New buildings and tourist attractions in 2018: A year of emerging wonders

In an increasingly uncertain world, one thing is certain: the emergence of the new. And we like to think that in travel, that's by and large a wonderful thing. Of course, there are always new concerns: security threats, political hot spots, ethical conundrums, environmental worries and the sometimes sad demise of the old.

But the travel world is filled with magicians and visionaries. And like P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, they seek to inspire, entertain and delight.

The year ahead presents an extraordinary array of their new tricks and treats, from small wonders, such as a nest-like hotel in the middle of a lake in the Arctic, to giant ambitions, such as the world's biggest archaeological museum, newly built in Egypt.

There's the conservative – the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC; and the creative – a gigantic picture frame in Dubai. The whimsical – a stairway to nowhere in New York City; and the hard-working – the world's now largest airport in Istanbul.

Whatever your interests, across such categories as hotels, cruise ships, attractions, architecture and destinations, there is something to get you planning your own new adventures in 2018.

ARCHITECTURE

1. GRAND EGYPTIAN MUSEUM, CAIRO

More than 100,000 relics, including 4500 pieces of Tutankhamun's treasure, define the world's largest archaeological museum, lying between Cairo and the Pyramids, to open at least in part this year. The building is a sensitive response to place and purpose by Heneghan Peng, an architecture firm with impressive public space credits. See hparc.com

2. CHINA ZUN TOWER, BEIJING

The crowning glory in Beijing's new 30-hectare planned business district will be, at 528 metres, the tallest in the capital. The hourglass-shaped tower was designed with an observation deck on top. But that may not eventuate due to government concerns over what can be seen – including the interior of the Communist Party's compound. See kpf.com

3. ISTANBUL GRAND AIRPORT

The largest airport in the world is almost ready to take up to a projected 200 million passengers a year, even though visitor numbers from western nations to Turkey have fallen due to terrorism concerns. The architecture team – Grimshaw, Norwegian firm Nordic Office of Architecture and London studio Haptic – designed what they hope has "a unique sense of place" with a vast vaulted canopy dotted with skylights. See igairport.com

4. THE VESSEL, NEW YORK CITY

Though described by The New York Times as a "$US150 million stairway to nowhere", the Vessel is far from folly. The centrepiece of the enormous mixed-use Hudson Yards development, the Vessel has 154 inter-connecting flights of stairs and 80 landings, and is designed to be a gallery, with its lookouts onto the city as the artworks. See hudsonyardsnewyork.com

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5. MOHAMMED BIN RASHID LIBRARY, DUBAI

The largest library and cultural project in the Arab world overlooks Dubai Creek and will house eight specialised libraries, more than 1.5 million printed books, and be a source for many digital resources. The design, by the Middle East's Architectural Consulting Group, has a roof that resembles an open book, with the overall shape inspired by a rehal – the X-shaped bookrest used for the Quran. See dm.gov.ae

ATTRACTIONS

6. THE DUBAI FRAME, DUBAI

The 150-metre-high and 93-metre-wide Dubai Frame at Zabeel Park is designed to offer a view of old and new Dubai. The huge picture frame encompasses views of landmarks such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa on one side, and Deira, Umm Harare and Karama on the other. There is a museum on the ground floor. See thedubaiframe.com

7. ARCTIC BATH, SWEDISH LAPLAND

This glorious structure on Luleriver at Harads, is free-floating in summer, and in winter, frozen in. In fine Swedish tradition it features a huge cold bath, saunas, spa treatments and a restaurant. There are six minimalist guest cabins, making it a fun way to see the Northern Lights. See arcticbath.se

8. MV FINGAL, SCOTLAND

Moored at Prince of Wales Dock next to the Royal Yacht Britannia, the former royal yacht of Queen Elizabeth II and a huge tourist attraction, a retired Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) tender, MV Fingal, is being converted into a luxury 23-bedroom hotel. Each room is named after Stevenson lighthouses, with decor in keeping. See edinburgh.org

9. PIXAR PIER, CALIFORNIA

The northern summer sees the new Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park in Disneyland. There will be four neighbourhoods representing beloved Pixar stories: The Incredibles, Toy Story, Inside Out and another dedicated to a multitude of movies. See disneyparks.disney.go.com

10. CLYMB, ABU DHABI

The world's widest flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall to Abu Dhabi's Yas Island in 2018. The indoor skydiving chamber will be 9.75 metres wide and the climbing wall 43 metres. CLYMB will also include shops, restaurants and a function space and will be be linked to other attractions on Yas Island, which include a new Warner Brothers World. See visitabudhabi.ae

See also: Ten things every traveller needs to know this year

See also: The top 18 destinations to visit in 2018

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