New year, new bucket list. With February now underway, it’s time to start planning your year of travel—and why not start with a getaway this month while the winter slump is still at its peak? There are plenty of new reasons to hop a flight if it’s sunshine you’re after, including show-stopping hotel openings in Costa Rica and Santa Barbara, not to mention a new Norman Foster–designed museum in West Palm Beach. There’s still time for an epic snow adventure, too. Our top pick? Chasing powder in an up-and-coming Utah ski retreat, where there’s a just-opened lodge that will have you forgetting all about the crowded resorts of Aspen. Read on for the five trips you should be booking right. this. minute.
Santa Barbara, California
The picturesque Southern California enclave surrounding Santa Barbara earned itself the nickname “The American Riviera” for good reason: Its gorgeous combo of mountains, sea, and sand have drawn many a comparison to France’s Côte d’Azur. And this month, the region is getting even more picturesque with the arrival of Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, just outside of Santa Barbara. Located on 16 acres, the 161-room property has everything you want from a relaxing beachfront getaway: ocean views, a yoga studio, and even a poolside ice cream shop. It’s all part of a mini-renaissance that was well underway when the Thomas Fire of December 2017 hit. Now, more than a year later, everything is in place for a full-on revival, not only at the Rosewood (which is also responsible for reopening the famed Miramar Beach) but also at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, which reopened last summer after being closed for several months for post-fire renovations.
Of course you know Rio and New Orleans, but there’s one annual carnival you may have missed. Venice’s Carnevale, which takes place February 16 to March 5 in the weeks leading up to Lent, is a more exclusive alternative to those bigger and better-known blowouts, with candle-lit boat parades, open-air concerts and exclusive parties (including a VIP ball).
Andrea Grisdale, CEO of bespoke travel company IC Bellagio, can procure tickets to the Ballo Tiepolo, held inside the Pisani Moretta Palace, for an evening of incredible food and tons of entertainment—a baroque orchestra, opera singers, acrobats and dancers. The dress code is “period costume,” and Grisdale’s clients will get access to a renowned atelier to rent or buy handmade pieces. The Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection property set inside a 14th-century building, is also hosting a number galas.
There’s nothing skiers value more than annual powder snowfall—and the Alta ski area gets more than both nearby Deer Valley and Park City every year. Take your pick of 116-plus runs—more than half of them black diamonds—as well as mountain activities like a birdwatching safari (on skis!) with an aviary expert and a naturalist-led snowshoe tour. Bed down in luxury at the new 77-room Snowpine Lodge, the town’s first ski-in/ski-out property, which is located in a building that was originally part of a late 1800s silver mine. Here, guests have their pick of après options: slope-side hot tubs, a heated pool, a spa with an indoor grotto and oxygen bar, and a game room with everything from foosball and karaoke to classic Pac-Man.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Set along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast in Guanacaste, the car-free utopia of Las Catalinas is welcoming its second property this month. Santarena Hotel has just 45 light-filled, wood-floored rooms (most with private balconies), making it an intimate base from which to explore the area—including an expansive hiking and biking system, which weaves through almost 1,000 acres of protected forest—linger over dinner in the main square, and relax on the beautiful beaches. On site, you’ll find plenty of public spaces like a rooftop lounge and pool and a laid-back restaurant with al fresco seating.
West Palm Beach
After three-plus years of construction, the Norton Museum of Art is finally set to debut its Norman Foster–designed expansion on February 9. Additions include 12,000 square feet of gallery space, an education center, a restaurant, and an Insta-worthy sculpture garden. As for where to stay, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach reopened in December after a refresh with completely redesigned rooms, an adults-only pool, and a signature restaurant from renowned chef Mauro Colagreco. Want a tee time? The Breakers’ Ocean Course—the oldest 18-hole golf course in Florida—is looking better than ever, thanks to a 2018 renovation by architect Rees Jones.