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March 28, 2014 7:27 pm
My two-week round-the-world tour ended with a gentle thump last weekend when the Boeing 777 (inbound from Toronto) touched down at Heathrow and the flight officially terminated at a distant jetty at Terminal 5. While London wasn’t as warm as the week before, it was nice to be welcomed to a city in full bloom.
Back home and high above Marylebone (four storeys being the towering average for most buildings in the area), my terrace was also looking bushy and fluffy and, by 7.30am, was also very sunny.
Rather than tackling and unpacking the three bags that had accompanied me around the world, I repositioned one of the chairs in the most protected patch of the terrace, grabbed a throw from the sofa, put on a CD (the new Nina Persson album Animal Heart, which is very, very good), threw open the doors and sat down to enjoy the sun.
As soon as I was in position, however, I realised that this perfect moment required a coffee, a fruit juice and a few magazines. Back indoors, the espresso machine was fired up, juice was poured and I decided that the recently relaunched US edition of Condé Nast Traveler, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Spanish edition of AD (Architectural Digest) all deserved a place on the ottoman in the sun.
Back on the terrace, fully relaxed (feet up, cardigan unbuttoned, not a cloud in sight) I cracked open AD and was suddenly missing Spain.
Flipping through the March issue, I became completely unsettled by the lovely houses, the Mediterranean sunshine and various shops and restaurants that need visiting.
On top of this, I recalled a recent conversation with my friend Judy, who has a place on Mallorca and was talking about how good Palma is now – and that British Airways is flying there from Heathrow.
Palma used to be an annual, even twice-yearly, escape for me. I went for a bit of sun and long runs along the waterfront. Somehow, through no fault of its own, Mallorca dropped off my list of most-favoured weekend destinations a couple of years ago but I’ve been keen to get back to see how things have been developing.
By the time I reached the inside back cover of AD, I’d fired off an email to Judy and to one of the editors at the magazine. Just as the first clouds started rolling in from the west, I had heard back from both, and had gathered hotel, shopping and gallery suggestions for an Easter weekender (a sunny and balmy one, I hope).
As the clocks on this side of the Atlantic finally jump forward to British Summer Time this week, awnings will come into use, loungers will be dusted down and our attention will turn to booking holidays in guaranteed sunspots around the continent.
The inbox that accompanies this column will fill up with emails asking for tips for the best places to get a jump-start on summer. Anticipating your requests, I’ve listed a few hotels where you might want to spend a European Easter weekend – along with two extra suggestions for readers stationed in other patches of the planet.
Hotel Cort, Palma, Mallorca: I have yet to try out this hotel but a correspondent has been and Judy likes it – so it must be good. I particularly like the fact that it’s central, has a pool on the roof and the owners have avoided going for sharp and modern, instead decorating the property in a warmer, more traditional fashion.
Hotel Vigilius, Merano, Italy: I sampled this Alpine hotel at Christmas and will be returning in the run-up to Easter. Solid wood architecture, a fine wine list and views across South Tyrol all do the trick nicely.
Ottmanngut B&B, Merano, Italy: One possible strategy is to do one day up at Vigilius (above) and then another in town at this simple B&B that does a particularly brilliant job on the second “B”.
Hotel San Pietro, Amalfi, Italy: If you need a jump in the sea to mark an early start to the season, then it’s hard to beat the deck at the San Pietro. An alternative to diving in is to sit back sipping a nice, sunny Aperol spritz.
The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa: I was impressed by the excellent Italian restaurant, massive pool and exceptional service. While I’m not a spa person, the shiatsu definitely measured up.
Soho Beach House Miami: Florida is still tricky but if you don’t want to venture beyond North American airspace, it’s probably one of the better bets on the US east coast.
Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine
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