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Travel

Travel Ideas for Now: May 2019

1. THE HAMPTONS

A welcome reboot for the hottest ticket in town

This coming weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the USA, with the Memorial Day holiday on the following Monday (27 May 2019). It means that this Friday (24 May 2019) – and every Friday after that until September, well-heeled New Yorkers will breeze out of their SoHo offices and catch the Jitney bus to the Hamptons. The series of beaches and ‘tony'(American slang for stylish) towns at the end of Long Island, where the nightlife and food scene makes for a 24-hour playground, has always made it the place to be. But this year three openings are adding more dimension.

There’s the relaunch of the Montauk Yacht Club as Gurney’s Star Island Resort and Marina. The expansion of the local brand (its legendary Gurney’s flagship is also in the town of Montauk) places a superstar chef in the kitchen and leans in heavy to the area’s historic roots. Over in charming Bridgehampton, an old inn has been transformed into 10 cosy, chic bedrooms at A Room at the Beach (pictured above). The warm wooden floors and plump beds make it feel more like a smart friend’s beach housethan a hotel.

Though the opening that may feel most revelatory is the Japanese-inspired wellness retreat Shou Sugi Ban House (pictured above). An assemblage of guest studios, private gardens and spa offerings with the purpose of promoting holistic wellbeing, the place’s design – clean lines, pale woods, elemental features – is immediately soothing. The wellness programmes span four to seven days and go big on hydrotherapy, healthful diets and massages – exactly what the Manhattan crowd may need a few sunny weekends in.

2. BOLIVIA

For star-lit sleeps and salt flats

We’ve been eyeing Bolivia for sometime, knowing its dynamic capital, La Paz, emerging wine district and peerless natural beauty would start to pull in some of the travellers otherwise heading to more well-trodden Argentinaand Peru. Start your trip in the otherworldly Uyuni salt flats.

These desert-like, bright white plains are easier to drop into now more than ever, with the May opening of the domed Kachi Lodge (pictured below) – freestanding tents shaped like spacesuit helmets.

Farther south, the 16th-century city, Tarija, is the capital of the region of the same name whose wine scene is now starting to attract major attention for its sophisticated Tannats. Vineyards such as Aranjuez and Campos de Solana have tasting rooms and offer a behind-the-scenes peek into the process. If you’re unable to go all the way to the south for a sample, hit up Gustu, the Claus Meyer-backed restaurant in La Paz (the team also does the excellent food at Kachi) with a focus on grooming the country’s next generation of chefs. Their celebration of everything Bolivian means only Tarija wines make the list. As for the salt, it’s a safe bet they don’t have to go too far for that either.

3. URUGUAY

Wine and design in Pueblo Edén

When fiery star chef Francis Mallmann opened a tiny hotel and restaurant in the one-horse town of Garzón, in southeastern Uruguay, he paved the way for the arrival of an art gallery, a design shop, and a sprawling winery, along with a crowd of fashionable globe-trotters who spend their winters around the resort of José Ignacio. Now those with the inside track are turning their sights on Pueblo Edén, another small township, just 45 minutes away from cool beachfront bars doling out white sangria and bossa nova beats. Until recently only a few knew about the area’s curiously rocky hills or the local farmer who serves barbecued lamb behind his rancho.

People started talking in 2016, with the opening of Viña Edén, a strikingly modern winery owned by Brazilian-Uruguayan financier Mauricio Zlatkin. The estate’s sharply angled glass-and-metal building is a sculptural presence atop Cerro Negro, an 800-foot promontory overlooking rolling pastures. Zlatkin works with a skilled team to create wines that reflect the area’s minerality, including a smooth unoaked tannat, Uruguay’s signature red. And now a short drive away is the new Sacromonte (pictured above and below), a boutique hotel comprising 12 futuristic cabins with glass walls and minimalist furnishings.

Behind this forward-thinking design is a back-to-nature ethos: the idea that guests will be inspired by the raw beauty that surrounds them, and delighted by simple pleasures like sharing a locally sourced meal with fellow travellers. Local flavours are also the focus at Mesa 41, a supper club inside the chic, rustic home of Belgian chef Fons de Muynck and his partner, ceramic artist Eléonore de Wailly. Pueblo Edén may be stepping into the spotlight, but it still feels refreshingly rugged and separate.

4. MONTRÉAL

A foodie and festival favourite for summer

When one of the world’s top-ranked chefs decides to open in Canada, it’s not surprising that he chooses to do so in Montréal. Next week Marcus Samuelsson, whose Red Roosters in Harlem and Shoreditch are the definitive word on jazzed-up soul food, will launch at the new Four Seasons Hotel Montréal (pictured, below), serving up dishes such as salmon belly with uni butter. Such cooking will be at home in a city like Montréal – the largest in the province of Québec – which is continuously ranked as one of the top foodie spots in the Americas for its Jewish delis and French dishes, though often overshadowed by New York, just a few hours’ away. Stalwarts including Joe Beef and Lester’s Deli – which does an insanely delicious smoked-meat sandwich – put it on the map, but alongside Samuelsson, a host of other openings from top local names make it a place for travellers to eat their way around right now. Renowned chefs Michele Forgione and Stefano Faita, whose five-year-old Impasto in the Petite Italie neighbourhood is largely credited with bringing real-deal Italian to the city, are opening a new trattoria serving wafer-thin pizzas at an as yet unnamed spot later in the month. Further north in Parc-Extension, Normand Laprise, who is behind the World’s 50 Best-profiled Toqué, brings casual French food and an on-site épicerie to his day-to-night Beau Mont.

Of course, May 2019 also kicks off Montréal’s world-famous festival season, which continues with the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs comedy run in June and July. And there are always exceptional buskers all over the place; this is the home town of Cirque du Soleil, founded by two Québec street performers. So, if the openings don’t bring you in, the energy on the streets throughout summer definitely will.

 

Source: Travel Ideas for Now: May 2019

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