Art, Culture and Delicious food in Europe and Beyond
With the May Bank Holidays coming up, there has never been a perfect time to plan a getaway and make the most of the warm spring weather. We’ve selected a few of the best chic destinations for a long weekend escape that are certain to tantalise your travel taste buds…
Journey to Italy
Italy is a country that comes into her own in the springtime. As she emerges out of the chilly winter, the colours of the warmer seasons bring fresh vitality to the landscapes. A wonderful and diverse country full of character and culture, it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend escape to enjoy some romantic downtime or a family getaway.
The region of Tuscany in the centre of the country is famous for its high culture and as the centre of the Italian Renaissance. A long weekend in Florence–a designated UNESCO World Heritage site–offers the opportunity to enjoy the best that Tuscany has to offer in a historic location that is home to some of the finest Italian food, culture, art and fashion. The beautiful city is home to leading art galleries including the Uffizi and the Palazzo Pitti, which showcase the works of revered artists and architects including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.
The Gallery Hotel Art is a contemporary four-star hotel with an incredible location close to many of the best Florentine delights, ideal for a long weekend escape. The hotel was the brainchild of a local Florentine architect, Michele Bonan and features a wonderfully modern design style with the finest materials, including Asian woods and local Tuscan stone. The hotel frequently features art exhibitions throughout its lounges and lobby in celebration of the most original contemporary artists, such as David Lachapelle. This appreciation of art continues in the beautifully refined rooms and suites, all of which have been decorated to an impeccable standard. The hotel’s beautifully presented private terrace gives guests the opportunity to soak up the art and culture from a privileged viewpoint against the backdrop of the picturesque city.
Photo credit: JiriSebek.com
An alternative way to discover the region is by escaping deep into the countryside to the Castello Banfi. The hotel is set within a medieval fortress on a site that includes its own vineyard and winery. The hotel offers sumptuous accommodations and the ultimate in privacy with just 14 rooms and suites, each of which has been decorated with its individual design scheme. The Banfi was designed to celebrate the heritage of the surrounding land, where guests can enjoy vineyard tours and sample some of the finest quality local wines. There is plentiful opportunity to enjoy the surrounding landscape, with cycling tours and endless walking trails.
Paris is one of the most popular long weekend travel destinations in the world and it’s not difficult to see why. The French city is ideal for those seeking a cultural adventure, with world-famous art museums and architectural landmarks including the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur. The city is also home to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the renowned Pont de l’Archevêché, where lovebirds can place their padlock on the bridge to join the many romantic couples who have left their legacy in the city of love.
The Shangri-La Paris is an iconic destination and one that has all the luxuries you could wish for on an indulgent long weekend escape. The hotel boasts a regal, sophisticated atmosphere befitting its Historical Monument status and is situated close to Paris’ Golden Triangle and the city’s most exclusive designer boutique shopping. The elegant rooms reflect the high-class Parisian style and afford stunning city panoramas.
For a different slice of Parisian life, the Hotel Therese is an intimate and stylish hotel tucked away on a quiet street that boasts one of the city’s most enviable postcodes. The 18th-century townhouse boasts stunning original architectural detail and a prime location close to the Louvre and the Palais Royal.
Istanbul is a city of great historical significance that bridges the gap between Asia and Europe and contains a fascinating collection of ancient and modern sights. It also has beautiful weather in springtime before the scorching summer heat sets in. The Turkish capital is a melting pot of cultures and religions and home to a thriving entertainment and nightlife scene. The House Hotel Galatasaray is situated in the neighbourhood of Beyo?lu and the creative heart of the city. Housed within a historic 19th century mansion, the hotel sits amongst winding cobbled streets full of hidden delights including authentic cafes and antique shops that offer an entirely different shopping experience from that of Istanbul’s famous Grand Bazaar. It’s also within easy walking distance of the famous Independence Avenue, home to lively restaurants, cafes and bars and the ideal place to do a spot of people watching while enjoying a Turkish coffee and baklava.
For an alternative experience, the Shangri-La Istanbul is an exquisite luxury property on the banks of the Bosphorus, just a short distance from the Dolmabahce Palace. Expansive suites include private terraces with views over the river, while the hotel also offers fine dining and an exclusive spa–the perfect place to relax and unwind with a traditional hammam after a day spent exploring the city.