Choose Your Bliss
Scale mountains, nap on the beach, or lay seige to a city with these ten getaways for every type of traveler.
Soak Up Some Culture
A slew of luxury hotels opened in anticipation of the summer Olympics, so there are plenty of beautiful new places to lay your head. The Thompson Hotel brand opened Belgraves (from $350; thompsonhotels.com), a posh new property a stone’s throw from Sloane Square and its namesake Belgravia neighborhood. Here, the thread counts are high, and luxury bath products are provided by the ecofriendly REN Clean Skincare. More eclectic in design, but just as luxury-minded, is the new Ampersand Hotel (from $550 for the honeymoon package, which includes in-room massages and a Champagne breakfast; ampersandhotel.com), located in the heart of South Kensington. The property is just a stroll away from cultural landmarks like the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. Have a boozy brunch at The Hackney Pearl (thehackneypearl.com), browse the stores in the Kensal Rise area, and book a treatment at the Sanderson Hotel’s Agua Spa. Don’t leave town before grabbing a cocktail at the club-of-the-moment Loulou’s (5hertfordstreet.co.uk).
Back in the roaring twenties, the port city of Shanghai was dubbed the Paris of the East. Now, it stands decidedly on its own as a capital of the future. Much like Tokyo, this energetic metropolis is a carnival of consumerism. Though it’s growing at a dizzying pace, it is still possible to divvy your visit between the old and the new, both of which have their special charms. Check in at the Kerry Hotel (from $510; shangri-la.com/kerry), home to one of the city’s largest hotel pools and an award-winning spa. Book an ancient Wudang Wushu–inspired massage, influenced by Chinese martial arts. See art from ancient times (Shanghai Museum) and modern (the Rockbund Art Museum); shop in the many boutiques at the renovated Bund waterfront or in the meandering alleys of Tai Kang Lu. Follow the locals to the bustling food stands of the outdoor market on Xiangyang Road, wander the exquisite Ming Dynasty–era Yu Garden, then choose from a myriad of teas at the refined Song Fang Maison de Thé. In the evening, dine at the chic Table No. 1 restaurant in The Waterhouse at South Bund (tableno-1.com), then enjoy after-dinner cocktails at Kartel in Shanghai’s French Concession area. For a break from the urban offerings, take a day trip to Nan Xiang (about 40 minutes by subway from the city center), the birthplace of the famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Sample them at Guyi Garden restaurant, then walk off lunch in the manicured gardens nearby. Or spend a few nights at Naked Stables (from $240; nakedretreats.cn), a serene, ecofriendly retreat in the lush bamboo mountains two and a half hours outside Shanghai. If wedding planning has stretched you to the limit, definitely come here to relax and recharge.
From the Winter 2013 New York Wedding Guide