INSPIRATION • December 2021
If you have an American Express Companion Voucher (or any valid British Airways voucher) to spend next year, then you’ll want to choose your destination wisely. For the most lucratively long haul and life-enhancing on the route network, travel editor Ed Grenby knows just where to go…
What for: Michelin morsels
Miami has always been an island of sophistication in the sea of sun-addled excess that is Florida. Home to the Art Basel modern art fair, some distinctly grown-up hotels, a cool Cuban sub-culture – and, crucially, no man-sized mice or superhero-themed roller-coasters – it’s has even more to shout whisper demurely about. From next year, the city will get its first Michelin guide — the ultimate foodie accolade and one until now bestowed on only four other cities in the USA. Michelin’s undercover inspectors and coveted-star distributors are noshing their way anonymously around the city (and Orlando and Tampa) right now, and the book is expected out by spring. Just in time for dinner!
What for: Sounds on the sand
Given the combination of sun + sand + surf + relaxed attitude + Rastafarianism + Red Stripe, it was probably inevitable – just pure natural arithmetic – that Jamaicans would one day put it all together and come up with reggae. The last few decades have seen the sound fade inexplicably from fashion in its homeland, but now the island’s experiencing what’s been called the Reggae Revival, led by artists including Protoje, Koffee, Chronixx, Jah9 and Sevana, and centring on the Kingston Dub Club (turn up any Sunday and see). There’s a towering line-up of festivals for 2022, kicking off with the righteous Rebel Salute in mid-January – Bob Marley will be skanking in his grave (that’s a good thing).
What for: Brand spanking new stays
Toronto regularly tops those ‘loveliest places to live’ polls – sea air, green space, multi-cultural melting pot, what’s not to mildly approve of? – but no one’s ever accused the Ontarian capital of being all that sexy. That’s changing one disco nap at a time now, though, with the opening of some almost dangerously hip new hotels. February sees the party start at the new W, all DJ sets and rooftop bars, while the needle drops on the Ace Hotel (other branches are in such hipster hotspots as Brooklyn, Kyoto and Portland) shortly after. If you can bear to stay somewhere that’s already been open for a matter of months, 1 Hotel Toronto is perhaps the funkiest of the lot, with its reclaimed-wood aesthetic and rock-solid green credentials.
What for: Local charms
Had your bellyfull of beachy perfection? It doesn’t matter how beautiful your Mauritian resort is: even the most committed of lounger lizards needs to leave the compound occasionally. And that’s getting much more inviting with the arrival of 42 Market Street, a bustle of artisan boutiques and street-food vendors that opened its distressed wooden doors in 2021 but is still adding new traders. Counterintuitively, it’s semi-attached to the fairly soulless Bagatelle Mall, just outside the capital Port Louis — but that means you get to rub spaghetti-strapped shoulders with island families doing their weekly grocery shop. (Then follow them to Vrndavana’s Pani Puri, where you can dribble the zinging Mauritian take on India’s chaat happily down your chin.)
Why let the laws of time slow you down? Dubai’s Expo 2020 is actually open till the end of March 2022 – and for £10 you can wander the future at will. From the silly (tech-laced food that changes flavour as you eat it) to the serious (sustainable buildings made from fungus), via the spectacular (Beethoven performed by an orchestra of robots)… it’s all here, among pavilions from 192 different countries. Looking further forward, travel further back. From 1 February 2022 (until 30 April), Sedr Trailer Park opens among the lost-world mountain valleys of Hatta, with 13 vintage-style aluminium Airstream trailers (pictured) in starry-night near-wilderness… And all just 90 minutes’ drive from DBX airport.