Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco just became the “it” place to visit in Tuscany from November 27 to April 12, because its now staying open in winter. Visitors will have their pick of the luxury villas, which are restored 17th- and 18th-century farmhouses. Villa Alba is well suited for some restful peace and quiet, as it is located on a quiet hilltop, overlooking the Val d’Orcia. Hint: We hear Villa Alba is quite the romantic hideaway. Another villa option, which sleeps nine, is Villa Sant’Anna, which has its own tennis court. Good to know: Fireplaces create cozy evenings in both these accommodations — just add wine.
The resorts Winter Villa Escape program provides locally sourced groceries and a dedicated concierge will be on call to arrange excursions to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and other nearby destinations. Foodies should book a truffle- hunting expedition, adventurers should ask for a hot-air balloon excursion. During their stay, travelers will have access to the on-site winery for tours and tastings. (Make sure to sip the estates celebrated Brunello di Montalcino wine.)
BROOKLYN BRIDGE – A New York icon, Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel suspension bridge. When it opened in 1883, the 486-metre spa n between its two support towers was the longest in history. Although its construction was fraught with disaster, the bridge became an inspiring example of urban design. Today, its pedestrian walkway delivers a soul-stirring view of lower Manhattan.
STATUE OF LIBERTY – Conceived in 1865 by French intellectual Edouard de Laboulaye to honour the shared republican values of France and the USA, the Statue of Liberty wasn’t unveiled until 1886. It’s an iron skeleton, designed by Gustave Eiffel, with a copper skin. Reserve tickets online up to six months ahead to access Lady Liberty’s crown.
FLATIRON BUILDING – Until 1909, the Flatiron was the world’s tallest building. Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, this 20-storey skyscraper has a uniquely narrow triangular footprint that resembles the prow of a massive ship. It also features a traditional Beaux Arts limestone and terracotta facade that gets increasingly beautiful as you admire it.
NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL – Rising from the ashes of Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial is a beautiful response to the city’s darkest chapter. The focal point is Reflecting Absence, two cascading pools occupying the footprints of the ill-fated Twin Towers. Deep below lies the powerful Memorial Museum.
EMPIRE STATE – This striking Art Deco skyscraper may no longer be New York’s tallest building, but it remains one of its most recognisable icons. It was built in just 410 days, using 7 million hours of labour during the Great Depression. Views from its 86th-floor open-air deck and 102nd-floor indoor deck are heavenly. Queues to the top are notorious; book online ahead of time.
ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY – New York’s tallest skyscraper is a soaring 104-storey landmark that looms like a beacon above Lower Manhattan. Take a highspeed ‘sky pod’ ride to the top for astounding views over the city and surrounding states. There’s also a virtual time-lapse documenting the skyline’s evolution from the 1600s.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, a Relais and Chateaux hotel north of San Diego is increasing its wellness and spa offerings. Can we get a hip, hip, hooray?
There are now new therapies, treatments and a monthly workshop series that cover topics like Pilates and yoga techniques and how to live a plant-based, whole-foods lifestyle. We hear the new treatment to book is the Wild Radiance, which is a custom facial that uses a skin-softening honey, a goji-berry mask and a refining polish to do its magic. Before any treatment, we suggest taking advantage of the resorts fitness facilities that includes the open-air Serenity Yoga Pavilion and the adults-only spa pool. There’s also a poolside bar there called Rein (did someone say detox, retox?).
Rein opened late summer and serves up a mighty fine Rein Margarita with Tres Agaves Blanco, Cointreau, lime, basil and cucumber. Then there’s La Pinata, made with pineapple Mezcal, Serrano Tequila, lime and cilantro. (Yes, please.)
Good to know: The bar is open year-round. If you want to go all out at the spa, we suggest requesting a treatment in the new Siesta Suite, a private, outdoor treatment area
ROYAL & ANCIENT POLAR BEAR SOCIETY – Founded in 1963, this club has displays on Arctic hunting and local history. For £18, you can become a life member. Wild polar bears haven’t been seen here in Hammerfest for thousands of years, but the town was a major 19th- and 20th-century base for hunting and capture expeditions to Svalbard.
SAMI NATIONAL MUSEUM – Karasjok is the capital of Norway’s indigenous Sami people. Exhibits at its premier museum, also called De Samiske Samlinger, include traditional Sami clothing, tools and artefacts, and works by Sami artists of today. Outdoors, roam past typical Sami constructions and ancient rein deer trap ping pits.
DOG-SLEDDING – The environmentally friendly version of snowmobiling allows you to experience the polar silence like explorers of old. Engholm’s Husky, near Karasjok, offers winter dog-sled tours. If you’re lucky, you’ll be guided by Sven Engholm, one of dog-sledding’s most famous names. Tours range from an hour to multiday expeditions.
SENJA – Norway’s second-largest island rivals Lofoten for natural beauty yet attracts a fraction of its visitors. A broad agricultural plain laps at lnnersida, the island’s eastern, mainland-facing coast. Birch woods, moorland and sweetwater lakes extend beneath the interior’s bare craggy uplands. Along the northwestern coast, Yttersida, knife-ridged peaks rise directly from the Arctic Ocean.
NORTHERN LIGHTS CATHEDRAL – Opened in 2013, Alta’s Northern Lights Cathedral has become one of the north’s architectural icons, with its swirling pyramid structure clad in rippling titanium sheets. The interior has an utterly modern 4.3m-high bronze Christ by Danish artist Peter Brandes. The cathedral is at its best in winter when aglow in floodlights.
Raffles Singapore will undergo a major restoration starting in January 2017. The first phase will refurbish the hotel’s Arcade; the second phase—starting in mid-2017—will overhaul the main building, lobby, and some of the suites. During this time, the hotel will stay open. The hotel will close for the final phase, from the end of 2017 until the second quarter of 2018. Technology upgrades will be a major focus. The interiors will be decorated by award-winning designer Alexandra Champalimaud.
Marriott’s Edition brand will open its first Icelandic property in Reykjavik in late 2018. A recent article in the Iceland Monitor describes it as the country’s “first five-star international hotel.” For the 250-room hotel, U.S. real estate firm Carpenter & Company bought a prime piece of real estate next to the Harpa Conference Center and Concert Hall on the harbor waterfront.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld is launching Karl Lagerfeld Hotels & Resorts, created top to bottom in the designer’s graphic esthetic. In addition to hotels, the brand will also encompass residential properties, restaurants and private clubs. We are still waiting to hear where these new hotels will be built, but we’re banking on Paris, bien sur. Stay tuned.
ZUM SCHIESSHAUS – Traditional, meaty and quintessentially Saxon: it’s a hearty affair at this restaurant in the Altstadt (Old Town), which retains its old-world atmosphere despite having been destroyed in both the Thirty Years’ War and WWII. The former medieval shooting range has been rebuilt and does a good line in local beers to go with the solid cuisine.
FRAUENKIRCHE – The graceful domed church at the heart of Dresden stood for two centuries until WWII. Rebuilt from rubble, it opened anew in 2005. The altar is especially striking. After climbing the cupola, head to the sixth-floor bar of nearby Hotel Innside for cocktails and incredible views of the church.
NIGHTWALKTOUR – See street art, learn about what life was like in communist East Germany and visit fun pubs and bars in the outer Neustadt on this entertaining three-hour after-dark tour. Night Walk also has exclusive rights to take visitors on weekday tours to the cellar where Kurt Vonnegut survived the bombing of Dresden in 1945, immortalised in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
MILITARHISTORISCHES MUSEUM DRESDEN – Even pacifists will be awed by this engaging museum in a 19th-century arsenal bisected by a bold glass-and-steel wedge designed by Daniel Libeskind. Exhibits offer a progressive and often artistic look at the subject. Don’t miss the 1978 Soyuz landing capsule.
PALACES – Dresden’s two big-hitters, rebuilt after WWII, are the neighbouring Zwinger and Residenzschloss. While the former was primarily a party palace, with a fountain-studded courtyard, the latter was the Renaissance main home to Saxon rulers until 1918. Both have fine museums, such as the Grunes Gewolbe (Green Vault), home to precious treasures.
GENUSS-ATELIER – Lighting up Dresden’s culinary scene, this fantastic place is well worth the trip on the 11 tram to Waldschlosschen in the outer Neustadt. Its creative menu is streets ahead of most offerings elsewhere, although the best way to experience the ‘Pleasure-Atelier’ is to book a surprise menu and let the chefs show off their era ft. Reservations are essential.
KUNSTHOFPASSAGE – Take a web of grimy , a load of paint and a bunch of visionary artists and out comes the Kunsthofpassage, one of the most refreshingly artistic spaces in the Neustadt. Each has its own charm, but favourites include the Court of the Elements, where ‘music’ is created by water running down interlinked rain pipes affixed to a turquoise facade.
There’s some hotel buzz coming out of Washington D.C. and we are all ears.
The Watergate Hotel has unveiled its $3.5-million luxury spa. That’s the iconic hotel that reopened in June, after undergoing a $200-million renovation. Guests arranging a stay can now book a range of guestrooms, including 24 premier suites, six Diplomat Suites and two Presidential suites.
Did we mention the amazing views of the Potomac River? But now, for us, it’s all about the new Argentta spa, which spans for 10,500 square feet below the lobby and is inspired by the Italian word for silver. That precious metal theme is carried throughout the spa; even the pool has mosaic tiles with genuine silver flecks. Other amenities include a whirlpool, sauna, a nail salon, six treatment rooms, and a suite for two.
The signature treatment here is the Argentta Seven Elements Ritual. This seven-part experience uses fresh, organic ingredients to create a toxin-free solution to restore skin. Looking for a refresh? Book the Strengthening Facial, which we hear is highly moisturizing and firming. Best part? The facial uses liquid silver to improve skin’s elasticity. Yes, we just said that. This new spa is also home to an exercise area, which has Technogym cardio and strength machines along with studio space for private boot-camp exercises. Note: Coaching and lifestyle sessions are also offered.
GLASGOW – Although damaged by fire in 2014, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s greatest building still fulfilsits original function and remains Glasgow’s most astounding architectural show piece. Visits are by 45 – minute guided tour; the same folks also run recommended Glasgow walking tours.
KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY & MUSEUM – In a magnificent stone building, the Kelvingrove has an excellent room of Scottish art, a room of fine French Impressionist works, and quality Renaissance paintings. Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross is also here.The nearby Hunterian Art Gallery holds more Scottish works.
GALLERY OF MODERN ART – Scotland’s most popular contemporary- art gallery houses modem international works in a graceful Neoclassical building. The ornate original interior contrasts with the daring, inventive art. The statue of the Duke of Wellington is usually cheekily crowned with a traffic cone.
CITIZENS THEATRE – Orchestral rock, serious theatre, musical dramas – the Citizens Theatre is one of Scotland’s top performance venues. The theatre is firmly entrenched in Glasgow life and engaged in education and community work. It’s well worth trying to catch a gig here, or book an entertaining guided backstage tour through the Victorian theatre space.
KING TUT’S WAH WAH HUT – Glasgow is the king of Scotland’s live-music scene. Year after year, touring musicians and travellers alike name Glasgow one of their favourite cities in the world to enjoy live music. One of the city’s premier music pubs is King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, a 300-capacity grassroots venue hosting bands every night of the week. Oasis were signed after playing here. It also has a bar and kitchen.
SHARMANKA KINETIC THEATRE – This extraordinary mechanical theatre is the brainchild of Russian sculptor and mechanic Eduard Bersudsky. Large, wondrous figures, created from bits of scrap and elaborate carvings, perform humorous and tragic stories to haunting music. It’s inspirational and macabre, but always clever and thought-provoking.
SARAMAGO CAFE BAR
In the tall atrium of the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Saramago does a great line in eclectic vegan fusion food, combining flavours from around the globe. The upstairs bar has a great deck on steep Scott St and packs out inside with a friendly crowd enjoying DJ sets and quality tap beers; ortry Sunday brunch.
ORAN MOR BRASSERIE – This temple to Scottish dining and drinking is set in an old church. Giving new meaning to the word ‘conversion’, the brasserie pumps out high-quality bar meals in a dark, Mackintosh-inspired space as well as in the pub area. Come for the ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ lunchtime theatre deal.
We’ve rounded up several hotels with a range of locations, accommodations and experiences that are well-suited to host families.
At The Breakers Palm Beach, the Flagler Club is a 25-room private access hotel that opened last year. The resort within a resort (think of it as a chic guesthouse) is on the sixth and seventh floors of the hotel, accessed through a private elevator. Nice Touch: Guests of Flagler Club receive free private car service upon arrival and departure, light snacks during the day, predinner appetizers and a dedicated small staff that is on call to help them with every need.
Good to know: Two connected king bedrooms or the Flagler Club Suite, which has a pull-out sofa and accommodates up to four people, can make groups comfortable. For more connectivity or for multiple generations staying together, The Breakers can create a six-bedroom suite out of a suite and five adjacent guestrooms.
The top suites at The Breakers are the two Imperial Suites, each with two entrances, a foyer, five Juliet balconies, a personal concierge and panoramic views of the coastline. They sleep up to six people, including two children, or four adults with the help of a pull-out couch and rollaway.
An Imperial Suite can also be connected to four additional guestrooms and suite/living area, making it possible to sleep 16. The Breakers also provides infant tubs, bed rails, diaper-changing tables, babysitting reservations and more.
Adults can spend time at Ocean Fitness, a 6,000-square- foot workout facility with oceanfront views. Here they can participate in 60 different workout classes, cycle, experience yoga and more. The best part? Working out in front of the 10-foot-tall windows that afford views of the ocean.
Visitors, ages three to 12, can enjoy Camp Breakers, which is open everyday. A fully trained staff operates the camp and if adults want to dine alone, the camp even hosts a night session, where little ones will play lawn games, star gaze and have bonfires on the beach. Note: The night session runs until 9:30 p.m. and includes dinner.
The Active Pool is one of the four pools on property and was created with happy clans in mind. Here, there are 25 bungalows that have personal concierges and come with a living area, a refrigerator, TV, gaming consoles and a private bathroom. To get the most out of pool time, ask about the Kids’ Intro to Scuba and the pool- side spin art experience. Note: Swimming lessons and water sport activities are available upon request for an additional fee.
Those who have had enough fun in the sun should head indoors to the Family Entertainment Center. This 6,100-square-foot complex is open daily and includes an arcade, a toddler and a play room (parents can see the play room while dining at the adjacent Italian Restaurant), an outdoor sports court and playground with sunshades during the day and lights at night. Tip: Make sure the children experience Florida’s marine life by visiting the Camp Room, which has a saltwater aquarium filled with indigenous marine life.
Little ones are allowed to dine in all nine of the restaurants. At HMF, a restaurant and lounge, adults can order a signature drink, such as the Railcar #91 — which is made with Courvoisier VSOP, fresh lemon juice, local honey and orange foam — while those under 21 years of age sip Shirley Temples.
It has a climate and landscape that makes Asturias the kind of place you can spend the morning in snow-capped mountains, the afternoon in lush valleys and the evening on the beach. But the best thing about striking out into the province’s hinterlands is getting to meet the friendly locals, exploring little-known villages and experiencing the thrill of the wild.
Off the beaten track
New roads interconnect villages, coastlines and mountains while old footpaths range from well-trodden to barely touched, ideal for hikers in search of discovery. The Camm Real de la Mesa follows the old Roman road that linked Asturias with the neighbouring province of Castilla y Leon. Measuring just over 25 miles, it’s a great way of getting acquainted with the highs and lows of Asturias – it ploughs through the bulk of its hills and valleys. Alternatively, the Ruta delos Molinos del Rio Profundu is a round trip of roughly 10 miles and should take the moderate hiker approximately four and a half hours, during which you’ll see plenty of both watermills and waterfalls.
Cycle through mountain passes
In the warmer weather, the higher mountains open for mountain biking, so epic rides of up to eight hours are possible. The Tour of Spain passes through Asturias, but for less ambitious cyclists, difficult hilly sections are served well by local buses, taking care of any tougher stretches you may encounter. The course from Lagos de Covad onga to Soto de Can gas, passes scenic lakes and takes in craggy vistas. Come winter, the snow falls and the higher sections close so it’s time to take to t he coast to admire the beauty of the cliff faces and quiet shores. Cycle 30 miles between Llanes and San Vicente and you’ll ascend through eucalyptus forests towards the eye-catching coastline Asturias proudly flaunts.
Take to the waves
Surfing in Asturias can be enjoyed throughout the year as the Cantabrian Sea produces waves on a regular basis. In summer, water temperatures can reach 22°C, so surfers can ride the board for two to three hours without insulation. La Barra near Rodiles Beach is a popular location, but surfers in the know favour Tapia, Salinas, El Mongol and Playa Espana. The area’s status as a hotspot for watersports is endorsed by the annual International Surf Competition in Tapia de Casariego, held over Easter.