For many, a city break is all about lifting the spirits by discovering somewhere fresh and new. And if there's a little retail therapy on offer as well, so much the better. Most major cities are evolving all the time, with new areas constantly popping up. When the trendy boutiques arrive, the chic hotels are never far behind. So where's worth a visit right now?
In east London, indie pop-ups in Shoreditch’s Boxpark and on Shacklewell Lane in Dalston are on everyone's radar. Meanwhile, Soho’s revival continues at the new Ham Yard Hotel, where the lights are more designer than red.
The Holy Grail of fashion remains Paris for much of the fash pack. A.P.C. fans will want to check out the brand’s latest store in the hip Batignolles quarter for ready-to-wear and capsule collections. Or head for Le Marais, where the junction of rue Vieille-du-Temple and rue des Francs-Bourgeois epitomises la vie en mode. Rest your feet in the 8th arrondissement at stunning boutique refurb Hôtel Vernet, a stone’s throw from the popular Montaigne Market.
Over in the Big Apple, die-hard fashionistas should make a pilgrimage to cool concept store Story on Manhattan’s 10th Avenue. On the Upper East Side, check out the post-modern architecture at the David Chipperfield-designed Valentino flagship store. For a spot of downtime, book into SoHo sanctuary The James, with its own in- house stylist offering an insider’s take on the local shopping scene.
NEW YORK, USA
The lowdown An urban sanctuary in downtown Manhattan with panoramic city views.
Best for Hanging out with the local hipsters at Jimmy, The James’s see-and-be-seen rooftop bar.
This 114-room skyscraper of a hotel in SoHo oozes designer charm, particularly its penthouse suite – created by Dutch interior designer Piet Boon – with sweeping views of Manhattan’s skyline.
The David Burke Kitchen restaurant has rustic charm, with a barn-meets-loft feel. This bustling hotel has a rooftop pool, doggy amenities and a croquet area in the minimalist Urban Garden.
For shopping opportunities, you couldn’t be better placed. Step on to SoHo’s cobbled streets for the latest names in fashion and art. New kids on the block include NYC fashion designer Rachel Comey and Other Criteria, headed up by artist Damien Hirst and chums, selling books, prints and jewellery.
Book itQueen rooms from approx £211.
HAM YARD HOTEL
The lowdown A charming eclectic British hotel near Piccadilly Circus.
Best for Design fans and urban trekkers.
This 91-room hotel in Soho is fresh, witty and has designer Kit Kemp’s trademark style stamped all over it. Quirky fabrics, bespoke chandeliers from India, hand-painted furniture and vintage posters make this Firmdale Group hotel a statement of eccentricity and charm.
Check out the original Fifties bowling alley downstairs, complete with karaoke bar and dancefloor. Head up to the fourth-floor roof terrace, with its potager garden and stunning views.
Back on the ground, enjoy Ham Yard Village, with 13 personally selected retail stores, including cosmetics shop Brummells of London and jewellery designer Anabela Chan. There are even more great shopping opportunities to be had around Ham Yard, including French brand ELEVENPARIS, interiors gallery space and café 19 Greek Street and specialist camera shop Lomography.
Book itDouble rooms from approx £310.
The lowdown A newly revamped boutique hotel in the heart of Paris’s most exclusive shopping district.
Best for Art lovers and those who want to be in the fashionable centreof things.
This chic 8th arrondissement hotel marked its centenary with a sparkling new refurb over its seven floors. Interior designer François Champsaur has done a fine job of breathing new life into this post-Haussmann building, with its classic ironmongery and ornate glass domed ceiling, created by the landmark engineer Gustave Eiffel.
The stylish hotel has walls covered in contemporary art to make a serious collector go weak at the knees. The V, its 60-cover restaurant, is well worth visiting. Just a hop and a skip from the Arc de Triomphe, Hôtel Vernetis located inside the city’s golden fashion triangle. Shopping bliss!
Head to the Montaigne Market (a bit like London’s Dover Street Market), home to more than 60 fabulous brands. For a gastronomic treat, take a ten-minute walk to Avenue des Ternes’s Maison Kayser, one of the finest artisan boulangeries in Paris.
Book itSuperior rooms from approx £199.