Where to go when: Summer 2016

From seeing an Atlanta Braves baseball game to attending the Reykjavik Jazz Festival in Iceland, here’s where to go this summer. newslide Switzerland: Zurich will play home to Manifesta, the European biennial of contemporary art. The 11th edition, on from June 11 to September 18, will present artists and curators from almost 40 different countries […]

From seeing an Atlanta Braves baseball game to attending the Reykjavik Jazz Festival in Iceland, here’s where to go this summer.

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Switzerland: Zurich will play home to Manifesta, the European biennial of contemporary art. The 11th edition, on from June 11 to September 18, will present artists and curators from almost 40 different countries (m11.manifesta.org). Basel will hold its annual Art Basel show, June 16-19, showcasing 20th and 21st century artworks from modern masters (artbase.com). Visitors can book into the historic Hotel Royal Savoy in nearby Lausanne, newly reopened after a US$100 million overhaul (from 400 Swiss francs [Dh1,511] per night; en.royalsavoy.ch). Switzerland has also seen the recent opening of several noteworthy museums, including Chaplin’s World – just minutes from Montreux in Corsier-sur-vevey – dedicated to Charlie Chaplin (chaplinmuseum.com). To take in more of the alpine country, consider a five-day tour with Luxury Travel. The itinerary includes the valleys of Engadin by train and opportunities to visit the Matterhorn and St Moritz.Prices for the Summer Tour Gold start from 8,888 francs (Dh33,575) per person, based on a two-person stay and taxes (lt-switzerland.com). Emirates, Etihad and Swiss fly direct to Zurich, from Dh2,720, including taxes (etihad.com; emirates.com; swiss.com).

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Phuket: Crowds often taper off during the month of June in Phuket, where visitors can take part from June 20-21 in the Baba Wedding Festival, an event that dates back to the 19th century. Street celebrations take place along Thalang Road in Phuket Old Town, which is usually lined with red lanterns. Venues include several historic buildings, including the Thai Hua Museum and the the Phra Pitak Chinpracha mansion. Visitors to Thai island can now stay at the The Nai Harn, a new resort situated on the tip of Nai Harn Beach, on the southern part of the island with oceanfront rooms, four restaurants, a spa and guest transportation services that include a helicopter and yacht (from 5,880 Thai baht [Dh613] per night, including taxes; thenaiharn.com). Laguna Phuket offers tours of Phuket and visits Chalong Temple, the Sino-Portuguese architecture of Phuket Town and the Jui Tui Chinese Shrine. The half-day outing costs 2,500 baht (Dh260) per person and includes transfers, a guide and lunch, including taxes (lagunaphuket.com). Direct flights are available on Etihad and Emirates to Phuket start from Dh3,365 per person, including taxes (etihad.com; emirates.com).

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New York: Ambitious hotel openings are the rule in Manhattan, and this summer is no exception. For the hipster with deep pockets, the Sago Hotel, located in the increasingly fashionable Lower East Side, offers rooms that mix minimalist decor with rustic elements (from $402 [Dh1,476] per night, including taxes; sagohotel.com). The newly renovated InterContinental New York Barclay hotel offers historic elegance in touching distance of Fifth Avenue (from $479 [Dh1,759] per night, including taxes; ihg.com). The landmark Martha Washington hotel has also received an overhaul and will reopen as The Redbury Hotel, a quick jaunt from the Empire State Building and Theatre District (from USD$439 [Dh1,612] per person, including taxes; theredbudry.com). Visitors to the city can check out the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island, located off the east side of the island, from June 3-5. Along with a lineup that rivals that of Coachella and Bonnaroo, local and artisan food vendors will provide an authentic taste of the city’s gastronomical offerings (governorsballmusicfestival.com). Flights to New York on Etihad and Emirates start from Dh3,225, including taxes (etihad.com; emirates.com).

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New Zealand: Reaching New Zealand is easier for UAE residents now that Emirates has launched its new direct service to Auckland. As the southern winter begins, look to the evening skies for the rise of the Matariki star cluster, marking the month-long celebration of the Maori New Year. Auckland will celebrate with the Matariki Festival until July 17, with live music performances, Kapa Haka (Maori performing arts), theatre, poetry and family events (matarikifestival.org.nz). In Queenstown, on the South Island, the Winter Festival runs until July 3, featuring snow sports, street parties, music, food and fireworks (winterfestival.co.nz). Also on the South Island, nature lovers can book a guided tour of the Canterbury Plains with Canterbury Trails. Travellers will start in Christchurch and take the TranzAlpine train thourgh to Arthur’s Pass National Park, where they can embark on guided walks in the rugged mountains. The TranzAlpine Train and Scenic Nature Tour costs from NZ$520 (Dh1,311) per person, based on a two-person tour, and includes transport, meals and a guide. (canterburytrails.co.nz). Emirates flies to Auckland from Dh6,215 (emirates.com).

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Budapest: Venture off to the capital of Hungary this summer on Emirates’ six-hour direct flight, and stay in the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Budapest. The property, set an arm’s reach from the Danube and a 20-minute walk across the river to Buda Castle, boasts 170 rooms and 30 suites, a spa and several restaurants (from €245 [Dh1,017] per night, including taxes; ritzcarlton.com). The city will play host from August 10-17 to the Sziget Festival – a music and cultural extravaganza that will showcase international musical acts – from Kaiser Chiefs to Sia – along with installations from both Hungarian and international artists (szigetfestival.com). If time is not an issue, consider an eight-night tour with Abercrombie & Kent that explores Budapest, before heading across borders to Vienna and Prague. Travellers will explore the ancient royal district of Buda, the Hofburg Palace (the former imperial palace) in Vienna, and the Castle District of Prague. The Highlights of Budapest, Vienna and Prague tour starts from Dh11,375 per person, including taxes and not including flights (abercrombiekent.co.uk). Wizz Air and Emirates both fly direct to Budapest from Dh671 per person (emirates.com; wizzair.com).

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Seattle: Though the city of Seattle sits under a blanket of cloud and rain for much of the year, July brings better weather and an assortment of festivals and outdoor events. The Seattle Chamber Music Festival runs from July 5-30 and features American and international artists. Tickets cost $50 (Dh183) (seattlechambermusic.org). Celebrate the country’s independence on July 4 with events taking place across the city or head to Volunteer Park for the Seattle Outdoor Theatre Festival from July 9-10 (greenstage.org). The modern minimalist Thompson Seattle Hotel has opened in downtown Seattle, in easy reach of boutiques, cafes and restaurants, with rooms, suites and apartments, some with waterfront views (thompsonhotels.com). To see the city, Global Rider offers private tours in luxury sedan cars. Travellers will explore the Space Needle, Ballard Locks and Pikes Place Market. Seattle Private Luxury Tours start from $225 (Dh826) for up to four people, including taxes (myglobalrider.com). Return flights on Etihad, via New York, start from Dh7,195. Emirates flies direct from Dubai (emirates.com).

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Sri Lanka: It’s been a busy six months for hotels in Sri Lanka, with a number of openings and refurbishments, most notably that of Colombo’s historic Galle Face Hotel. Chena Huts is a new series of private pavilions close to Yala National Park (from US$1,200 [Dh4,407] per night, including taxes; ugaescapes.com); Tri Lanka, built with sustainability in mind, is near Galle on Koggala Lake (from $248 [Dh910] per night, half board, including taxes; trilanka.com). More recently, Shangri-La opened the first international hotel in Hambantota on the southern coast (from $216 [Dh793] per night, including taxes; shangri-la.com). Witness Sri Lanka’s Esala Perahera festival, one of its grandest Buddhist celebrations, from August 8-18, or book a 10-day guided tour with Walkers Tours and explore Habarana, the Lion Rock in Sigiriya, Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth Relic and the World’s End cliffs. Prices for the Discover the Rich Culture & Heritage of Sri Lanka tour start from US$1,750 (Dh6,427) per person, including taxes (walkerstours.com). Etihad, Emirates, FlyDubai all fly direct to Colombo (etihad.com; emirates.com; flydubai.com).

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Oman: As the summer temperatures crank up in the UAE, any respite, no matter how marginal, can be a blessing. But we don’t always have a full week to jet off to cooler climes. A quick flight to Muscat and a few hours’ drive later, and you can reach Anantara’s Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, which opens its doors in July. Sitting at a cool 2,000 metres above sea level on the Saiq Plateau overlooking the Al Hajar Moutains, the new property features 82 rooms and 32 villas, six restaurants and lounges and the brand’s signature Anantara Spa. For art enthusiasts, the hotel will feature its own Friday night market, showcasing artwork by local village artisans and craftsmen. Guests of the hotel can also make personalised arrangements to take in the surrounding scenery with activities such as excursions to nearby heritage attractions such as Birkat Al Mouz. A night at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort starts from Dh1,919 per person, including taxes (anantara.com). Flights to Muscat on FlyDubai, Etihad, Emirates and Oman Air start from Dh585 (flydubai.com; etihad.com; emirates.com; omanair.com).

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Reykjavik: The capital of Iceland welcomed the Canopy by Hilton boutique hotel in July. Located in the city centre, the new property offers rooms and suites, a restaurant serving Icelandic cuisine, a dry-ageing room and bike rentals (from 55,000 kroner [Dh1,629] per night, including taxes; hilton.com). From August 10-14 the city will host the 27th Reykjavik Jazz Festival (reykjavikjazz.is). Serious runners missing the fresh air should book their slot early for the 33rd Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon consisting of six distances, including a kids fun run (August 20; marathon.is/reykjavik-marathon). Book in a helicopter tour of the new volcanic lava field Holuhraun with Iceland Luxury Tours. The tour lasts six to eight hours and includes an opportunity to walk and explore the newly formed lava, along with views of The Golden Circle, Askja, and Myvatn. Prices for the Volcanic Eruption Helicopter Tour start from US$5,275 (Dh19,374) per person, based on a two-person tour, including taxes (icelandluxurytours.com). Return flights on Etihad to Reykjavik, via London, start from Dh5,855, including taxes (etihad.com).

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Atlanta: Arrive in Atlanta during the month of September, via Qatar Airways or Turkish Airlines’ newly launched flight, and catch one of the Atlanta Braves’ final home games of the 2016 baseball season. Ticket prices start from $18 (Dh66) per person, including taxes (mlb.com). Festivals this month include the Midtown Music Festival on September 16-17 (thespacelab.tv), and the AJC Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the US, from September 2-5 (decaturbookfestival.com). The Walker Evans: Depth of Field exhibition at the High Museum of Art Atlanta will show until September 11, with more than 120 photos from the 1920s to the 1970s taken by the 20th-century documentary photographer (high.org). Book a day tour of the city with Tours of Atlanta and explore the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Piedmont Par ($70 [Dh257] per person, including pick-up at the hotel, lunch and taxes; tours-of-atlanta.trekksoft.com/en). Flights on Qatar Airways, via Doha, start from Dh5,095, including taxes (qatarairways.com). Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul, costs from Dh5,307 (turkishairlines.com).

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Marrakech: Qatar Airways is now flying to Marrakech, and with the recent opening of several new riad hotels, it’s an appealing time to visit. The colourful Riad Goloboy, located in the Sidi Mimoun quarter of the medina, offers eight differently decorated rooms and suites, and views of the Atlas Mountains and the Mamounia Gardens. (from £55 [Dh294] per night, including taxes; riadgoloboy.com) The Almaha Marrakech is a spacious and bright property, inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s poem Invitation au Voyage (from €315 [Dh1,687] per person, including taxes; almahamarrakech.com). The Oasis Festival, from September 16-18, fuses traditional food and entertainment with contemporary music (theoasisfest.com). Sun Trails tour group offers a 10-day tour of the country, starting in Casablanca and moving on to Rabat, Meknes, Fez, Erg Chebbi, Marrakech and Essaouira. Prices start from €2,395 (Dh9,942) per person, based on a two-person stay, including taxes (sun-trails.com)

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Mexico: Return flights on Etihad and Qatar Airways start from Dh2,735, including taxes (etihad.com; qatarairways.com) El Mes de la Patria, or Month of the Homeland, is in full swing during September. The independence celebration lasts the whole month, but the spectacle hits its peak on September 15 and 16. Other festivities throughout the month include the Feria Nacional Zacatecas, a two-week music and theatre fair, from September 3-21 in Zacatecas, and the Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara, which showcases musicians from around the world. The W Punta Mita recently opened its doors on Banderas Bay beach. The new property offers rooms with private balconies or patios, six restaurants and bars, the Away Spa and a fitness centre (from $680 [Dh2497] per night, including taxes; starwoodshotels.com). Abercrombie & Kent offers a 13-night itinerary of the country, starting in Mexico City and stopping in Teotihuacan, Cholula, Oaxaca, Merida and Chichen Itza. The Discover Mexico itinerary is priced from Dh24,500 per person, including accommodation, meals and taxes, not including flights (abercrombiekent.co.uk). Emirates flies to Mexico City, via Houston, from Dh7,920, including taxes (emirates.com).

Source: art & life

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