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In the zone

You know the cities, but do you know the neighbourhood that best suits you? We’ve visited seven of our favourite destinations to bring you three locales with their own personality

New York City

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Ever-changing, the Big Apple spawns neighbourhoods with idiosyncratic identities. Whether you’re seeking fine food, industrial architecture or experimental galleries, there is something for everyone in the city that never sleeps

MEATPACKING DISTRICT

Best for: ART HUNTERS

One of the fastest-evolving areas in NYC, it brims with world-renowned restaurants, contemporary art galleries and gourmet food markets – not forgetting the city’s must-see attraction: the blooming High Line park. Secure a reservation for brunch at Bagatelle, a stylish spot with a pan- European menu serving the likes of caramelised grapefruit and charcuterie platters. Situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the recently relocated Whitney Museum of American Art blends seamlessly with its new neighbours, plus it has farm-to-fork restaurant, Untitled.

Where to stay

The Standard High Line All rooms have jaw-dropping views. Doubles from £197. standardhotels.com

The High Line Hotel Rooms feel like stylish apartments and there’s a café in the lobby. Doubles from £226. thehighlinehotel.com


WILLIAMSBURG

Best for: BUZZY CITY LIFE

Chances are if you’re staying here – known as ‘The ’Burg’ – getting a quiet night in isn’t high on your agenda. Vibrant and hip, the epicentre of Brooklyn throws together waterfront ea markets, a dine-and-drive cinema and a fleet of sensational food trucks. The area’s bursting with some of New York’s favourite restaurants, which often have queues to match. We’d recommend booking a table months in advance at Lilia. This homely Italian is one of the hardest spots to snag a reservation for, but the spicy grilled clams alone make planning ahead worthwhile.

Where to stay

The William Vale A contemporary hotel with a rooftop pool. Doubles from £260. thewilliamvale.com

Wythe Hotel This converted factory has stunning river views of Manhattan. Doubles from £216. wythehotel.com


SOHO

Best for: RETAIL THERAPY

The former manufacturing district of SoHo is a shopper’s mecca, with a treasure trove of stores. Explore thrift-shop bookstore Housing Works Café, which donates all its pro ts to the homeless; step into the MoMA Design Store for products exclusively created for the Museum of Modern Art, or skip to vintage store What Goes Around Comes Around for high-end accessories and difficult-to-find labels. Visit the Merchant’s House Museum for a rare snapshot into life in the city in the early 19th century and don’t miss a coffee break at Dominique Ansel’s eponymous bakery.

Where to stay

The Broome A modern bolthole filled with well-styled foliage. Doubles from £220. thebroomenyc.com

Crosby Street This centrally located hotel has eclectic rooms designed by Kit Kemp. Doubles from £450. firmdalehotels.com

Manhattan Bridge Tagger Yancey Iv 7944 21

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London

For 2,000 years England’s capital has survived flames, bombs and the Black Death, bouncing back after every trial more con dent than ever. Creative, buzzing and at times confounding, it’s a city with a huge history and its neighbourhoods each tell their own story

NOTTING HILL

Best for: BOHEMIANS

This west London borough is international, stylish and chic, yet has never lost its slightly rough around the edges feel. A potter down Portobello Road on a Saturday morning will reveal a ramshackle collection of second-hand stalls and antique sellers. Tuck into gourmet pies at The Cow, sip a latte at book shop-cum-café Books for Cooks, or feast on two-Michelin-starred cuisine at Brett Graham’s The Ledbury. The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising showcases 150 years of commercial creativity, while theatre mavens can spot new talent at the Gate, before a nightcap at the Portobello Star.

Where to stay

The Portobello Hotel Its quirky decor has earned it a cult following. Doubles from £225. portobellohotel.com

The Laslett This townhouse gem champions the best of British design. Doubles from £194. living-rooms.co.uk


CLERKENWELL

Best for: AESTHETES

Exmouth Market is a hotbed of young culinary talent, who make the most of Smith eld meat market’s proximity. Try Moro for tagines, The Modern Pantry for brunch and Santoré for modern Italian. Clerkenwell Green has long had an association with radicalism, from medieval rebellions to the young Lenin and Stalin plotting revolution in its many pubs, but it has an equally rich history of design. Lamb’s Conduit Street is a warren of boutiques, Clerkenwell Road is lined by hip cafés populated by graphic designers sipping slow-drip coffee, while Sadler’s Wells is the nest in the city for dance.

Where to stay

The Rookery Founded in 1764, this is a great winter hideaway. Doubles from £169. rookeryhotel.com

Zetter Townhouse A Georgian property with 13 whimsical rooms. Doubles from £243. thezettertownhouse.com


ST JAMES’S

Best for: ANGLOPHILES

Ever since King Henry VIII built his palace here, St James’s has attracted an elite, artistic crowd who make themselves known in quirky enclaves such as Crown Passage. On Jermyn Street you’ll nd Geo F Trumper’s barber shop and Bates Hatter, both founded in the 19th century, as well as St James’s Church, which has a craft market in its courtyard. Many of London’s most venerable restaurants call this area home, including the likes of Bentley’s, Wiltons and Quaglino’s. The Royal Academy is a giant among galleries but independents the White Cube and Bowman Sculpture are also well worth an afternoon.

Where to stay

Dukes London This British stalwart specialises in classic luxury. Doubles from £349.dukeshotel.com

The Stafford A luxurious hotel oozing historic charm. Stay in the Carriage Suites. Doubles from £372. thestaffordlondon.com

Full London Overview Credit Pawel Libera Copy

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Dublin

Ireland’s pint-sized capital has a big reputation. Winding streets lead to Georgian squares, Guinness ensures the tales are tall and the craic free- owing, while the banks of the Liffey are lined with new developments as the Celtic Tiger readies itself to roar once more

ST STEPHEN’S GREEN

Best for: FIRST TIMERS

It’s here, amid the red-brick pubs and cobbled squares, that you’ll find the Dublin of postcards. Walk in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde to Merrion Square, look out for the ghost of Molly Malone on Grafton Street and sup Guinness in O’Donoghue’s, known for its live Irish music. Wander the quadrangles of Trinity College or puzzle over the examples of Ogham (the ancient Celtic alphabet) on the standing stones opposite Shelbourne Hotel. A new wave of modern restaurants has injected a cosmopolitan energy into the area, although two Michelin-starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is still leading the charge.

Where to stay

The Merrion A stylish ve-star in Dublin’s most exclusive square. Doubles from £263. merrionhotel.com

The Dean Home to the city’s only rooftop cocktail bar, this modish hideaway has six rooms. Doubles from £98. deandublin.ie


STONEYBATTER

Best for: FREE SPIRITS

Just north of the Liffey, this is Dublin’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood. Adjacent to Smith field, which still hosts a monthly horse fair, this urban village is packed with independent businesses. Try Proper Order for strong coffee, Scéal bakery for excellent pastries and L Mulligan, a grocer- cum-gastropub that only serves Irish produce. Spot the deer in Phoenix Park – the largest city park in Western Europe – before catching an indie ick at the Light House Cinema. The city is undergoing a literary renaissance, much of it centred on Lilliput Press, so browse its atmospheric bookshop for the next big thing.

Where to stay

The Maldron Hotel Smith A great-value choice. Doubles from £79. maldronhotelsmith eld.com

Gate Lodge Five generations of the same family have run this friendly, authentic B&B. Doubles from £62. 00 353 1 677 1685


DUN LAOGHAIRE

Best for: FAMILIES

This pretty suburb was built as a seaside retreat by the Victorians, and it has several reputable yacht clubs and a mile-long pier to prove it. Even in the depths of winter there are always queues at Teddy’s ice cream kiosk and White Tea café, which is tucked away in Brian S Nolan’s design store. More than 50 vendors gather at the market in People’s Park every Sunday. James Joyce once stayed at the Martello Tower on Sandycove Bay and it made such an impression that he set the opening chapter of Ulysses there. Now a museum, it hosts readings of his work alongside views over brooding Dublin Bay.

Where to stay

Haddington House This smart, cosy option boasts sea views. Doubles from £62. haddingtonhouse.ie

Royal Marine Hotel An extremely classic seaside hotel with its own spa and large garden. Doubles from £103. royalmarine.ie

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Edinburgh

The eponymous Castle and Arthur’s Seat are mainstays, but the Scottish capital’s Victorian streets are home to a never-ending list of sights, boutiques and restaurants which vie for your attention for more than one weekend

DEAN VILLAGE

Best for: ART ENTHUSIASTS

Tucked behind the castle, this former grain-milling village is like something out of a fairytale with its colourful architecture, quaint cobbled streets and tranquil green oases. Keep a look out for millstones and carved plaques dating back to the 1800s, before visiting the most striking building in Dean Village, and the most charming, Well Court. Bridges form shadows over the Water of Leith as it snakes its way through the city, while the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art hosts an outstanding collection of contemporary works and tiny Dean Gallery includes great highlights from the dada and surrealist movements.

Where to stay The Bonham Hotel A stylish option in converted Victorian houses. Doubles from £145. bespokehotels.com

The Edinburgh Residence This historic ve-star hotel dates back to 1872. Doubles from £125. theedinburghresidence.com


LEITH

Best for: GASTRONOMES

Brief exposure to this old maritime centre’s great fusion of contemporary and ancient buildings will leave you wanting more. Its shipping heyday has passed, but dockside restaurants in converted warehouses add to its unique charm and appeal: try The Kitchin or Restaurant Martin Wishart. Stroll along the shore of the Firth of Forth before heading to the Water of Leith – one of the city’s most famous walks. Along the way you’ll come across the ve-star Royal Yacht Britannia – now in dry dock here after over 40 years as the oating residence for the Queen and her kin. Follow the gangplank up to the deck in the footsteps of royalty.

Where to stay

Malmaison Bare bulbs and red bricks create a contemporary vibe. Doubles from £85. malmaison.com

Wallace’s Arthouse Scotland A traditional gem in a grade A-listed building. Doubles from £120. allacesarthousescotland.com


STOCKBRIDGE

Best for: GENTEEL TYPES

Once a sleepy village just north of the city, its classic buildings and upscale shops have made Stockbridge popular with locals and visitors. While it still has a village feel, this af uent area sports a striking mix of architectural design from several eras matched with a bohemian vibe. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden to discover a kaleidoscope of colours and textures, before heading to Tom Kitchin’s gastropub The Scran & Scallie, which forms the epicentre of Edinburgh’s new gastronomical quarter here. Indulge in local delicacies, art and crafts at Sunday’s Stockbridge Market, where you’ll nd more than 48 traders.

Where to stay

Nira Caledonia Each room has stylish and opulent period features. Doubles from £326. niracaledonia.com

The Raeburn This Georgian property is every inch the elegant boutique hotel. Doubles from £135. theraeburn.com

Full Edinburgh Skyline At Night

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Prague

Few European cities rival Prague for architectural heritage, with more than 100 spires stretching to the sky. Ideal for a short break, these neighbourhoods offer a host of emerging art galleries, excellent coffee and fairytale charm


HRADCANY

Best for: ROMANTICS

Situated at the edge of Prague 1, the baroque and renaissance buildings that dominate the medieval square provide a postcard-worthy entrance to Prague Castle itself. Often ignored by tourists, the narrow lanes of Nový Svet conceal one of Prague’s most romantic cafés: sharing its name with the narrow street, this intimate coffee shop seats just 20 and overlooks a dense, overgrown garden. As the days get warmer, locals ditch hot brews in favour of a crisp Gambrinus 10° in the Letná Park beer garden, which offers panoramic views of the city under a canopy of twinkling lanterns.

Where to stay

Hotel Monastery An atmospheric choice with historic grounds. Doubles from £86. hotelmonastery.cz

Romantik Hotel U Raka A cottage with re pits, sweet courtyards and a secret garden. Rooms from £90. hoteluraka.cz


VINOHRADY

Best for: COFFEE LOVERS

Once dominated by vineyards, the most sought-after area of Prague now houses striking art nouveau and neo-gothic residences among expansive leafy parks. Traditional Prague coffee houses are dotted throughout. La Bohème eschews Wi-Fi, encouraging guests to chat over their kava, whereas Monolok, a stylish alternative, attracts well-heeled creatives. This area is also a hive of culinary activity. Traditional and hearty meat-and- potatoes Czech cuisine attains lofty heights at U Bulín, while neighbouring Blue Wagon offers sleek, simple plates alongside a strong wine list.

Where to stay

The Louren Hotel Expertly run by a local family and well located. Doubles from £66. louren.cz

Le Palais Art Hotel This top-drawer grand hotel has opulent, classic interiors. Doubles from £93. lepalaishotel.eu


MALA STRANA

Best for: CULTURE SEEKERS

Often overlooked in favour of the tourist-flooded Old Town, this pretty pastel neighbourhood will envelop you in Prague’s complex history, with its experimental museums and monuments of the last 50 years. Dedicated to one of Prague’s most famous residents, the Franz Kafka Museum vividly evokes the claustrophobic life this literary legend once led in testing times. Combine this with a visit to the John Lennon Wall – a memorial to free speech, giving you a unique window into the country’s troubled past. Finish off your day in the grandeur of Wallenstein Garden, which is roamed by flocks of peacocks.

Where to stay

The Alchymist Grand Hotel A luxury choice with four-posters. Doubles from £285. alchymisthotel.com

Lokal Inn For something more rustic, opt for this candlelit, 18th-century coaching inn. Doubles from £78. lokalinn.cz

Unsplash Prague Skyline

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Sydney

This sprawling city draws in uence from Asia and Europe in its art, architecture and food, creating a cosmopolitan con uence of cultures. Sandy beaches buffer its eastern edge, meaning you’re never far from a dip in the ocean

COOGEE

Best for: BEACH LIFE

No Sydney suburb encompasses laid-back urban beach life quite like Coogee. Leave the throngs of backpackers behind in Bondi and enjoy the chance to celebrate the good things in life with artisan coffee shops, bustling brunch spots and cool gelato bars. Join bronzed locals with salt in their hair at The Little Kitchen for what is arguably Sydney’s best avocado on toast followed by its irresistible chai caramel slice. Come sunset, make sure you’ve claimed the love seat at the top of the Coogee Pavilion. With sweeping views of the Paci c, an oyster bar and ping-pong tables, it’s the perfect place to while away balmy evenings.

Where to stay

Coogee Bay Hotel Top hillside location with sea views. Doubles from £86. coogeebayhotel.com.au

Dive Hotel Casual lodgings right by the beach, ideally located for morning swims. Doubles from £120. divehotel.com.au


SURRY HILLS

Best for: RESTAURANT LOVERS

The city’s most innovative chefs have helped to transform the former garment district quite literally from rags to riches. An emerging part of town that is popular with start-ups, Surry Hills now offers some of the best of Sydney’s culinary scene. Longrain has a BYOB option on Sundays and Mondays, so you can pair your chosen tipple with its explosive South Asian sharing plates. For purse- friendly ne dining, Nel’s Nordic interior and the 11-course tasting menu will have you coming back time and again, but don’t miss out on British export Jason Atherton’s industrial-chic restaurant, Kensington Street Social at The Old Clare.

Where to stay

Hotel 57 Combines disco glamour with contemporary furnishings. Doubles from £90. 57hotel.com.au

The Old Clare This bolthole is bursting with cool, custom-made furniture. Doubles from £155. theoldclarehotel.com.au


THE ROCKS

Best for: NIGHT OWLS

Lying in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this historic district comprises a maze of pop-up shops, craft markets, contemporary galleries and sh restaurants. It’s a fun, vibrant area which comes into its own after dark. Situated on top of Custom House, Café Sydney provides a feast of freshly shucked oysters and beef carpaccio with a side of puffy naan, plus it’s a prime spot for people watching as it overlooks the whole of Circular Quay. Opt for an opulent pour in the Shangri-La’s Level 36 Horizon Bar, or head to Sydney’s oldest pub, The Fortune of War (built 1828), for a schooner of favoured local brew, Coopers Pale Ale.

Where to stay

Harbour Rocks Hotel A historic option with Opera House views. Doubles from £170. harbourrocks.com

The Grace Hotel A fun, luxurious Twenties hotel ideally situated for sightseeing. Doubles from £104. gracehotel.com.au

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Cape Town

From the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain to pristine beaches and award-winning wineries, this blue-sky city really does have it all, and it can always be relied on to hand you a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc before the sun sets


CAMPS BAY

Best for: SUNWORSHIPPERS

Set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles with powdered white sand, mellow cafés and natural-rock swimming pools fed by spray from the Atlantic Ocean, the upmarket beach resort of Camps Bay is an ideal base for discovering Cape Town’s highlights. Sip a cooling cocktail at Sapphire, before passing through the olive and lemon tree- lled gardens to reach the idyllic beach. Further up the hill, the striking architecture of a group of art galleries helps make this a great place to spend an afternoon with local wine in hand. Nearby, artist Rose Korber’s gallery is next to her home and is a fantastic spot to buy unusual mixed-media pieces.

Where to stay

Pod An in nity pool is this modish design hotel’s showstopper. Doubles from £215. pod.co.za

Sea Five This hotel feels like your own beach house thanks to its chic Riviera-style interiors. Doubles from £263. sea ve.co.za


WOODSTOCK

Best for: CREATIVES

What once was a community farming village is now Cape Town’s hippest, most artistic neighbourhood. The culturally diverse Woodstock has seen a host of design-led concept stores, craft-ale houses and raw food restaurants quickly taking root. Support local entrepreneurs at the weekly Neighbourgoods Market, with over 120 vendors including artisan bakers, speciality food producers and cheesemakers. It’s a fantastic way to taste South Africa’s unique produce. Wander through the vintage stores, upcycled furniture start-ups and artist galleries while admiring the murals that cover most of the community’s walls.

Where to stay

Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard Top value, with a large pool. Doubles from £78. tsogosun.com

DoubleTree by Hilton Comfortable, airy rooms and suites with kitchens. Doubles from £75. doubletree3.hilton.com


CONSTANTIA

Best for: OENOPHILES

This renowned wine-growing valley invites wine enthusiasts to sample its wares with its tempting laid-back atmosphere. Easily accessible from Cape Town city centre, the eight award-winning estates comprise the oldest producing region in the southern hemisphere. Take the time to explore each winery before checking into one of their boutique bedrooms. After an arduous morning tasting, pick one of the top destination restaurants in the area, such as La Colombe, Greenhouse or Harbour House Constantia Nek. Offering oor-to- ceiling views of the valley, the latter highlights the vast local wine offering alongside impeccably fresh seafood.

Where to stay

Nova Constantia Stylish suites are equipped with balcony hot tubs. Doubles from £80. novaconstantia.com

The Alphen Boutique Hotel A decadent hideaway with imaginative, avant-garde interiors. Doubles from £132. alphen.co.za

02 Camps Bay Sunrise Must Also Credit Hillary Fox

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