In the face of all the tragedy that the last 18 months have brought, it’s hard to get too upset about a Rimowa dusting in the corner or your Instagram stories getting stale. Still, with all we’ve been through—and with vaccines rolled out and variants abating—a touch of travel seems like just the thing to refresh and recenter. It’s time to embrace the beauty of the world again (safely, carefully) and some of our longtime favorites are just begging for a visit.
First, a vote for Grazia’s home nation of Italy. The first Western country to face COVID-19, Italy has emerged as a leader in adopting new technologies and protocols to keep residents and visitors alike safe and healthy.
Late fall is the ideal time to visit, thanks to perfectly moderate temperatures and the absence of teeming summer crowds.
First stop: Il Pellicano remains the gold standard for chic luxury and understated elegance. Located in Porto Ercole on the Argentario Coast of Tuscany, the luxury boutique hotel was built in the 1960s as a romantic private getaway for American socialite Patsy Daszel and British aviator Michael Graham; celebrity friends like Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, and Gianni Agnelli visited, and photographer Slim Aarons—who visited the hotel for more than 25 years—memorialized the iconic cliffside retreat in stunning snaps.
Il Pellicano was purchased by Roberto Scio in 1979 and is today run by his daughter Marie-Louise, who has managed to maintain the property’s history and carefree spirit while transforming it into a five-star luxury destination. With awe-inspiring sea views and carefully curated landscaping, including an overflow of bougainvillea, the property features an array of restaurants and bars as well as a picturesque pool and elegant Beach Club, where Aarons staged many of his now-famous shots with pals including Kirk Douglas, Britt Ekland, and Yul Brenner. The spa features products from Italian brand Santa Maria Novella and the boutique—curated by Marie-Louise herself—sells Borsalino hats, Eres swimwear, and Il Pellicano gear designed by APC Paris; other featured designers include Jil Sander, La Doble J, Lutz Morris, Fedeli, and Rianna+Nina.
Further down the coast on the Ligurian Sea lies the Italian Riviera fishing village of Portofino— where not a single new house has been constructed since 1935. There, Belmond’s Splendido Mare reopened this past May after a complete restoration to the hotel’s 14 rooms, which feature breathtaking views of the yacht-dotted harbor. The revamped chambers are stocked with antiques, including fruitwood armchairs by Paolo Buffa and Gio Ponti, walnut armchairs by Ulrich Guglielmo, and table lamps by Oscar Torlasco; locally sourced materials include terra-cotta tiles from Impruneta, ceramic tiles from Garfagnana, and marble from Carrara; and the property’s impressive 100-piece art collection features works by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli as well as local artists.
Then there’s the art you’ll find on your plate. The deceptively casual fine-dining seafood spot, DaV Mare is an oasis of mind-bending cuisine crafted from local products. With three Michelin stars between them, brothers Enrico and Roberto Cerea have created a world-class menu in their tiny kitchen off the quaint cobblestone port. (The pesto risotto with Santa Margherita prawns is unrivaled, and the tableside preparation of the Paccheri alla Vittorio DaV is almost as impressive as its flavor profile.)
A sister property, Splendido, a Belmond Hotel, is housed up the hill in a stately 16th-century monastery. One might opt to walk the jasmine-scented paths connecting it with the harbor, or opt for an easy shuttle ride. Unwind with a sail along the Tigullio Gulf in the hotel’s private boat, or relax in the spa with treatments using Mediterranean herbs and plants, including chamomile, sage, and basil. Or simply sit on your balcony and soak in the postcard-perfect views from every direction.
Fashionphiles will surely be intrigued by the upcoming retreat happening from October 28 to 21. “Let’s Do Blue Jeans in Genoa” will explore the region’s long history with denim, said to be created in the shipyards of Genoa in the 15th century from strong, cross-weaved cotton fabric and originally used as sails. The immersive celebration of indigo fabric will include luxury accommodations, a VIP museums tour, and lunch in a private palace, along with a hands-on blue jeans workshop.
For more of Italian culture, head across the country to the Adriatic coast. Although Venice has implemented strict rules on visitors since the pandemic—including an entry fee and booking system to alleviate mass tourism and protect the city’s resources—Hotel Cipriani remains a gem worth visiting. Opened in 1956 by Giuseppe Cipriani—also the founder of Harry’s Bar, the legendary birthplace of the Bellini cocktail—Cipriani is an oasis of charm and elegance. This November, in honor of Venice turning 1,600 years old, the hotel is offering a special exploration of the region’s history, complete with behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s libraries and archives, including Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna showcasing rare books and preserved manuscripts—truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Amalfi may be synonymous with summer, but Il San Pietro Positano is equally breathtaking year-round. Built directly into the rocks of the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea, it comes complete with the Michelin-starred eatery Zass and a stylish–yet simple beach club; another Positano standout is the Sireneuse, located right in the center of town, walking distance from all the retail and entertainment action.
Rolling hills and vineyards more your scene? In the Tuscan region, Villa San Michele offers the perfect respite—and socially distant activities. Housed in a monastery with a 15th-century facade said to be courtesy of Michelangelo, the Florence hideaway is nestled on a hilltop and surrounded by lush, terraced gardens and trees. This season, guests of Villa San Michele can take a tour in the property’s very own vintage Fiat1100 Musone for exclusive access to the city’s local ateliers and artisan shops selling everything from jewelry and shoes to crystalware and perfume; the day ends with a “The Art of Packing” workshop at Louis Vuitton.
In short, the world is your oyster once more. Are you ready for a taste?
“What is clear to us is that the past 18 months has not dampened our collective desire and excitement about travel,” Arnaud Champenois, SVP of branding and marketing for Belmond worldwide, tells GRAZIA Gazette. “People will explore the world again. It’s a question of when we can and when we feel comfortable doing so.”
But even once we feel “safe” to hop back on a plane and explore the world, we now have the added responsibility of doing it mindfully. “However, beyond the excitement of being able to travel again, there is also the greater recognition within the travel community to travel better,” Champenois continues. “This period of stillness has given us the opportunity to see the precious meaning of travel. It can no longer be perceived as a commodity. Travel is a luxury, an experience that one should cherish and make it meaningful. We are seeing people embrace this renewed spirit for all that travel can offer. As a brand that straddles both luxury and travel, our role is ever-evolving and we are excited to facilitate and empower these exchanges through conscientious travel.”
There is no better place to soak up the true essence of Italy than at Reschio, a 3,700-acre ancient pastoral estate located in the hills at the edge of Umbria. The property is like none other, with the goal of protecting this special region of Italy, comprising olive groves, vineyards, and an equestrian center along with restored farmhouses and the Castello de Reschio, a thousand-year-old castle that was painstakingly restored and reopened this past spring as a 36-room hotel with a restaurant, spa, and large heated pool. The hotel’s suites are special, with some featuring centuries-old milling equipment, stone-carved fireplaces, and even one with an old olive press; the Tower Suite is spread across five floors and boasts its very own roof garden and open-air tub—the ultimate in social distancing. With sustainability at front of mind, the Ristorante al Castello uses uber-local produce and ingredients from the estate’s very own gardens, forests, olive groves, beehives, and vineyards. For an immersive experience, activities include truffle hunting, pasta-making classes, and horseback-riding lessons as well as hiking and biking on the estate’s trails.
If lounging poolside with a chilled glass of rosé is more your thing, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is the ultimate spot to camp out for some post-Fashion Week R&R. Located in the French Riviera town of Antibes, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc was initially conceived as an artist’s retreat when it opened 150 years ago, hosting guests like President John F. Kennedy, disgraced royal couple Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Picasso; it’s now the playground for well-heeled travelers and A-listers, including Madonna, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom (the couple went public with their romance with an Instagram snap taken on the hotel’s famous front steps), Kourtney Kardashian, and Bella Hadid, who stepped out with beau Marc Kalman at the hotel this summer.
For a truly special getaway, the Chevre d’Or in nearby Èze can’t be beat. With breathtaking views of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat from the terrace of the hotel’s bar, the rooms are spread out around the town, providing the ultimate adventure.
If a quick trip is what you have in mind, the Caribbean is still tops, thanks to quick and easy flights. Be poolside with drink in hand at the Rosewood Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas, in just over three hours or snag a suite at the always-perfect The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort where Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up French-Asian fusion at Dune.
At GoldenEye in Jamaica’s Oracabessa, music executive turned hotelier Chris Blackwell has created an oasis of private bungalows, cottages, and beach huts set among lust gardens—ideal for decompressing and recharging.
But nothing compares to the idyllic beaches and party scene of Saint-Barthélemy, the beloved French island that has long been known for drawing the fashionable set. The island was hard hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017 but iconic properties like Eden Rock, Le Cheval, and Le Toiny are now back—and more popular than ever. The perfect blend of laid-back and super scene-y, no other island can compare to the paradise that is St. Bart’s.
For those looking for a city vibe, our neighbors to the north just debuted a brand-new must-visit spot last month, thanks to the opening of the 1 Hotel Toronto. Located in the city’s trendy West King Street neighborhood, it’s the first 1 Hotel to open in Canada bringing the brand’s sustainable luxury concept along with new restaurants, including Casa Madera and Flora and an outpost of Harriet’s, with an original location in LA.
“As a world-class city with globally respected sustainability programs, Toronto is an exceptional new base for 1 Hotels,” Barry Sternlicht, CEO and Chairman of Starwood Capital Group and the visionary behind the 1 Hotel group of properties, says in a press release for the opening. “Protecting the one planet is why we are called 1 Hotels, and this mantra fuels the spirit of each property. It is my hope that every guest visiting 1 Hotel Toronto feels encouraged to maintain appreciation for the preservation of our planet long after their stay.”
For those who prefer to stay on U.S. soil, there is nothing quite like an excursion out West, and Amangiri offers a superlative experience. Spread over 600 acres of the Utah desert, Amangiri is the place of Instagram dreams, with gorgeous red-rock canyons, dramatic mesas, and breathtaking ridges and gorges. For those who enjoy the outdoor adventure life, Amangiri boasts the longest climb in the Northern Hemisphere, the Cave Peak Stairway made up of 120 steps that span 200 feet; those who prefer to take it easy can opt for the Ultimate Terrain Vehicle excursions, e-bike tours, horseback riding, and hot-air balloon flights.
“Fall is one of the best times to visit the southwest for its long summer season that goes well into September,” Julien Surget, the general manager of Amangiri, tells Grazia Gazette. “The weather is predictably beautiful, and the mild temperatures are ideal for all-day adventures. This mid-season also allows guests to enjoy the region with fewer crowds.”
At the Amangani, located in the foothills of the cowboy-chic town of Jackson Hole, Wyo., guests get exclusive access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks; a Teton Picnic including homemade provisions and a chilled bottle of wine, can be arranged by the hotel and is a truly unique experience.
Back East, Shou Sugi Ban House has expanded its wellness offerings with the opening of Shou Sugi Ban Inn, adjacent to the original Watermill location, which opened in 2019. The intimate bed-and-breakfast now offers guests another option for the ultimate reset, complete with plant-rich meals from Michelin-starred chef Mads Refslund, organic Japanese amenities, and precious time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
And, for a hyper-local staycation, there is finally a reason for New Yorkers to go to Times Square other than to see a Broadway show: the arrival of the Times Square EDITION. The much-anticipated hotel is a welcome oasis to the oft-maligned neighborhood, with 452 guestrooms offering sweeping skyline views and a reprieve from apartment living, while six different dining concepts from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser will keep hungry guests satiated; the Paradise Club—the hotel’s seventh floor performance space—is the real show-stopper, described by the hotel as an inventive, chaotic, high production spectacle perfectly suited for Times Square and featuring world-class DJs, dance parties, and live performances; a dinner theater experience called “The Devouring” features a multisensory feast must be experienced.
With another potentially uncertain winter looming, now is the time to take a break (pending current travel rules and safety precautions, of course) and see the world that was so dearly missed.