Top 10 Cities to visit - my list
A lack of time doesn’t need to mean a lack of enjoyment. Sometimes, a stolen weekend away can provide just the right amount of unfettered culture and discovery to re-engage and re-kindle. Whether living like a local, or soaking in some of the world’s most iconic sights, a city visit means exploring new surroundings and changing your daily pace – which often proves to be the most rewarding break of all. So, dig out that travel bag and get ready for a long weekend you’ll never forget. This is the top 10 cities that I have put together; it's mixed with some cities that I have visited myself. The city price guide will give you an idea of prices, £ = being least pricy, £££££ = being most pricy.
Some of these suggestions can, in fact, be added to a more extended trip perhaps, or are in there own right, good options for a quick break if time doesn't allow for a more extended period away from home. Of course, there are dozens and dozens of places to visit for a short break, and I have been to many cities in my travelling career, so please let me know if you have a destination in mind.
1. Reykjavik - City price guide - ££££
Why Reykjavik: Majestic, mysterious and just a short flight from the UK, Iceland offers adventure, relaxation, other-worldly views and everything in between. Alluring a distinct atmosphere, Reykjavik provides a trendy base for access to all the best attractions.
What to do: There’s nothing more exciting than pursuing the Northern Lights in Iceland; visit from September through to March for the best chance to see them. That’s not all though, experience whale watching, snowmobiling, the Golden Circle and of course, the Blue Lagoon. A popular add on to a short 4 or 5-day trip, the city can also just be visited solely as a single centre, Reykjavik is only 3 hours flight time from London airports.
Where to stay: Hotel Borg, Reykjavik’s oldest hotel, lies in the heart of the city close to the main shopping street. Despite several refurbishments, the hotel has managed to maintain its quaint Art Deco styling.
2. Dubai - City price guide - ££££
Why Dubai: A kaleidoscope of sights and a soaring skyline, Dubai doesn’t do things by halves. Home to exclusive beaches, numerous must-see attractions and expanse deserts offering a welcome escape from busy city life, Dubai is a city break with a difference.
What to do: Take a trip up The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, shop at the Dubai Mall, try Arabic food in some of the most incredible restaurants in the UAE, or take an abra along the Dubai Creek to Deira and explore traditional markets and souks haggling for spices, gold, textiles and more. Dubai makes for a great 4-5 day trip for some sun, being just 7 hours from the UK by direct flight, it's also a great stop-off point for longer trips where Emirates Airlines are your airline to another destination.
Where to stay: Designed with the same level of craftsmanship and precision as a Bvgalri piece of jewellery, Bvlgari Resort Dubai, is set on the exclusive Jumeirah Bay offering tranquillity to Dubai’s bustling metropolis. I have travelled to Dubai a couple of times, although not stayed at this specific hotel.
3. Istanbul - city price guide - £££
Why Istanbul: There has never been a better time to visit bustling Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, and a favoured Bond film directors location. Full of fascinating diversity you’ll find arts and culture, a striking skyline, extravagant temples, traditional spas and an array of gourmet delights; this Middle Eastern Metropolis is sure to delight.
What to do: Explore the UNESCO-listed streets of the city or take a boat tour down the Bosphorus to take in some of Istanbul’s main attractions such as the Rumeli Ruins, the Maiden’s Tower and the many mosques. Sip Turkish tea or take some time out at a spa and indulge in an authentic Turkish bath experience. Istanbul is used sometimes by clients as an add on to a more extended trip to Turkey, Turkish Airlines fly from London airports direct into Istanbul, it's just 3 hours 30 mins from London.
Where to stay: Located on the banks of the Bosphorus, Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul reflects an authentic Ottoman Palace but with a resort ambience right in the city. There is also the benefit of a ‘Timeless check-in & check-out service’ for certain room types.
4. Dubrovnik - city price guide - £££
Why Dubrovnik: Renowned for its medieval ramparts, the waterfront city of Dubrovnik will not disappoint. Bursting with historical sites, attractive beaches and a thriving nightlife scene, there’s plenty to pack into your trip.
What to do: Explore the iconic city walls, enjoy panoramic views of the Dubrovnik Riviera by cable car, or savour freshly caught seafood whilst taking in incredible sunsets. Art lovers should visit during the annual Summer Festival when the piazzas are filled with open-air music, theatre and dance performances. I have clients who have stayed just in the city, some for longer than a couple of days, or equally, adding to a longer coastal or island-based trip.
Where to stay: Following its extensive six-month renovation, Hotel Bellevue provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle, yet is still within easy access for exploring the Old Town.
I have travelled and stayed in Dubrovnik, although not at this specific hotel.
5. New York - city price guide - ££££
Why New York: New York needs little introduction – a big city with an even bigger personality. With an impressive skyline, unbeatable shopping and an abundance of different attractions and neighbourhoods to explore, there’s no wonder it’s said that the city never sleeps.
What to do: If it’s your first time in the city, you’ll want to tick off some of the main attractions – The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and Times Square to name a few. Art connoisseurs will love exclusive early access to the MOMA and a private tour with an engaging expert which we can arrange. The city is one of my favourite places, being just 6 hours from the UK it's possible to travel for a long weekend, or as a stopover en route to perhaps the West coast.
Where to stay: It doesn’t get much closer to the action than The Peninsula New York, located in the heart of the city’s most prestigious shopping and cultural district on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. I have travelled to New York, although not stayed at this specific hotel.
6. Marrakech - city price guide - ££
Why Marrakech: With guaranteed year-round sunshine, any time is a good time to visit this city of contrasts. Distinct orange-red clay walls covet iconic attractions and bespoke riads of the old town while up-and-coming neighbours offer a contemporary mix.
What to do: Take a stroll around the old Fortified city, experience an assault of the senses at the bustling souks or indulge in a traditional hammam spa treatment. Fulfil fashion dreams and allow Carrier to arrange a private tour of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Another favourite city I have visited, only 3 hours from the UK, it can make for a late autumn visit or early spring when temperatures are still warm in the daytime.
Where to stay: A blissful sanctuary just ten-minutes’ drive away from all major attractions, Four Seasons Resort Marrakech caters for sun-seekers, spa aficionados, history buffs and gourmands. I have been to Marrakech a few times, although not stayed at this specific hotel.
7. Funchal - city price guide - £££
Why Funchal: Pretty and historic, yet often overlooked as a city break destination, Funchal is undeniably more laid-back than your average capital city. Small in size and easily explored on foot, it's full of sprawling mountain scenes and stylish restaurants with no shortage of things to see.
What to do: A nature lovers paradise, visit the glorious gardens in which the city is known for or take to the ocean searching for marine life. Architectural buffs will love strolling around the old town teeming with historic buildings which date back as far as the Middle Ages. Funchal makes for a great base; mostly clients stay in the city; however, travelling around the island can bring an added experience to your trip, it's also great for walkers.
Where to stay: An oasis of traditional charm, Belmond Reid's Palace is a landmark hotel renowned for its exceptional service and colourful history. Don't miss the exquisite Afternoon Tea; it's famed for a good reason. I have travelled and stayed in Funchal a few times, and have also stayed at the Belmond Reid's Palace
8. Las Vegas - city price guide - £££
Why Las Vegas: Flamboyant and maybe not your first thought for a city break, Las Vegas is a vibrant playground in the heart of the desert where the odds are stacked in your favour, strolling down the strip is like taking a world tour, and with thrills and experiences at every turn, there’s nowhere in the world quite like Vegas.
What to do: Take a Maverick helicopter tour to see the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes up close and personal. If you prefer your feet to stay firmly on the ground then Vegas is also famous for its exclusive residency shows with amazing headlining acts. I often find that Las Vegas is added to a longer itinerary, mainly the first point or last point of entry into the county.
Where to stay: The iconic bronze curved Wynn Las Vegas provides a sophisticated hideaway on the glitzy strip. It's also home to the renowned aquatic fantasy production, Le Rêve- The Dream.
9. Venice - city price guide - ££££
Why Venice: There are few places as unique as Venice; narrow streets, tranquil canals and a city jam-packed with culture and exquisite architecture, this Italian gem draws people in year-round and with good reason.
What to do: Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Square and a gondola ride across some of the most iconic waterways in Europe, there’s plenty to see and do. Or, you’d be forgiven for lingering over a drink and watching the world go by at the side of a canal. In my opinion, 5 full days are a great option to enjoy the city, its the best way to explore the city and outlining islands.
Where to stay: Feeling more like a private palazzo than a hotel and exuding an air of rare exclusivity, Aman Venice overlooks the Grand Canal and is drenched in 16th Century grandeur, I have travelled to Venice, although not stayed at this specific hotel.
10. Palma - city price guide - £££
Why Palma: Enjoying a pleasant Mediterranean climate year-round, this charming Spanish city is full of cosmopolitan character and historical splendour. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and thriving streets and squares, this is a great all-rounder destination.
What to do: Explore the Old Town on foot taking in the beautiful sights stopping for melt in the mouth seafood at Palma harbour. If you’re in the city for a celebration, intersperse city life with a trip aboard a private yacht where Carrier can organise onboard experiences such as a Paella cooking or flamenco show. Palma is more and more recommended as a warm location to visit, only being 2 hours away from the UK. It's very much a Friday till Sunday evening visit, of course adding to a wider trip is also possible, for example, Palma, Madrid and Barcelona say.
Where to stay: A former Mallorcan mansion dating back to the 19th century, Sant Francesc Hotel Singular is perfectly located in the heart of the historical, cultural and business centre of the city. I have travelled to Palma a couple of times, I haven't stayed at this specific hotel, although I have clients who have done so.
If you have any questions or indeed, require further information on featured accommodation, please contact me directly.