Georges Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey
IstanbulDown a tiny cobbled lane in Galata, one of Istanbul’s trendiest neighbourhoods, this 20-room boutique has a distinctly Parisian air, but is all Turkish at heart. Confidently, the hotel doesn’t boast a sign outside, but find it and walk in, and you’ll discover super-stylish French restaurant Le Fumoir (the Beef bourguignon is better than any we’ve had in France), before you’re ushered up to your room.
Now, this is where it gets really spectacular, the elegant rooms – some of which boast balconies and views across the famous Bosphorus strait – have elegantly high ceilings and heritage touches. But there are also creature comforts like flatscreen TVs, L’Occitane products, Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations.
While in the hotel, make sure to book an in-room yoga lesson, and most definitely head up to the rooftop bar and restaurant, where you can enjoy breakfast with views out over Istanbul’s haphazardly beautiful skyline (the Turkish breakfast, which comes with two types of artisanal cheese and delicately scented honey, is our pick).
But also take time to explore the neighbourhood – the street the hotel is on is home to a plethora of chic boutiques selling all-Turkish designs, and just down the road is Galata Tower, which you can scale during the day, but also becomes a hotspot in the evening (complete with impromptu jazz performances). Also, the famous tourist hub, Sultanahmet, is an easy 20-minute stroll away, and the shopping-hub of Istiklal Street is just 10 minutes down the road. Brava!
Next to the hotel is fish restaurant, Furreyya Galata Balikcisi – it’s tiny and cheap, but legendary (+212-252-4853). Post-meal, pop to Nardis Jazz Club, from 9.30pm
Serdar-I Ekrem, Galata | georges.com | In July rooms start from Dh700
Creative Lane, Sydney
Heading to Oz for a winter (their winter!) break? Well, if you’re in Sydney on the last Saturday of any month, block time for Creative Lane, which is a market that showcases 40 independent artists from the city, where you can buy their work, and chat to them about it too. There’s everything from quirky homeware to jewellery and fine art, and you’ll walk away with more unique gifts in hand than you’d find in a whole weekend trawling Sydney’s glittering shopping districts.
Gaffa Gallery, Clarence Street, Sydney | facebook.com/creativelane | 11am-4pm, last Saturday of every month
The Grand Prize Bar, Houston
Opened just two years ago, this multilevel cocktail spot has become an institution thanks to innovative drinks, the fact it plays old-school Houston tunes on its jukebox (like ZZ Top) and the rotation of food trucks that sit outside to serve grub (we’re talking gourmet-on-wheels). This summer, the bar has taken its culinary offerings to a whole new level, and each night a different food truck owner – some of whom have been trained in Michelin-star restaurants – will be in the bar’s own kitchen, creating luxurious street food that’s sure to be lip-smacking.
1010 Banks Street, Houston | 4pm-2am, daily | +1 713 526 4565