Often overlooked in favor of more-developed, splashier neighbors like Hvar or Brač, Šolta’s under-the-radar nature has proved a boon: The stony islet has become synonymous with pristine nature (pebbly beaches, turquoise waters, lush greenery), medieval villages, winemaking (try the indigenous Dobričić variety), and family-run olive oil purveyors like Olynthia, a fourth-generation producer. After watching the sun set at Maslinica bay, check out the island’s peppering of stylish beach clubs, seaside bars, and open-air restaurants — then drop your bags at the Heritage Hotel Martinis-Marchi, built inside an 18th-century Venetian fort-castle and ideally situated for those who want to explore Šolta’s ancient villages and crystal-clear bays. —Kate Springer
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cultural and culinary attractions. On the West Bund riverfront, Tank Shanghai will transform disused oil tanks into a sprawling arts complex with a gallery, an education center, and parks when it’s completed later this year. Farther north, the Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick–designed Fosun Foundation, with its façade of shifting bronze cylinders, began hosting performances and art shows last fall. The North Bund is being redeveloped with a park linking it to a new lifestyle development that’s anchored by the city’s first W Hotel. In the residential Minhang district, Cordis debuted in May, and Amanyangyun will open nearby after relocating Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, as well as 10,000 ancient camphor trees, from Jiangxi province. More luxury stays are still to come in 2018, including the Middle House, the Bulgari, and the Edition. —Samantha Culp
One type of volcanic oceanic island is found in a volcanic island arc. These islands arise from volcanoes where the subduction of one plate under another is occurring. Examples are the Aleutian Islands, the Mariana Islands, and most of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. The only examples in the Atlantic Ocean are some of the Lesser Antilles and the South Sandwich Islands.
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
A new crop of five-star brands are coming in 2018, including the Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, the Montage Los Cabos, 1 Hotel & Homes, and the first Nobu Hotel in Mexico. Foodies will want to make a reservation at Acre, a restaurant-farm from executive chefs Kevin Luzande and Oscar Torres, who are set to unveil 12 new treehouse guest rooms on site. —Christopher Tkaczyk
U.S. travelers have historically overlooked Mauritius in favor of other Indian Ocean destinations like the Seychelles and Maldives. That could all change, though, now that this remote, idyllic island some 1,200 miles off the African coast has become easier to reach. A flurry of new airline services launched at the end of 2017: KLM began servicing Mauritius from Amsterdam, and British carrier Thomas Cook Airlines introduced biweekly flights in November. Upon arrival, travelers can take in dreamy lagoon views from the newly reopened One&Only Le Saint Géran, fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. Every room and suite now has a private terrace or balcony, marble baths with cascade showers, and sophisticated teak, stone, and leather accents. Guests can also look forward to updated dining experiences — like lunch spot La Pointe, which grills fresh-caught seafood over firewood and coconut embers, or open-air restaurant La Terrasse, which offers Mauritian specialties. Unchanged at Le Saint Géran is its aura of exclusivity, thanks to the resort’s unique position on a private peninsula jutting out from the island’s eastern shore. —Melanie Lieberman