to stay:Bumi Hills Safari Lodge in Lake Kariba recently completed a £2.3 million renovation. The lake-view rooms ensure wonderful views over Kariba, and include lake cruise boats and pontoons. Stay here for exceptional game viewing, sunset cruises, and a chance to forget the looming deadlines and rainy streets of London.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Zimbabwe

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For a rum-soaked adventure: Cuba

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

For the team over at Black Tomato, Cuba offers the perfect chance to swap the January Blues for pastel hues, with a perfect confluence of Latin and Caribbean culture thrown in for good measure. From diving into local jazz haunts to learning the art of rolling your own cigar, a trip to this colourful country offers the perfect start to the New Year.

Where to stay:

If you book a Cuban adventure through Black Tomato, you can expect to stay somewhere like Penthouse Ydalgo, which sits looking effortlessly cool in the north of Havana’s Vedado region.

Our most-recommended experience? Jumping in a vintage Cadillac and going on a tour of areas of Havana that inspired Ernest Hemingway and his works.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Cuba

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For guaranteed sunshine: Grenada

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

Known as the ‘Spice Isle’, Grenada is an outdoor haven sitting in the south east of the Caribbean Sea — perfect for the traveller looking to cure their winter S.A.D, with daily high temperatures averaging 83°F, and rarely falling below 81°F. January is also the perfect time to visit for sporting fans, since 2019 will see Grenada will host the 50th Annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament — a premier four-day competitive fishing and sportsmanship event.

Where to stay:

Silversands Resort is the place to be seen in 2019 in Grenada, as the first major hotel project on the island in over 25 years. Suites are designed to seamlessly fit in with the spectacular surroundings and offer an intimate, boutique experience with all the luxury you could desire.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Grenada

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For life on the open road: Californian road trip

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

Nothing brings in the New Year like a classic road-trip, and Black Tomato are offering an iconic experience across Highway. Take this trip, and along the way you’ll stop to take in all of Cali’s glittering beauty, bouncing from luxury hotel to luxury hotel and punctuating your cruise with stops for wine tasting in Napa Valley and a spot of private whale watching. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Where to stay:

The Post Ranch Inn nestled in a secluded area, flanked by the Pacific on one side and the Ventana mountains on the other — we challenge you to find a more romantic spot to herald in the new year.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

California

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For the tough-mudder: Peru

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Known for its ancient ruins, spectacular scenery, incomparable hiking treks and colonial architecture, Peru also has cuisine to add to its international appeal. The vibrant restaurant scene is home to some of the world’s most influential chefs, including Virgilio Martinez and Mitsuharu Tsumura, whose establishments in Lima and Cusco are a must for visiting foodies.

For those looking to really get down and dirty in the new year, Peru will also be the host nation for the Dakar Rally in January. The competition will take place in the southern region of the country, on a 5,000km rally route with the start and finish in Lima.

Where to stay:

Amantica Lodge is an exclusive lodge sitting on the shores of the vast high-altitude Lake Titicaca, is the small island of Amantani, and it is here you will find Amantica Lodge. Composed of just two suites, it has been designed around the spectacular panoramas allowing guests to gaze over the calm surface to the Peruvian mountains beyond.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Peru

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For some serious indulgence: South Australia

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

Forget dry January. In the first month of 2019, take to South Australia and indulge in the fruits of this fertile land. The experiences on our wish list? Sipping our way through the wineries of Barossa Valley and meeting with Maggie Beers, Australia’s most celebrated chef to learn the secrets of Australian culinary heritage

Where to stay:

Where better to stay than in the midst of this natural beauty of Freycinet Peninsula, with the backdrop of the pink tinted Hazard Mountains and Wineglass Bay within your reach. At the Saffire Freycinet, the modern but minimalist rooms with floor to ceiling windows will take your breath away. With 20 rooms to choose from, each is perfectly sculpted for your relaxation.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

South Australia

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For a White Christmas: Antarctica

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

Whilst you might have been looking to escape the snow and sleet of a grey U.K., we can assure you that a wintry day in Antarctica looks a little different. Much of the sea ice has receded by January — but while you may not see as much of the spectacular ice formations the landscape is famous for, a brief window of opportunity allows a lucky few visitors the chance to visit the historic sites of Scott and Shackleton’s expedition huts.

Where to stay:

OK, so we know this isn’t quite what you were hoping for in a 2019 round-up, but for the early birds amongst you, A&K are now taking bookings for a once in a lifetime cruise in 2020. The expedition will take the form of a 15-day voyage commemorating the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Antarctica

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For the nature lover: India

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

Black Tomato are offering a trip to India’s Aravalli Hills for the chance to channel your inner conservationist and come face to face with the elusive Indian Leopard. Unlike the crew of Attenborough’s Dynasties, you’ll be bedding down in a luxury tenting camp that offers the perfect proximity to northern India’s wild heart. That’s our kind of camping.

Where to stay:

This tour will take you from luxury traditional hotels in vibrant cities like Mumbai, to tented camps in the middle of the wilds of Jawai.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Rajasthan Safari

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For some fresh mountain air: Rwanda

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

Despite having an extremely sad history, luxury travel has arrived in Rwanda. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, the country is home to more than a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla in the bamboo- covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes National Park. Environmentally, this is one of the cleanest countries in the world.

Where to stay: 

One&Only Nyungwe House, located on the edge of the Nyungwe Forest in the mountainous south west, sits within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation and alongside an ancient rainforest.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Rwanda

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For a winter wonderland: Iceland

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

If winter in the UK left something to be desired, a trip to Iceland offers the perfect chance to immerse yourself in a winter wonderland. Cozy up in a luxury lodge, with the Northern Lights providing your backdrop — and, if you’re feeling extreme, why not go scuba diving between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America.

Where to stay:

Hotel Rangá, just a couple of hours from Reykjavik airport, is set amongst the southern landscapes of this dramatic country. Rangá is in the perfect location for the best sightings of the elusive and spectacular Northern lights.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Iceland

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For some winter sun: Morocco

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

Bringing a fresh look at Winter Sun, spend January routing through Marrakesh in a motorbike sidecar, race quad bikes through the desert and sleep under the stars at a luxurious desert camp in the heart of the wilderness.

Where to stay:

Terre des Etoiles in the Agafay Desert was inspired by the tent of the nomads of the Atlas and the Sahara. Their luxury lodges are built in simple materials  to combine charm and comfort.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Morocco

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For a party atmosphere: Brazil

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

2016 and 2017 were tough on Brazil. The Olympics brought both positive and negative interest, while
the Zika scare stories, an economic downturn and far-reaching government turmoil put some tourists off. But Brazil is on the up again and is abuzz with new luxury hotel openings. From the bustling streets of São Paulo to the white-
sand beaches of Rio de Janeiro — this trip with A&K can be enhanced with a one of the top chefs in Brazil joining you to make it an Amazon culinary journey, creating high-end food with asai berries, ants and anything else that can be foraged from the forest.

Where to stay:

The Four Seasons Hotel São Paulo at Nações Unidas has newly opened and is the first Four Seasons property in Brazil. Guest rooms and suites here are contemporary yet intimate, with stunning views of the city and the opportunity to take
advantage of the hotel’s lush outdoor areas.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Brazil

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For the whole family: Turkey

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Why go now?

A richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste and stunning scenery from
mountains to the beaches of Bodrum, Turkey is a cultural marvel where the east meets west. New hotel openings
have brought it back to the top of the agenda from a recent downturn. Not to mention your money going further with a
strong pound.

Where to stay:

Aman’s Amanruya once again opened its doors to its secluded spot on the scalloped Aegean coastline. The
isolated resort, a scenic 30-minute drive from the bustling town of Bodrum, rests in seclusion on 24 hectares of
forested hillside, overlooking its own private bay – a rare privilege on the Bodrum Peninsula.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Turkey

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For a world wonder: Cambodia

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

Cambodia’s history, people and cuisine is enough to travel for, but it’s the architecture that has us returning time and time again. On this trip through Black Tomato, you’ll visit each of Cambodia’s greatest temples and have the chance to skip the queues and enjoy a helicopter ride over Cambodia’s most celebrated; Angkor Wat.

Where to stay:

Belmond La Residence D’Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap prides itself on the intimacy and beauty of the retreat. Nestled on the banks of a tree lined river, the views capture Cambodia’s rich history and culture. The hotel offers a modern take on the past yet still manages to maintain traditional Khmer architecture.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Cambodia

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For a taste of the good life: Colombia

15 destinations to visit in January 2019
Photo courtesy of Black Tomato

Why go now?

A Latino twist on January promises to start your year with enough colour and character to last the entire year, and there’s nowhere better to get your fill than Colombia. After soaking in the culture of the mainland, board a private a 41-foot yacht and privately cruise to Tierra Bomba Island, a true picture of paradise where the Caribbean good-life is guaranteed.

Where to stay:

Villa Playa Tayrona, the chicest and most modern launching point for visiting the famous Tayrona National Park. Sitting in a secluded bay with private beach access, this beautiful six-bedroom villa hotel on the Caribbean Sea is the ideal place to disconnect after exploring Colombia’s vibrant cities or trekking its abundant rainforests.

15 destinations to visit in January 2019

Cartagena & Tayrona

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