Buenos Aires – art and relaxation in Villa Crespo
In the north of Buenos Aires, living in the shadow of its swanky neighbour Palermo Viejo, Villa Crespo is really coming into its own. Originally a working-class neighbourhood, it has benefitted from the recent influx of a younger, creative generation, while managing to hold off the effects of gentrification going on around. Before exploring this cosmopolitan quarter with its burgeoning artistic scene, check into the Vitrum Hotel. This laid-back, urban refuge perfectly encapsulates the spirit and soul of this part of the Argentinian capital.
First up is a morning's shopping, so head to the Paseo de Compras Aguirre. You will go weak at the knees when you look in the windows of shops selling all your favourite international brands at factory prices. If you want to discover what the local fashion scene has to offer, head straight to the boutique of Jesica Trosman, a successful Argentinian designer. A huge warehouse called JTbyJT, on Calle Humboldt, serves as a showroom for her ready-to-wear women's collections.
When you leave, the aromas of the Middle East lure you towards Yeite, one of the district's landmark cafe-restaurants. The chef, Pamela Villar, takes you on a culinary voyage with her tasty trademark cuisine inspired by her experience in Dubai.
You then continue on your way, heading to the justly renowned Ruth Benzacar gallery. The most contemporary of Buenos Aires' art galleries reveals the creative force of Argentinian artists. After that, your art-inspired stroll takes you to an area between the streets of Calle Padilla, Calle Serrano and Calle Thames. Take out your camera and capture the brightly coloured murals painted by talented local street artist, Ever Siempre, famous for his huge allegorical portraits.
Calle Gorriti 5641
C1414 Buenos Aires
+54 11 4776-5030
Calle Humboldt 291
C1414 CSF Buenos Aires
+54 11 4857 6009
Calle Humboldt 293
+54 11 4855-6777
Juan Ramírez de Velasco 1287
C1414 AQY Buenos Aires
+54 11 4857-3322
Seoul – industrial chic in Seongsu-dong
If you are a fan of repurposed industrial sites, get under the skin of Seongsu-dong during your stay in the South Korean capital. This fast-evolving district extends to the edge of Seoul Forest, a vast urban park offering peaceful time-out to the east of Seoul city centre. Its residents have reclaimed this former industrial area and turned it into Seoul's hipster haven.
You choose Hotel Atti, a stone's throw from the Seongsu metro station, as your place to stay. Nestled away on the top floor of this modern building is your Deluxe Garden room with its vertical-garden terrace and panoramic views over Seongsu-dong.
You set off to explore this neighbourhood, as yet untouched by the tourist hype. In its maze of surprisingly quiet alleys, huge brick warehouses rub shoulders with shoemakers' workshops. On each street corner, your gaze is attracted to the artistic murals gracing the walls. Its similarity with Brooklyn immediately springs to mind.
A young and creative set has taken over this district. Pushing open the doors of disused factories, you step inside trendy cafes and pop-up exhibition spaces where local artists showcase their photos and canvases. Make your way to the Onion cafe, the epitome of the hip Seoul bar. Sophisticated couples and fashionistas crowd into the raw concrete rooms, garden and roof terrace of this former steel factory; it is now the coolest place in the neighbourhood.
While you are in the area, discover the work of a Korean photographer on display at the Column gallery which can be found inside the Daelim Changgo complex. A neighbourhood in perpetual motion, Seongsu-dong still has plenty of great surprises in store for you.
Hotel Atti Seongsu
317-5 Seongsu-dong 2Ga
+82 2 2205 0702-3
8 Achasan-ro 9(gu)-gil
+82 2 1644-1941
Seongsu 2(i)-ga 1(il)-dong
Rome – in pursuit of Italy's young crowd in San Lorenzo
Lying to the east of Termini, the main railway station in Rome, is a working-class neighbourhood that does not usually feature on the tourist radar. And yet, San Lorenzo is a slice of authentic Rome with none of its airs and graces. During the daytime, it is a joy to stroll past its neo-classical buildings bathed in warm tones. On Via degli Ausoni, graffiti and murals covering the facades give indication that Rome's student population has claimed San Lorenzo as their own.
Share a moment of honest-to-goodness local life by having lunch at Osteria da Marcello. In this family restaurant run by a typically warm-hearted Roman mama, you will discover a taste for her simply delicious cuisine.
An after-lunch stroll takes you to Campo Verano cemetery, the largest in the city. Built during Napoleonic times, the place is like an open-air sculpture museum surrounded by tranquil vegetation.
As evening gets under way, join in the contemporary vibe that is San Lorenzo. Get to know the neighbourhood's youngsters over an aperitivo in the vaulted room at Soul Kitchen. The rhythms of a live performance merge with clinking glasses and snatched pieces of conversation.
To round off your authentic Rome experience, sit down to a meal at Trattoriola di Luca. Its pretty terrace pulls in the locals who love the family food at this typical restaurant. All the classics of Italian cuisine are cooked to perfection. It is then time to head back to your cosy bed. The Villa San Lorenzo Maria hotel guarantees a good night's sleep in its grand manor house, tucked away in a peaceful courtyard.
Osteria da Marcello
Via dei Campani, 12
+39 06 446 3311
Campo Verano cemetery
Piazzale del Verano, 1
+39 06 4923 6331
Via dei Sabelli, 193
+39 06 6487 1016
Trattoriola di Luca
Via Tiburtina, 8
+39 338 837 0197
Villa San Lorenzo Maria hotel
Via dei Liguri, 7
+39 06 446 9988
Mexico City – great food and wheels in Roma Norte
Away from the historic centre of Mexico City, Roma Norte cultivates a bohemian way of life infused with infectious energy. Go and feel the pulse of this lush green enclave teeming with small shops, restaurants and artists' haunts. La Valise hotel welcomes you to one of its three rooms decked out with aged polished wooden floors and Mexican works of art. You will love its intimate home-from-home atmosphere.
Why not hire a bike from EcoBici, Mexico City's bike-sharing system? It is an excellent way to get around the neighbourhood. On Avenida Álvaro Obregón, its tree-lined main thoroughfare, admire the elegant Art Nouveau and Art Deco houses. The locals take its restaurant terraces and bars by storm. In Calle Tabasco and Calle Colima streets, tattooed hipsters on skateboards ride past the riotously colourful facades of designer boutiques, art galleries and gourmet bakeries.
A wind of modernity blows through these bourgeois surroundings. Epicentre of the city's cultural life, Roma Norte is home to fabulous restaurants. Seek refuge at Rosetta, the culinary bastion of Elena Reygadas. In her achingly charming old mansion, one of the best chefs in the Americas invites you to taste heaven with her sea bass in a salted pastry crust and samphire greens and a light dessert marrying mango, turmeric and coconut yogurt. Continue your wanderings along the wide leafy pavements to Casa Lamm. Located in the most attractive building in the area, this ambitious cultural centre will sate your artistic appetite with its frequent painting exhibitions.
In the evening, if you fancy a cocktail bordering on perfection in an informal Latino ambiance, then there is only one place to go: the Licorería Limantour. In this bar frequented by the local artistic in-crowd, a highly creative mixologist manages to blow you away with a Mexican tequila-based version of a Martini.
La Valise hotel
06700 Mexico City
+52 1 55 5965 2585
Calle Colima 166
06700 Mexico City
+52 55 5533 7804
Avenida Álvaro Obregón 99
06700 Mexico City
+52 55 5525 3938
Avenida Álvaro Obregón 106
06700 Mexico City
+52 55 5264 4122
Tel Aviv – the rebirth of Shuk Hapishpeshim
The oldest part of Tel Aviv, Jaffa reveals a happy and cosmopolitan side to the Israeli metropolis. And there is a real buzz about this ancient Biblical city thanks to Shuk Hapishpeshim, its flea market. Day and night, this district is swarming with a cosmopolitan crowd attracted by its new designer boutiques and trendy bars and restaurants.
Feeling comfortable in your Middle Eastern surroundings, you haggle over an old trinket that catches your eye amongst the market's bric-a-brac. When hunger strikes, head over to Milk Bakery to taste its legendary vanilla slice or challah, a delicious brioche-style bread.
Fancy some seafood? Then take a seat in front of the open kitchen at Mar & Co. In this vast restaurant with an industrial edge, you can enjoy a feast of oysters, ceviche and Josper-grilled shrimp.
After lunch, go and rest a while at the Market House Hotel. Located next to the clock tower, one of 100 such towers built around the Ottoman Empire, your boutique hotel blends in effortlessly with Jaffa's sandstone architecture. Under the glass floor of the lobby, you can see the ruins of a Byzantine chapel testifying to the district's rich heritage.
Late afternoon, take a gentle stroll down to the port of Jaffa, one of the oldest on the Mediterranean. For dinner tonight, you fancy sampling a creative take on Middle Eastern cuisine. Make your way back to the flea market and, close by, you will find Onza. This on-trend restaurant with its cheerful vibe is one of the hottest places to be. A meze of spinach, eggs, feta and basil yogurt makes the perfect end to your stay in this up-and-coming quarter of Tel Aviv.
5 Beit Eshel Street
Mar & Co
6 El'azar ben Azarya Street
Market House Hotel
5 Beit Eshel Street
3 Rabbi Hannina Street