This month, in collaboration with Design Hotels we present eight pioneering, out-of-the-box visionaries who are changing the way we think about travel as a whole. From craftsmen and architects to musicians and visual artists, each of these hotels proves that behind every great hotel, there is an even greater hotelier. So, the next time you sit down to plan a summer or winter vacation, perhaps you should consider the hotel first and location second.
Straddling the banks of the River Mersey, the City of Liverpool was ideally situated to profit from the UK’s Industrial Revolution. At one point in recent history, Liverpudlians were at the centre of the British Empire and the hundreds of thousands of workers employed on the city’s multiple docks loaded and unloaded ships that brought riches from the furthest corners of the globe.
Over the years while on my travels around the world, I have always been amazed at the depth and quality of street art. Sure, this kind of ‘graffiti’ or ‘illegal’ art has been with us since mankind first began writing. Take a trip around any ancient monument and you’re sure to find some kind of graffiti that was carved into the stones shortly after being laid by stonemasons. However, these days street art has become more colourful, more interesting, and a lot more thought provoking.
Of all the cities in Northern Europe, my choice for the title of ‘Venice of the North’ would have to go to Amsterdam. This city of canals, cafes, and cobbled streets is nothing short of a traveller’s paradise with something for every taste. Amsterdam is known globally for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses with gabled facades; all legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age.
The main tourist attractions are all within easy walking distance from the iconic Centraal Station and include Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House Museum, Dam Square, the Heineken Experience, and, of course, Amsterdam’s famous red light district in the old town. Furthermore, dotted around the city are pockets of high-end shopping districts and numerous markets, many of which feature bric-a-brac stalls.
For decades while much of South-east Asia experienced a massive increase in international travellers, Vietnam – and especially Hanoi – suffered from a severe hangover of a violent and destructive war and countless years of government isolationism. However, things began to brighten with the USA under the presidency of Barak Obama when once frosty relations between America and Vietnam began to normalize and US businesses such as Coca-Cola began to reignite foreign investment.
Today, Hanoi is a bustling city of millions and is pretty much in the same vein as most other major cities in the ASEAN bloc excect for the fact Hanoi lacks any major skyscraper. This does nothing to diminish the Asian-ness of the city or its appeal to visitors from near and far. Unless you are planning to head to one of the country’s other major northern tourist destinations such as Halong Bay and Sapa, then a 3-night stay in downtown Hanoi is a fantastic option and one that is sure to open your eyes if you’re a first-time visitor.
Thanks in part to the Internet, there are now many ways to book in advance a vacation to Halong Bay in Vietnam. Get the right boat, the right company, and the right weather and Halong Bay will live in your memories for a long, long time. However, join the wrong boat, have the wrong company, and hit bad weather and a trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site will quickly become a nightmare you can’t escape.
Myanmar is like no other place on earth. It is renowned as ‘The Golden Land’, a name inspired by Marco Polo to describe the dramatic views of the gold-spired pagodas that can be found throughout the country. Mandalay, the former capital city of the Myanmar Kingdom, is a spectacular destination for historical and cultural travellers. Overlooking the city is Mandalay Hill and from this vantage point visitors are offered the picturesque sight of pagodas, the distinctive architecture of the Royal Palace, and much more.
Just a few hours by train from Tokyo lays the stunning prefecture of Gunma, a haven for those seeking the healing powers of traditional hot springs or simply wanting to experience authentic Japanese cuisine from the Edo period. In the summertime, Gunma is perfect for trekking and picnics, while in the autumn months entire valleys explode in a kaleidoscope of colours as millions of trees prepare for the onset of cold weather. As the winter snows arrive, this mountainous region is turned into a winter wonderland, a splendid vision indeed, which makes Gunma a year-round destination.
Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. – Leonard Cohen.
Newborn skin is flawless and like a fine piece of silk: it is strong but delicate. Unfortunately any trauma such as a burn, cut or a result of surgery can cause the formation of unattractive scar tissue. So what are scars, why do they form and how can we erase them? Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after a wound. They form as part of the normal biological process to repair the skin. Scar tissue is less resistant to ultraviolet light than regular skin and sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back.