So, you’re plotting a future trip to a see-it-to-believe-it city, and ready to pack it with adventures. But how do you find the most enviable experiences — the ones insiders keep close to the vest and Instagrammers haven’t overrun — when they aren’t the most obvious?
To keep you ahead of the curve we’ve assembled a list of trips worth waiting for and under-the-radar things to do while there — before word slips out to the masses.
Music, Inspired Design and Underground Art in Miami
Miami lives up to its reputation as one of the sexiest cities in the world, with sprawling beaches, notorious nightlife and vibrant blend of cultures. Soak in the 305’s vibe at the sleek W South Beach, where you’ll experience Miami’s daring energy before even leaving the property. With W’s direct access to sun drenched South Beach, playful WET deck and celeb hangouts like Mr. Chow, you might be hard-pressed to pry yourself from the property’s 24/7 excess.
When you do head out, avoid the crowds descending into the trendy Wynwood neighborhood. Instead, get a taste of Miami’s underground arts scene by hitting up NE 2nd Avenue in Little Haiti, where you’ll soak in the sounds of Kreyól conversations, konpa dance music and indie art galleries. Pop into the Moksha Artist Collective, a mixed-use space where you might stumble upon live painting demonstrations, a tribal or electronica music performance or a VR arts exhibit.
The fashion set already know Miami’s luxe Design District, but the newly revamped Politan Row, is likely off their radar. Just steps away from Bvlgari and Dior, this elevated food hall curates Miami’s most eclectic mix of local chefs and mixologists in one hyper-chic space. Bite into fare that includes Vietnamese street food, craft tacos or Israeli dishes, then wash it down with cocktails from Bar Politan, where drinks give a nod to the Magic City, like the Biscayne Boulevardier and Miami Winter.
Finally, after you’ve chilled at SAND on the beachfront, indulge in a sunset dinner with ‘Gram-worthy views at Joia Beach Club, one of the city’s buzziest waterfront spots.
Souq Shopping and Sunset Yoga in Muscat
Muscat, Oman’s waterfront capital, is dotted with an epic mix of contemporary high rises, luxury shopping and high-end restaurants — and W Muscat gives you instant access to the best of the city’s best.
Sprawling along the Shatti Al Qurum beachfront, W Muscat overlooks the sapphire blue Gulf of Oman, and gives you quick access to restaurants and bars like the fearless grill, CHAR, and the Living Room, where tipping back inventive cocktails is a must. The head mixologist here spent time in a local souq to research and buy the spices he uses crafting new drinks.
For a trippy time surrounded by floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflecting glittery ocean waves, head to the hotel’s WET Deck; its design is inspired by the turquoise waters of the crazy-cool Bimmah Sinkhole. Chill by the pool with a fresh-pressed juice as DJs spin your afternoon soundtrack.
When you’re ready to stretch your legs, lace up your sneaks and head to Al Riyam Park, for the easy, two-hour Al Ryiam Hike toward Muttrah. You’ll get views of the sea and Sultan Qaboos Port.
At the hike’s end, you’ll be near Muttrah Souq — a gold lover’s paradise where you can shop like a local. The narrow, twisting alleys inside this enclosed market are a haven for gold lovers, with jewelry stalls and antique merchants dotting every corner. Peek at window displays showcasing shimmering gold bracelets inlaid with precious stones, bold necklaces, as well as less pricey goods like spices, halwa (a local sweet), antiques and frankincense, which represents a sign of welcome and is an easy souvenir to carry back home.
Carve Waves and Climb to the Cloudline in Bali
Famous for its jaw-dropping volcanic mountain ranges, ancient Hindu temples and world-class nightlife, Bali is Indonesia’s premier island retreat.
Set against an Indian Ocean backdrop, W Bali Seminyak lies in the middle of the island’s action. Between the hotel’s beautiful views and beautiful people, it’s hard not to feel inspired. Start the day strong with morning yoga at the property’s Studio Villa, then cool down in the multi-tiered WET deck pool. After dark, grab cocktails at WOOBar, where a rotating lineup of the world’s top DJs spin dance tracks into the wee hours.
Surfers obsess over Uluwatu, on Bali’s southwest peninsula, thanks to reliably good surf breaks. Experienced surfers will want to catch a wave off the Bukit Peninsula here — where you paddle out through a hole in the cliff face because the close tide means that most of the time there is no beach. Not brave enough? A smattering of viewing platforms dotted along the cliff are ideal for sipping a sundowner and watching the action unfold out at sea.
Or for a serious detox, plot a sunrise hike above the cloudline to Mount Batur or a mellow stroll along the Campuhan Ridge Walk where you’ll find jaw-dropping hilltop scenery.
Detox, Retox, Repeat in Punta de Mita
Nestled on a private peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Punta de Mita is a coveted jewel in Mexico’s crown. It’s also the perfect spot to get into a detox state of mind with an unforgettable spa day at W Punta de Mita. Dripping with lush vegetation and crystal clear pools, the AWAY Spa delivers next-level bliss. Services like facials and massages use locally sourced products, and you’ll have everything you need to rejuvenate your body and mind in style.
Cap off your treatment with a glass of signature chlorophyll water and a visit to the Relaxation Deck. Wrapped by a natural spring, the deck features a hydrotherapy pool, cold mist, hydro jets, pressure shower and waterfalls.
You’ll leave feeling centered, cleansed, and ready for a full-on sensory experience dining at Mesa1. The super-exclusive spot hosts only one seating per night, and its seven-course tasting menu promises to be an Instagram-worthy meal to remember. Rising from the center of a spring-fed lake and surrounded by flickering torches and fire pits, the restaurant’s table is accessible via stepping stones that emerge from the water then disappear once guests have taken their seats.
Catalan Magic in Barcelona
Arguably Spain’s most energetic city, Barcelona electrifies with a contrasting landscape of sea and mountains, innovative food and drink (yes, there’s more than tapas), and modernist architecture.
Make your first stop the beachfront W Barcelona. As the only hotel in the city with private beach access and 360-degree views of the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll have ample sun and sand fixes during your stay. The sail-shaped, mirrored high rise was designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, and is one of the most awe-inspiring buildings lining Barceloneta Boardwalk.
Get a sky-high look at Barceloneta, as well as the city’s sprawling landscape of beaches and mountains during a private helicopter tour. Soaring above the Mediterranean coast and over the city center, you’ll catch glimpses of landmarks and neighborhoods from a totally unique perspective. For other unexpected views — including a look at W Barcelona from the sea — charter a private sailboat tour. Sip cava as you sail past Barcelona’s skyline, then anchor in a nearby village, like Badalona or Montgat, to swim and snorkel.
Seek out the best of Barcelona’s design scene at Darial, a concept store offering a fusion of fashion, furniture, art and books, plus a brassiere-style restaurant. If you’re an electronic music lover or collector of vinyl, head to Discos Paradiso, a local record store with an expertly curated selection of records in the El Raval neighborhorhood.
After dark, go glam and rise up to W Barcelona’s 26th-floor ECLIPSE rooftop bar where you’ll be greeted with unrivaled city views, DJs spinning tracks and handcrafted cocktails