Wanderlust: Get Away

Michael Finn, The Architect

I grew up skiing on the mountains of Colorado and Switzerland, but I always dreamt of skiing in Japan. It’s not so hard to see why if you already appreciate the many other things Japan has on offer: gently falling snow, onsen baths, hot sake, the world’s best cuisine and meticulous Japanese hospitality. Any questions?

I finally realized my fantasy three years ago in Nozawa. As the birthplace of Japanese skiing and a former winter Olympics site, the biggest surprise is that it remains a relative secret outside of Japan. This is where I go because I love to ski but also because I love authentic Japan, and it is quite simply the best snow I have ever experienced. I’ve also come to appreciate another aspect of Japanese culture thanks to Nozawa: public onsens baths, of which there are thirteen around town to explore. To top things off, it’s close enough to Tokyo to make a day or two trip to the city when your muscles need a break from the slopes.

I recommend checking out the Nozawa Hospitality site, which is run by the French and English speaking GM Hisako Horikawa and her team who can help you get the most out of Nozawa if, like me, you don’t speak any Japanese!

Nejla Matam-Finn, The Editor-in-Chief

My husband and I ran out of time ahead of our wedding to organise a honeymoon, so we left it to our families to make the arrangements for us. As a result, exactly six years ago today, my husband and I checked in to Hotel Il Pellicano with no idea what a special place we had chanced upon.

About an hour’s drive from Rome, the hotel is on a cliff overlooking a small Mediterranean cove. The interior design was beautiful but understated, and the atmosphere was private with a deep sense of calm. So much so that we promptly fell asleep and woke up eighteen hours later.

After all the celebrating and emotions of the wedding, it felt like we have found a place where time stopped. Also, no wifi and very poor mobile reception meant that we left our gadgets at the bottom of a drawer and spent our days reading books which we borrowed from the hotel’s library. We spent our evenings relaxing by the fireplace in the piano bar with cocktails in hand. Heaven.
It was very special place indeed and it will probably be my top Great Getaway destination.

All I need now is an excuse to disappear for two weeks...

Angie Chen, The Curator

If you love music and culture, there’s no better place to be than Berlin. Home to some of the best clubs in the world and where the creative congregate, there’s no surprise that Berlin has become the hub for all things cutting edge and cool. From revered club Berghain to contemporary art museum Hamburger Bahnhof (a converted old railway station, imagine that!) There is no lack of things to do in Berlin. Walk along the streets of Neukölln and immerse in how the new meets old in the cultural mish mash of ultra hip cafes and Turkish food.

For dance floor enthusiasts who don’t want to risk getting rejected at Berghain, there is another wonderland out there by the name of Sisyphos. Located in an old dog cookie factory, this magical village compromises of several dance floors that guarantee a unforgettable (or forgettable in a good way) time in a kitschy out of the world playground. We also love Club Der Visionaere for a night of debauchery, something about the way the willows frame by the river with the disco lights shining that makes this place one of a kind.

Rohai, The Scribe

I love being in a city that’s rich in culture and history. I mean, one gets to learn so much just by exploring the streets, looking at buildings and interacting with the locals. Yangon, a major city in Myanmar, is definitely one of those, with its gorgeous golden pagodas, colonial-era buildings and traditional shophouses.

My four days in the complex city were spent in the historic Strand Hotel. Opened in 1901 by the Sarkies Brothers, the Victorian-style establishment has had some notable names as guests. They include Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, Gaspel Ulliel and Baz Lurhman. The English short-story writer and poet Rudyard Kipling made one of the rooms in the hotel his home and penned much of The Jungle Book series there.

And yes, the service here is excellent. Which is why it will always be my top recommendation should you want to have a relaxing and luxurious stay in Yangon.