Hamburg, Germany

The Elbphilharmonie housed on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River
The Elbphilharmonie housed on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River

When planning a trip to Germany, Berlin might be at the top of your list, perhaps Munich and Frankfurt, too. It would be a mistake, however, to overlook Hamburg, the country’s second most populated city with its fair share of architectural marvels. Most notable for the time being is the Elbphilharmonie concert hall conceived by Herzog & de Meuron, positioned above a warehouse overlooking the harbour.

Nicknamed the Elphi, it is one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world
Nicknamed the Elphi, it is one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world

Keep an eye out in the next few years for another landmark project: David Chipperfield Architects is set to enrich the landscape with a skyscraper planned to be Hamburg’s tallest building yet. 

Doha, Qatar

The Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar opened this year
The Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar opened this year

With marvelous buildings such as the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art and OMA’s Qatar National Library, Qatar is certainly no stranger to stunning feats of architecture. Doha’s wow factor only heightens this year with the opening of the National Museum of Qatar — a 430,000sqft structure that’s defined by drama, but not by gimmickry.

The architectural marvel is masterminded by Ateliers Jean Nouvel
The architectural marvel is masterminded by Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the all-white complex inspired by a mineral formation dubbed the “desert rose” was this year’s most anticipated arrival in the Middle East. And on the horizon is the Zaha Hadid-designed Al Wakrah Stadium, the grounds for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022. 

San Antonio, Texas

The newly minted Ruby City is the brainchild of late philanthropist Linda Pace
The newly minted Ruby City is the brainchild of late philanthropist Linda Pace

Given its rich colonial history, it’s about time this Texan city received some of the design spotlight. Creating plenty of buzz in 2019 is Ruby City, a 14,000sqft contemporary art centre envisioned by the late philanthropist Linda Pace back in 2007. Planned to open in October, the museum will house the substantial Pace art collection, and is being brought to fruition by Sir David Adjaye OBE.

 The Brewery-turned-hotel Hotel Emma
The Brewery-turned-hotel Hotel Emma

In the meantime, head to Hotel Emma, the brewery-turned-hotel designed by New York-based duo Roman & Williams — the same firm behind other hip and upscale American hotel brands such as the Ace Hotel, Freehand, and the Standard.

Tulum, Mexico

Hotel Esencia on Riviera Maya is among a string of new trendy hotels adorning the Mexican coast
Hotel Esencia on Riviera Maya is among a string of new trendy hotels adorning the Mexican coast

A weekend in Tulum might include bathing in the sun, revelling in the ivory sand and clear aqua waters, and feasting on tacos and chilaquiles. As the number of stylish jetsetters flying in swells, so do Tulum’s host of trendy hotels, swiftly transforming the hospitality scene in this beach town.

Open-air restaurant within the hotel
Open-air restaurant within the hotel

The accommodation of choice for those in the know is Hotel Esencia on Riviera Maya, widely regarded the most desirable beach on this side of Mexico. Formerly an Italian duchess’ hideaway, it’s outfitted with terracotta floors, glazed tiles, bespoke furniture, and rattan accents that evoke laidback luxury.

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