Where to travel next: 2022 Hot List

Qatar: desert bloom

With one eye on the traditions of the past and the other firmly on the future, compact Qatar feels different from its Gulf neighbours. The country’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has brought in a wealth of new stadiums, infrastructure projects, and hotels, including the Middle East’s first Banyan Tree, a testament to Qatar’s confidence that the world will keep coming when the games are done. Because there’s so much more to the Gulf nation than sports. In the past year, Doha’s museums and galleries have hosted exhibitions by Jeff Koons and Virgil Abloh, and Msheireb Downtown is now home to M7, a hub for Qatari design. (The I. M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art reopens in late 2022 after a year of enhancements.) Those in need of a reset are heading to the north coast to Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som, where traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine meet well-being philosophies. And outside Doha, the unexpectedly verdant Heenat Salma Farm reconnects people with nature through field-to-table dining, craft workshops, and cosy tents for overnight stays. It’s desert life, but not as you know it.

Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest

Eric Yang/Getty

Budapest, Hungary: Belle Époque is back

Hungary’s sophisticated capital used the Covid pause well. The city restored institutions like the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle Quarter and The Guard House and opened up in fresh ways via new access to sites like the Hapsburg Palatine crypt, while Budapest’s landmark neo-Renaissance Opera House reopened in March after five years of restoration work. Fitting, too, that historic Matild Palace debuted as a Luxury Collection hotel in June, glamorous with Art Nouveau-inspired public spaces like the buzzy Duchess rooftop bar. Never has the nickname The Paris of the East felt more resonant.

Mexico City: magnetic pull

It seems as if every creative on Earth has relocated to Mexico City or is considering a move to this buzzy and still-affordable megalopolis. We get it: the seemingly always-sunny city has a ton going on just now. Its strong hotel landscape got stronger with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton along the jacaranda-lined Paseo de la Reforma. In the posh Polanco, The Alest opened with 19 smart rooms, and Casa Polanco is set to open soon inside a 1940s former mansion. The city’s main green space, Bosque de Chapultepec, welcomed LAGO ALGO, a restaurant, café, and cultural centre set in a renovated 1960s building. The dining scene flourished too, with leafy La Condesa reemerging as a hot spot. At Anónimo, the Mexican German chef Klaus Mayr serves delicate pastas, while at Botánico, Sergio Meza plates dishes like sustainably sourced fish wrapped in Malbec leaves. In Roma Norte, tucked away off the bustling street of Álvaro Obregón, the passageway El Parián opened with dozens of new businesses, including the concept shop PCH, showcasing the city’s top female brands, and Jarilla, an upscale grab-and-go for sandwiches, jarred Mexican delicacies, and natural wine. 

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