With the news that Europe is opening up once again, bookings at the Travel Office are really picking up. In fact, our advisors have been inundated with calls. And while some Andrew Harper members are opting for traditional domestic summertime destinations like Maine, many are looking to longtime foreign favorites like Italy and Greece. Cruise lovers are ready to take to the high seas again as well. Our advisors report that Scandinavian and Mediterranean itineraries are as popular as ever. Read on to see what is inspiring our members to get back out there.
The height of Maine’s tourist season is upon us, and with it comes great weather along the state’s sensationally beautiful coast. July through September is, of course, lobster season, and to wash down the ubiquitous lobster roll, visitors have their choice of 156 breweries — more than any other state — and 29 wineries, which participate in the Maine Wine Trail. If fresh fruit is more your taste, blackberries and raspberries can be picked in July, and August is wild blueberry season. And late September to mid-October is prime time for leaf peeping in Maine. (Check out this handy map.)
Where to stay: White Barn Inn, an Auberge Resorts Collection hotel, is situated in colorful Kennebunk, about 30 minutes from Portland. The 26 rooms are stylishly appointed with antiques and designer fabrics. Guests can enjoy the spa, the swimming pool and the hotel’s excellent restaurant, housed in two 19th-century barns. There are also cooking classes, wine-tasting events, private cycling tours and guided lobster-fishing excursions.
Hotels on our radar: The 20-room Camden Harbour Inn, on the picturesque coastline, and The Press Hotel, set in the old Gannett Building, in Portland.
Tourism to the Big Apple was down 67% in 2020, but the city is gearing up for one of the busiest summer seasons yet, with upward of 10 million tourists expected this summer. Restaurants, bars and parks are opening, and events are returning. Among them: the Tribeca Film Festival from June 9-20 and Shakespeare in the Park from July 6-August 28. New York City Opera will feature 90-minute versions of “Carmen” and “Rigoletto” on July 2 and September 3, respectively, in Bryant Park. And brand-new Little Island, a 2.4-acre parklet floating above the Hudson River at Pier 55, is open to the public. Walk its long, looping pathways or enjoy a series of events on site, from concerts to ballet performances starting in mid-June. After a hiatus, the spiral architectural centerpiece of Hudson Yards, known as the Vessel, has reopened to visitors. Climb its 2,500 steps for incredible views across the city. (A companion is required to ascend.)
Where to stay: Booking a trip to New York City has become even more attractive due to the suspension of the hotel room occupancy tax (5.875%) from June 1-August 31. Andrew Harper recommends 10 hotels in Manhattan, from The Greenwich Hotel downtown to The Mark on Madison Avenue and 77th Street.
Hotel on our radar: The Aman New York — the only urban Aman in the world — is set to open soon in the Crown Building at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.
This charming mountain town offers world-class skiing, but it is also an exciting summertime destination, especially this year. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival will have passes available for two weekends: June 11-13 and June 17-20; the Plein Air Festival will celebrate outdoor painting June 28-July 4; and the popular Telluride Jazz Festival will take place in Town Park August 13-15. The gondola, connecting the 19th-century Victorian mining town to Mountain Village, a pedestrianized resort town, helps visitors get around. It operates from 7 a.m. to midnight daily and offers incredible 360-degree views.
Hotels on our radar: Dunton Town House, a five-room bed-and-breakfast located downtown; Auberge Resorts Element 52, with 48 two-to-five-bedroom options in town at the base of the mountain; and Madeline Hotel & Residences, another Auberge Resorts property that has been recently renovated.
In years past we’ve suggested skipping Santorini and Mykonos in the frenzied summer, but our warnings may not apply this year: Passengers from cruise ships typically clog the towns during high and shoulder season, but this summer will surely see fewer of them. For those who don’t want to take any chances, various other islands of the Cyclades, which we covered in the August 2020 Hideaway Report, have a lot to offer. Paros, at the center of the Aegean, has been a second home of tastemakers for decades and now has several luxury hotels.
Entry requirements: Unlike other members of the EU, Greece has already opened up. Americans can enter Greece with either a negative PCR test, proof of full vaccination, a negative self-test or rapid test, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. Museums and retail stores are open without appointments but capacity is limited. Restaurants are open for outdoor dining. There is no limitation on interstate travel, and ferry schedules have already been published. Note that masks are required indoors and outdoors.
Where to stay: Andrew Harper recommends six hotels in Greece, two of which are on the island of Paros, Parīlio Hotel in Naoussa and Calme Boutique Hotel in Drios.
Hotel on our radar: Kalesma Mykonos, a quiet retreat of 25 suites and two villas with stupendous views of the Aegean.
If there is one tried-and-true member favorite, it would have to be Italy. As travel to Europe becomes a possibility, one’s mind inevitably thinks of returning to, in the words of our editor-in-chief, the “ravishing landscapes of Lake Como, the Amalfi Coast and the Tuscan hills, the architectural grandeur of Rome and Venice and the limitless pleasures of Italian food and wine.” What’s not to like?
Entry requirements: U.S. citizens may travel to Italy for any reason. Travelers arriving from the United States on a COVID-tested flight do not have to quarantine; however, those arriving on other flights must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival and must self-isolate for 10 days. Movement is restricted and based on a color-coded system that reflects the risk in certain areas.
Where to stay: Andrew Harper recommends no fewer than 75 properties in Italy, from high in the Tyrol mountains to the coast of the volcanic island of Sicily.
Hotels on our radar: The 14-room guesthouse of Splendido Belmond Hotel, the “absurdly romantic” Splendido Mare, opens this month in Portofino; the grand 800-year-old retreat of Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco reopens in Tuscany with 19 new suites; and the Rocco Forte Villa Igiea, a turn-of-the-century palazzo, also opens its doors this month in Palermo.
Cabo San Lucas, on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, is teeming with tourists seeking beaches and nightclubs — along with the occasional sunset cruise. But for those more interested in a quiet place to relax, there is no shortage of resorts in the area where one can enjoy the reliable weather, swim and dine at fine restaurants without the crowds.
Entry requirements: There are no entry requirements into Mexico.
Where to stay: There are four properties in Baja that Andrew Harper recommends. In Los Cabos, we suggest Esperanza, on the panoramic cliffs of Punta Ballena. Continuing up the eastern coast are three other alluring properties: Chileno Bay, Las Ventanas al Paraiso and One&Only Palmilla.
Hotels on our radar: While we wait until 2024 for Aman’s new hotel, Amanvari, to open on the East Cape, other hotels have piqued our interest. Nestled in the desert of Todos Santos, Paradero, which considers itself “less a hotel than a high-design landscaping project with 35 suites,” may suit well-heeled bohemian types. And nearby, Hotel San Cristobal sits directly on the beach in Todos Santos.
The 229-suite Seabourn Sojourn will ply the Western Mediterranean for a 10-day cruise that will begin in the tiny enclave of Monte Carlo, Monaco, and end in evocative Barcelona, Spain. Along the way, it will stop in Amalfi, Sicily, Malta, Sardinia and two cities in France. The ship has four restaurants and three bars, along with a card room, fitness center and salon.
The 15-day Viking Homelands cruise, which seems quite appealing, visits eight countries, including Sweden, Finland, Russia, Poland, Denmark and Norway. Passengers will visit scenic Stockholm, regal St. Petersburg, the old town of Gdańsk and charming Copenhagen. In total Viking Cruises offers 14 Scandinavian itineraries, from 13 days to 29. Three new cruises for 2022 — the three longest — combine Scandinavia with the British Isles, the British Isles with Iceland or the Viking Homelands with Iceland.