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City trip or beach vacation? Four places connecting the city and beach!

France, the home of Dior, Chanel and the Notre Dame 

 

Eat @ restaurant Peixes

Forget Cannes and overcrowded St Tropez: Nice is the place to be. This coastal town is less expensive than its rivals and makes an easy-going base on the Côte d’Azur. Armand Crespo is the rock star chef here and, following on three successful bistros (Le Bistrot d’Antoine, Le Comptoir du Marché and Le Bar des Oiseaux), has now opened Peixes. This is a true cevicheria, with white tiling, mermaids on the walls, terrazzo tables and an open kitchen. 4 Rue de l’Opéra, no website

Drink @ Yolo

You’ll have to forgive the owner for that name, because this wine bar is worth it. Bare and industrial yet warm and cosy – difficult combo to get right and nice if you can find it. Over twenty wines on the menu that are served by the glass or bottle and delicious bar snacks for sharing. 10 Rue du Maréchal Joffre, no website

Sleep @ Hotel Rossetti

A range of modern hotels to pick from is not what you’re going to find in Nice. What it does have is a few in the category ‘charming faded glory’. There’s the expensive Le Grimaldi, the chic Hotel Negresco, the French-English Hôtel Villa Rivoli, the budget Hôtel Villa Les Cygnes, the artistic Hôtel Windsor and the recently renovated Villa Otero. Hôtel Rossetti is a different kettle of fish. Here, the style is minimalist and pale, with large artworks and angular furniture behind a baroque façade. 1 Rue Sainte Réparate, hotelrossetti.fr

 

 

Brazil, Samba in the blood, Copacabana and the Christus Statue 

 

Eat @ Zazá Bistrô Tropical

Zaza, in the centre of Rio, art-filled and colourful, is popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. For once, this is a good thing: it is never less than cosy at Zaza and is the spot for meeting up with old acquaintances (and making new friends). Rue Joana Angélica 40, Ipanema, zazabistro.com.br

Drink @ Barzinhos de praia

Cariocas (as Rio’s residents are called) like to eat and drink on the move, hopping between the barzinhos de praia (beach bars), the hundreds of botecos (small bars) where you eat empadinhas (little pies) and the lanchonetes: fun (snack)bars with help yourself food, such as Casa da Feijoada. Rua Prudente de Morais 10, Ipanema no website

Sleep @ Discovery Suites Santa Tereda

It’s a long climb up to the Santa Teresa neighbourhood, but once you’re seated on the terrace of this boutique hotel, you know it was worth it. The hotel was formerly a church, is bathed in turquoise paint and has a view of the famous mini tram (affectionately known as bondinho), where monkeys chase each other over the electricity lines. There are five en suite guestrooms, decorated with plants and dark slate and offering a peaceful retreat from the concrete jungle that is Rio. Rua Alm. Alexandrino 399, Santa Teresa, discoverysuitesrio.com

 

 

 Portugal, well known for port, Pastel de Nata and surfing 

 

Eat @ Restaurante Ponto Final

Ponto Final fish restaurant in Almada is located on the Tagus, opposite Lisbon. You reach it by ferry: it costs 1.80 euros one-way and there are crossings every fifteen minutes. On the way, you pass Restaurante Atira-te ao rio (atirateaorio.pt), which is also good. And then you arrive at the fish and seafood mecca of Ponto Final. No-bullshit perfection here: the fish practically comes straight out of the ocean and on to the stove, then on to your plate with no further ado. Rua do Ginjal 72, Almada, no website

Drink @ Park and H10 Duque de Loulé


Park is a popular dancing spot and terrace on the roof of a car park so if you want to end your day wiggling your hips or people watching, this is a good place to do it. Prefer somewhere quieter? The new H10 Duque de Loulé hotel, a little bit out of the way, has a relatively unknown and lovely roof terrace. Perfect for sipping cocktails. Calçada do Combro 58, no website, Avenida Duque de Loulé, 81-83, h10hotels.com

Sleep @ 1908 Lisboa Hotel

A bit traditional, a bit old-fashioned and a little bit rock-’n-roll. It isn’t cheap but it is affordable and it boasts a roof terrace and fantastic breakfast. Don’t be put off by the prissy website: the hotel is on the river in the most arty (and happening) neighbourhood in Lisbon. Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 6,  1908lisboahotel.com

 

 

United States, the country of metropolises, and the feeling of freedom on the Route 66

 

Eat @ Kettle Black and Sawyer

In the middle of Silverlake, the hipster district of LA, you find two Italian hotspots: Kettle Black and Sawyer, the first a more chic version of the latter. Kettle Black has a ceiling of lights that looks like the starry sky. Sawyer is more relaxed and rough and has a romantic terrace too. 3705 West Sunset Boulevard, kettleblackla.com, 3709 West Sunset Boulevard,  sawyerlosangeles.com

Drink @ The Bungalow

This is the place for dancing and snacking in a sort of beach pavilion (the beach pavilions in LA are not like the ones in the Netherlands). The Bungalow is a famous spot in Santa Monica with locals and holidaymakers alike, and no wonder: it feels like a house in the Hamptons, with a pool table, several bars inside and out, a living room with fireplace, table tennis tables and more. 101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, thebungalow.com

Sleep @ The Line Hotel

Downtown LA beats the rest of Los Angeles hands down, at least when it comes to the coolest hangouts. The Line Hotel is one of the not-to-be-missed spots in Koreatown. The neighbourhood is jumping 24/7, and the hotel plays its part with a conservatory next to the pool where it’s great to lunch but especially to see and be seen. A little bit boho, a little bit gangsta, a little bit chic. 3515 Wilshire Boulevard, thelinehotel.com

 

 

Spain, the country of wine, tapas and paella 

 

Eat @ Casa Montaña and Vuelve Carolina

Casa Montaña is the oldest tapas restaurant in Valencia. Don’t expect a designer interior, fancy tableware and soft lighting. As they put it themselves, “Since it was founded in 1836, nothing has changed”. The tapas at Vuelve Carolina are just as authentically Spanish and the restaurant boasts 3 Michelin stars. This is brilliant and so is the fact that eating here won’t break the bank. Incidentally, the chef also runs the famous Mercatbar in the covered market in the city. Carrer de Josep Benlliure 69, emilianobodega.com, Carrer de Correos 8, vuelvecarolina.com

Drink @ Café de las Horas and A la Bartola Beach

Café de las Horas was once a teahouse for bookworms in the old medieval centre of Valencia. Nowadays it’s an avant-garde cocktail place with a stunning baroque décor. If the sun is shining, you might prefer to hang at the bar – or grab one of the beanbags – at the yellow and white beach bar A la Bartola Beach, where cold beers and hot paella are the daily fare. Calle del Conde de Almodóvar 1, cafedelashoras.com, Paseo Marítimo de la Patacona 83, no website

Sleep @ Valencia Lounge Hostel

Cheap and cheerful is the vibe at the new Valencia Lounge Hostel. It offers eleven neoclassical guestrooms, each with its own balcony. The communal spaces (and the bathrooms) are spot on: everything was designed by a local design team, who created a contemporary feel in primary colours without compromising the original Spanish features of the building. A real treat in the El Carmen district. Calle Cadirers 11, valencialoungehostel.com

 

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