If wanderlust has you dreaming of your next bucket list adventure, embrace the trend for more meaningful, personalized experiences tailored to your travel style. We partnered with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants – part of the Luxury & Lifestyle Collection from IHG Hotels & Resorts – to curate an inspirational line-up of the coveted global destinations you need to head to next. Whether you’re a culture buff, wellness devotee, art aficionado, foodie, island lover, or wish to travel with your fur baby, we’ve planned the perfect itinerary.
Bucket List: Japan
Perfect For: Art Aficionados
Japan is famous for its art scene – from its traditional artisan crafts, sculpture, pottery, and calligraphy to its ultra-modern anime and bold pop art – and the country itself is like a great work of art. Everywhere you look Japan’s beauty is eloquently displayed through its ancient temples, spectacular gardens, cherry blossoms, bamboo forests, waterfalls, rugged mountains (hello, Mt. Fuji), and pristine beaches (Okinawa). Add to that Japan’s fascinating culture, incredible food, warm hospitable people, and centuries-old traditions – tranquil tea ceremonies, Japanese cuisine (washoku) which offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with a selection of regional and seasonal dishes, vibrant kimonos – an artful immersion awaits. Japan is also a land of contrasts, here a deep sense of tradition blends seamlessly with futuristic skyscrapers, high-tech bullet trains, and the pulsating neon-lit streets of Tokyo.
Our Favorite Hotel in Japan
Set on a buzzy intersection of Tokyo’s dynamic Shinjuku district, Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo is a love letter to Japanese culture and influences with a thoroughly modern Manhattan vibe. The sleek minimalistic hotel favors clean lines and incorporates artful touches like intricate woodworks, bold pops of color, and art deco, vibrant Japanese Yukata robes, and stunning metal floral inlays on the charred headboards (a modern twist on Ikebana). A tranquil oasis in the heart of Japan’s capital, the chic guest rooms offer views of Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Central Park and come with deep soak tubs, perfect for reclaiming your Zen after a day of exploring. Drawing inspiration from its surroundings, we love the neon “Oh Tokyo” sign (a nod to the dazzling lights of the Shinjuku) displayed in the hotel’s all-day cafe, The Jones Café | Bar, and the huge “Okaeri” art at the main entrance (meaning ‘Welcome back’ in Japanese) that welcomes guests. With more than 20 artists’ work being showcased in the hotel- it’s almost like visiting a gallery in Manhattan, in the heart of Tokyo, Shinjuku.
Bucket List: Sydney, Australia
Perfect For: Culture Buffs
Sydney’s been called ‘Paris by the Sea’ and this sparkling harbor city, beloved for its gorgeous beaches, amazing food and wine, and happy laidback people is well worth the long-haul flight. Instantly recognized by its famed Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House (home to The Australian ballet, performance halls and top restaurants), the iconic architectural white-sail-shaped gem that majestically hugs the harbor, Sydney is a beautiful, culturally and culinary vibrant city that is awash with incredible architecture and plenty of sandstone. Here colonial Georgian, neo Gothic, Victorian, post war and shiny modern gems like Bangaroo – a former shipyard on the foreshore that is now the city’s culinary hub – define the epic skyline and landscape. Stroll through the historic laneways and cobblestone streets of The Rocks district, Sydney’s oldest, set in the shadow of the harbor where Captain Cook first sailed in and colonization began. Explore the CBD, to be amazed by landmark buildings like the Queen Victoria Building, an opulent Romanesque Revival masterpiece that’s home to buzzy boutiques and restaurants, the striking Sydney Tower, the tallest in the city, and its centerpiece, and the Art-Deco inspired Museum of Contemporary Art. And do venture east of the city past Hyde Park along Oxford Street which will take you through the trendy neighborhoods of Darlinghurst, Paddington, Woollahra and all the way to the legendary Bondi Beach, (as idyllic as the Mediterranean in the heart of the city) to marvel at the sight of row after row of heritage-listed Victorian terrace houses and historic former workers cottages.
Our Favorite Hotel in Sydney
Set to open its doors in 2022, Kimpton Margot Sydney located between the scenic harbor and buzzy Chinatown is the latest addition to Sydney’s rich architectural landscape. Fusing Art-Deco architecture with eclectic modern Australian style (expect plenty of botanical displays, bold artworks, and grand patterns) the heritage-listed 1930s icon was given its name “Margot,” as a nod to the many women who shaped Australia’s vibrant art scene. The rooms and suites are plush, light-filled, and feature whimsical works by local and international artists. Also on the standouts: The 1930s-style lobby lounge that transforms from relaxed living room to stylish cocktail bar as night falls, the hotel’s historic 5000-bottle-strong cellar, the vibey rooftop pool and bar, and the innovative restaurant line-up helmed by top Aussie chef Luke Mangan.
Bucket List; Bali, Indonesia
Perfect For: Wellness Devotees
In Bali, where mist rises over rice paddies and soothing gamelan music plays, healing is a way of life that is deeply rooted in its culture. Known for its lush jungle landscape, surfing, and tranquility, wellness devotees flock to this mystical eastern land to explore its temples, attend yoga, spa, and meditation retreats, visit spiritual healers, and immerse themselves in ancient health and wellness rituals and recipes passed down through the generations.
Our Favorite Hotel in Bali
The soulful Kimpton Naranta Bali, on the coast of Nusa Dua, features 50 villas, many with a private saltwater plunge pool and outdoor rain shower, and all with an outdoor bale offering majestic views of Maj Valley, Mount Agung, or the Indian Ocean. The Samskara Wellness spa is undoubtedly the draw here. Visits begin with a Balinese breathing, stretching, and water cleansing ritual led by the resident spiritual guru, followed by ancient healing techniques and modern therapies. The resort is also a foodie paradise with five restaurants including Aki & Jack’s, a Japanese meets western barbecue fusion, and Maya’s Pantry, an all-day interactive pantry concept with open kitchens featuring wholesome homemade fare and organic menu options.
Bucket List: Koh Samui, Thailand
Perfect For: Island Lovers
If palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, lush rainforest, and temples are your idea of heaven, Koh Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island is quite simply paradise on earth (the underwater life is equally spectacular). Beyond the breathtaking beaches, be sure to visit the Wat Phra Yai temple’s landmark Big Buddha statue, hike the island’s green jungles in search of hidden waterfalls and cascades, or for the ultimate barefoot island experience, visit Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 islands featuring Thailand’s iconic limestone mountains, white-sand beaches, and exotic endangered wildlife.
Our Favorite Hotel in Koh Samui
Evoking the romance and history of the island’s traditional fishing villages, Kimpton Kitalay Samui is an exercise in oceanfront luxury and elegance. The suites and villas feature oversized tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and terraces with stunning water views, natural woven rugs, and Thai-crafted artwork. Stroll the lush grounds, laze by the seafront infinity pool or pamper yourself in the onsite spa, Pimãanda by HARNN, where the signature ritual is inspired by the Manora dance dramas of southern Thailand. Also on the ‘must-do list is the sunrise alms (‘tak bat’), a traditional offering to the saffron-robed monks and the afternoon visit to Choeng Mon Beach, where you are led by a hotel guide to a gorgeous stretch of sand where vendors sell delicious street food and souvenirs by local artisans.
Bucket List: Manchester, England
Perfect For: Foodies
The word is out. Manchester England is a foodie hotspot – starting with its coffee culture. The most noteworthy cup of java comes from the bohemian, hipster Northern Quarter, home to the city’s highest concentration of cafes. Indian (and specifically Indian street food) is another big-menu item here, as is the beer. Manchester has one of the UK’s most vibrant craft brewing scenes. As for fine-dining, Michelin-starred, and up-and-coming chefs have found their home here, and the result is a thriving international culinary scene.
Our Favorite Hotel in Manchester
Housed in one of Manchester’s most famous buildings – an 1890 Victorian red brick and terracotta beauty – Kimpton Clocktower Hotel dazzles against the grit of this longtime industrial city. There’s no missing the striking clock tower, now a Manchester landmark that was added in 1912. After a hat-tipping greeting by the doorman (a good day to you), step inside the lobby’s glass dome where you’re met by an impressive bronze horse sculpture by Sophie Dickens, a nod to the horse-and-carriage ‘turning circle’ that once stood on the spot. Inside the hotel’s design and guest rooms are equally as fabulous as its exterior with velvet furnishings, high ceilings, textiles by Scottish company Timorous Beasties, and in some suites, a turntable with vinyl, a tribute to the city’s legendary music scene. The real draw here is The Refuge Dining Room, curated by the award-winning culinary team from Volta. The setting is glam-meets-industrial and the menu is eclectic, with small dishes and sharing platters that meld global flavors with Mancunian style; be sure to try the Gochujang fried chicken wings, lamb shawarma, coley tikka, bhuna, and whole roasted sea bass.
Bucket List: Bangkok, Thailand
Perfect For: Furry Friends
Bangkok, known for its sacred temples, stunning flower markets, delicious street food, and deeply rooted wellness culture is also one of the most pet-friendly destinations in the world. If traveling with your fur baby, there are great public parks to welcome you both. Nong Bon Lake (‘Bung Nong Bon’) in the Prawet district is a popular doggy park, as is Trail and Tail which has a large grassy play area, animal clinic, pet shop and swimming pool (yes, for the pooch). Dog-friendly restaurants are also becoming increasingly popular, some with special air-conditioned rooms (Bangkok is hot and humid), and there are also pet taxi services.
Our Favorite Hotel in Bangkok
Kimpton properties are known (and loved) for being more than pet-friendly, and Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok is no exception. Throughout this stunning art-centric hotel, which honors the traditions and artistry of Thai artists, furry friends are also celebrated – no matter their size, weight, or breed. The red-carpet pet experience here includes special pet strollers (for those long walks around the city), dog-and-cat toys, beds, grooming kits, leashes, food bowls, and even treats. ‘Pawrents’ will love their human environment too: the room’s soothing white, cream, and neutral color palette, kimono-style bathrobes hand-made by Thai artisans, and spacious bathrooms with oversized, freestanding tubs.