Somehow, it’s already almost November (!?!)—cue panic over our as-of-yet non-existent New Year’s Eve plans. If you’re likewise freaking out about having zero clue as to what you’ll be doing when the ball drops on 2018, worry not. We’ve tapped Eva Dixon, cofounder of über-chic slow-travel company Godai Escapes to help you (us) come up with a pseudo last-minute plan for an end-of-year adventure. Her new company’s group escapes feature highly curated deep dives into the actual cultural (read: not touristy) aspects of some of the world’s trendiest destinations, with plans to expand into more off-the-beaten path locales in 2018. Here, her top three picks for a NYE trip you’ll never forget.
"This city is an underestimated gem. There is an incredibly interesting culinary scene. What makes it great for New Year's Eve is that there is so much to discover and there is a creative energy in the air."
Where To Stay: "Autor Rooms is filling a niche between an apartment stay and a boutique hotel. Eclectically designed four-guest rooms showcase Polish talent in architecture and interior design. It's the most stylish home away from home."
Where To Eat: "For dinner, I highly recommend Ale Wino, a restaurant whose philosophy is to offer seasonal food and the best quality produce. The menu is a modern take on Polish food paired with the best wines within a relaxed setting."
Where To Drink: "After dinner, uncover the mystery of Weles Bar—it's a hidden underground spot dedicated to the art of mixology, majestic interiors and a highly curated entertainment program. It's part of Grupa Warszawa, a group of three friends dedicated to promoting culture, hospitality and art in Warsaw with their establishments."
What To Do: "Warsaw is a city that boasts surprises on every corner. You won't find restaurants, bars and galleries in obvious spaces. Speaking of art, the independent art space Raster Gallery is a must. It was founded by the art critics Lukasz Gorczyca and Michal Kaczynski in 2001."
Uruguay: José Ignacio, Garzón, La Pedrera, Cabo Polonio
"The Uruguayan fishing village José Ignacio is well known for attracting international jet-setters during the months of December and January. Nevertheless, it's high on my wish list for this year's NYE."
Where To Stay: "My preferred stay is Posada Paradiso, a charming property created by my friend, chef-owner Clo Dimet. It has a relaxing atmosphere, friendly service and delicious food. Clo, who was trained by celebrity chef Francis Mallmann, has returned to her homeland after several years in Argentina and Brazil."
Where To Eat: "A meal at Garzon by Francis Mallmann is a truly celebratory experience—it's definitely where I want to spend my NYE dinner. It's the only restaurant in the village of Garzón, and Francis has made it a gastronomic destination for foodies in the know. Also try Parador La Huella for the ultimate beach hangout, exceptional food and naturally chic people. And head to the Fish Market in Manantiales for a local lunch."
What To Do: "My ideal Uruguay trip has to include venturing out further east for a more untouched experience: spending a day in the surfer town La Pedrera and, if time allows, exploring dreamy dunes in Cabo Polonio. Uruguay is one of my spots in the world where I travel to unplug, slow down and indulge."
"On my dream list for this year's New Year's Eve is Matera in southern Italy. Neglected for decades, it's now starting to receive attention thanks to the arrival of rustic luxury in the form of exceptional hotels, bars and restaurants."
Where To Stay: "For a magically authentic experience, try the cave rooms at Le Grotte della Civita—the once abandoned ancient caves have been transformed into the epitome of rustic luxury."
Where To Eat: "Breakfast at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a dreamy affair set up in a 13th-century church. Osteria al Casale is a simple and rustic restaurant with mouthwatering traditional dishes served with local Aglianico wine, made of the world's oldest cultivated grape. The ricotta, hazelnut and fig dessert alone is almost a reason to fly to Matera. It would be a sin to visit without tasting the artisanal ice cream creations at I Vizi degli Angeli, where flavors are inspired by seasonal local ingredients."
Where To Drink: "A creative agency, production company and café by day and a buzzing bar by night, Area 8 is the place to hang out and mix with locals while enjoying the best drinks and tunes in town."