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March 27, 2017

Best Places to Travel

By Lauren Jade Hill

The Best Places to Travel for Easter

Whether it’s the climate or celebrations that people favor these settings for, each one draws visitors in throughout April. From the vibrant souks of Marrakech, to the festivities of Semana Santa in Peru, these are the best places to travel for Easter.

Marrakech, Morocco

At a time when the almond blossom is in full bloom, and the temperature sits comfortably at around 18 degrees, the days surrounding Easter are considered to be among the most ideal here. During the cooler days, before the heat of the summer months arrives, Easter is just right for getting to know the city’s atmospheric medina and colourful souks.

Where to Stay: Mandarin Oriental Marrakech sits within its own olive groves and landscaped gardens, with a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. Yet, it is still just a short distance from Marrakech’s medina. Here, the luxurious villas and suites combine contemporary décor with elegant Moroccan style.

Vatican City

Located within Rome, this unique city-state attracts visitors year-round for its richness in historic architecture, which in turn is home to an abundance of Roman statues and Renaissance art. As the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City is of particular significance at Easter when thousands of people gather to witness the ceremony held at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Where to Stay: JK Place Roma celebrates the heritage of the city it’s in, while also showcasing contemporary style and design. JK Café, too, brings Italian tradition together with innovation through its market-fresh menu.

Sabah, Borneo

Easter is considered one of the best times to travel to Borneo. At just the right time, between the two monsoon seasons, April offers the ideal conditions for venturing into the rainforest, or taking a boat out to one of nearby islands where the dive sites are thought to be among the world’s most extraordinarily for their abundant marine-life.

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Where to Stay: Situated on an island off the coast of mainland Borneo, Bunga Raya Island Resort sits set amid rainforest and on a crescent of white sand, with world-class diving within easy reach.

San Francisco, United States

Famed for its annual Union Street Easter Parade, San Francisco draws the crowds in to celebrate this spring occasion. Now in its 26th year, the event encompasses a parade and street fair, with an abundance of activities, food vendors and entertainment, while local eateries set up bistro tables in the outdoors too.

Where to Stay: Located within the desirable neighborhood of Nob Hill, with a cable-car stop just moments away, The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is the ideal place to be based for exploration of the city. Behind the 1909 façade, the hotel encompasses lavishly decorated interiors, with first-rate dining and a luxury spa.

Cusco, Peru

Owing to the nation’s Catholic beliefs and pre-Columbian roots, Easter – or Semana Santa – is celebrated here with fervor. Cusco in particular is at the heart of these celebrations, with a week-long itinerary of processions and gatherings that bring both locals and visitors out into the city’s atmospheric streets where the holiday’s signature dishes are being cooked up.

Where to Stay: Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba lies outside Cusco, between the ancient city and Machu Picchu, within the Sacred Valley. Combining contemporary architecture and interiors of the hotel with a secluded location in the mountains, this luxurious retreat is the ideal contrast to the energy of Cusco at this time.

Zermatt, Switzerland

As we near the end of the ski season, it’s the highest resorts in Europe that continue to draw skiers in. One of the most rewarding at this time is Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. While the resort town has plenty to offer year-round within its scenic mountain setting, Easter is the time to make the most of its high –altitude slopes, before having to wait for the winter to return.

Where to Stay: Exhibiting a contemporary take on the traditional mountain lodge, The Omnia is characterized by its luxurious modern interiors and wooden-cladded facade. But it’s the views of the surrounding mountains this hotel commands that really take your breath away.

The Best Places to Travel in Spring

As we shake off the winter chill, it’s time to welcome in the balmier months of spring. With blossom in the trees and seasonal celebrations, this is considered one of the best times to travel to a number of enticing locations around the world. We take a look at the best places to travel in the springtime to make the most of this glorious time of year.

Tokyo, Japan

Spring is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding times to travel to Japan, with the annual arrival of hanami. As the country’s parks and temple complexes flourish with cherry blossom, families and friends come together to appreciate its beauty, and to picnic and drink sake beneath the trees. To experience the best of this season, wander through Tokyo’s Imperial Palace Gardens, find a space beneath the trees of Shinjuku Gyoen or Yoyogi Park, or seek out the most spectacular views that can be reached on a day trip from the capital, such as Kamakura Daibutsu, or Lake Kawaguchi for views of Mount Fuji.

Where to Stay: As well as being home to some of the largest suites in the city, The Peninsula Tokyo has impressive views over the Imperial Palace Gardens, Hibiya Park and across the vast metropolis.

Paris, France

Paris in the springtime is celebrated far and wide for good reason; The City of Light truly comes to life at this time of year with parks and boulevards displaying the season’s foliage and blossom, and Parisians heading outdoors to savor the warmer days. And what better time to peer up at iconic sights such as the Eiffel Tower than when the city is in full bloom. Explore the city by taking a walk along Canal Saint-Martin, strolling through Jardin du Luxembourg, and seeking out the gardens of Musée Rodin and Notre Dame.

Where to Stay: Stay in one of the luxurious Prestige Suites of Ritz Paris, which have each been designed to represent the hotel’s most esteemed guests, from Chopin to Coco Chanel.

Douro Valley, Portugal

The warm days this season brings makes spring is an especially enticing time to explore the Douro Valley, with the added appeal of the pink and white almond blossom that graces the valley’s slopes of flourishing vineyards. Spend each day here stopping by the valley’s famous vineyards, tasting each winery’s port, and getting to know the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto.

Where to Stay: The 19th-century renovated manor house of Six Senses Douro Valley sits on a hill overlooking the rolling vineyards. Here, the serene spa, and cuisine that celebrates the produce of the region, ensure an exceptional stay.

Seville, Spain

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It’s often said that spring is the most rewarding time to pay a trip to the Andalusian city of Seville. Balmy days draw people back outdoors to gather in outdoor cafes and the orange blossom filled plazas. What’s more, this season sees the return of some of the city’s biggest celebrations, Semana Santa and Feria de Abril, when costumed parades bring renewed energy to the city’s streets.

Where to Stay: Not only is the opulent Hotel Alfonso XIII considered the most luxurious place to stay in Seville, it’s also a fine example of Andalusia’s Moorish architecture, with a collection of top-rate bars and the Restaurant San Fernando.

Washington, DC, United States

With its annual show of spring blossom, Washington, DC is especially popular at this time of year, with just the right climate between winter and the rising heat of the summer. So marking this time, the city hosts its annual Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating both the season and the city’s friendship with Japan. The festival showcases both contemporary and traditional arts and culture, as well as leading tours around the city.

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, provides guests with sumptuous, art-filled surroundings to stay, in the midst of the city’s historic sites.

The Best Places to Travel in Portugal

Sprawling vineyards, a pristine coastline and towns steeped in history have long drawn visitors to Portugal. And along with the nation’s unique culture and celebrated gastronomy, recent years have seen the arrival of chic new luxury hotels, which champion the country’s greatest attributes. We take a look at the best places to travel in Portugal for a taste of what this nation is defined by.

Lisbon

Best Places to Travel in Portugal

For many, the journey begins in the capital, and it’s a city worth setting aside plenty of time for; Lisbon abounds with heritage and culture, and boasts a vibrant restaurant and bar scene. The city lies across seven hills on the coast, and is characterized by its ruins, cathedrals and cobbled streets, along with traditions that are still very much alive to this day. Visitors can take the tram up to each viewpoint, and stroll through the historic center, before sampling the city’s seafood-rich cuisine and local wine.

Where to Stay: With its vantage point above the surrounding streets, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon offers a scenic base within the city, with a luxurious spa to unwind in.

Costa de Prata

Best Places to Travel in Portugal

Costa de Prata – the Silver Coast – stretches along Portugal’s western shores between Lisbon and the ancient city of Porto. Fishing villages are dotted along the white sand coast, with monasteries, convents and castles all tucked into the mountainous region. But it’s the outstanding cuisine, which reflects this coastal setting, and local Bairrada wine that many people come here for.

Where to Stay: The stylish boutique hotel Areias do Seixo exhibits chic contemporary design with high Eco credentials, encompassing a restaurant focusing on organic fare, a spa and outdoor pool, and decking that leads to the sand dunes and Atlantic shores.

The Douro Valley

Best Places to Travel in PortugalAs the world’s first officially designated wine region, the Douro Valley is UNESCO World Heritage listed and a name people associate worldwide with Portugal’s outstanding wine. Vine-covered slopes rise up from the Douro River, with prestigious wineries such as Quinta do Vesuvio welcoming guests in for tastings and tours.

Where to Stay: Six Senses Douro Valley lies within this region, overlooking the vines and Douro River. The 19th-century manor house has been renovated to sumptuous standards, with a focus on showcasing the food and wine of the region.

Porto

Located on Portugal’s northwest coast, on the edge of the Douro Valley, the medieval city Porto is exceptionally rich in heritage and at the center of port wine production. As the home of the nation’s celebrated fortified wine, opportunities abound to gain insight into the regional specialty, with tastings of each winery’s own blends.

Where to Stay: Originating from the 18th century, the former palace turned hotel, Pestana Palacio do Freixo, is a grand reflection of the city’s past, with plentiful luxury amenities.

The Algarve

Best Places to Travel in Portugal

As a picturesque region of golden coves sheltered by cliffs, the Algarve is Portugal’s number one destination for travelers. It’s well worth seeking out the quieter spots along the coast from where the bays, fishing villages and castle towns can be explored.

Where to Stay: Conrad Algarve sits within Quinta do Lago, with golden shores on one side and a wildlife reserve on the other. The cuisine of Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck and proximity to excellent golf courses add to the hotel’s appeal.

Alentejo

Covering a vast area of central and southern Portugal, and a long stretch of Atlantic coast, the Alentejo Region has a diversity of landscape and culture to uncover. Mile upon mile of vineyards lie amidst a wild landscape of mountains and plains, and alongside a rugged coast that’s dotted with secluded bays. Time can be spent visiting the region’s vineyards, exploring the pristine coast, and seeking out the medieval villages and ancient walled cities.

Where to Stay: L’AND Vineyards Resort combines minimalist architecture and luxurious interiors with the chance to experience the surrounding vineyards and gastronomy of the region.

Best Places to Travel in Portugal

Madeira

This Portuguese archipelago lies to the southwest of the mainland, encompassing four islands of volcanic origin, which due to their geographical location have a subtropical climate. The main island is home to the coastal capital Funchal, along with UNESCO World Heritage forest, and vineyards where the island’s famous Madeira wine is produced. With such a unique cultural, gastronomical and geographical identity, Madeira is worth traveling the extra distance for.

Where to Stay: Belmond Reid’s Palace lies to the west of Funchal Bay, with lavish suites, a spa, Michelin-starred dining, and three pools with ocean views.

The Best Places to Travel on the Amalfi Coast

Terracotta and pastel hued towns tumbling down the cliff-side and fishing harbors tucked into sheltered bays are the picture many people draw of the Amalfi Coast. Here, it’s the wealth of historic villas and terraced gardens that travelers come to seek out while wandering along streets lined with boutiques and cafes. And whether it’s the heritage, cuisine or far-reaching views that make the greatest impression, this pocket of Italy is certain to stay in the heart. With warmer months approaching, we take a look at the best places to travel on this sublime stretch of coast.

Ravello

Positioned atop the coast’s rugged cliffs, Ravello sits 365 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea. The resort town is distinguished in particular for its cliff-side terraced gardens, which flourish amid architecturally grand settings such as Villa Rufolo. And it’s here that visitors can take in some of the coastline’s most idyllic views. With a vibrant cultural scene, the resort town has become known as the City of Music, hosting the annual Ravello Festival too.

Ravello

Amalfi

Once a major maritime port, the peaceful town of Amalfi is now recognized for its historic significance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws travelers in throughout the summer months. The town lies at the mouth of a ravine, with a dramatic backdrop formed by Mount Cerreto, creating an atmospheric setting for medieval sites such as the 11th-century Saint Andrew’s Cathedral.

Praiano

As an ancient fishing village, Praiano has a more local feel than its neighboring towns. Here, white-washed houses are scattered across the slopes, with the small beach Marina di Praia nearby. Situated part-way between Amalfi and Positano, the village is easily factored into a journey along the coast, or while staying on one of the nearby towns.

Positano

Positano

With picture-perfect colored houses clinging to the cliffs, the idyllic town of Positano is one of the Amalfi Coast’s most enticing destinations to explore. Pebble shores are backed by a cluster of chic boutiques and cafes with narrow streets running between them, climbing up the cliff-side with views out to sea. Positano has long had a place in the hearts of fashion lovers, and for decades it has attracted a long line of discerning travelers who come for the excellent restaurants and luxury hotels that all seem to come with coastal views.

WHERE TO STAY

Palazzo Avino, Ravello

The five-star hotel Palazzo Avino is located within a former private villa from the 12th century, with a vantage point that commands views over Ravello’s picturesque coastline. The hotel encompasses a luxurious spa and a pool with panoramic views, as well as a selection of dining venues ranging from fine dining to a lobster and martini bar.

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello

It’s partly the Belmond Hotel Caruso’s location high up on the cliffs of Ravello that makes it such a remarkable place to stay. But this isn’t the hotel’s only appeal; this former 11th-century palace invites guests in with its outdoor infinity pool, and an award-winning restaurant where guests dine on local cuisine with stellar views out to sea.

Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano

Since opening back in 1970, the Relais & Chateaux property Il San Pietro di Positano has been considered one of the Amalfi Coast’s most outstanding luxury hotels. Tucked into the cliffs, overlooking the scenic Bay of Positano, the lavish hotel combines its heritage with luxurious interiors and a setting amid sheltered gardens. The hotel’s Michelin starred dining, inviting cliff-side pool and private yacht all make the experience more exceptional.

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