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
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The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
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It’s easy to see why this outcrop of land just an hour’s drive from Melbourne has long been a weekend retreat for the city’s well-heeled residents. Rolling vineyards in its interior give way to seaside villages and sandy shoreline. Travelers can swim with wild dolphins, visit wineries on horseback, or soar above the landscape in a gondola. And with a new flurry of openings, the region has begun to attract global attention. The latest addition is Point Leo Estate on the peninsula’s southernmost point. Set on 330 acres, it combines a tasting room, a 110-seat fine-dining restaurant, and a sculpture park, with more than 50 works by Australian and international artists like George Rickey and Inge King. Its arrival follows the launch of Jackalope, a seductive, art-infused boutique hotel neighboring a working winery. Elsewhere, Peninsula Hot Springs, a day spa set amid geothermal pools, is slated to unveil seven new pools and a new treatment list in 2018. —Carrie Hutchinson
In 2006, a Travelers commercial titled Snowball was nominated for an Emmy. Snowball featured a man, walking down a steep San Francisco sidewalk, who trips and knocks over a table of items at a garage sale. The man and the items roll down the street, forming a ball which gathers garbage cans, pedestrians, construction materials, motorcycles, light poles, and other items, in a manner very reminiscent of the familiar cartoon "snowball" effect or the cult video game Katamari Damacy. The creators of the ad say it is simply based on the snowball effect, they have never heard of the game, and that the resulting similarity was a surprise to them.
History buffs and intrepid travelers have long been attracted to Jordan and its famous archaeological site of Petra, a “lost” citadel dating back 2,000 years. And despite political unrest in the broader region, the country remains a safe destination to discover the wonders of the Middle East. After playing out Indiana Jones fantasies amid the rose-colored, rock-cut façades of Petra’s famous landmark, Al Khazneh (the Treasury), set out to unearth the nation’s other historical attractions. In the lesser-known city of Jerash, 170 miles from Petra, you can see the ruins of an ancient Roman settlement, including the second-century Hadrian’s Arch, while in the protected desert wilderness of Wadi Rum, you’ll find some 25,000 rock carvings that trace the early development of the alphabet.
A suicide bomber and his victims are set to become travelers, but the bomb explodes and only Donner, the bomber, survives. Devastated by his failure, Donner tries to betray the traveler program to the authorities, but the entire hearing is populated by travelers who hold a trial and convict Donner of treason. Donner is overwritten by a new traveler, who must serve Donner's prison sentence, and reports that things in the future are getting worse despite the changes enacted by Traveler teams in the 21st. Luca approaches Donner in prison, implying that he has lost faith in the Director. Ken, David's boss, believes David's relationship with Marcy is inappropriate. Upon meeting Marcy, he believes she has defrauded the system. Marcy saves David's job by repaying her benefits. Grace, Trevor's guidance counselor, and Jacqueline, Carly's social worker, genuinely care about them, respectively. Grace tries to help Trevor with his academics, and Jacqueline promises that she will not let the system fail Carly and her child. Philip discovers that gambling outcomes are deviating slightly from the historic record.
With its recent 150th anniversary celebration, pop-culture cred (Drake, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Bieber have Canadian roots), and charismatic prime minister, the Great White North has finally begun to receive the international recognition it deserves — and Toronto has been preening itself for this lead role. Luxe properties and forward-thinking restaurants have been popping up across the city: there’s Queen Street’s historic Broadview Hotel, which reopened in the burgeoning East End with guest-room details like vinyl turntables and burgundy velvet drapes, and the stylish Bisha Hotel downtown, where the likes of Lenny Kravitz and celebrity chef Akira Back have lent their design and culinary expertise. In stereotypically modest Canadian fashion, Brothers Food + Wine — one of the city’s most exciting new openings — is housed inside a tiny, nondescript space just above the Bay Street subway station, but dazzles with seasonal dishes like crispy steelhead trout with braised gem lettuce and yogurt-and-caper sauce. Next up: in Spring 2018, the Museum of Contemporary Art will move into a century-old former factory in the Junction Triangle. —Jennifer Salerno
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