From London to Los Angeles and Bangkok to Barcelona, we've fine-dined, sight-seen and bar-hopped our way around the world's most stylish urban hubs.
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From the blog
Tales from our travels
Don’t miss…Modern Cantonese cuisine at the award-winning, apple-green Majestic Restaurant. Chef Yong Bing Ngen’s rack of lamb served with carrot cake has set many taste buds a-tingle.
Arrive by 1930s speedboat at Aman Canal Grande in Venice, the supremely decadent waterside honeymoon hideaway chosen by George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin.
Seducing art-admirers and luxury-lovers faster than you can wiggle a paintbrush, boutique hotel Macalister Mansion in Penang boasts gallery-inspired design without skimping on cosy touches. This handsome heritage hideaway also has eight contemporary rooms, a sociable Cellar bar and two tempting restaurants.
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. Its home airline is Cathay Pacific, which flies non-stop to HK from London Heathrow five times a day, and four times a week from Manchester, making Hong Kong more accessible than ever before.
Cathay Pacific flew home with the ‘World’s Best Airline’ award from air-travel quality monitor Skytrax in 2014 – the fourth time it has done so. It was likely helped by its spacious, extra recline-y Premium Economy Class seats (Smith approves, largely because we’re suckers for a champagne welcome and an in-seat ‘cocktail table’).
Style Celestial sleek
Setting Admiralty eyrie
Best for Sticklers for service
Our reviewer says ‘It feels more like staying at your best friend’s sleek-and-chic, Asian-style pad in Los Angeles, complete with jars of ‘help yourself’ cookies and sweeties, an iPod Touch, palatial (for Hong Kong) spa-style bathroom and – nice detail – complimentary drinks.’
Born in Orviedo, Patricia Urquiola is one of the most versatile and prolific designers in Europe today, with a roster of clients that many of her contemporaries would kill for: Dior, Louis Vuitton, B&B Italia, Salvatore Ferragamo, BMW and dozens more. Over her career, her unconventional eye and warm aesthetic approach has turned from furniture to interiors to architecture, and have won her so many ‘Designer of the Year’ awards, it’s very possible she has had to design a cabinet to keep them in. Smith hotel aficionados will spot her hand in the innovative and colourful look of Das Stue in Berlin, and Urquiola’s credentials as an architectural designer are on resplendent display in the lacework- and origami-inspired interiors of the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.
Don’t miss… Sunday brunch at Clifford – a decadent buffet spread that includes oysters, prawns, lobster, foie gras terrine, eggs, pasta, cheese and puddings. You’ll never look at cereal in the same way.
Style Futuristic city slicker
Setting Slap-bang Central
Best for Night owls and party people
Our reviewer says ‘Ducking through an almost-secret door, we find Ovolo Central, a small but tall modern building in Central. Its stylish, sultry lobby is decked with alien chrome amoebas – otherwise known as futuristic ovoid wall art – that make us feel quite at home. The staff are friendly, young and cool and proud of their hotel, which adds to the feel-good factor.’
Edinburgh, that Georgian grande dame, is a picturesque starting point for Scottish capers. Explore the Old Town’s narrow wynds and old-world pubs from G&V Royal Mile Hotel, a heart-of-the-action stay kitted out with monochrome patterns and flashes of neon. Take in the bustle of the Royal Mile, an atmospheric 17th-century cobbled street leading up from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to the imposing ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.
A stone’s throw from Princes Street’s bustling shops (and just above the gleaming copper stills of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery), the Rutland Hotel puts a contemporary twist on Scottish design. Boutique B&Bs Millers64 and Ardmor House are a short stroll from the Water of Leith, a tranquil stream flowing from the Gallery of Modern Art to a buzzing strip of waterfront restaurants and the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Head to Waverley station for more of the country’s fabulous city breaks: Glasgow’s merchant streets and charming hidden lanes are less than an hour away by train.