Where To Go Right Now
Hotel Sahrai, Morocco: come in, the water’s lovely
Sample the joys of Sardinia, St Kitts, Tokyo and more with our edit of the chicest getaways to book this spring.
Has spring sprung already? Don’t get us wrong – it’s not that the season’s promises of longer days, green shoots and gambolling lambs aren’t welcome. But a third of the year has already elapsed, and we’ve gone from winter’s bite to April showers with precious little opportunity to deploy the word “balmy”. It’s time to rectify that with an escape to less intemperate climes. Our seven getaway suggestions will shake off the chills and put the spring where it really matters – in your step.
Palazzo Avino, Italy
Perched 1,000ft above the sparkling Mediterranean, Palazzo Avino overlooks some of the Amalfi Coast’s most postcard-worthy fishing villages. Over the years, it has played host to nobility and royalty, of both the hereditary and Hollywood kind. The season kicks off in April with the reopening of the Michelin-starred Rossellinis restaurant (for more casual dining, try the fresh pasta at the Terrazza Belvedere, and/or a sundowner at the Martini & Lobster bar). Serious sunseekers should hold out for the 1 May opening of Palazzo Avino’s Clubhouse By The Sea in the small town of Marmorata (a short drive from Ravello) with its beach platforms and swimming pool.
Try this: Luxury travel specialists Carrier will convey you to Ravello in style, while front office manager Mr Antonio Ferrara – who knows just about everyone in the Amalfi Coast – will hand-pick the best places to visit. Need a personal tour of Ravello? Ms Angela Imperato is your woman who, having moved from the UK to live in Ravello more than 40 years ago, holds the key insights that will make your visit to Ravello extra special.
What to pack
As the pavements and parks pile high with candyfloss-pink petals, it can only mean one thing: it’s cherry blossom season. And for those hunting an authentic hanami (flower viewing) experience, Japan is calling, where both the blooms and associated sakura parties are legendary. This year, visitors to Tokyo will want to check into the first “urban” Aman hotel, in Otemachi (close to the Imperial Palace). Occupying the top six floors of a 38-storey tower, the hotel is – in true Aman style – designed with space, light and the serenity afforded by Olympian views in mind. In a city where square-footage is scarce, there’s no richer luxury than a 30m-high ceiling of white washi rice paper, and a 2,500sq m spa with an onsen-style stone bath looking down on the city.
Who to know: Virtually anyone on the Aman staff, who subscribe firmly to the a-stranger’s-just-a-friend-you-haven’t-met-yet school of hospitality.
What to pack
Hôtel Henriette, Paris
Ah, Paris. C’est si bon throughout the year, of course, but springtime is when it bursts into bloom, like Ms Edith Piaf into chanson. Come April, the cafes and brasseries are buzzier, and there’s a hint of la Croisette in the air. Hôtel Henriette, a short stroll through cobbled streets from the city’s Latin Quarter, is one of Paris’ newest boutique offerings. Designed by fashion editor Ms Vanessa Scoffier, the bohemian interiors combine vintage Danish teak with contemporary accessories, rattan furniture and flea-market finds. The chic (but surprisingly cheap) city-break hideaway also boasts a conservatory winter garden that opens onto a pocket-sized stonewalled patio.
Try this: As tempting as it is to stay au lit and cosy up under the giant sheepskin throws, the Hôtel Henriette breakfast is a feast of fresh pastries, breads and charcuterie not to be missed: from €10.
What to pack
Belle Mont Farm, St Kitts
Spring is the best time of year to make the most of the tropical Caribbean climate, but if further impetus were needed to set sail for St Kitts, Belle Mont is it. Set on 400 acres of hilly organic farmland between Mount Liamuiga and the Caribbean Sea, the newly opened (and highly anticipated) resort features farm-to-table food, and ultra eco-luxury across 84 guesthouses, seven four-bedroom farmhouses and a Mr Ian Woosnam-designed golf course. Here, nurturing nature is the number one priority, and with the food and staff both locally plucked, the resort aims to redefine sustainability and social justice in the Caribbean tourism industry.
Who to know: The man behind the Belle Mont mission is Mr Val Kempadoo, a Trinidadian entrepreneur who worked as an organic farmer in his youth, and is the catalyst behind the resort’s buzzy, forward-thinking community.
What to pack
Hotel SP34, Copenhagen
You may look at Denmark for a long time before the word “sub-tropical” comes to mind, but it’s currently the Happiest Place in the World, according to a UN report, so what better place to banish the winter blues? A bike ride, some retail therapy and a hot drink under a warm blanket on a pavement terrace will get the serotonin flowing, and the new Hotel SP34 is a perfect base for all such activities. Set over three conjoined townhouses in the bustling Latin Quarter, SP34 is where a cool Copenhagen clientele flock for healthy, homemade fare amid the effortless Scandinavian style that, along with happiness, is their birthright.
Book this room: A courtyard-facing room is ideal for a single night, but for longer stays, book the amazingly quiet and spacious Loft Suite, tucked away in the roof – a hygge hideaway with its own private terrace.
What to pack
Hotel Sahrai, Morocco
Its name comes from the Arabic word for magic, and the Hotel Sahrai certainly pulls many luxuriant rabbits from its well-appointed hat. The architecture alone, with its great arches, plant-covered atriums, zellige pools, carved plaster and local stone cladding, is spellbinding. Home to two restaurants, a rooftop bar with a panoramic terrace, and an exclusive Givenchy spa complete with a traditional hammam, Mr Christophe Pillet’s design makes for a fresh alternative to the riads and resorts. Most abracadabra-worthy are the spectacular views over the Fès medina, the largest in the Arab world. If it’s not magic to be able to take in 12 centuries of the city’s history in one gulp, then what is?
Who to know: Mr Cezarina Pomojnicu, the Sahrai’s marketing manager, is well versed in the mysteries of the medina; he’s also a talented linguist and makes a generous guide.
What to pack
Hotel Pitrizza, Sardinia
Back in the 1960s, tourism in Costa Smeralda looked in need of an overhaul. Ismaili Prince Aga Khan IV tasked the prestigious architect Mr Luigi Vietti with the job. Mr Vietti first designed the village of Porto Cervo and then Prince Aga Khan’s own home, before setting to work on the Hotel Pitrizza and the many private villas that make up the immediate locale. With its retro-modernist stone architecture, the site and its beautifully coordinated setting are still as remarkable – and romantic – as ever. During the season, guests are encouraged to take advantage of Pitrizza’s private beach, bathe in the granite saltwater infinity pool and dine in the world-renowned restaurant.
Try this: It would be remiss not to take a boat out and explore the beautiful bays and beaches along the rugged coastline of Sardinia. Rent a rib boat for a full or half day from Poltu Quatu resort and set sail for Caprera, La Maddalena and Santo Stefano, no licence required.