1. PARK HYATT SUZHOU
When Marco Polo stumbled upon the city now known as Suzhou in the late 13th century, he was taken by its beauty. Dubbing it the Venice of the East, the traveller was struck by its picturesque setting, with stone bridges criss-crossing a network of canals and cobbled streets lined with temples, pagodas and landscaped gardens.
This charming vision of the old city is reimagined at Park Hyatt Suzhou, where New York architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox has created a modern interpretation of a traditional Suzhou mansion, surrounded by greenery on the shore of Jinji Lake. Award-winning interior design company Hirsch Bedner Associates created the striking interiors, combining elements of traditional craftsmanship – think glass panels emblazoned with brush-ink style blossoms and crab apple-shaped mirrors – with a distinctly contemporary style. The 178 rooms and suites feature covered outdoor verandas or larger private balconies looking out towards the glassy surface of Jinji Lake, inspired by the bedroom set-up in traditional Suzhou Mansions.
2. CAPRI PALACE JUMEIRAH
High above Capri on the slopes of Mount Solaro, the peaceful Anacapri neighbourhood is worlds apart from the bustling streets below. Here, visitors can soak in spectacular Mediterranean views and stroll among the lemon groves at a leisurely pace, enjoying clifftop walks by day and local cuisine in unhurried restaurants at night. At the peak of this exclusive enclave is Capri Palace, a 1960s retreat laid out in the style of an 18th-century Palazzo.
Home to some of the most elegant rooms and suites in Italy, finished in a striking white and blue palette that captures the colours of the Med, the hotel has reopened this season as part of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, marking a new era in the hotel’s history. Executive chef Andrea Migliaccio has earned two Michelin stars for his modern Italian cuisine at L’Olivio and Il Riccio Restaurant & Beach Club holds one Michelin star for its extraordinary seafood dishes. The hotel’s world-class medical spa, Capri Beauty Farm, offers goal-based treatments designed to achieve everything from weight-loss and detox to anti-ageing and stress management, as well as specialist treatments at the Leg School and traditional wellness and beauty treatments at the spa.
3. MUSÉE ATELIER AUDEMARS PIGUET
Le Brassus, Switzerland
High up in the Jura Mountains, close to the French border, the Vallée de Joux is the home of Swiss watchmaking. When Audemars Piguet opened its first workshop there in the town of Le Brassus in 1875, its owners would have been hard pressed to imagine what the space would look like a century and a half later. Today, the spiral-shaped outline of the new Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet sits on top of the original workshop; an architectural masterpiece that blends in with the landscape and opens the doors to the brand’s craftsmanship and innovation like never before.
Designed by New York and Copenhagen-based architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) to resemble the spring in a watch movement, the glass structure is home to a collection of 300 timepieces created throughout the brand’s 145-year history. Visitors will be able to delve deep into Swiss watchmaking heritage via kinetic installations and exhibits demonstrating mechanical movements, and peer into the ongoing work of Audemars Piguet’s craftsmen at two production original workshops, where the brand’s timeless creations are still produced today.
4. THE KEYS OF TROPLONG MONDOT
Perched on a hilltop in the heart of Saint-Émilion, arguably the most well-known wine region on Bordeaux’s right bank, Chateau Troplong Mondot is a 36-hectare Premier Grand Cru estate that has been planting vines since the 17th century. At the top of the estate is The Keys of Troplong Mondot, a boutique hideaway with a handful of guestrooms and the standalone Vineyard House – a two-bedroom cottage nestled among the vines – that has reopened for the season following a makeover by interior designer Mathilde Cardineau. With spectacular views over the UNESCO-listed Saint-Émilion region, this rustic, rural retreat is an ideal base from which to discover Troplong Mondot and the surrounding area.
Guests can take a guided tour of the estate in an old Land Rover followed by a three-course picnic in a picturesque spot or explore the backroads of Bordeaux and some of the 800 or so neighbouring vineyards at their own speed on an electric bicycle. While the estate’s restaurant, Les Belles Perdrix, is undergoing a renovation set for completion next year, Chef David Charrier has created a summer tapas menu featuring plenty of fresh produce from local suppliers; perfect to enjoy with a glass of Troplong Mondot as the sun goes down over the Saint-Émilion countryside.