The Lists

Best Luxury Travel Destinations in the Month of January

Where will January take you? Where should it? What are the best places to go in January? Dear reader, there are so many magical options for starting your travels in the new year in high style that’s it’s hard to narrow the list. You can opt for sand or snow. You could travel to a serene setting for a new year’s de-tox or a “fitcation.” Alternatively, you can always find a place to keep the holiday party vibe going. Maybe you’re planning to propose? (it’s engagement season, after all). Whatever your fancy, here are our top picks for the best luxury travel destinations in the month of January.

what are the best places to go in january?

Winter in the northern hemisphere and summer south of the equator give January travelers lots of options. The weather is perfect in the tropics and the southern hemisphere. We’re looking at you, Team Sand — there’s no better time to escape to the beach.

Meanwhile for Team Snow, North America, Japan and Europe are home to iconic winter landscapes perfect for snow sports of all kinds.

Personally, right now we’re totally in the mood for a world-class destination spa, or maybe a boot camp, given the consequences of all the year-end holiday fun.

The long MLK Day weekend is a great chance to visit a new city – why not make it one where Dr. King made one of his most iconic speeches?

If you didn’t end up receiving the gift of a trip of a lifetime for the holidays, it’s time to self-gift! Whatever you decide, the world is waiting for you. Let’s go!

the best luxury travel destinations in the month of January

1. India’s Himalayan Foothills & Andaman Islands

If you’re looking for cultural immersion to start the New Year, this is an excellent time to explore India. It’s pleasantly warm, and the holiday crowds have vanished. Start in New Delhi and head east to the world-famous tea plantations in Darjeeling. Or visit Rajasthan State: Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. The 12th edition of the beloved Jaipur Literary Festival takes place from January 23-28. The festival is held in the historic Diggi Palace Hotel. Or take a safari in Jaisalmer, transverse the desert on a camel, and sleep under the stars. Goa is India’s smallest state, with just 63 miles of coast on the Arabian Sea; it’s a secluded and lovely beach-lover’s oasis– particularly in the resort areas of Calangute and Candolim.

Jaipur, India

2. Myanmar

In terms of the weather, January is the best time to visit Myanmar. The month sees very little rain, lots of sunshine, and comfortable warmth. It’s a lovely time to explore, from pagodas and temples in the misty mountains, where the Himalayas begin, to the gorgeous tropical islands. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country’s largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering Shwedagon Pagoda complex, which contains Buddhist relics and dates to the 6th century.

A leg fisherman in Myanmar

3. An active “Fitcation” in Thailand

A Fresh Start Fitness vacation in Thailand might be the perfect catalyst to a healthier new year. One of our friends took such a trip, and he swears by it now. Take a 7-day (or longer) holiday and training beside a waterfall or by climbing the steps of an ancient temple. Afterward, dine from a menu of freshly-made meals from the onsite organic farm. The resort accepts both solo travelers and couples, and commits to intensively monitoring your progress.

Hiking in Thailand

4. A January De-tox in Lucerne

The Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence is a medical retreat located 2,800 feet above Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. The hotel is one of four within the Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort complex in Lucerne. With 160 rooms and a 32,000 square-foot spa, the property aims to heal the mind and body with a variety of treatments and a large staff of physicians. Lucerne is one of our very favorite places in Switzerland – stunning views, fascinating local history, and great shopping. All that, plus a supportive environment in which to re-set your health and wellness? We’re in!

Lucerne Switzerland

5. Tanzania.

January is the start of high season in East Africa, and the ideal time to experience the stunning landscapes and wildlife in Ruaha National Park (including the Great Migration of wildebeest into the Serengeti). Adventurous types can camp in the volcanic caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater (16 kilometers in diameter and considered the eighth wonder of the natural world), or see the Serengeti by hot air balloon. Other magical settings? Snowy Mount Kilimanjaro and the beaches of Zanzibar. And for those looking for plush accommodations, check out luxury safari specialist Sanctuary Retreats’ exclusive Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp.


6. Nicaragua.

January is the month with the best temperatures of the year and also the least rainfall on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, making this the perfect time to explore its tropical rain forests, pristine beaches lined with palm trees, cloud-capped volcanoes and magical eco-lodges. The waves are calm through January, so conditions are ideal for amateur surfers. You can also sand-board down an active volcano, or stay on Jicaro Island amidst crystal clear waters, and dense jungle. 37-room Mukul, an Auberge resort, remains a standout.


7. Park City, Utah

Winter activities of all kinds await in Park City, just 32 miles from Salt Lake City airport. Downhill skiing, cross-country, and snowboarding are on the menu, of course. Also dog sledding, snow biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and snow tubing. Apres-ski, Main Street is home to pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops. The annual Sundance Film Festival in late January brings Hollywood to town, which is all to the good if you decide to visit then. Cineastes can see the latest films. And those who love snow sports will find that they have the mountains to themselves for the run of the festival. Win-win! We just returned from a trip there, and our favorite place to stay is the luxurious ski-in-ski-out Montage Deer Valley.

Park City Utah

8. Detroit.

Our hometown is the perfect Martin Luther King Jr. Day long weekend destination. The rejuvenation of the city continues at a rapid pace. Last winter saw the opening of the chic Siren Hotel. This month, The Shinola Hotel is set to open its doors in the center of the city’s historic Woodward Avenue commercial district.  The 129-room property comprises two downtown landmarks—the former Singer Sewing Machine store and the Meyer Jewelry Building—and three new buildings. A sky bridge installed along the rear of hotel will connect all five buildings.  The hotel is also home to retail options including a 1,600-square-foot Shinola store that opened in November. Dr. King first delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Detroit in June 1963. What better place to mark his legacy?

Detroit, Michigan

9. New York City.

If you didn’t make it to New York City during the holidays, it’s definitely not too late. January is a great time to visit the city – you’ll be able to get tickets for Broadway shows much more easily, and many of the great holiday amenities (like the skating rink at Bryant Park) will still be in place. This year, there’s an additional reason: The long-awaited Times Square EDITION opens this month.  This hotel will have 452 guest rooms with four levels of public space including a 5,000 sq. ft. performance venue and a 1,900 sq. ft. studio.  The spot will also have a beer garden and event deck overlooking Times Square.

New York City

10. Big Bend National Park, Texas.

If a hiking vacation is more appealing than a visit to a luxury spa, Big Bend might your be your dream vacation. The closest airports (El Paso and Midland/Odessa) are several hundred miles from the park, so you’ll need to rent a car or an RV. January weather is relatively dry with temperatures in the 50s. The Chihuahuan Desert offers trails at various levels of difficulty. The Chisos Mountains offer hikers sightings of white-tailed deer, rock squirrels, lizards, mountain lions, and gray foxes. The Rio Grande River is home to countless bird species and desert animals. The Hot Springs Historic District features rock art left behind on limestone cliffs.

Big Bend is one of North America’s best places for stargazing, with the least light pollution of any park in the lower 48 states. If you rent a fully-loaded luxury RV, you won’t even have to concern yourself with lodging.

Big Bend National Park Texas

That’s it. Our top picks for the best places to go for a luxury vacation in January. Have fun out there. And tell us where you’re heading this month (even if only in your dreams).

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