The Travel Journal - 5 places to visit in Europe while we still can
We ask Lucy Halfhead, acclaimed Travel Editor of Harper’s Bazaar to tell us her top 5 places to visit in Europe… while we still can!
IL SERENO LAKE COMO
Opening a modern boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Como to stand amid the much-loved grandes dames was a bold move, but one that has paid off for the Sereno Hotels group. It enlisted the help of the acclaimed Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola to design the 30-suite sanctuary, a glamorous blend of wood, copper and stone, which is both soft and sculptural, and filled with handsome furniture. Throughout the property, door-to-ceiling windows give panoramic views of boats criss-crossing the blue waters, which can also be appreciated from one of the fern-green loungers by the heavenly 60-foot infinity pool. In the evening, dine on luscious spaghetti carbonara or freshly caught lake fish at Ristorante Berton Al Lago, before venturing out for a romantic trip in one of the hotel’s wooden Riva boats, as the village lights twinkle in the hills around you. Elegant Resorts-www.elegantresorts.co.uk
Originally built as a fantasy Arabian castle to exhibit arts and crafts in the Tivoli Gardens, the hotel’s recently upgraded interiors are a tutorial in Nordic design. The 17 uniquely decorated rooms and suites offer ebony wood four-poster beds, crisp white linen and Bang & Olufsen technology. Many have exceptionally pretty views overlooking the world-famous pleasure gardens, to which guests have complimentary access. The ratio of restaurants to rooms will delight foodies, who can choose between seafood and steakhouse classics at Bar’n’Grill, Nimb Terrasse’s French-Nordic fusion, or a traditional Danish open sandwich at Fru Nimb, not forgetting the snack selection at the cocktail lounge or wine bar. Unsurprisingly, Nimb was declared the Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s Hotel of the Year in 2016. www.nimb.dk
KENSHO BOUTIQUE HOTEL & SUITES MYKONOS.
Overlooking the beautiful Ornos Bay in the south of the island, Kenshō is an exquisite hotel – a newcomer on the scene but already close to perfection. Dreamy interior design incorporates natural materials and neutral tones to create a soothing oasis, where you can indulge in sublime cuisine that fuses traditional Greek flavours and modern cooking techniques and fantastic cocktails by the pool. The 35 bedrooms have Hermès products, an iPad control and most have private plunge pools or Jacuzzis. Service is exceptional throughout, including an on-demand private car to Mykonos Old Town. www.kenshomykonos.com
SOHO HOUSE, BARCELONA
Soho House Barcelona has been taking shape over the past two and a half years inside an imposing 19th-century apartment block overlooking Port Vell marina. After Berlin and Istanbul, this is the group's third private members' club outside the UK and North America. Both antique and contemporary furniture has been sourced or made locally, and mixed in with custom-designed Soho House pieces including mattresses, pillows and glassware. 'We want people to feel comfortable,' development director James Waterworth says, 'whether they're coming in to work on their laptop all morning, have a quick coffee or party until the early hours. Ultimately, we try to create spaces that feel like home.' The tactic has proved so successful that after endless enquiries from members and guests, the brand is now launching Soho Home, an online store where you can buy the very same crystal champagne coupes and velvet sofas that are used in the Houses. sohohousebarcelona.com
CAS GASI, IBIZA
The magical White Isle of Ibiza is blessed with more than its fair share of hidden gems and once-in-a-lifetime experiences and luxury hideaway Cas Gasi stakes a valid claim as both. Just 15 minutes from the beach should you choose to dip your toe into the waves or the iconic nightlife the century-old finca and lush gardens that make up this beautiful agroturismo, ooze understated cool and seem to elevate guests (including style maven Kate Moss) to the height of relaxation in body, mind and spirit. The ten elegant rooms and two suites are all individually decorated with furnishings and objets d’art from across the globe, think Afghan and Turkish carpets, mirrors from India, and Moorish lamps, but a thread of clean rustic charm runs throughout. You will notice pine beams, hand-painted tiles, rich hanging fabrics, and smooth terracotta floors, perfect for padding around barefoot and tapping into the carefree soul of the estate. And it’s impossible not to mention the expansive beds, with sumptuous double-layered sheets, where a blissful nights sleep is guaranteed. Cas Gasi, Ibiza, Spain - www.casgasi.com