Alain Ducasse (Paris) top Michelin-Star Restaurant (Photos courtesy)
Virtuoso, the global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel, reveals the top places across the world to shop and dine in 2018. As the New Year is finally here in the West and January sales begin, Virtuoso will guide and inspire your 2018 must-see list for shopping and dining, to help you plan your perfect holiday. Recognized as a prominent trend predictor in the industry, Virtuoso surveyed its experienced network of global advisors for its annual Luxe Report to discover the leading destinations to shop and dine in the New Year, as well as insider tips for savvy shopping. Here are just a few of their findings:
Top Cities for Shopping
2. New York
4. Hong Kong
5. London and Los Angeles/Southern California (tie)
8. Istanbul and Las Vegas
Epicure (Paris) top Michelin-Star Restaurant
Top Michelin-Star Restaurants
1. French Laundry (Yountville, CA)
2. Alain Ducasse (Paris)
3. Eleven Madison Park (New York)
4. La Pergola (Rome)
5. Fat Duck (Bray, England)
6. Per Se (New York)
7. Le Bernardin (New York)
8. Enoteca Pinchiorri (Florence)
9. Three-way tie: Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
10. Epicure (Paris)
11. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Paris)
Particularly noteworthy is that in the aftermath of the Napa/Sonoma Valley wildfires, now is a great time to visit the famed wine regions, as travelers will enjoy more availability at sought-after properties and more access to world-class restaurants such as French Laundry, combined with unheard-of savings.
For some extra inspiration, Virtuoso's expert travel advisors offered up their top shopping tips:
Shop local markets for great deals, such as the Spice Market in Istanbul, Gold Souk in Dubai or night markets in Asia.
Hire a shopping guide in places new to you or in major shopping destinations. Certain guides enjoy inside access to special sales and private designer showrooms.
Shop in museum gift stores. You can always find something unique and special, and they're also good for small purchases that are easy to transport.
Seek out a grocery store. Pick up local condiments, snacks and unusual spices (things you can bring through customs) as presents for yourself, family and friends.
Always pay with a credit card in case of a bad product.
Research what your destination is uniquely known for and decide if you could use that item. Then have a guide or concierge direct you to the best option for that item in the destination. Every time you see/use that item, you'll have a wonderful memory.
Bargain in markets in port towns just prior to your cruise ship's departure. Research the going price for an item beforehand and decide what you think it's worth before bartering.
Look for local artists, shops and designers. Be cautious to buy authentic crafts and goods. One source for local unique offerings is resort shops, which frequently carry them.
Go where the locals shop, not the tourists. Follow your instincts and recommendations from people you trust. Venture off the beaten path and avoid areas near tourist attractions. Shops in areas where locals live and work are not as expensive as those catering to travelers.
Locate top-secret shopping by following a designer/celebrity/line on social media, and keep up that way with pop-up shop dates, events, and the latest news from the brand.
Virtuoso is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 800 travel agency partners with more than 16,000 elite travel advisors in over 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world's best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than $21.2 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.