As a Los Angeles native, I’ve always been grateful for the glacial pace of Malibu’s transformation. Since the iconic Alice’s Restaurant on the Malibu Pier reopened under new management as Malibu Farm Restaurant in 2015, with Helene Henderson’s breezy elevated surfer menu, it seems that everything along the cove between the pier and Carbon Canyon has upped its game. The chic coastal outpost of Soho House opened, and then something miraculous happened: The Malibu Beach Inn, once a ho-hum motel-style property with nothing but views, was transformed by visionary veteran hotelier Gregory Day, whom the Mani Brothers smartly lured from Shutters on the Beach, into just the kind of quietly luxurious ocean hideaway every Angeleno dreams about.
The 47 rooms with private terraces that cantilever over this gentle cove master that elusive Scando art of the cozy, or hygge: They are minimal yet warm, with strong Danish Modern-meets-California beach design references, and upscale in that plush-bedding, Toto-toilets sort of way. An appropriate avocado-, egg-, and seafood-forward menu from Gatoalum Cody Dickey (not to mention great cheese and charcuterie platters and burgers) served on the terrace overlooking the ocean means you’ll never have any reason to leave the property. Just east, the impressive if considerably pricier Nobu Rvokan Malibu opened 16 ample rooms in April with spare-no-expense teak-and-ipe-wood millwork, some of which have traditional timber soaking tubs. At press time, there was no on-site restaurant. Of course, guests have special access to the nearby Nobu Malibu.
WHERE TO EAT
Hip and Healthy – Malibu Farm Restaurant for best-of-Cali grain salads, tacos, and sandwiches.
Upscale Italian – Giorgio Baldi, a delicious but slightly too expensive icon on West Channel Road, is as far as you’ll need to venture for authentic Italian.
Fish Shack – Reel Inn, with its hanging surfboards and chalkboard menus, is as old Malibu as it gets. So is Malibu Seafood and its no-frills but superfresh seafood platters.
Pasta, Pizza, Playground – Tradi Noi at the Malibu Country Mart is easy Italian. Order for the kids first, let them loose in the sand-filled playground within eyeshot, and tuck into a bottle of something.
Family Beach Day – Park your car in the lot at Paradise Cove, and then seat yourself in an Adirondack chair right on the water. The beachfront restaurant serves slightly trashy but delicious chilaquiles and a nice Worcester-and-Tabasco-heavy Bloody Mary. Or you can just pick up sandwiches and ice-cold beer at the takeout place next door.
IT’S HOUSED IN A BEAUTIFUL BUILDING
The oldest museum in Mumbai, the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (formerly the Victoria & Albert Museum) cocoons collections that showcase the city’s cultural and industrial heritage within an impressive edifice on the city zoo grounds. This two-storey structure, with its Palladian exterior, high Victorian interior, Corinthian columns, detailed woodwork, etched glass and gold ceiling, along with Minton tiled floors, is a well-preserved testament to 19th century architecture.
IT OFFERS FREE PUBLIC TOURS
The museum organises free public tours on weekends. The tours are conducted in English and Hindi or Marathi.
IT’S GOT RARE TREASURES
The curated repertoire includes a vast collection of archaeological finds, maps and historical photographs of Mumbai, day and silver models, pottery and paintings. Its permanent collection includes miniature clay models, dioramas, maps, lithographs, rare documents and books that capture life in the erstwhile city of Bombay in the 19th century.
IT’S GOT GREAT WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS
The museum organises workshops tor children thrice a month, designed around the permanent collections, at which young enthusiasts could learn the art of raagmala painting or how to throw a pot. Pre-registration is a must. Adults can also sign up to learn to make terrariums, films on their phone, or go on a photo walk around the Byculla neighbourhood.
IT ORGANISES SCAVENGER HUNTS!
In a bid to open up the museum space to a younger demographic, the museum puts together scavenger hunts tor children, with clues revolving around the building’s collections. Other activities include the Byculla for Kids Walks, and story-writing sessions for kids and adults.
IT SCREENS MOVIES!
The Movies at the Museum series hosts public screenings of art movies, documentaries, and animation movies in association with the Alliance Francais of Mumbai and the Consulate General of Canada.
IT HOSTS INTERESTING TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS
There’s always a great photography or natural history exhibition or some other installation awaiting your attention.
IT’S GOT COOL MERCH
The revamped Museum Shop is, happily, a trove of wares you’ll want to take home, inspired by many of the historical items on display, you’ll find calendars, notepads and tote bags engraved with images of old Bombay, boxes with enamel paintings and filigree work and, of course, postcards and envelopes with designs harking back to a rich past.
IT OFFERS INTERNSHIPS AND DOCENTCOURSES
Don’t be surprised if your tour guide looks a little young. The museum offers internships and docent courses to young adults and adults with an interest in history, art history and design, and in the workings of a museum. The year-long courses otter them a chance to participate in research activities and curation, and lead a museum tour for the public.
The cafe Doma, meaning ‘home’ in Czech, is certainly home for many freelance scribblers, actors, filmmakers, and other creative types who use this cafe as a more spacious alterative to their tiny apartments nearby. Although often as quiet as a library (albeit a see-and-be-seen library, where eyes swoop to the door when it opens), the cafe has an unspoken rule that sitting at the central table means you’re open to conversation – friendships, romances, and business deals have all sprouted here. Doma (pictured above) also serves light cafe fare (omelets, salads, and gourmet sandwiches), as well as wine and beer in the evenings.
Set in a former garage, Grounded is a more hipster alternative to Doma, priding itself on a post-hippie, lived-in feel with kitschy thrift-shop mugs, politically-correct coffee, and a soundtrack that alternates between ‘70s staples and current indie Brooklyn bands. Like Doma, Grounded has a social common area of wooden benches and a couch grouped around a coffee table, where it’s acceptable to chat with the person next to you.
Joe’s has won best cafe in the New York press because of the quality of the coffee, but the atmosphere isn’t quite as enticing as at Doma or Grounded. It’s smaller here, usually quite crowded, and the tables and chairs are less comfortable. However, getting a spot outside on one of two benches and watching activity on this pretty street is an ideal way to spend an hour or two on a warm day. There’s a second Joe’s by Union Square (9 E. 13th St), where it’s easier to get a table.
A great way to kick off a tour of New York’s neighborhood-of-the-moment is to get a glimpse of fashionable life in the 1800s at Merchant’s House on East Fourth Street. This elegant red-brick row house was home to a prosperous merchant family, and today it’s the only home in New York preserved intact from the mid-19th century, with much of the original furniture, decor, and family belongings still in place.
A block away is the Bowery, a once dodgy thoroughfare now home to some of the city’s hippest new hotels and buzz-worthy restaurants. Have a drink at the sleek cocktail bar at The Marlton Hotel (pictured above) or enjoy the intimacy of the vaulted dining room that’s lined with quaint shuttered windows and trailing plants.
Down the street is The Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel, where Ashton threw a birthday party for Demi, and Mark Anthony for J-Lo. Settle into oversized velvet chairs and take in the opulent French château hunting-lodge feel of the place with its marble fireplaces, wall-mounted antlers, and oriental carpets. The hotel’s rustic restaurant Gemma is a good place for a casual meal or coffee.
Big-name chefs are now on the Bowery: Daniel Boulud’s DBGB’s Kitchen and Bar (299 Bowery, tel: 212-933-5300) – named in homage to the Bowery’s defunct rock club CBGB’s – features upscale burgers and sausages, while hit-making restaurateur Keith McNally has opened his latest rustic Italian, Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria (282 Bowery, tel: 212-226-1966) on this trendy stretch.
Following a $16 million renovation which took over six years to complete, Washington Square Park is a pleasant spot to sit on a bench with a paper and maybe a spot of lunch, listen to music, and enjoy the ebb and flow of Villagers, bohemians, tourists, students and academics from surrounding NYU buildings, workers on breaks, and local residents with their dogs.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be there when the fragrant food cart of Sri Lankan-born Thiru Kumar is parked on the south edge of the park at Sullivan Street (Mon–Fri 11am–4pm, but times can vary depending on the weather). His mild or spicy dosas are praised by foodies across the city.
The park has been a draw for musicians since World War II, when folkies would gather near the fountain on weekend afternoons. Buddy Holly, Woodie Guthrie, and Bob Dylan have all jammed here over the years, and the tradition continues. Classical concerts are held in the northeast corner of the park in July, and Christmas caroling takes place around the arch in December.
In the southeast corner of the park, regular chess players do battle, while ‘chess hustlers’ take on passersby in an attempt to make a few bucks. On Sundays, champions from the National Scrabble Club gather here to compete.
Over the past decade, more than $400 million have been poured into converting industrial land and abandoned piers along the Hudson River into the Hudson River Park (www.hudsonriverpark.org) a 5½-mile stretch of parks, bike and pedestrian paths, tennis and basketball courts, and places to fish or launch a kayak. It’s quickly become a favorite escape for nature-starved, stressed-out New Yorkers and tourists. The paths run from Battery Park up to 59th Street, passing more than half a dozen converted piers with green space, outdoor theaters, and benches. But most New Yorkers agree the best stretch lies below 23rd Street.
Pier 45 is perfect for lying out on the grass and taking in a rare sense of open space. Enjoy the views of the Statue of Liberty and the New Jersey shoreline, a sunset, or watch the river traffic ballet of police and tourist helicopters, tugboats, cruise-ships, and kayaks. The last can be rented for free for 20-minute trips further south at the Downtown Boathouse, Pier 40 (www.downtownboathouse.org, Sat–Sun 9am–6pm, life jackets and brief instruction provided.
For intrepid individuals looking for an upside-down view of the Hudson River, the New York Trapeze School offers 2-hour lessons for about $50–60, also at Pier 40 (tel: 212-242-TSNY; www.newyork.trapezeschool.com).
But one of the best ways to enjoy the new park is on two wheels. Bike rentals are available in Midtown from Pier 84 at 44th Street (www.bikeandroll.com) or at Battery Park.
The city that never sleeps is especially nocturnal in Korea Town, as 32nd Street between Sixth and Fifth avenues is known. On the block-long strip you can dig into Korean barbecue, sing karaoke, or soak in a spa around the clock.
In dozens of restaurants, galbi (thinly sliced beef short ribs), jeyook gui (broiled pork), bugogi (sirloin), saeoo gae (jumbo shrimp), and other specialties are prepared at your table – either grilled over coals or sautéed on a hot griddle. Accompaniments are bibimbop (rice and vegetables) and bi bim naeng myun (noodles topped with kimchi, or pickled vegetables). Among the favorite places on the street to enjoy these delicacies are Shilla (37 W. 32nd St, tel: 212-967-1880), with a three-story tall dining room; Mandoo Bar (2 W 32nd St, tel: 212-279-3075), with its dumplings being made in the front window; and BCD Tofu House (17 W. 32nd St, tel: 212-967-1900), where a hearty tofu stew is the house specialty.
Wherever you dine, and whatever you order, you will probably wash down your meal with soju, a clear, potent liquor that looks and tastes quite a bit like vodka. After a few glasses, you will be well primed to partake of K Town’s other great diversion, karaoke. The neighborhood’s two most popular venues are Chorus Karaoke (25 W. 32nd St, tel: 212-967-2244), and Duet 35 (53 W. 35th St, tel: 646-473-0827).
Should these exertions wear you out, the Juvenix Spa (25 W. 32nd St, fifth floor) is open at all hours to provide a sweat in a sauna made of semiprecious stones and a soak in a tub filled with sake, tea, and algae. If the weather is good, and midnight has not yet struck, you might want to make a stop at La Quinta Inn (17 W. 32nd St). Ascend to the Sun Roof, a pleasant aerie where cocktails are served until midnight – when the night is still young in this 24-hour neighborhood.
Not too much gets a unanimous nod of approval from New Yorkers, but the High Line is one of those rare exceptions. Just about everyone seems to have something good to say about this elevated promenade, a refreshing strip of greenery that cuts an aerial swath through the heart of Chelsea, between Tenth and Eleventh avenues all the way from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street.
The High Line is a disused railway trestle that once handled train traffic up and down the West Side, a supply route for factories and warehouses. Fountains, patches of greenery (some cultivated from the wild plants that took root on the abandoned tracks), and benches line the route, reached by staircases from the streets below.
As you follow the High Line you can peer down into the Meatpacking District and other old industrial neighborhoods below. At 17th Street, the view south extends all the way across New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty. At 18th Street, the Empire State Building looms into view. Some of New York’s most exciting new architecture has risen around the High Line, including a curvaceous glass creation by Frank Gehry at Eleventh Avenue and 18th Street.
At sunset, an orange glow hangs over the Hudson River, and discreet lighting along the route ensures that the night sky, enlivened here and there with a faint star, provides a romantic canopy above the route. Weekday mornings the walkways are uncrowded, a quiet sanctuary as the workaday city rushes by below.
Decor aficionados salivate at the thought of a shopping spree at ABC Carpet (preferably if someone else is picking up the tab). This boho-luxury furniture and home wares emporium is a New York institution known to induce fevers in those vulnerable to sticker shock, but it is unparalleled in its ability to inspire interior designer wannabes. Walk the creaky floors in this high-ceilinged Beaux-Arts building, and explore six levels of furniture, linen, house wares, and electronics. The furniture is both new and antique, ranging from industrial, Danish modern, 18th-century French, and Asian to modern retailers like Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams or Ralph Lauren. There are real finds here from around the world, such as Venetian chandeliers from Murano glass factories, Indonesian wedding beds, organic towels and linens, and, of course, piles and piles of carpets of all sizes, colors, and origins at the satellite store across the street at 881 Broadway – ABC Carpet is above all, the largest carpet and rug retailer in the world.
When you’ve reached design saturation, head to City Bakery for the best salad bar in the city, or for one of their signature pick-me-ups, such as the pretzel croissant or their rich, thick hot chocolate with a homemade giant marshmallow. The salad bar serves Asian-inspired dishes (Thai saffron rice with Lotus seeds; pesto soba noodle salad; grilled pineapple with ancho chili) or yummy comfort food like mac & cheese, or red bean and tomato stew with chipotle and lime. Take a seat on the main floor, or look down at the bustling crowd from upstairs in this large airy space with an industrial feel.
You can’t live in Cape Town – or visit it often – and not go to Cape Point! This rocky promontory, feared by seafarers like Da Gama and Dias, is one of the most dramatic viewpoints in the country and a true wilderness close to the city. Ask for a map at the gate: The main road gets straight to the point, so to speak, but it’s worth turning off to some beautiful bays and views. Stop at the Buffelsfontein information centre to show the kids some whale bones on display and to take a bathroom break.
Head back to the main road, drive 2 km and turn left to have breakfast with the baboons at Buffels Bay. You can swim in the tidal pool here if you’re feeling brave. Go back to the main road again and turn right to Platboom Beach, a well-known surf spot. Look for the Dias Cross on the way there. At Platboom you can walk in the white dunes and daydream with your eyes on the horizon. It’s almost time for the grand finale, but first visit Pegram’s Point, Neptune’s Dairy and the Cape of Good Hope – all great viewpoints – for some dramatic selfies.
From the Cape of Good Hope viewpoint, you can hike along the coast to Cape Point (about 2 km) or you can follow the main road back to the Two Oceans restaurant. The restaurant isn’t too pricey for Cape Town (R1S fora cup of coffee; R65 fora glass of wine) and the view is awesome. From the restaurant, it’s a strenuous uphill walk to the lighthouse. If grandpa is joining you for the day, consider a ride on the Flying Dutchman funicular (return ticket R65 per adult; R25 per child). Hold onto your hat at the old lighthouse at the top – the wind pumps around the point. If you want to go even further south, walk down to the new lighthouse, which feels like it’s at the end of the earth. Then take your new windswept hairstyle home.
How to get there? The entrance gate is about 60 km south of Cape Town.
Gate times: 7 am to 5 pm.