As we emerge from lockdown and get back to normality, our editor, Laith Al-Kaisy, has a lot of travelling to make up for. Here, he puts together his hit-list for the next year or two.
Le Bristol, Paris
I love Paris. It’s been my favourite city since 2012 when, for the first time, I got to experience it without the blinkers of pit-stop tourism.
My favourite place to stay is Shangri-La, on Avenue d’Iéna, set in a Napoleonic family mansion. But I’m ready to buck complacency and find somewhere new to call home – at least for one visit. That place is Le Bristol, a globally iconic residence, steeped in elegance and art de vivre, and situated on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. As well as its magical gardens, the hotel is home to Epicure, Eric Frechon’s three-star restaurant.
The Dorchester, London
Okay, okay – I know The Dorchester is a little close to home, but it still makes the list. It feels like I’ve stayed in every hotel in London that matters – from the Buckingham Suite at the Lanesborough to the Shangri-La Suite at the Shard – but kipping over at The Dorchester has always eluded me, despite whiling away many hours at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, as well as wooing clients and dates at its iconic watering hole, The Bar.
The Terrace Penthouse, in particular, looks like a strong contender for best hotel room in London.
Lopud 1483, Dubrovnik
Holy shit. Not only located in one of my favourite cities, this fifteenth-century monastery, once home to Franciscan monks, is also set on a private island. This, for me, is as high-end as it gets. Sea-front views, exquisite gardens, and a private chef.
The property is also known as ‘a living art gallery’ – and justifiably so. It’s adorned with works curated by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, whose collection is supposedly only second in size to Queen Elizabeth’s.
Denis Private Island, the Seychelles
When it comes to vacations, there’s something about completely disconnecting from the world – from day-to-day life – that’s both obvious and scary. We think we go on holiday to switch off and reset – but do we actually? Do we really go without checking out inboxes for a week or two? Do we honestly give our eyes and brains a break from the screen, as well as the thrall of social media?
I know I don’t. Which is why Denis Private Island is my ideal getaway. No mobile signal, no internet, no television. Instead, a real opportunity to reconnect with nature, people and food.
Plus, having never visited the Seychelles, I get to tick another country off my wanderlist.
Geoffrey Kent Suite, Sanctuary Olonana, Kenya
Having a 2 year old, I want to take her everywhere, to see everything. Safari’s never been top of my list in the past, but being able to experience wildlife up close with my little one, whilst indulging in the usual trappings of luxury, sounds like a good compromise.
The design of the suite looks phenomenal: glass-fronted, contemporary accommodation, with wraparound private decking overlooking the Mara River. And rarely, it seems to retain the barefoot sensibility that makes experiences like this so authentic.
Villa Sola Cabiati, Lake Como, Italy
Described as “an artistic masterpiece that harks back to the hedonism of the Belle Époque,” Villa Sola Cabiati truly exemplifies a time when extravagance was utterly shameless. Yet everything here is as tasteful as it is opulent.
It’s ethereal gardens are the place I want to spend my afternoons – reading, supping cocktails, while looking out over Lake Como.
There’s even a dedicated team – including a butler, chambermaid and housekeeper – to make sure your every whim is catered for.