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Top Destinations for 2023 Travel

2023 is shaping up to be the year travel officially bounces back better than ever. We made our list of the best destinations for 2023 a little differently this year: We asked our agents where they were heading & where their clients have been dying to go back to! Here is what we gathered:


The United Kingdom

PHOTO: COURTESY OF PENINSULA LONDON

This past summer saw the opening of Gleneagles Townhouse, a chic, urban outpost of the iconic Gleneagles resort, in the heart of Edinburgh; next year London will welcome the cool glam of the Peter Marino–designed Peninsula London. Of the U.K.’s many world-class museums, two have recently gotten upgrades: Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, a stunning assortment of international art and artifacts, and the Manchester Museum, which is dedicated to the natural sciences.


The Factory, Manchester’s new cultural center, pays tribute to the famous record label behind '80s rock bands the Happy Mondays and New Order. Gourmands (and the just plain hungry) will want to sample the broad range of culinary delights at London’s new Arcade Food Hall at Battersea Power Station, the latest stage in the rehabilitation of the historic building. No visit to the U.K. is complete without venturing out into its peerless countryside, and Scotland’s first rewilding center, Dundreggan, is one noteworthy place to take it all in: Managed by charitable organization Trees for Life, this 10,000-acre estate on the shores of Scotland’s Loch Ness plans to open a visitor’s center by the end of 2023. Meanwhile, the new Two Toms Trail in Lancashire covers 25 miles and features some of England’s most stunning scenery. Peter Terzian


Kyoto, Japan

PHOTO: RUDY SULGAN/GETTY IMAGES

Kyoto is often thought of as the serene, slowed-down complement to go-go Tokyo. And, certainly, the former Japanese capital has its historic temples, gardens, and teahouses. But since Japan’s October 2022 reopening to independent travelers, this destination and its new draws demand fresh eyes.


The city’s famous Gion Matsuri, or festival, is set to return in full force in July 2023 following a pandemic pause, with enormous floats and a wealth of food and drink offerings; the event, which was first held in 869, is said to be Japan’s biggest festival. In August, Kyoto celebrates Gozan Okuribi, a bonfire celebration visible across the city that marks the close of Obon, a festival honoring ancestors. New hotels abound, including hospitality group Banyan Tree’s 138-room Dhawa Yura Kyoto, located in the heart of the city. Another new option is Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto, with 25 rooms set amid lush greenery in front of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Also new — yet firmly rooted in the city’s history — is the recently opened Maana Kiyomizu, where visitors can spend the night in restored machiya, traditional wooden townhouses. Though Japan has only just reopened, it’s already getting even easier to get there, thanks to Delta Air Lines’ brand-new routes from Hawaii to Tokyo plus flights that resumed this fall from Los Angeles. Alisha Prakash



Maui, Hawaii

PHOTO: TAYLOR MCINTYRE/TRAVEL + LEISURE

Hawaii has been in the midst of a multi-year rethink about how tourism impacts the state. “We seek to balance the economic vitality of our industry with the health of our natural environment and the well-being of our communities,” is how Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries put it this past summer.


On Maui, that balance has been struck recently in efforts to renovate and reimagine some of the island’s most popular resorts. The 54-acre Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, to take one example, is finishing up a major overhaul that includes a reimagined aquatic complex (with three “zero-edge” swimming pools), an expanded Club Lounge, and programming that will include not just cocktail classes and cooking demonstrations but also lei making and musical performances by Hawaiian artists.


On the southwest coast of the island, The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is in the midst of its own refresh of all 776 guest rooms and suites; some are, happily, already good to go. There’s other progress beyond hotels: e-bikes are now plentiful on Maui, thanks to a recent rule change that allows them on island roads. Companies like RideSmart Maui lend out wheels that make exploring a breeze, whether your interest lies in the historic sites of Lahaina or the beautiful beaches around Wailea. — John Wogan



ALSO:

Riviera Maya, Mexico

PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHABLÉ HOTELS


Cayman Islands

PHOTO: WARREN FLEMING-HOLLINGER/GETTY IMAGES

What destination is on your 2023 bucket list?

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