The Big List of 2017

Food, tech, travel ­­— we asked 17 experts what the big trends will be in the new year, from Artsy Asheville to Korean Kimchi
The Big List of 2017

1

FOOD IS ABOUT TO GET FUSSY, AND FRENCH

“I’m predicting — and fully welcoming — the continued comeback of fussy French food,” says Saveur editor-in-chief Adam Sachs. “In New York City, we’ve seen a number of high-profile openings in the past year — from Daniel Rose’s fine-dining Le Coucou to Keith McNally’s brasserie Augustine and downtown hipster Le Turtle. Generally, there’s been an embrace of this old-school, slightly anachronistic but totally satisfying way of eating (canard à la presse, anyone?) that seems at odds with the move away from white-tablecloth formality.”
 

2

TRIPPIN’ FOR SIPPIN’ IS ON THE UP

“This year will be a great one for traveling ale-lovers,” says Ben Keene, editor of BeerAdvocate magazine and author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour. “Atlanta’s beer scene, where famed brewer Mitch Steele will start a new chapter with American Beerworks, is growing at a  rapid clip,” he says. “In Richmond, Virginia, breweries like Stone, Hardywood, Three Notch’d and Strangeways have changed the city’s beer culture in a short amount of time. And in Texas, Austin has become a hot spot for brewing, thanks to places like Adelbert’s, Blue Owl, Pinthouse, Hops & Grain and the slick new Oskar Blues location.” 
 

3

IT’S ALL ABOUT YUCATÁN

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula should be top of your hit-list, says Pauline Egge, founder-editor of Petite Passport travel guides. “Partly because Mérida, the state’s old colonial city, is  American Capital of Culture this year — but also because it’s home to fantastic beaches and the Tulum Ruins (pictured). Even more excitingly, René Redzepi, the world’s best chef, is set to open an extended Noma pop-up in Tulum this April. It’s $600 a pop, but should be epic.” Noma.dk


 

4

GOOGLE WILL HELP YOU ON YOUR WAY

“Using artificial intelligence, Gmail, AOL’s Alto and other services are going to take all the confirmation numbers and reservations in your email, and turn them into super-simple itineraries,” says David Pierce, senior writer at Wired. “You can download Google Trips, and everything gets put in there automatically. No more searching for your confirmation number at the check-in counter. Because Google knows you’re there and has already found it for you.” Another tip: intelligent luggage. “Raden’s new smart suitcase can track itself and has a built-in phone-charger and sensor to weigh itelf so you won’t get charged extra at check-in.”
 

5

WE’LL SEE A NEW CLASS OF HOTEL

“I love seeing the smaller B&Bs and guesthouses boom across the country,” says Ben Pundole, editor of ahotellife.com. “From Scribner’s Catskill Lodge and Foxfire Mountain House in Upstate New York, to the Pioneertown Motel in Joshua Tree and The Chequit in Shelter Island, there have been some homely but elegant boutiques opening across the U.S. I’m also excited to see the opening of Public on the Lower East Side in spring. It’s going to be the first ‘three-star luxury’ hotel — surely another gem from boutique hotel pioneer Ian Schrager.” 


6

RESTAURANTS WON’T NEED SEATS

So says chef and former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl. “I think it’s the year of restaurant alternatives: Momofuku’s David Chang and Marea’s Michael White have both developed delivery-only places (Chang’s Ando and White’s Pasta On Demand). Plus, Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group has invested in Umi Kitchen, an app that connects home cooks with diners looking for a good meal. Another new start-up, EatWith, links diners to cooks doing pop-ups in 200 cities worldwide.”


7

LONDON WILL BE BETTER VALUE (AND STILL HIP) 

“London will continue to break visitation records due to the value created for vacationers when its currency declined due to Brexit,” says Chris McGinnis, founder of travelskills.com. “Last July, shortly after the vote to leave the EU, Britain recorded its biggest month for in-bound tourism.” And there are a number of spots gearing up for an even bigger rush this year: Soho House opens The Ned, its buzzed-about club-hotel in the financial district; Nobu Hotel arrives in hipster Shoreditch; and the swish Henrietta Hotel is set to open in Covent Garden.
 

8

KIMCHI WILL BE KICKING

This year’s hot ingredient? Fermented cabbage, or kimchi, from Korea, reckons Richard Martin, editorial director at Food Republic. “It’s being used around the country to add a spicy kick to all kinds of dishes. In L.A., Roy Choi is famous for using kimchi in his tacos at Kogi, while California stalwart Faith & Flower uses it in deviled eggs. It’s popping up on pizza at places like Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis; in kimchi fries at Chicago gastropub Kinderhook; and in the grilled-cheese sandwich with pork belly at Earl’s Beer and Cheese in New York City. It’s versatile, easy to make and packs a punch. I think peoples’ tastebuds are ready.”


9

YOUR TRAVEL AGENT WILL BE ON WECHAT

“One trend we’re seeing is travel companies integrating messaging apps or platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack or WeChat into their customer service,” says Dennis Schaal, executive editor of travel news site Skift. “Today’s young travelers prefer texting instead of talking. So apps like Lola, Pana and Stayful let users plan their travel via messaging, and are even having human agents answer traveler’s texts during their trips in real time.” 


10

THE CS (CUBA AND COSTA RICA) WILL HAVE IT 

If you’re set to hit Havana this year, expect company. According to data from Skyscanner, bookings from the U.S. to Cuba are up by 450 percent in the past year, and are expected to rise again in 2017. Other destinations on its annual hot list include Auckland and Costa Rica (pictured) — with the latter a new entry, says Skyscanner communications chief Randi Wolfson. “It’s not all that surprising as we’ve seen great flight deals to the Costa Rican city of Liberia.”


11

HOTEL STAYS WILL GET CHEAPER

“There will be mostly good news for hotel guests this year,” claims Bjorn Hanson Ph.D., clinical professor of hospitality and tourism at New York University. “Although U.S. hotel occupancy will remain close to the highest it has been since 1984 (around 65 percent), the increase in room rates will be the lowest since 2010, less than 3 percent. For travelers who can be flexible about arrival and departure dates, there will be especially good rates, as hotel managers seek to retain high occupancy on low occupancy days. These kind of revenue management practices  will likely lead to lower rates than last year.”
 

12

“SESSIONABLE” DRINKING WILL BE A THING

“I don’t think the trend for low-alcohol, ‘sessionable’ drinks is going anywhere, anytime soon,” says Talia Baiocchi, editor-in-chief of Punch. “We’ve seen it proliferate in beer (the rise of the ‘session IPA’), in wine (the trend towards high-acid, low-alcohol wine) and certainly in cocktails, which have evolved far beyond the how-much-booze-can-you-fit-in-this-glass era. Creating complex, low-alcohol cocktails has become a particular interest for bartenders, and I think we’ll continue to see a whole lot of innovation in this space. 

I also think we’ll see more lower-alcohol aperitif liqueurs, amaro and sherry. The aperitif is a classic European ritual, and I think it will be bigger in the U.S. this year — I would not be at all surprised to see a bunch of ‘aperitivo-style’ bars open in 2017, and beyond.”


13

OLD JAPAN IS GOING MODERN AND ECO

“Visitors to Japan are discovering nature as well as cities and food,” says Tamara Heber-Percy, co-founder of boutique travel club Mr & Mrs Smith. “The trend has been led by some gorgeous new hotel openings that give a modern, eco update to ryokan inns with onsen hot springs. The Zaborin, near the Niseko ski resort in the north, has 15 secluded villas in the forest, with indoor and outdoor hot springs; while the much-buzzed Amanemu, on Honshu Island, feels like retreating to zen Heaven.”


14

ASHEVILLE IS READY FOR ITS DAY IN THE SUN

This is the year for an artsy escape to Asheville, North Carolina, says Lonely Planet magazine editor Rebecca Warren. “It’s the No. 1 place on our Best in the U.S. 2017 list for a number of reasons. It’s been drawing creative spirits for decades and packs a big punch for a small city with its cultural offerings. It has its own symphony orchestra as well as a plethora of other music venues. Plus, the River Arts District now hosts more than 200 artists, making for an art-filled afternoon strolling around studios.” 


15

NATURE BUFFS WILL HEAD TO SOUTH KOREA

“South Korea has been hot for a number of years, although most of the attention has been focused on Seoul,” says Spud Hilton, travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. “However, I think the countryside is poised to attract a lot of attention, particularly the Gangwon region, which is due to host the Winter Olympics in 2018. The Taebaek mountain range is gorgeous, and its nature parks and ski resorts make it really attractive for visitors. Expect more this year.”


16

SINGAPORE’S STREET EATS WILL GET THEIR DUE

“I want to return to Singapore,” says George W. Stone, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler. “I want to smell the kaya toast at Heap Seng Leong coffee shop. I want to hit Tiong Bahru Market for a nyonya dumpling, fragrant with blue ginger. I want to queue at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles, one of two stalls awarded a Michelin star last summer. [The other is Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle.] In short, I want to return to one of the world’s most expensive cities, spend 20 bucks and feel like a million dollars.”


17

WHISTLER WILL BE THE HOT SKI DESTINATION THIS YEAR

“Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb has always been a bit different, with terrain that feels as much like the Alps as North America,” says world-renowned ski writer Leslie Anthony. “This year, it will be more popular than ever — not only because of the low Canadian dollar, but because of the resort’s recent purchase by Vail Resorts (VR) and inclusion in its Epic Pass program. That means VR’s passholders get a number of free days at other resorts — for many, that will mean Whistler.”