Top Places to Go in 2016 - Part 3
In 2008, Alejandro Bulgheroni, who owns wineries from Napa to Tuscany, began growing grapes in a ranching region of Uruguay near the dusty town of Garzón, about 20 miles inland from the beach village of José Ignacio. Last month, the resulting boutique vineyard, Bodega Garzón, added a 161,000-square-foot winery angling for LEED certification and a restaurant with an open-flame-cooking focus overseen by the celebrated Argentine chef Francis Mallmann. It’s on an approximately 10,000-acre CQ property that includes olive and almond orchards. An inn is planned next year. Spanning nearby Lake Garzón, the new ring-shaped Laguna Garzón Bridge designed by the Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly is poised to be both an architectural attraction and a gateway to the rustic countryside.
Dublin commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule with a series of ribbon cuttings this spring. Richmond Barracks, where the Rising leaders were court-martialed, will open an exhibition center. Nearby Kilmainham Gaol, the dramatic-looking prison where most of the leaders were executed, will unveil its restored Regency-style courthouse. The National Concert Hall will turn three rooms, site of the historic Treaty Debates, into a 130-seat performance space. And later in the year, the National Gallery of Ireland is expected to reveal the most extensive refurbishment in its 150-plus-year history, with the opening of a new atrium and upgrades to two wings.
Nearly 50 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, tranquil Todos Santos has long been a surfer’s retreat and a day-trip destination for Cabo travelers keen to visit art galleries. In summer, the new Tres Santos development may tempt longer visits via Hotel San Cristobal, a new 32-room beachfront hotel from Bunkhouse, owners of Hotel San Jose in Austin. A new 3.5-mile hiking and biking path will link the beach to town to encourage sustainable commutes. Tres Santos, which bills itself as a “mindful living community” and includes vacation homes, also plans to open a farm and a village with shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market this year.
North India, with its famous Moghul era palaces and forts, might be the country’s most popular tourist destination, but Tamil Nadu in the south has an equally rich and undiscovered history. The state is where India’s major temple cultural complexes are, and some are so large that they’re considered minicities. There’s Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, a sprawling complex dedicated to a powerful female deity, Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, built by the ancient Cholas, one of India’s greatest dynasties, and several hundred other temples dotting the countryside and brimming with art carvings dating back as far as the 9th century. But temples aren’t the only cultural hit: the region of Chettinad has more than 50 villages filled with 18th century mansions of carved Burma teak. It also boasts cuisine that is among the spiciest and most aromatic in the country and often served on banana leaves. Limited infrastructure in Tamil Nadu made accessibility a challenge for travelers, but the recent burst of boutique hotels is changing that. Over a dozen properties recently opened or on their way to debuting include Chidambara Vilas and the Bangala in Chettinad, Heritage Madurai in Madurai and Ideal River View Resort in Thanjavur.
Vaud, Switzerland’s gracious canton that hugs Lake Geneva, has been known to attract famous people seeking quiet lives, Audrey Hepburn and Charlie Chaplin among them. This spring, the long-awaited Chaplin’s World will open on 35 wooded acres at his former estate in Vevey, with an artifact-filled Modern Times Museum, contemporary art gallery, outdoor festival site and film center. The nearby Modern Times Hotel, opening in February, will offer shuttles to the museum. On the lakefront, Alimentarium, the food museum run by Nestlé, will reopen in June after a nine-month remodel to better relate “the story of food” through interactive exhibits. In fall, the new 65,000-square-foot Aquatis Swiss Aquarium and Water Museum will open near Lausanne, the canton’s capital.
The National Mall, studded with landmarks and museums, will soon have one more jewel in its cultural crown: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open late this year. Expect exhibits presenting a nuanced perspective of the African-American experience through cultural artifacts, artwork and personal-history stories. Adding to the appeal of downtown is nearby CityCenterDC, an ambitious 10-acre development project filled with apartments, condos, shops and restaurants, including Momofuku CCDC (the first United States location outside of New York of the celebrated restaurant brand), which opened there late last year.
Known mostly for its minimalist architecture, the Czech Republic’s second city is finally starting to earn praise for its food and drink, with last year’s new bars Super Panda Circus and Lucky Bastard Beerhouse joining the revered three-year-old Bar, Který Neexistuje (The Bar Which Doesn’t Exist). Stylish new restaurants like Simplé, Pavillon, Il Mercato and Koishi offer pitch-perfect takes on French, American, Japanese and regional Italian cooking, among others, while third-wave coffeehouses Coffee Fusion andCafe Mitte make it easy for overnight guests from nearby Prague and Vienna to shake off the excess of the previous evening on their way to the remarkableVilla Tugendhat.
Remote is an understatement. A speck of volcanic rock in the South Atlantic some 1,200 miles west of the African coast, this British Overseas Territory is reachable by a five-day ship journey. But Saint Helena is constructing its first airport and next year will welcome commercial flights on Comair from Johannesburg. The island, with dramatic landscapes and waters full of whale sharks, dolphins and tuna, offers a unique getaway for hikers, divers, fishing enthusiasts and hermits. All activities are best fueled by local coffee, an internationally prized specimen.
This year, Barcelona prepares for an influx of architecture aficionados as it marks the 90th anniversary of the death of Antoni Gaudí, whose work famously peppers the city. The Gaudi Exhibition Center at the Museu Diocesà de Barcelona will continue to offer an interactive deep dive with its “Walking With Gaudi” exhibition — a perfect primer for what is poised to be an important decade in Gaudian history: by year’s end, the Unesco World Heritage Site Casa Vicens — Gaudi’s first major work — will open as a public museum, and the completion of the Sagrada Família cathedral, his most ambitious work, is finally scheduled for 2026. Guests of the nearby Majestic Hotel & Spa will be offered private tours of both structures once they open.
Pine forests, locally grown avocados, and artichoke tea aren’t commonplace in Vietnam, but they are in Dalat. The south-central-highlands town, a former French-colonial hill station with eternal spring weather, is an agricultural El Dorado, growing asparagus, strawberries, coffee, artichokes, roses and more. Dalat has built a reputation for outdoor activities, golf (the new Dàlat at 1200 country club opened a course in November that will be featured on the 2016 Asian Tour), white-water rafting, mountain biking, canyoning and splashing under the roaring Elephant Falls or terraced Pongour Falls. So have overseas visitors — debut charter flights from China, South Korea, and Thailand arrived in 2015, with direct Singapore flights under discussion — drawn by the promise of a refreshingly different Vietnam experience.