Welcome to the very first edition of the HIP Edit. From here on out, we’ll be providing you with the very best recommendations concocted personally by the HIP Hotels team!
Allow yourself to delve into the destinations that made our itineraries this month over at the Travel Journal, discover our hottest recommendations of things to do and see with Our HIP Hotlist and uncover what we’re excited about next month with the On Our Radar selection.
Each month our Guest Pick will play host to an inspiring line-up of travellers, from influencers and industry experts to hoteliers and luxury travellers, who will be letting you in on their favourite travel experiences and insider tips.
We hope to leave you feeling wholly inspired with a varied list of places to eat, things to do, watch and even listen to for the coming month.
Olivia & Shana, HIP Editors
Follow us on a tailor-made journey through our favourite destinations we’ve been to this month. We’ll introduce you to our HIP city headquarters in The Big Smoke and conjure you up a picture of the desert-laden wonder of Eastern California — with any luck, providing you with all the inspiration you need to make a solid decision on your next holiday destination! Discover what we got up to, a handy tip if you’re planning on heading there and what we unfortunately missed out on that you definitely shouldn’t! Enjoy.
Home to our original headquarters, London is where most of the HIP magic happens! We like to think of it as lively yet cosy and it really comes to life with an ironic warmth during the winter seasons; from cosy pubs and hidden art galleries, to magnificent architecture and outstanding history. If London isn’t your home city, be sure to visit during the winter period and come say hi! Although the weather can be a bit dark and gloomy, we like to take strolls through our favourite parks, particularly Hampstead Heath, where you can discover the cosy Spaniards Inn pub located at the top, cosy up by the fire and taste some of the delicious Sunday roasts (this is an absolute must!). We loved trying out the various festive pop-ups that appear this time of year, soaking up the festive atmosphere at Somerset House and rediscovering some of our favourite films at the many wintry outdoor cinemas like the beautiful Backyard Cinema. Whatever the weather in London, we’re never short of anything to do.
Duration: Continuous — We love our HIP Hotels home.
Handy tip: Get yourself an Oyster Card, it’ll change your travel life!
We love Italy… a lot. Renowned as the exclusive hub for fashion and culture, another top location we visited this month was the enchanting city of Milan. We’re not going to be indirect here, Milan is very very cold during the winter seasons, but the city comes alive with festive street markets, events and of course, decorations. We visited the Triennale di Milano, an art and design museum nestled within the Sempione Park – costing around €8.50 entry, indulged in the rich and enchanting thirties interiors inside the Villa Necchi Campiglio (a gorgeous home museum) and absolutely fell in love with the small and hidden bookshop, Libreria Verso – you can also enjoy a delicious aperitivo inside too! A restaurant we highly recommend is Trattoria Arlati where you can tantalise your tastebuds with some delicious Milanese delicacies under traditional works of art and indulge in some great live music!
Duration: 1 week
Handy tip: Never order yourself a Cappuccino after lunch, it’s very much frowned upon.
At the beginning of November we did something none of the HIP team have ever done before — a 2000-mile road trip from San Francisco to LA. Driving through places such as Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree, we got lost in some of the world’s most beautiful National Parks and fully immersed ourselves in three of the biggest US cities! From capturing Yosemite’s famous Half Dome at sunset and the Mono Lake (Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” cover), to indulging the deepest point on earth in Death-Valley's Badwater, we truly felt like we were in a western movie driving through Lone Pine, enchanted by everything the West Coast of America has to offer. If we were to visit again, we would recommend adding an extra 2/3 days to your trip and visiting the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Duration: 14 days
Handy tip: Be sure to take a wide-lense with you if you’re looking to capture everything on camera.
From spiralling Gothic steeples and bridges, to cobbled streets and a picturesque river, some of our team have just arrived back from the storybook-like city of Prague — a magical city steeped in medieval history. Nestled right next to the Prague Castle, we stayed at one of our favourite HIP Hotels, Design Hotel Neruda, where we were kindly upgraded to one of their charming Deluxe suites! With so much to explore, the hotel couldn't be more perfectly located — just steps away from all the tourist traps. Although the clear blue skies were a delight, we had to make sure we wrapped up warm due to the cold temperatures that surrounded us. From the enchanting nooks and crannies around the Prague Castle grounds and the breathtaking colourful architecture, to the the eye-opening Museum of Communism and the great value tipples, there is so much to discover around Prague. Be sure to visit the Estrella restaurant, a charming vegetarian haunt nestled within the Museum district. Using only local and seasonal ingredients, the food and hospitality here is absolutely indulgent! Make sure you try the Pate if you visit. Unfortunately we visited the city a couple of days before the popular Christmas market had opened, so if you're planning a stay, you should definitely include this in your itinerary!
Duration: 4 days
Handy tip: If there's anything more delicious and hearty to have during the colder seasons, it's their popular Trdlenik – a traditional Czech sweet rolled dough topped with cinnamon and sugar, it's absolutely delightful with a spoonful of Nutella inside!
The colder season has finally set in, bringing with it a flurry of new events, exciting new foodie flavours and an atmosphere that we’re certainly welcoming with outstretched arms. Whether you wrap up snug to enjoy the wintry atmosphere all over the UK and Europe or hop on a plane across the globe to somewhere a lot more forgiving, we’ve selected our very best tried and tested favourites for you.
We’re forgetting pumpkin-spiced lattes this year, and tantalising our taste buds this winter with some heavenly mulled wine, as nothing induces the smell of Christmas quite like this deliciously hearty beverage. It’s the perfect drink to celebrate this festive time of year, consisting of a marination of red wine, a cinnamon stick, star anise, orange slices, cloves and brown sugar. Whether you decide to discover the perfect cosy pub, bar or pop-up (Winterland in London is next on our list) that brews the perfect mulled wine, or you make your own creation at home, tantalise your tastebuds with distinct flavours, as nothing beats a glass or two of this tasty warming drink.
Where to try: The Trading House, Bank – London
You may have (definitely) seen people posting images on Instagram of their shadows being projected in magnificent parades of colours. If you’re not sure what this is and would love to go, it’s an exhibition located in London’s famous Tate Modern. Olafur Eliasson showcases his biggest and most breathtaking work yet. ‘In Real Life’ is formed of over 40 different works, illustrating some of today’s most urgent issues – climate change, energy, migration and architecture. We wandered down a 39-metre-long corridor filled with bright yellow fog and explored galleries of rain until all of our senses were heightened, seeing the world through Eliasson’s eye-opening installations. We’d certainly recommend discovering this artist’s deep engagement and perspective on society and the environment — it’s totally epic!
Where: Tate Modern, London
When: Until 5th January 2020
This month we have been inspired by Wendy Goodman’s interior design book, May I Come In?. Published in late 2018, this design editor from New York magazine hunted around for over 30 years for authentically designed interiors, in some of the world’s most awe-inspiring homes, gaining access to the homes of celebrities such as Valentino Garavani, Donatella Versace, Diana Vreeland, Tina Turner and more and it’s certainly a captivating page-turner. From pure majesty to enchanting minimalism, May I Come In? has been conceptualised as an anti-aspirational book, designed to visualise pure fantasy, preserving the grandeur of its subjects’ reputations.
Author: Wendy Goodman
Less is certainly not more at the decadently luxurious Milanese DIMOREGALLERY. Maintaining a dialogue between past and present, the design duo, formed of Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, create impressively illustrious installations of familiar pieces that see a contemporary update with innovative flair, inspired by old paintings, iconic designs and fashion. Stepping inside the gallery presents a sensory escape like no other — like wandering through our own private apartment undisturbed, with a distinctive scent and soundtrack serenading us every step of the way — our favourite being Air by Alpha Beta Gaga. The gallery captures your imagination, truly allowing each and every visitor to absorb the very essence of each individual design piece — its material, colour, form and contemporary resonance. Earlier this year saw all eyes on the artistic duo at Milan Design Week, so there really is no better time than now to venture into the fashion capital and have yourself a creativity-fuelled afternoon.
Where: Milan, Italy
When: 11am-7pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
Favourite piece: The diamond-esque screen panel structure with pivoting rhomboidal elements in mirror and glossy lacquered wood with natural brass frame.
A dazzlingly magical future materialised at the Infinity Mirrored Room of Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama when we visited earlier this month. Exhibiting ‘The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away’ since 2015 at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, this installation is one of those “photo or it didn’t happen” moments — a truly aesthetically-pleasing display that you get 45 seconds to capture — we certainly made the most of it! It feels as though you’re in an alternate reality or floating in space. For artist, Yayoi Kusama, who experienced hallucinations due to mental illness, her various Infinity Mirrored Room installations straddle the line between representation and abstraction bringing into physical existence that which usually cannot be easily represented. For one of those one-of-a-kind memories, it’s definitely worth the visit.
Price: Free general admission, separate sign-up to virtual queue required for The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.
Where: The Broad, Los Angeles
Claiming to possess some of the best beef cuts in the world, we knew we had to give Beefbar in Monaco a try — whether it was the raving reviews or the suspended cuts of meat displayed in transparent fridges that intrigued us, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the rare wagyu beef that comes from any of the four exclusive Japanese breeds of beef cattle and yes it’s true… they are massaged daily with sake in order to distribute the fat more evenly and fed beer to induce their appetite — we wouldn’t mind that cushty life! Ranging from €69 for the picanha sirloin cap to €310 for two or three people sharing the 1.4kg tomahawk cut, the result is a tender meat that truly speaks its price in flavour, prepared to perfection on a Josper Grill which retains the deep natural flavour and moisture of the steak as it cooks. Pair this with a surprisingly welcome street food selection, from gyozas and bao to ceviche and pizza, and Beefbar emerges as quite the unique haunt, paired with compelling views onto Fontvieille port.
“Things to do this weekend”, “Things to do in winter”, “Places to go in December”. Most of us have probably searched these three queries in the last few weeks and we all know it can prove particularly time-consuming having to trawl through extensive lists of anything and everything to do in a certain location. We’ve wracked our brains and whittled down exactly where you should go and what you should try this month so all the hard work is eliminated. One restaurant, one thing to watch, one location to visit and two things to do — looks like both of our months are looking pretty exciting.
Bringing the vibrancy of the rainforest to the centre of London’s concrete jungle, Amazonico has brought its Spanish influence to the heart of Mayfair. Originally located in Madrid, the concept has been conceived by restaurateurs Sandro Silva and Marta Seco, with the menu spanning a tantalising variety, from European and Asian to South American cuisine. Expect heavy interiors of patterns, textures, foliage and an aesthetically-pleasing space whichever way your head turns. Enjoy adventurous dishes to tantalise your tastebuds, from roasted Peruvian pumpkin to chimichurri steak and sea urchin. With a jungle jazz bar, a sushi bar and an open-kitchen, the 13,000 square-foot space is no small feat. Amazonico is much more than just a bite to eat, serving up a carnivalesque atmosphere to keep you thoroughly entertained, with dancers and resident DJs ensuring no minute goes by unattended. Having opened its doors on November 9th, book quickly to get your jungle experience in before Christmas.
Where: 10 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6BR
Every year, Hyde Park plays host to the now iconic Winter Wonderland, with 2019 marking its thirteenth anniversary. Giving even the most wintry destinations a run for their money, this London park comes to life with a contagious and resplendent festive atmosphere, hosting everything from a thrilling circus, fairground rides, christmas markets and plenty of warming food and drink to see you through until the end of your visit. This year, the park’s observation ferris wheel is taller than ever, at 70metres, providing enviable views over the glistening scene below and London’s famous skyline. There’s even a German Bavarian village that will make you feel as if you’ve landed right in the heart of the German town itself.
Where: Hyde Park, London
When: Until January 5th
Arguably one of the best royal TV series to grace our digital fingertips (HIP Hotels certified), The Crown’s third season hit Netflix on November 17th and if you haven’t begun hurtling through each episode — really, what are you waiting for? Since the huge success of the first and second season, this new series has seen a refresh of sorts — a promising recasting which sees Olivia Coleman take the role of an older Queen Elizabeth II, Helena Bonham Carter capturing the splendour of Princess Margaret and Tobias Menzies playing Prince Philip. Spanning the years 1964-77, the series tracks Prince Charles’ movement into the public eye as Prince of Wales, as well as iconic events during this 13 year period of the Queen’s reign, from the Apollo 11 moon landing to the Aberfan Disaster. For a dose of royalty with a splendid helping of dramatisation, The Crown provides the perfect winter binge-watching.
For nothing short of a fairytale Christmas card setting, Hallstatt in Austria has come onto our radar as one of the best winter European destinations. Whilst it may not hold the same resonance as towns like Venice or Amsterdam, Hallstatt has a lot of its own unique offerings and has soared in popularity in recent years. With a population of only 800 people, take in panoramic vistas of the entire region from the Five Fingers Viewing Platform, feast on Austrian cuisine served by lakefront cafes, hop on a boat to admire the quaintness from the lake or visit the 600 painted skulls at Charnel House — yes, there’s a surprise to be found in every city! Whilst many visitors drop by on a one-day excursion from Salzburg to Hallstatt, we’d definitely recommend booking in a couple nights at one of the quaint alpine houses for a truly authentic perspective of this storybook village.
Returning once more to the historic Distillery District for its 10th anniversary, Toronto’s Christmas Market is a keen favourite in the Canadian calendar. Brimming with festive vendors selling locally handcrafted products, decked out with a canopy of sparkling lights and a giant Christmas tree and offering enough comfort food to last you through the evening, this Christmas Market leaves a lasting warm and fuzzy feeling. Hang out in the beer hall, chow down on pork schnitzel or traditional poutine and sample the delicious treats, from sweet chimney cakes, German potato cakes, chocolate fondue, raclette and of course gingerbread, for a mouthwateringly endless treat for the palate. There’s even a daily schedule of entertainment, from carol singing to performances from emerging local artists. So, grab your cup of mulled wine, find your favourite spot and soak up the contagiously festive atmosphere that resonates at this European-style festival.
Where: The Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: Until December 22nd
Price: Free during the week, advance tickets $8.00 and same-day purchase $12.00.
The very best inspiration comes from the people who surround us — from tales of travel experiences that have shaped them to the moments that will last with them forever. This month’s guest series is dedicated to some remarkable people we met when exhibiting at The Conde Nast Luxury Travel Fair at the beginning of November.
It was certainly an unexpected treat when Englishman, David Selvey passed by our stand at The Luxury Travel Fair. Currently taking a break from his travels whilst his faithful 2001 LandCruiser HZJ78 Troop Carrier gets repaired in Ontario, David has covered more than 360,000 miles on the road, spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia and has plenty of plans to continue. We were able to get an insight into David’s favourite travel encounters to date as well as his upcoming plans.
HIP: Tell us a bit about the last place you visited.
David: The main destination of my most recent trip was to witness the Easter Passion Play in Iztapalapa, a suburb of Mexico City. Although I am not religious, I am interested in cultures and I could not just imagine an event with 450 actors, crowds of two million people and a 2000 strong police presence, I had to see it for myself.
Mexicans like to party and I like the way that there appears to be no fixed agenda. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. I therefore missed some of the events, like the reenactment of the loaves and fishes which took place on the top of a hill high above the city where there are some Aztec ruins.
There are legions of Romans, some on horseback and some with chariots. On Good Friday, thousands of people drag crosses around the streets and after Jesus is found guilty, the actor playing him drags a large cross to a hill where he is “hung”. The passion play concludes with his ascent to heaven.
HIP: Where are you going next?
David: Sadly my truck broke down last year (otherwise I would probably be somewhere warmer now). It is being repaired in Ontario and should be ready in the spring. I am thinking of driving across The Rockies to Whistler. Years ago I drove through the Arctic Circle to Inuvik but the road has now been extended as far as the Arctic Ocean so I might just have to go back!
In the meantime I am thinking of attending Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. I also fancy the Amazon and will look at the logistics of travelling overland by public transport through Brazil.
HIP: What is your best travel experience to date?
David: I have been to so many incredible places, it is difficult to single one out.
People had been recommending Lake Tahoe for years but when I eventually got there, for me, it didn't live up to the hype. It is too big, too developed (especially the casinos on the Nevada side) and you really have to view it from the air. For me, Crater Lake in Oregon was what I had been expecting Lake Tahoe to be. There is no development within the volcanic crater and there are incredible views from walking trails which lead all around the rim. Early in the morning there is no wind, allowing perfect reflections on the lake surface.
On a cultural level, Kinta Jimultik or kin taji multic in San Juan Chamula in Mexico is difficult to beat. At other times of the year the town is fascinating as the locals have not really embraced the Spanish influence, they don't really believe that they are part of Mexico and have their own police force. The Spanish built them a church but the locals have moved the altar and practice their pagan beliefs inside. The floor is covered with pine needles and there are thousands of candles.
Don't expect to know when the festival is, although it is around the time of Carnaval (Mardi Gras). One year I was told dates but when I went back at the right time they had decided to have the festival early so I had to go another year. Rituals include parades in traditional dress, jaguar dances with chosen participants wearing a jaguar skin, flag dances and fire walking (although not seen when I was there). On the final day, bulls are let loose in the plaza.
You can read more about David’s travels over at http://davidselvey.com/ with an archive of his trips, including his most recent 15th American adventure.
Englishman and avid traveller, Paul first walked past our stand at The Luxury Travel Fair when the bowl of Lindt chocolates caught his eye. After kindly being interrupted by one of our members of staff during his little feast, we managed to have a chat with him about his travels.
HIP: Tell us a bit about the last place you visited.
Paul: Well, which exact place do you mean? I went to Brighton last weekend but I’m not sure if that counts…
For nearly 50 years, my wife and I have been travelling the world together and ticking off places off our bucket lists until you know, we die. So the last place we visited was earlier this year in Sri Lanka – we’d never been before but were very intrigued about what all the fuss was about! I must say, Sri Lanka is a stunning country and we definitely want to go again. We visited many places (most names that I can’t remember the life of me, but my wife would), but what I do remember was the stunning landscapes of the Yala National Park. There were a bunch of leopards there which was fascinating, but I forgot the camera that day which wasn’t great– meaning my wife didn’t speak for the rest of the day, so I made friends with our tour guide instead (whose name I also forgot).
We rode the famous train from the city of Kandy to Ella, an absolutely breathtaking place where everyone should go and visit at least once in their lives. The train was long, about 8 hours or so, but it was truly worth it! We realised that it’s actually very important on what side of the train you sit on, if you want to get the best views of course. But Ella is just stunning, absolutely stunning. The landscapes were magnificent, I truly recommend.
HIP: Where are you going next?
Paul: Now that’s a very good question, maybe Sri Lanka again as we would like to explore some more, however it most probably will be Panama because I met their ex president, Manuel, there a couple of years back and he’s invited us over there, so it would be impolite if we didn’t go there. He said he’d take us on a private and ‘exclusive’ tour of the country, but he also said he’d “let me know”, so who knows, he’s a very nice man though, so I await his email.
HIP: What is your best travel experience to date?
Paul: Can I give you two? Not sure the first one is exactly our favourite travel experience, but it’s all part of the travelling experience really, isn’t it?
In 2018, my wife and I travelled to South America and ended our trip in Chile. We like Chile very much, we even stayed in one of your HIP Hotels in San Vicente de Tagua Tagua (Vik Chile) – that was a great hotel, total silence surrounded us, it was wonderful. Anywho, we thought we would end our trip before travelling back to the UK by visiting the Atacama Desert; and let me just tell you, they really do mean it when they say it’s one of the driest places in the world. The Atacama is on the West Coast of Chile, literally on the Pacific and I believe it’s about over 1000km long. However, think less desert, and think more Mars – that’s what it felt like for us. The gorgeous hues of oranges and red completely surrounded us, it was breathtaking! Until [sighs] our car broke down, it clearly didn’t like the Atacama as much as we did, that's for sure! There wasn’t that much signal and I think we were stuck there for about 4/5 hours until we managed to get rescued.
Sometimes I think we take advantage of the safety and privileges we have in the First World Country, and if your car breaks down somewhere, just ring up the AA and they’ll come rescue you. Although it was a long and stressful wait, and I’m not gonna lie, there could be worse places to be stranded in, we were finally rescued – my wife wasn’t too pleased by that whole experience.
Anyway, stress aside, I think my favourite travel experience (and cheapest) [laughs] was our trip to Mexico. My wife and I wanted to do it properly and get a proper tour; so instead of hiring a car and possibly getting lost again, we decided to get a bus – you know, one of those sleeper busses that are hot and smelly but super cheap? That’s what we did. We spent 14 days in Mexico, and only 3 of those nights we stayed in a hotel, the rest we spent on busses. It was certainly an experience!
Browsing through the Luxury Travel Fair to find some inspiration for her future travels, Georgina Harle lovingly came to visit the HIP stand and spoke to us about her best travel stories. Winner of our Saturday giveaway at the enchanting Cowley Manor nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Georgina was pleased to hear that she could take her new furry friend along with her to her next stay. Here is an insight on Georgina's best travel stories:
HIP: Tell us a bit about the last place you visited.
Georgina: The last place we went to was Puglia, back in June. We booked it on impulse at the luxury travel show last December.
We travelled to three different parts/ hotels - we even stumbled across Liam Galliagher who was staying in our last hotel! We love Italy, always fantastic food, wine, and love the Italian way. We were also fortunate enough to stumble across the annual religious ‘Madonna of cultivation’ festival, which is a huge local celebration across Puglia, maybe even all of Italy? – where they have fireworks, bands, and lights that rival Kew Gardens Christmas show for the entire weekend. It was truly beautiful!
HIP: Where are you going next?
Georgina: Cowley Manor, of course! I was so delighted to discover that HIP hotels have a range of luxury spa breaks that allow and cater for my little cockapoo to attend too. He will love walking round the grounds, whilst my partner and I cannot wait for the spa! What a perfect combination. I’ve never explored the Cotswolds either so really looking forward to that.
HIP: What is your best travel experience to date?
Georgina: Hmm... Our best travel story was probably when we stayed in the Archer Hotel, in New York. They went out of their way to provide a personalised experience, from decorating our room for a birthday, to leaving a bottle of Pimms and a bottle of Merlot (which is our favourite!) for our stay in our room when we returned to stay again. They also have a personality ‘Archer’ associated with the hotel who ‘looks after you’ for instance, leaves you treats each night from local producers which made us feel so welcome.
Also, you can’t go wrong with New York – from fabulous food to incredible sights and insane shopping opportunities, breakfast at The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park and the Bergdorf Goodman for lunch is an absolute must! If you have some more time, I recommend visiting Woodbury Common for amazing shopping outlets, it's just an hour outside the centre!
© 2018 HIP Media Group Limited All Rights Reserved.