Technology and globalization can make the world feel small and thoroughly explored. But there are always places to discover—and rediscover—for yourself.
1. Angra dos Reis, Brazil
This popular Brazilian vacation area is where cariocas go to escape the crowds. “It’s where many of the country’s elite have their beach villas,” says Martin Frankenberg of Matuete, who has access to several of these glamorous rentals. Big changes are coming to the region. In May, Brazilian chain Fasano will open a long-awaited 54-suite hotel in a complex that includes a marina, golf course, restaurants, and a spa. The design is striking, with elevated wooden buildings that look like they’re floating, all with open-air terraces and views of the forest and sea.
The island’s 132-year-old grande dame, whose revamped rooms have a fresh, contemporary look. The hotel has also added a stellar art collection, a spa, and a restaurant serving locally sourced fare from James Beard Award–winning chef Marcus Samuelsson. Elsewhere on the island, a St. Regis, a lavish Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and the Ariel Sands resort (backed by actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) are in the works.
3. Cambodian Coast
The newest island escapes: the wellness-minded Six Senses on Krabey Island, where spa treatments are Cambodian-inspired, and the Alila eco-resort on Koh Russey, which has an emphasis on Khmer cuisine and community service.
4. Honolulu, Hawaii
The tides are changing in Honolulu. Hawaii’s capital is becoming a cultural powerhouse—it will host its first Biennial, which will attract artists from across the Pacific Rim as well as celebrate Hawaii’s own underrepresented artists. Further proof the capital is becoming an arts hub: Even touristy Waikiki is changing, thanks to brand new art-centric hotel, Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, which collaborated with local artists—from the restrooms’ custom bird-of-paradise wallpaper to the Matthew Tapia–designed graphic mural at the bottom of the pool that reads “Wish You Were Here.”
This massive island is home to thousands of species that are found nowhere else on earth—more than 90 percent of Madagascar’s flora and fauna are endemic—and with the threat of climate change and deforestation looming ever larger, this is one trip that shouldn’t be delayed. Situated on the island of Nosy Anko, the eco-friendly resort includes 14 villas designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the architects behind similarly luxe African retreats like Chinzombo and Angama Mara. Between seaside pursuits, guests are whisked by helicopter to Ankarana National Park for lemur-spotting or Amber Mountain National Park to explore its waterfalls and crater lakes.