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Riders compete in the famous Palio di Siena horse race in Siena, Italy
mrohana / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

Ask the Editors: Questions From Our Members

By Hideaway Report Editors

October 9, 2018

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Every month our intrepid editors travel the world in search of the very best experiences. They have stayed in over 7,000 luxury hotels in more than 120 countries, so there is no better resource to answer all of your travel-related questions.

Q.
We are going to Tuscany during the Palio di Siena (the medieval-style horse race) next year and were hoping you could give us honest feedback. Is this a good idea with our 12- and 15-year-old girls? And is it better to get a balcony or a bleacher, where you can see the actual race and get better photos?

The best way to see the Palio is from one of the balconies of the palazzi overlooking the square. But they are extremely expensive. The race only lasts for around 75 seconds. By far the most interesting bit is the lead-up to the day, especially, in my experience, the horses being taken into the chapels of the various contradas to be blessed the night before. After the race is over, it can get pretty rowdy in the streets and you have to be careful not to get mixed up in anything, especially with young girls.

Q.
I read the April 2018 Hideaway Report about visiting the gorillas in Rwanda. I wonder if this kind of tourism isn't a double-edged sword. If they become habituated to people, won't they be easier targets for poachers?

Every month our intrepid editors travel the world in search of the very best experiences. They have stayed in over 7,000 luxury hotels in more than 120 countries, so there is no better resource to answer all of your travel-related questions.

Q.
We are going to Tuscany during the Palio di Siena (the medieval-style horse race) next year and were hoping you could give us honest feedback. Is this a good idea with our 12- and 15-year-old girls? And is it better to get a balcony or a bleacher, where you can see the actual race and get better photos?

The best way to see the Palio is from one of the balconies of the palazzi overlooking the square. But they are extremely expensive. The race only lasts for around 75 seconds. By far the most interesting bit is the lead-up to the day, especially, in my experience, the horses being taken into the chapels of the various contradas to be blessed the night before. After the race is over, it can get pretty rowdy in the streets and you have to be careful not to get mixed up in anything, especially with young girls.

Q.
I read the April 2018 Hideaway Report about visiting the gorillas in Rwanda. I wonder if this kind of tourism isn't a double-edged sword. If they become habituated to people, won't they be easier targets for poachers?
A member of the Agashya group chewing on a stick of wild celery in Volcanoes National Park Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Not a problem that I am aware of. The gorillas are always vulnerable. The poachers have guns and they don't. The only thing that really matters is effective control and protection of the national park. They seem to have established this in Rwanda, but not across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo where several rangers were killed recently. If someone has an AK-47 then the gorillas being habituated or not isn’t relevant.

Q.
What is the best time of the year to travel in Asia, and in Singapore in particular?

Singapore is quite close to the equator, so it tends to be hot and humid throughout the year. I’d avoid the monsoon season, usually in November and December. Otherwise, I like mid-January through March, in order to get away from the northern U.S. winter, or July and August, because it’s counterintuitive. The weather then isn't really hotter than during the rest of the year. I hope this helps!

For the rest of Asia, it depends a bit on where. The best season in Beijing is not necessarily the best season in Bangkok, of course.

Q.
How could you not include Mohonk Mountain house outside of New Paltz, New York, on your list of the Top 20 Hideaways?
Main buildings surrounding the Mohonk Lake at Mohonk Mountain House Fred Hsu / Wikimedia Commons

Mohonk Mountain house is indeed a grand traditional resort in a scenic location! But since it has more than 250 rooms, we don’t consider it a hideaway, which is the kind of property we try to seek out.

This Q&A series features queries from our readers with responses from our traveling editors. Do you have a question of your own? Email submissions to [email protected] with “Ask the Editor” in the subject line.

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By Hideaway Report Editors Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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