From Bolivia to Copenhagen, the places everyone should add to their travel bucket lists for 2018 are hot spots for their stunning landscapes or blossoming fashion, foodie and architecture scenes. They also happen to be destinations that offer visitors the chance to dig into the local culture and meet the people bringing innovation. Which is exactly the way we love to travel, so we talked Melissa Biggs Bradley, owner of the super luxe and super amazing travel company, Indagare (and also a Select Guest) into giving us the inside scoop on these buzz-worthy destinations, both close-to-home and far-flung. Here is where those in-the-know will be going in 2018.
Bolivia is pulsing with the energy of a country on the verge. While the destination is known for its dramatic, otherworldly scenery (the Salar de Uyuni salt flats are quickly topping landscape-lovers’ bucket lists, and could be called the southern hemisphere’s Iceland), Bolivia’s cultural capital, La Paz, is just hitting its stride. The fun, soulful city, which is framed by jagged Andes mountains, has recently emerged as a foodie capital worthy of international acclaim. Danish chef and Noma co-founder, Claus Meyer, launched award-winning eatery Gustu (Ave Costanera 10, +591 2 2117491) in 2013 and his social enterprise, Melting Pot Foundation, aims to train local people in the food service business. As a result, the city is brimming with young chefs and restaurateurs who are opening their own enterprises. This, plus new easy flights to the Salar de Uyuni, as well as two luxury hotel openings, a new teléferico (cable car) system and a resurgence of La Paz’s historic center make Bolivia a must-visit for 2018, especially for nature lovers and gourmands. (Read my article Bolivia: Why Go Now).
Brimming with attitude and sophistication, Milan is no longer the stopover destination that it once was. "The only city that works in Italy” has bloomed in recent years into the country’s chicest, most modern Metropolis, and a design-lover’s Mecca. In 2015, the Milan Expo put the city on the map as a standalone destination; and with the recent opening of the Prada Foundation and Armani Museum, plus the ongoing success of the yearly Salone del Mobile furniture fair, the city has become a paradise for style and design lovers. Add in a collection of ultra-luxurious hotels, fabulous (and innovative) Italian food and some of the most inspiring architecture in Europe, and Milan’s momentum shows no signs of shopping. (This spring, Indagare is co-hosting two special design-focused journeys to Milan with Cabana magazine founder and Editor-in-Chief, Martina Mondadori Sartogo, which will take guests behind the scenes to exclusive galleries, private homes designed by Renzo Mongiardino and to see some of the most romantic interiors in Italy.)
Egypt could be described as a living museum dedicated to one of the most important ancient civilizations in history. The country’s tourism industry boomed during the 20th century when presidents, dignitaries and men and women of the arts visited in droves. But following Egypt’s 2011 revolution, tourism rapidly declined. Today, however, open-minded travelers are slowly returning as the country experiences continuous political stability; luxury tour operators have reported a swift increase in tourism in the past year. Egypt’s famous sites are still uncrowded, though, allowing travelers to have experiences such as horseback riding around the Great Sphinx of Giza and touring pyramids with renowned Egyptologists without masses of people. Plus, new finds continue to be uncovered: in December new tombs were discovered at Luxor. (Read about our 2018 Insider Trip to Egypt).
The Danish capital is hotter than ever these days, with new design-centric hotels, concept stores and restaurants that serve more than just pickled herring (though there’s a lot of that, too). Foodies are counting down the days until the original Noma, which has been closed since early 2017, officially reopens on February 15, 2018. The culinary legend, in part responsible for launching the New Nordic food craze, will have stiff competition, as Copenhagen now boasts 16 Michelin-starred restaurants as well as more readily accessible dining options that serve a myriad of international cuisines. And, finally, the city has a new world-class hotel in the Sanders, a study in Danish design of the past and present—and a supremely comfortable hotel. Not to be outdone, Copenhagen’s original boutique hotel, the Nimb, opened 20 new suites featuring a refreshed style, hardwood floors and outsized bathrooms with luxe amenities. (Read Indagare’s Copenhagen destination report and our recent Copenhagen: Why Go Now).
A magical destination, Marrakech has long been beloved for its souks, style and lively scene, but it recently welcomed several newcomers that are spurring visitors to return to the Moroccan city. Most notably, the just-opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum, which houses the designer’s legendary creations as well as exhibits on his inspirations, has raised the city’s cultural ante. In February, the museum will welcome fashion designer Noureddine Amir with a special exhibit that showcases his famous "sculpted" couture dresses (February 23-April 22). For those who want a more private glimpse of YSL’s life in Marrakech, Indagare can arrange a special tour of Villa Oasis, his home in the city, which remains exactly as it was when he lived there with his partner, Pierre Bergé. There is also a soon-to-open hotel, Oberoi Marrakech, and new chic shops like Some, Laly and the boutique at Riad El Fenn. (Read Indagare’s Marrakech destination report).
Rwanda came onto the luxury travel scene in full force when Bisate Lodge opened last June. The first five-star property in the country, Bisate is an incredibly high-design hotel with nest-like rooms, colorful geometric prints and volcanic stone walls. It will soon have company: Singita, One & Only and Wilderness Safaris all have more lodges in the works. This means a cushy circuit of multiple parks will make Rwanda a must-stop safari location in East Africa. As an added bonus, guests will have the option to take a helicopter from the rainforest of Nyungwe (home to 13 species of primates including chimps) to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla tracking and to Akagera, which is home to the Big Five. (Read Indagare’s Rwanda destination report and my recent article about my visit).
7. MEXICO CITY
Mexico City is proving its resiliency after September’s devastating earthquake — and unfaltering tourism has been a huge help in the rebuilding efforts. Many of the top hotels, like the Four Seasons and St. Regis, were spared any damage and are operating at full capacity. Further cause for notice is Mexico City being named the World Design Capital in 2018, and Indagare (in partnership with Design Miami) offering a special trip in February to view the city’s incredible art and design. The Indagare Journey will include meals at some of the city’s best restaurants as well as visits with celebrated contemporary artists and curators who will lead the group on museum and city tours. Learn more and sign up for the trip. (Read Indagare’s Mexico City destination report).
You can contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to any of these destinations or to help craft a travel plan for 2018. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan guided tours, great meals and activities.
more about melissa
Melissa learned the power of travel at an early age. She spent a month in Australia when she was ten, went on her first safari in Africa at the age of 12 and lived in France with a French family for a year during high school. For 12 years, she served as the travel editor at Town & Country and launched Town & Country Travel magazine, which, under her editorship, was nominated for a National Magazine Award for General Excellence by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME).
Melissa founded Indagare in 2007 because she believed that creating a platform for exchange between like-minded, passionate travelers would allow for more transformative journeys and meaningful global connections. By bringing together curated content, an engaged community and the ability to book travel with experts, Indagare has established a new way to plan and book memorable experiences.
Since Indagare’s founding, Melissa has been recognized as a pioneering entrepreneur in the luxury travel space, and Indagare has been named to Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies in the US and to Crain’s 50 fastest growing companies in New York.