Visitors may want to return to the Belgian capital in 2018 to visit two cutting-edge museums. The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art opened in the once-infamous Molenbeek district’s old Belle-Vue brewery this past spring, to showcase contemporary art from around the world. There’s also the Citroën Cultural Centre, a new collaboration with Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which will launch its first exhibition in May. The edgy JAM Hotel, an industrial-chic property with exposed brickwork and concrete beams housed in a former art school, is the perfect place for culture-lovers to stay. Don’t leave town without paying homage to Belgium’s UNESCO-recognized beer culture at youthful breweries like Brasserie de la Senne or Brussels Beer Project, both of which are shirking brewing traditions in favor of more experimental microbrewery techniques. —Meredith Bethune
The Big Easy turns the Big 3-0-0 this year, and in this city where the good times roll, the parties will be epic — think citywide art shows, supersized Mardi Gras parades, and a festival of lights using landmark buildings as backdrops. Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina, there is much to celebrate: The Central Business District, once a dead zone after dark, now crackles at all hours thanks to four new hotels (the Ace, Troubadour, Catahoula, and NOPSI), each with its own rooftop bar. The neighborhood is also home to new restaurants like Maypop — a Vietnamese-Creole joint from acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta. Another area coming to life is the three-mile riverfront, where a renovated Spanish Plaza will reopen this spring. More riverfront updates, including a new Four Seasons Hotel, will roll out in the next few years. Toast the tricentennial at the Sazerac House, a French Quarter museum dedicated to the official cocktail of New Orleans, opening later this year. —Allison Entrekin
Thai tourism is as robust as ever: more than 21 million international visitors poured into the capital in 2016, making it the world’s most visited city. To accommodate all those arrivals, the metropolis is welcoming a bevy of posh new hotels in the coming year. The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok will have a spa, rooftop bar, and outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, while the 155-room Bangkok Edition will open this summer in MahaNakhon, a towering skyscraper with a swirl of cubical cutouts wrapping around the building. Four Seasons and Capella both have properties in the works on the Chao Phraya Estate, a lush riverfront development that’s part shopping and dining destination, part tropical escape. The Michelin Guide will make its long-awaited debut here this year, drawing attention to one of the world’s most dynamic culinary scenes. And for art lovers, there’s a flock of brand-new multipurpose creative spaces to explore, including the Thailand Creative & Design Center, which just relocated to a former General Post Office on historic Charoen Krung Road; Warehouse 30, a series of World War II-era warehouses revamped by starchitect Duangrit Bunnag; and ChangChui, an immense complex of bars, shops, and restaurants constructed out of upcycled materials, including an airplane salvaged from the scrap pile. —Diana Hubbell
Leaf-peeping and a thriving farm-to-table food scene (the country’s first CSA sprouted here) lure out-of-towners to the bucolic far western corner of Massachusetts. But the arts have long been their own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.
Leaf-peeping and a thriving farm-to-table food scene (the country’s first CSA sprouted here) lure out-of-towners to the bucolic far western corner of Massachusetts. But the arts have long been their own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.
To better accommodate the millions who visit Iguazú Falls, a UNESCO site of 275 mighty waterfalls straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil, nearby Cataratas del Iguazú Airport is being modernized and enlarged. Within Iguazú National Park, the Ecological Jungle Train, which takes visitors on a 25-minute journey to the epic Devil’s Throat cascade, is converting from gas to environmentally friendly electric trains. Starting this February, travelers will be able to bed down at the long-awaited Awasi Iguazú resort where 14 rainforest villas will each have plunge pools and guests will have access to a personal excursion guide and 4WD vehicles. Expect visits to native Guarani tribes, river kayaking, and jungle treks led by a resident biologist. Selvaje, an upscale 12-room lodge, will also open early this year and will offer a menu of couple-friendly activities, from picnics to spa treatments. For the ultimate in romance, though, Argentinean travel outfitter Mai 10 (run by Travel + Leisure A-List Agent Maita Barrenechea) can arrange private dinners alongside the falls under the light of a full moon. —Nora Jean Walsh
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
For proof of Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning status as the cultural capital of the Middle East, look no further than Saadiyat Cultural District, which is quickly becoming a treasure trove of world-class art and groundbreaking architecture. The multibillion-dollar initiative has already resulted in one major project, the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November. Though its construction was controversial, the museum has quickly become the premier creative beacon in the Emirates. Work is under way nearby on the Zayed National Museum, by Norman Foster; the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, by Zaha Hadid Architects; and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which when completed will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world. The city’s hotel-building campaign is also in full swing: this year Marriott debuted a 400-room hotel in the Al Forsan sports center, and next year will see the opening of the Abu Dhabi Edition and Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. —Dylan Essertier
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