the i-escape blog / The 2024 Hotlist: Your top places to visit

When a new year rolls around, we’re always eager to find out what the next travel trends will be. So we asked you to tell us where you most want to go.

You voted in droves and thrilled us with your superb choices. It’s clear that remote escapes are in vogue, but it’s the ones in faraway destinations that appeal to you most right now – long-haul is back for 2024! Perhaps most comforting of all, though, is that your most sought-after destinations are the places we love the most here at i-escape – you lot have great taste.

So, without further ado, allow us to introduce this year’s Hotlist: the top places to visit in 2024.

Top Affordable Escape

Winner: The Namib Hideaways, Namibia

You get a million-dollar view for a fraction of the price at these remote cabins in the middle of the Namibian wilderness. Lie in bed and gaze through glass walls at the stark, lunar landscape of the Namib Desert, framed by the craggy Naukluft mountains beyond. It’s incredibly romantic, totally off the beaten track, and genuinely eco with solar power and a bathroom that’s open to the elements. But best of all, it’s wallet-friendly, with a rustic cabin costing less than £100 per night.

Runners-up: Mango Bay, Cabanon Concrete Retreat, Avalon

Top Beach Escape

Winner: Kalamota Beach House, Croatia

This waterside hotel on a tiny Croatian islet has fought off competition from three tropical idylls to take the beach crown this year – that’s quite a feat! Maybe it’s because the water surrounding Kalamota is as turquoise and tempting as the Indian Ocean, but it’s much closer for most of us. Or perhaps it’s the proximity to Dubrovnik, just 30 mins away by catamaran. And if you stay at the Kalamota Beach House, you get rooms with sea views, a buzzy waterside restaurant, and a sandy beach just footsteps away. It’s a fab choice for an easy beach holiday in 2024.

Runners-up: Fushifaru, Ser CasaSandra, The Datai

Top City Escape

Winner: Riad Sakkan, Marrakech

It was a landslide win for this uber-cool riad in central Marrakech. And we can totally see why. Just look at that gorgeous courtyard draped in hanging plants and decorative lanterns – there are surely few places more tranquil for escaping the inner-city bustle. Unless, of course, you include the hotel’s rooftop restaurant with its relaxing fireplace, city views and superb food. Sakkan beat competitors in extremely popular European destinations like Venice and Lisbon, so it looks as though exotic city breaks are in for 2024.

Runners-up: Corral del Rey, Madama Garden Retreat, The Lumiares

Top Eco Escape

Winner: Eco-lodge Villa Epicurea, Portugal

What a joy it is to see an all-vegetarian retreat top the eco category. Sustainability is embedded throughout Villa Epicurea, from the use of resources in construction to natural energy and a biological pool. It’s set in a nature reserve of pine forest, south along the coast from Lisbon, and comes with uninterrupted sea views. Inspired by Epicurean philosophy, this wellness space is all about the simple pleasures in life: enjoying beautiful surroundings, inventive (and delicious) plant-based food, sunshine and relaxation.

Runners-up: Gal Oya Lodge, Kahani Paradise, Whitepod

Top Family Escape

Winner: Marataba Safari Lodge, South Africa

Bucket-list adventures are on the cards for you families this year! And that’s exactly what you’ll get at Marataba, a safari lodge in a private, malaria-free portion of the Marakele National Park, 4 hours north of Johannesburg. It’s geared towards families, with tents that sleep four, a swimming pool, and a host of dedicated kids’ activities. Expect exciting safaris with Big Five wildlife, river cruises, and the opportunity to spend the night in a plush, open-air tree house in the wilderness. The kids will never forget it.

Runners-up: Languedoc Boutique Houses, Anassa, Fowey Hall

Top Food & Wine Escape

Winner: La Casona at Matetic Vineyards, Chile

Chilean wines must be having a moment because it’s the New World that’s tempting many right now. Located in one of Chile’s best wine regions, La Casona is a 100-year-old estancia with roots in wine production. The Matetic family have been growing world-famous grapes here for decades, and all their wines are organic. You can tour the sustainable vineyards and taste the fruits of their labour, each wine perfectly paired with exquisite homegrown food. Gourmet holidays don’t get much better.

Runners-up: Chateau Capitoul, The Terrace Rooms & Wine, Desierto Azul

Top Romantic Escape

Winner: Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

Sea views can make hearts skip, and you romantics want the full works: private tropical island, coral reef, over-water villa. So it’s to Indonesia’s far-flung Anambas Archipelago we go. Bawah Reserve is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of place, comprising six tropical islets with impossibly white sand. It’s totally exclusive and pleasingly eco-friendly. Meals, activities and spa treatments are part of the package, so you and yours get total pampering. Ideal for barefoot honeymoons.

Runners-up: Monteverdi, Katouna Suites, Ceylon Tea Trails

Top Adventure Escape

Winner: Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica

It’s heartwarming to see yet another eco-friendly property in the 2024 Hotlist. Pacuare Lodge is off-grid and carbon neutral. The adventure begins before you even arrive, as this idyllic jungle lodge is accessible only by raft – get set for some fast-flowing rapids! You sleep in cabins, most with 360-degree rainforest views or plunge pools, and your adventures range from zip-lining over the canopy to hiking to an indigenous community.

Runners-up: Thonga Beach Lodge, Umi Hotel, Caravan by Habitas Dakhla

Top New Escape

Winner: Sala Beach House, South Africa

The boutique hotel world got some stunning new additions in 2023, but it was a beach house with heavenly ocean views that caught your eyes. Sala is oh-so stylish, with effortless design, Malibu surfer vibes, and a knockout infinity pool overlooking the Dolphin Coast, north of Durban. This isn’t a well-trodden corner of South Africa, so we’re thrilled that it’s on the map in 2024 – because, as you well know, under-radar places are our jam.

Runners-up: Boutique Suites, Cascina Galarej, Refugium Lunz

Top destination for 2024

Winner: Italy

Italy will never go out of fashion. A place with food so good, history so fascinating, and art so beautiful is impossible to beat. It’s home to the historic capital of the world, the most painterly landscapes in the world, and the most beautiful coastline in the world (yes, Rome, Tuscany and Amalfi all featured highly). But it’s also got plenty of undiscovered pockets for the cognoscenti – southeast Sicily, the lesser-known Alpine Lakes, the Baroque towns of Puglia – so thank you for your additional tips.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a committed Italophile, our collection of hotels and hideaways in Italy is extensive, spanning 16 regions including Sicily and Sardinia. All our finds are unique and many of them are off the tourist trail. It pleases us to know that we’re searching in the right places to find you the very best boutique hotels, so thank you for having impeccable taste.

Your top 10 countries to visit in 2024

  1. Italy
  2. Spain
  3. Greece
  4. South Africa
  5. Portugal
  6. France
  7. Morocco
  8. UK
  9. Croatia
  10. Sri Lanka

Contact us for free travel advice or for help with booking your 2024 adventure.