Short Attention Span Guide To Travel


Boutique hotel Ostoya Palace

You know those decadent destination magazines that tempt you with rapturous accounts of truffle oil massages, pristine white beaches and bamboo reeds tapping gently against French doors? Well, SOMA doesn’t have the stomach – or, frankly, the budget – for such trifles. Instead, our intrepid and discerning correspondents Kerry Olsen and Ken Scrudato take you on a succinct spin around the globe to reveal the hottest restaurants, hotels and tourist-repellant attractions. They didn’t swim with dolphins but they did earn many well-deserved international hangovers. Enjoy.

Milan (DO) Milan is not known for its street scene or its markets, but a stroll down Porta Tichinese will convince you there is more to Milan than Prada. Cheap retro stores, elaterids and arty bric-a-brac stores will allow you to enjoy Milan without the need for a black Amex.

Milan (EAT) The Mama of all places to dine, Paper Moon is an authentic find and, refreshingly, one which rarely changes. It’s busy during fashion weeks but invariably has an atmosphere with its trad-fare and black-and-white photographs of its famous guests. Via Bagutta 1, Milan, +39 027 602 2297

Milan (STAY) Although there are glitzier places to stay in, it’s sometimes nice to kick back with a bit of faded glamour after all that shopping. The rooms at Antica Locanda Solferino haven’t changed in a century but don’t let that put you off. It’s central, clean and the rooms are large. Via Castelfidardo 2, Milan, +39 026570129 KERRY OLSEN

London (DO) While some spend their trips to London exclusively on the shopping streets, it is nice to take in London’s changing vista. Starting from the London Eye on the the Millennium Mile, walk south by the Thames passing landmarks on your stroll before ending at the Tate Modern Museum.

London (EAT) Roka is a beautiful Japanese restaurant that focuses on its robata, a central grill that offers charcoal grilled cuisine. Cherry blossom martinis and a taster menu make this a perfect snack stop in the heart of London’s media land. 37 Charlotte Street. London W1T 1RR +44 20 7580 6464

London (STAY) London has all the usual suspects in way of chic hotels that are always nice for a pre-dinner drink, but to sample some of the famous English eccentricity, try the Miller’s Residence (no relation to Sienna). An 18th-century townhouse complete with antiques collected by its owner, the staff are friendly, and the rooms eclectic. 111a Westbourne Grove, London 44W, +44 20 7243 1024 KERRY OLSEN

Edinburgh (DO) Preferably in windy, rainy and dark weather when Edinburgh is at its most atmospheric (and in Edinburgh these conditions are pretty much guaranteed), walk along the famous Royal Mile from the castle to the palace (or vice versa) and take in the quaint cobbled streets, vodka bars and cashmere shops.

Edinburgh (EAT) Rhubarb is a fantastic new restaurant from the owner of the famous Witchery restaurant. Ten minutes outside of Edinburgh, this bewitching restaurant is set in a grand old house with sumptuous decor and wonderful staff. Finish the evening in one of its opulent rooms next to a real fire with a whisky in hand and check out the 17th-century tapestries adorning the walls. Prestfield Road. Edinburgh EH16 5UT, +44 131 225 133

Edinburgh (STAY) After all the history it’s nice to kick back in something more state of the art. Edinburgh’s finest boutique hotel, The Scotsman offers a modern and luxurious space to unwind, especially for those who definitely don’t want to be disturbed. Privacy hatches mean the annoying intrusion of room service is a thing of the past. 20 North Bridge. Edinburgh EH1 1Y, +44 131 556 5565 KERRY OLSEN

Bologna (DO) Begin your gourmet tour of Bologna amongst its famed streets in Via Pesceria (Fish Street) where the finest fruit, vegetables, pasta, cheese and meats are sold. The food is set out on mouthwatering stalls amidst beautiful buildings while little cafes are interspersed for appetizers and the opportunity to snack on parmesan.

Bologna (EAT) Since Bologna is a student town, why not eat amongst the local intelligentsia at Nicola’s Pizzeria? It serves the best pizza in town, often outside when the weather is good. Traditional checked-cloths are the perfect backdrop for crisp pizza and great fish dishes.

Bologna (STAY) After keeping it real with the locals, you might crave luxury, in which case the Grand Hotel Baglioni hits the spot for the grand option. With frescos and superior service, the Grand Hotel is stuffed to the brim with antiques and close to the historical Piazza Maggiore. Via Indipendenza, 8 40121 Bologna, Italy, +39 051 750830 KERRY OLSEN

Avignon (DO) A weep-inducing collection of haunting Gallo-Roman sculptures is scattered whimsically throughout the Musée Lapidaire, a 17th-century Jesuit chapel. Soon to be a Dead Can Dance album cover. 27, rue de la Republique, +04 9086 3384

Avignon (EAT) Kin to the Pourcel Bros’ blindingly hip eateries in London, Paris and Montpellier, Avignon outpost La Compagnie Des Comptoirs promises innovative eats, pretty people, and fashionable DJs in a renovated 14th-century cloister. 83, rue Joseph Vernet, +33 4 90 85 9904

Avignon (STAY) Staying at La Mirande feels like poncing about in the private mansion of your extravagant art collector friend. Aristo-chic decor, a hip staff, guest chefs and cooking classes… wondrous, really. 4, place de l’Amirande, 011 +33 4 9085 9393 Ken Scrudato

Warsaw (DO) A battery of freako installations upstairs, the Le Madame downstairs is divided into electro-futurist groove den and substance-addled chill-out room. Sheer depravity. ul. Kozla 12, no telephone

Warsaw (EAT) The illustrious Swiss chef Kurt Scheller gives lumbering Polish cuisine a fabulous Euro makeover within Hotel Rialto’s impossibly glamorous, retro-mod-deco interior. ul. Wilcza 73, +48 22 584 8700

Warsaw (STAY) Hotel Le Regina is Warsaw’s most chic hotel. The restored, arcaded palace showcases monastic contemporary sophistication, with lots of oak and marble and designer clientele. ul. Koscielna 12, +48 22 531 6000 Ken Scrudato

Krakow (DO) A must-visit for the castle-chasing set (and jet-setting Goths), Wawel Castle, perched on Wawel Hill, is impossibly grandiose, mystifying and romantic. Bring a lover and get lost inside. Wawel 5, +48 12 422 5155

Krakow (EAT) International cuisine is served up in a glass-roofed, minimalist courtyard in Restaurant Pod Roza within the fashionable hotel of the same name. Apoplexy-inducing Italian wine selection from cellar Vinoteka. ul. Florianska 14, +48 12 424 3351

Krakow (STAY) Ostoya Palace is another in an escalating Euro trend of private-mansion boutique hotels. Sophisticated, refined, dramatically appointed, yet within stumbling distance from university nightlife haunts. ul. Pilsudskiego 24, +48 12 430 9000 Ken Scrudato

Lyon (DO) Bleeding-edge conceptual-art museum in Renzo Piano building. The Musée d’art contemporain hosts the increasingly influence-wielding Lyon Biennial, for those who’ve wisely given up on the Whitney. 81, quai Charles-de-Gaulle, +33 4 7269 1718

Lyon (EAT) Lyon is the world capital of gastronomy, and Leon De Lyon, the mecca of modern French cooking is its pinnacle of ambrosial decadence. Oh, the sophistication of it all. 1, rue Pleney, +33 4 7210 1112

Lyon (STAY) Starck-fitted accommodations are arranged around a spectacular Renaissance courtyard at Cour Des Loges. Request an Atelier room, cleverly tricked out like an actual artist’s studio. 6, rue de Bouef, +33 4 7277 4444 Ken Scrudato

THE SPRING ISSUE


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