Tel Aviv has attracted a lot of attention for its nightlife and creative culinary scene in recent years. These days its center of gravity has shifted south, to the site of the ancient port town of Jaffa (technically part of the city itself). This month, the Setai opens in a former Ottoman prison; a new W Hotel housed in a 19th-century former convent and pilgrims’ hospice is scheduled to open in March. It’s just the latest in a growing list of upscale hotels, restaurants, and boutiques to arrive among the winding streets of this former fishing village. Jaffa’s once-shabby flea market is now populated by a number of high-end antique dealerships, which sit alongside trendy cafés and bars — many offering live music into the night. Don’t miss Maskit, an iconic Israeli fashion house known for its embroidery that has been recently reincarnated after closing in the 1990s. Numerous interesting chefs have also set up shop among Jaffa’s churches, mosques, and archaeological sites. Try Beit Kandinof, a restaurant housed in a 17th-century building, where creative dishes like artichoke-and-pesto bruschetta are served alongside local art exhibits. —Sara Toth Stub
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
The Greek highway system has seen several recent upgrades, with a new route making the 2,000-year-old olive trees and lesser-visited ruins of the Peloponnese, the country’s southernmost swathe of mainland, more accessible. Completed in late 2016, the new A71 highway from Lefktro to Sparta shaves off two hours of driving time from Athens, and has also connected the Lefktro region to nearby Kalamata Airport, about 90 minutes away. Meanwhile, ports have been expanded at Gytheio and Katakolon — the latter a stopping point for the Viking Star, which launched in 2014. Farming is still integral to the region, and agritourism resorts like Eumelia constantly refresh their food and wellness-themed workshops, in addition to serving local dishes like maniatiki pasta with dry mizithra cheese, and moustokouloura, or cookies made with grape molasses. Goddesses seeking more temple-like accommodations should head to Porto Heli, on the eastern side of the Peloponnese, where everyone is talking about Amanzoe’s new Villa 31, a serene space with grandstand views of the surrounding coastline that contains a unique installation by light artist James Turrell. —Adam Harney Graham
No matter what your ideal getaway is, one thing is certain: the best vacations in Florida happen when you immerse yourself in the climate and culture, taking full advantage of the year-round warm weather, getting to know the native wildlife, tasting homegrown produce and Gulf-caught seafood and checking out the beaches, even from under a hat and tons of sunscreen. Book a foodie tour or pub crawl, dance the night away at a blues festival and wake up in time to make a mimosa toast along the water.
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Known as the Tibet of Japan, the remote Iya Valley is tucked away in the mountainous interior of Shikoku, the least visited of the country’s four main islands. Tourism to the region took a leap forward when it hosted the World Rafting Championship in 2017 — putting its turquoise Class Four rapids firmly on the adventure-travel map. New ziplines and hiking trails are sprouting up in the canyons, while upgrades have been made to accommodations in the area’s traditional thatched-roof farmhouses, or minkas. Chiiori House is the most luxurious; the property also maintains an excellent portfolio of more affordable options. —Adam Harney Graham
Readings indicate that the seafloor off the French island's eastern shoreline is sinking at a rate of approximately 0.4 inches per month. — David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "French Island Might Be Sitting On Top of Gigantic Underwater Magma Shift," 20 Mar. 2019 Video from the scene showed black smoke still rising from the island more than an hour after the crash. — Jeffrey Collins, Fox News, "New military jet crashes, pilot ejects in S Carolina," 28 Sep. 2018 The Cambridges reportedly embarked on their trip to Mustique, a private island in the Caribbean, in mid-July after a fan spotted them at an airport in St. Lucia. — Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Is Back From Vacation with a Fresh Tan," 8 Aug. 2018 Both men saw their chance of the big time after Japanese forces attacked Shanghai’s Chinese districts in 1937, leaving the international concessions as islands in a sea of panic and devastation. — The Economist, "A gripping tale of Sodom sliding towards its bloody end," 12 July 2018 Higgins arrived on the island from Nevada in March without much Spanish, but brought 40 years of management experience. — Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 The heavily forested Prince of Wales Island near the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle is the fourth-largest island in the U.S. — Time, "All 11 People on Board Survived Alaska Plane Crash, Coast Guard Says," 11 July 2018 This island is the homeland of jamu, a traditional system of health and beauty treatments based on botanical ingredients. — Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "How To Spice Up Your Skincare Routine," 18 Jan. 2019 The little island of 23 million people off China’s coast is of great importance to Beijing. — Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump’s China strategy is the most radical in decades — and it’s failing," 18 Sep. 2018
Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato