Los Angeles with its tinsel and glitter…
The Los Angeles region basks in the Sun Belt of the USA. Adopt the laid-back Californian way of life to feel comfortable in the dry heat which hovers around 30 degrees.
First up, head to The Roosevelt, a historic hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. Immerse yourself in the glamorous atmosphere of this Spanish Colonial-style hotel. Its exuberant surroundings played host to the first Oscars ceremony in 1929 and it was home to big-screen icon Marilyn Monroe. Make sure you take a refreshing dip in its famous pool with floor painted by David Hockney, and let the magic of the City of Angels wash over you.
Your stomach tells you it is time to eat. At 25 Degrees, the hotel's sophisticated restaurant, you recharge your batteries with your own crafted burger of yellowfin tuna, burrata cheese, avocado and chipotle sauce.
Ready to stride out on the Walk of Fame? If you are a fan of American movies, make your childhood dreams come true as you wander along this famous pavement, studded with stars honouring the greats of the silver screen.
The Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Boulevard
United States of America
… and its zen moments
Los Angeles is also a haven of sunshine and the art of healthy living. Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, there are several farmers' markets in downtown Santa Monica. This is where famous chefs come to source their fresh produce. Street musicians add a festival-like air to the place. Under the radiant sun, you can enjoy the best produce from the valleys of California.
Your quest to find a calmer side to Los Angeles continues in Westwood, a green part of town and home to the famous UCLA university. Stroll in the shade of its tree-lined streets with its small organic stores and cafes. Admire the 1930s-style architecture of the Fox Theatre and Regency Bruin Theatre cinemas where stars hoping to go unnoticed sometimes seek sanctuary.
You feel the need to get away to greener surroundings. Less than two hours to the north of Los Angeles, the spectacular Ojai Valley (pronounced Oh-hi) exudes an almost divine serenity. A temple to New Age culture, the town of Ojai with its Spanish Colonial inspiration has become a refuge for artists and mystics from near and far. Here, nature is the leading lady.
United States of America
From the mythical Peru of Cuzco…
Make the most of the dry season to visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas, just a two-hour flight from Lima. On the day that you arrive in Cuzco, the lack of oxygen forces you to conserve your energy. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient capital of the Inca Empire, unfolds its magnificent setting at 3,400 metres above sea level.
Among its many Spanish Colonial buildings, the Palacio Nazarenas offers an idyllic and enchanting haven to gently acclimatise. In this old convent transformed into a luxury hotel, you wander from one small courtyard to another, lulled by the murmur of fountains.
It is now time to explore Cuzco, meaning ‘navel of the world' in Quechua, a fascinating city where Andean culture meets Baroque exuberance. In the Plaza de Armas, with the cathedral built on the ruins of an Inca palace and the Church of the Company of Jesus, the aesthetic shock of the golds and paintings of the Cuzco School will stop you in your tracks.
But the city is much more than a glorious museum. Its colonial buildings are home to contemporary restaurants, artisan boutiques and lively cafes with Andean musicians. In the steep narrow streets of the old quarter of San Blas, stop and take in the original Inca walls whose blocks were put in place with millimetre-precision without any mortar.
Get your breath back and make your way to Casa Cabrera. The former home of conquistador Alonso Díaz is now home to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (MAP). It will blow you away with its gold and shell jewellery, wooden sculptures and ceramics from the Nazca, Mochica and, of course, Inca cultures.
Extend the pleasure a little longer by dining at the MAP Café, found in the courtyard at the museum. On the menu at this neo-Andean restaurant, the mountain grilled trout on a creamy purée of three types of corn and kiwicha (sacred seed of the Incas) is to die for.
Plazoleta Nazarenas 223
+51 84 582222
Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
Plazoleta Nazarenas 231
+51 84 595092
Plazoleta Nazarenas 231
+51 84 242476
… to the spellbinding Machu Picchu
Next day, en route for Machu Picchu, you stop off at the spectacular Rio Sagrado Hotel, whose modern villas overlook the waters of the sacred River Urubamba.
At Ollantaytambo, prepare to travel back in time. Both a fortress and a ceremonial temple, this village impresses with its narrow, paved streets, irrigation channels and ruins left over from the Inca Empire.
From there, step on board the luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham. An unforgettable experience awaits as you travel in a train furnished in the style of Pullman carriages of the 1920s. Through its panoramic windows, steep mountains and the waters of the River Urubamba leave you in awe. The restaurant car also serves up a delicious brunch.
At the back of the train, a party atmosphere is in full swing. Travellers join in with the chorus of Latin classics played by a group of musicians. After a few hours of this enchanted journey, you arrive at Aguas Calientes station. You then have to take the serpentine road up through the jungle to experience one of the most fabulous emotions of your life as Machu Picchu rises up through the mist.
Rio Sagrado Hotel
Carretera Hiram Bingham
+51 984 816 956
Copenhagen, from the land …
On arrival in Copenhagen, you settle in to the Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden, and straightaway, the famous Danish concept of hygge – which means enjoy the present moment in a warm environment – becomes clear. This small hotel, all light colours and wood, also has a small, cosy garden, ideal for enjoying the long July days of Scandinavia. This oasis of peace is a great place to get to know your fellow travellers. The hotel staff are as friendly as can be and will be delighted to give you any recommendations.
When you awake in the morning or even at midday, treat yourself to the local speciality of smørrebrød, a tasty slice of buttered dark rye bread, topped with mackerel or smoked salmon, or maybe cold meats, and artfully seasoned with fresh herbs and fried onions.
At Aamanns Deli & Take Away, you can buy a picnic platter to take away, with a selection of these delicious sandwiches. You can then enjoy them in the sunshine, seated at a wooden table in the street opposite, lined with colourful houses and gardens in full bloom.
Spend the day cycling around the capital to your heart's content. The Danish capital lends itself well to being explored by bike as it has more than its fair share of cycle lanes. The island of Slotsholmen is particularly well suited. Situated next to the charming medieval quarter, it is home to the city's first castle as well as country's main institutions. In fact, between them, these symbolic buildings with their typical Danish architecture and dark brickwork could tell a tale or two about the country's history.
If a shower interrupts your bike ride, do not despair; the city is bursting with exciting – and under-cover – places to visit. One such place is Glyptoteket, a perfect blend of exoticism and history with collections of ancient art from Northern Europe and more modern works like some by Monet and Gauguin. After your visit, stop and enjoy a cup of coffee in the museum's magnificent winter garden.
Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden
+45 70 20 81 07
Aamanns Deli & Take Away
Øster Farimagsgade 10
+45 20 80 52 01
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
Dantes Plads 7
+45 33 41 81 41
…and from the sea
But Copenhagen is also a city surrounded by water, ideally located on the Øresund, opposite Sweden, and right by the Baltic Sea. So, why not take advantage of this and take a kayak trip, which will reward you with some original views of the city? Paddle your kayak to the waters of the old port of Nyhavn. In the foreground, old majestic sailboats are moored along the quayside; behind them, there is a row of colourful facades, characteristic of the historic heart of the capital. From the water, you might even catch sight of the fascinating glass-box structure of the Danish Architecture Centre.
Has all that sight-seeing made you hungry? Leave your kayak and cross the Inderhavnsbroen bridge from the port to the new street-food temple of Denmark at Refshaleøen. The heart of this former industrial area is currently getting a trendy facelift and you will stroll past food stalls, bars of all types and creative workshops. And what is more, every stall uses compostable cutlery and, most of the time, uses organic and local ingredients.
July is the perfect time to spend the evening on the Amager Beach Park. Regenerated in 2005 with construction of a 2-km-long artificial island, the park comprises beaches, picnic areas and ball sport pitches, and is just a couple of metro stops from the city centre. You get a breathtaking view of the Øresundsbron bridge which connects Denmark to Sweden. On summer evenings, it is not unusual for there to be a concert; an added extra to make your Danish dream last a little longer.
Reffen Copenhagen Street Food
+45 33 93 07 60
The tropical heat is part of Singapore's charm. In July, there are often short downpours in the early morning which give way to sunny afternoons. To be sure of even clearer skies, plan your Singapore stay the last ten days of the month.
Make your base the oh-so smart SO Sofitel Singapore. Ideally located in the city centre, this luxury boutique hotel designed by Karl Lagerfeld is set in a former post office. Choose a room in the historic wing for its high ceilings and Empire-style furniture. In the evening, enjoy a drink on the roof terrace by the side of the gold-tiled pool.
It is then time to explore the futuristic side of Singapore. A symbol of the city-state's new face, the ArtScience Museum, an astonishing building in the shape of a flowering lotus, stands at the foot of Marina Bay Sands hotel. Walk with your eyes turned upwards and admire the sun's reflections on this iconic hotel comprising three towers linked at the top with a huge infinity pool. The architectural extravagance will leave you speechless. And the surprises do not end there. Inside the ArtScience Museum, step into Wonderland, an interactive exhibition celebrating the timeless tales of Alice's adventures by British author Lewis Carroll.
The Helix Bridge takes you over to the most unlikely place, lifted straight out of a science-fiction film, the Gardens by the Bay. You wander through this incredible garden at the water's edge in a dream-like state. Transparent domes are home to plants and flowers from every continent, steel-resin supertrees remind you of the world in the film Avatar and the walkway suspended between these giants fills you with magic as you watch the mesmerising sound and light show.
SO Sofitel Singapore
35 Robinson Road
+65 6701 6800
6 Bayfront Avenue
+65 6688 8888
Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive
+65 6420 6848
… and gourmet Singapore
Night fall is the time that Singapore and its architectural feats will really knock you off your feet. Enjoy a drink at The Lantern panoramic bar which boasts the most stunning views over the new skyline.
The city also knows how to win over the most discerning foodie. From 12 to 28 July 2019, the Singapore Food Festival celebrates local culinary traditions. It is a chance to sample the many specialities that reflect the city's multicultural heritage.
When the sun goes down, you will find whole streets transformed into an open-air restaurant. Make your way to Chinatown Food Street. In this vast food extravaganza, order several dishes from various stalls and share them with your nearest and dearest around a large table. The chicken skewers with satay sauce, sambal stingray (Malaysian grilled fish in a tasty sauce) and Indian curries are heavenly.
For a really special dinner, book a table at the Tippling Club, located in the Tanjong Pagar district. During the food festival, chef Ryan Clift is offering a tasting menu made up of dishes specially created for the occasion and paired with imaginative cocktails.
Singapore Food Festival
From 12 to 28 July 2019
38 Tg Pagar Rd
+65 6475 2217
From the gentle air of La Réunion…
During winter in the southern hemisphere, the shores of La Réunion enjoy pleasant temperatures hovering around 22°C to 24°C, while it is a lot cooler up in the mountains. If you are not a fan of extreme heat, then this is a good time to plan a visit to this volcanic island.
As soon as you arrive in the capital Saint-Denis, go and take in the creole atmosphere of Saint-Paul open-air market, located on the north-west coast. Farmers from all four corners of the island sell their fruits and vegetables alongside stalls with local crafts. Give in to temptation and try the enticing samosas or chouchou cake, a typical fruit also known as chayote served here with sugar and a dash of rum, two other local specialities.
Further south, climb up above the bay of Saint-Leu to reach your tropical retreat. At the Iloha Seaview Hotel, you will stay in a wooden colonial-style bungalow, set in the middle of a large luxuriant garden. Overjoyed at the place, you dive into one of the two panoramic pools overlooking the ocean.
Every Friday and Saturday
10 Quai Gilbert
Iloha Seaview Hotel
Pointe des Châteaux
44 Rue Georges Pompidou
+262 262 34 89 89
… to the heart of nature
During this stay in touch with nature, you decide to go and visit Kélonia, located in the small town of Saint-Leu. At this marine turtle awareness centre, you will discover their different habitats in La Réunion and the Indian Ocean and learn about scientific programmes to protect these marine creatures, before watching them in sea-water pools.
After this fulfilling excursion, you decide to head to La Varangue du Lagon Chez Denis, a beach restaurant and the stuff of dreams. At the water's edge, enjoy an aperitive as the sun goes down. Look out for the mythical green ray as you wait for your grilled crayfish. Tomorrow, you will put on your hiking boots and set off to explore the spectacular corries of La Réunion.
46 rue du Général de Gaulle
97436 La Réunion
+262 262 34 81 10
La Varangue du Lagon Chez Denis
Avenue de Bourbon
+262 262 32 06 15