International holiday destinations for 2011
From the glories of London to the medieval charms of Florence, there are plenty of places offering a fresh reason to visit in the year ahead.
April 29 will be a glorious day in the capital for those who enjoy a spot of royal pomp and glory. By all means join the throngs celebrating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, but a better idea is to avoid the inevitable price hikes and visit later in the year to splash out on a new luxury hotel. The W London, the first W in Britain, is opening in Leicester Square in February, providing its signature urban-cool chic. The more traditional will prefer the St Pancras Renaissance, reopening in the iconic building above the Eurostar terminal, its Gothic revival turrets housing 245 stylishly renovated rooms. Other new openings include the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge; the Corinthia, overlooking Trafalgar Square; and the Four Seasons on Park Lane.
France is having to face up to the fact that Austria may soon overtake it as the most popular destination for British skiers. Unlike their expensive neighbours, Austrian resorts have taken the pragmatic step of offering more value for money in these financially straitened times. While the skiing may not have the scope of France and Switzerland, it is certainly not to be scoffed at – from the snowsure resorts of Obergurgl and Sölden and the Apline charm of Kitzbühel to the accessibility of Innsbruck and "steeps and deeps" of St Anton. What is more, no one does après ski like the Austrians.
Stratford upon Avon
Stratford, one of the most popular stopovers for overseas visitors, is often overlooked by the British. This is the year to put that right. The sights associated with Shakespeare – his birthplace, his tomb in the church, Hall's Croft (his daughter Susanna's house) and Anne Hathaway's cottage in nearby Shottery, are genuinely interesting; moving, even. This February the RSC opens its redeveloped theatre – new summer productions are Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream
For its art and architecture it is undeniably one of the great cultural destinations in Europe – and the food's not bad either. The only problem has been getting here – the vast majority of flights land at Pisa, and it's a long schlep by car, or at least an hour on the train from there to Florence.
Bay of Kumlubük, Turkey
It's not often that you find a hotel with an organic farm as a sideline. But maybe the Dionysos Estate in Turkey could set a trend this year. The hotel, which tiers unobtrusively above a canyon overlooking the Bay of Kumlubük, certainly displays a taste for the unusual. The region, deep in rural Turkey, offers unspoilt beaches, ancient archaeological sites and is great for trekking and biking either along the coast or up in the mountains. Aside from its three restaurants, spa and private beach club, the hotel is gearing up to produce wine from its own vineyards; already it makes an award-winning olive oil (guests can help with the October harvest). Olive picking or wine tasting before a spa treatment – it could set a new trend.
Source: The Daily Telegraph