Best of CH 2017: Travel

From Bali to Switzerland, Australia and the USA, some of our favorite destinations this year

Whether exploring a nearby neighborhood or a nation, there’s nothing that satisfies a curious mind quite like travel. This year—like every year—CH full-time staff and contributors from all over the world have experienced adventures of all kinds, all over the globe. With articles focusing on hotels, bars, art and more, our travel section is overflowing with inspiration for your next trip. From must-sees to obscure finds, here are just some of the standout travel articles this year.

Word of Mouth: Melbourne Wine Bars

For such a diverse city, there’s one thing that almost all Melbourne locals agree upon: pride in their food and drink. While other cities in Australia have the beaches, the weather, and the scenery, Melbourne has a nightlife and culinary scene that sets the place apart. When visiting for the 2017 World’s 50 Best restaurant awards, we met up with Richard Hargreave who has been a sommelier at Momofuku in NYC, Sydney and now Las Vegas, where he is the Beverage Manager. Suffice to say, Hargreave knows a lot about wine—especially natural wine, his long-lasting passion—so we decided to ask the British-born, US-based (via Australia) expert where he likes to drink when delving into the ever-evolving food and booze world in Melbourne.

Freehand, Los Angeles

As a combination hotel/hostel concept, the Freehand Los Angeles is democratic by design: anyone with $49 in their pocket can stay at the Sydell Group‘s freshly opened DTLA digs. But, in the capable hands of Roman and Williams, democracy is also in the details.

Upstate New York’s The DeBruce Inn

For New Yorkers googling “Livingston Manor,” the bar in downtown Brooklyn pops up first, before the hamlet in upstate New York. It’s likely due to proximity but also maybe the search engine algorithm doubts interest in a town whose population clocked in around 1,000 in the last US census. Why visit there? It’s the same question you could pose to the owners of The DeBruce, a newly renovated 14-room inn, and they have the answer ready as you drive onto the gravel parkway.

Word of Mouth: Key West

Located at the tip of the stretch of islands making up the Florida Keys, Key West is a destination in its own category. Known for its baby boomer population and party-fueled drag along Duval Street, it’s held a reputation as a bachelor party haven and retiree village. Although the two might not seem to blend naturally, it’s a testament to the youthful spirit that pervades the island. With that energy has come a stream of creative endeavors to the southernmost tip of Florida, breathing new life into the city. While Hurricane Irma devastated large swaths of the Keys, Key West remained lucky. Although damage was evident, the island was back open for tourism as soon as 1 October, and residents seem optimistic about the future. Now—more than ever—is the time to visit, bringing tourism dollars back down to a city that depends on it and celebrating the resilience of the people that make it so memorable.

The Silo Hotel, Cape Town

Walking into the three-room Royal Suite on the ninth floor of Cape Town’s Silo Hotel is a little like entering a physical manifestation of “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes.” Your dropped jaw is followed by a grin, and as the golden sun bursting through the floor-to-ceiling windows dances across the colorful space, you join in. It becomes easy to understand why Paul Simon wrote the euphorically vibey tune while surrounded by South African light; it is all-encompassing in its radiance. And as we recently found out, this newly opened hotel is the perfect place to revel in it.

Bali’s Villa Oasis, Hoshinoya

With rows of verdantly waif-ish palm trees swaying ever so slightly in the foreground and the sound of utter silence surrounding you—apart from the occasional jungle chirp—it’s easy to feel suspended in another universe while unwinding in one of Hoshinoya Bali’s intimate sky gazebos. The seven protruding structures, which can be left open-air or have the shades drawn for privacy, are like cliffside birdcages that immerse humans in a unique arboreal experience. Simply remove your shoes and step inside.

Pontresina, Switzerland’s Grand Hotel Kronenhof

A collection of time-tested attributes unite behind the words “Grand Hotel.” Some allude to a palatial structure, others reference five-star service and even more address historic international clientele. All of this can be found at Pontresina, Switzerland’s Grand Hotel Kronenhof—and yet it’s all conveyed with a quiet elegance. From the stunning 19th Century façade (and its contemporary jewel-box pool and spa addition) to a fireside sitting room complete with Eames lounge chairs, the Kronenhof’s magnificence is draped in quiet, colorful hospitality. A sister to the Kulm Hotel, and located 15 minutes from downtown St Moritz (though in a peaceful, unpretentious town), many of its hidden treasures are surprising. The Kronenhof is certainly a gateway to the best of Switzerland’s winter sports. But inside, one will find the oldest bowling alley in the country, Switzerland’s largest gin bar and a gourmet restaurant with a signature dish involving a rather public preparation.

First image courtesy of Embla, all others by Cool Hunting