Few backdrops come close to the majesty of Table Mountain, looming beyond the South African port city. Dizzying panoramas of the sweeping scenery can be taken in from the cable cars – the drama of the mountainous landscape matched in spectacle by the beautiful beaches below (Boulders and Llandudno are renowned for good reason, while Beta Beach in Bakoven is a more secluded spot). When not marveling at the city’s natural splendor, the culinary and cultural scene provides an ample array of exciting destinations to explore. And a foray into the region’s prestigious winelands, as fruitful as they are picturesque, is a must-do addition to any Cape Town itinerary.
Where to stay: Ellerman House is a bewitching bolthole, which melds bygone opulence with contemporary features across 13 delightful bedrooms. It also has an impressive fine-art collection, pretty terraced gardens, and glorious views of the Atlantic.
The kaleidoscopic city of Jaipur, situated in the royal state of Rajasthan, attracts multitudes of visitors to bask in its beguiling architecture and soak up the richness of its history and heritage. Whether you are admiring the opulent palaces and temples (Hawa Mahal, Jawahar Circle and City Palace are all unmissable) or soaking up the energy of the bustling bazaars, Jaipur provides an awe-inspiring feast for the senses. March is a particularly magical time to visit, when the radiant city celebrates Holi season with an incredible array of festivities.
Where to stay: The city is home to many decadently designed hotels. The Johri is a resplendent 19th-century home with five elegant suites, nestled within the Johri Bazaar. Elsewhere, Rajmahal Palace Raas Jaipur is another magnificent base from which to explore the city, with an oasis of gardens and a picturesque art-deco-style swimming pool.
Lisbon is better known as Portugal’s city-break destination, but the charming, red-roofed city of Porto has gained traction in recent years thanks to its cultural and creative spirit, world-famous wineries, and pretty perch along the Douro river. Be sure to stroll around the Unesco World Heritage Site of the city’s characterful Old Town, but don’t miss its network of ornate vintage trams, either: it’s the most scenic way to take in the landmarks.
Where to stay: Torel Palace was lovingly reimagined a couple of years ago, carefully paying homage to its centuries-old history. The romantically restored mansion boasts a number of remarkable features – from the stunning skylight to the tiled haven of the courtyard pool.
There might not be a ‘bad’ time to visit Kyoto but, if you want to appreciate the city’s exquisiteness at its most magnificent, then cherry-blossom season is almost unparalleled (though, unsurprisingly, the busiest for crowds). That said, the shades in fall are similarly astonishing. And this ancient Japanese city is full of places that will enthrall – from the mountain landscape of Arashiyama and mesmeric bamboo groves to the stunning temples and traditional teahouses situated alongside modern architecture. In fact, Kyoto boasts no fewer than 17 World Heritage Sites.
Where to stay: Sowaka is a lush sanctuary amid the hum of the city, set in the lovely neighborhood of Gion and Yasaka. An ultra-tranquil space, the main building follows the ancient Sukiya architectural style, while bedrooms are dotted around the pretty courtyards.
Italy is disproportionately populated with places deserving of pretty-city status – from the canal-lined and sea-fronted to cultural centers and ancient icons. Celebrated as the birthplace of the Renaissance, the Tuscan capital of Florence never goes out of style for a divine and creatively charged escape where elegant architecture, artisanal treasures and world-famous works can be stumbled upon around the narrow streets. The enchantment of the city lies in its distinct intersection of art and history, so there is an endless wealth of beauty to discover – from getting lost in the piazzas and gardens to becoming immersed in its cultural delights.
Where to stay: The Place encapsulates Florentine grace and sophistication – with all the comforts of a warmly welcoming home. The Duomo Rooftop Loft is the show-stopping suite, with views of the beautiful landmark from the private balcony (as well as the bathtub).