INSPIRATION • December 2019
It’s that time of year again, as The Club’s jet-setting team reminisce on another year of memorable trips, and think ahead to destinations yet undiscovered. From the middle of the mountains to cities that never sleep, here are our favourite destinations of 2019, and the travel agenda we’re plotting for the year ahead
Says who: Hannah Ralph, The Club content editor
Dreamiest trip of 2019: Laax, where the air smells like pine and the pasta tastes like Christmas (that’s raviuls da trin for the unacquainted: a local dish packing in sweetly dried pears, melted butter, mountain cheese and honey). But for all the röstis, raclettes and cheese-induced cholesterol spikes, Laax’s talent for high-octane activity balances things out. Just two hours from Zurich, you can e-bike through Hansel and Gretel forests, scale Switzerland’s oldest surviving via ferrata and hike to a geological wonder, the Unesco-protected Sardona Tectonic Arena. And don’t forget your cossie – the emerald-green lakes (Cresta and Caumasee, in particular) make for a wildly stunning swim.
Where next: l’m eager to explore the Pacific North West, so hopefully a road trip around Washington State and up to Vancouver, starting in Seattle.
Says who: Kat Knight, The Club account director
Dreamiest trip of 2019: Food writers, Instagrammers and colleagues had all showered the Basque town of San Sebastian with praise, and, spoiler: they had good reason. Every bite from the Michelin-starred restaurants (San Sebastian is second only to Kyoto for the most stars per capita) is extraordinary. Best mouthfuls included red wine-braised ox cheek and traditional marmitako (a Basque tuna stew), washed down with a glug of local white wine at one of the many pintxo bars that dot glorious La Concha bay.
Where next: Singapore – I go at least once a year and always bed down at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. The views of the bay are spectacular.
Says who: Ross Clarke, The Club contributing editor
Dreamiest trip of 2019: When British Airways announced it was launching flights to Charleston this spring, I knew I had to make the hop across the pond. The South Carolina city has history in spades – from the famous Rainbow Row to National Monument Fort Sumter – but, as ever, it was the food scene that had me hooked. Staying at the plush (and super central) Belmond Charleston Place meant tucking into gourmet crab cakes at the exceptional Charleston Grill, while, only two blocks away, Jestine’s is the place for the classic southern trio: fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.
Where next: Island hopping the Canary Islands, stopping on blissfully unspoilt La Graciosa – the newest official island in the Spanish archipelago – just off the north coast of Lanzarote. Although formed some 15 million years ago, it only received its official legal status as a stand-alone island last year.
Says who: Charlotte Swift, editor of The Club
Dreamiest trip of 2019: Satisfying my wanderlust with a three-year-old in tow certainly brings new challenges. Scandinavia is so child-friendly that you can pretty much go anywhere and be guaranteed a great family adventure, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by Stockholm's abundance of child-friendly activities. Its waterfront location means island-hopping boat rides, walks over pretty bridges and, in summer, bracing swims. The maritime theme continues in the Vasa Museum, where the ship which spent 333 years on the seabed has plenty to enthral all ages. At Skansen, the world’s first open-air museum, you can explore traditional houses then at its Nordic zoo see brown bears, wolves, reindeer and other native creatures.
Where next: More boat trips but this time in the Greek islands – Mykonos, Santorini and little ones in between – for some early European spring sunshine.
Says who: Carl Harrison, The Club picture editor
Dreamiest trip of 2019: I’d been to New York a few times before, but had always managed to miss the Bowery, wedged as it is between the East Village, Chinatown and the Lower East Side. That all changed this year with a stay at the CitizenM New York Bowery hotel – a stylish and buzzy bolthole perfect for solo travellers. As well as a skyline-hugging rooftop cocktail bar (open to all), the hotel embodies the artistic heritage of its colourful neighbourhood with an in-house Museum of Street Art (MoSA), featuring specially commissioned works.
Where next: I’ve got my eye on a trip to Bangalore to visit the new Museum of Art and Photography scheduled to open early next year. Designed by architect Soumitro Ghosh, it’s billed to be India’s biggest museum of photography, spread across five floors.