18 December 2023
We’re right in the middle of winter with grey skies and temperatures around 5 degrees, at least here in Northern Europe. The perfect time to book a getaway to somewhere warmer, preferably with some blue skies and sun. Also on the slopes.
And to help you out in your decision making we’ve rounded up the 5 best places to go in January, with some tips on where to stay, eat, shop and go.
Surf, sun, dramatic landscapes and 70s inspired architecture
Lanzarote is a volcanic island and therefore very photogenic. The island is easy to discover by car, where you can stop at (surf) beaches such as Famara or Papagayo, authentic villages such as Teguise and the architectural highlights of Cesar Manrique, especially Casa Museo de César Manrique, Mirador del Rio, and LagOmar, the former home of actor Omar Sharif, is highly recommended. The island is attracting more and more people who do not like mass tourism (skip Puerto del Carmen) and young entrepreneurs are opening nice places such as Esquina, a plant-based eatery in Teguise and Gutt Bio Market in Famara.
Where to stay: Casa de las Flores is a small-scale boutique hotel in Teguise with only five rooms. It is a very personal address, where you will be warmly welcomed by the owner who has worked for years at five-star hotels and therefore knows how to pamper his guests. This is reflected in the spacious rooms, with striking bathrooms, but especially in the breakfast, which is never the same every day and where you immediately get to know the other guests.
Skiing, chicness and midcentury design
Bad Gastein is a chic winter resort in Austria, also called ‘Monte Carlo of the Alps’. Striking are the elegant buildings that date back to the Belle Epoque period and look magical when they are covered with snow. People go to Bad Gastein to ski, there are more than 200 kilometers of slopes, but the thermal baths are also very popular after an active day in the snow. During the winter season, Valerie Haus organizes Full Moon Dinners where you can eat at a long table between the mountains and under the moon. Are you in Bad Gastein in summer? Then don’t miss Art Bad Gastein.
Where to stay: The Comodo opened its doors in early 2023 and is one of the most beautiful ski hotels in Europe. The lobby is filled with mid-century modern furnishings from which you can look out over the snow-capped mountains. Some rooms have this same view. The restaurant uses as many ingredients as possible from local farms and transforms them into Austrian dishes with a modern twist and a strong focus on vegetables. There is a spa with an indoor swimming pool where you can use the sauna after a massage. The sundeck has a phenomenal view of the mountains.
plant-based food, sunsets and traveling on a budget
Lisbon recently was voted one of the most budget-friendly cities for a city trip. And that’s a bonus, because there are many great restaurants and coffee shops to choose from in Lisbon. The focus on plant-based dishes is already well established here: at Magnolia I’ve ordered a cauliflower dish I would like to come back for. The modern Greek restaurant Kefi Greek Bistro is also a recommendation. In terms of neighborhoods, I really liked Principe Real, where you can have a good cup of coffee at Dramatico with a slice of banana bread. MAAT is not only architecturally impressive, you can now see Joana Vasconcelos’ Plug-In exhibition there until the end of March 2024. And join a heart chakra meditation in the museum on Friday, January 12.
Where to stay: Montecarmo 12 is located in the Principe Real district, around the corner from the best places in the city. The hotel was designed by Aires Mateus, whose work you may know from Santa Clara 1728. Here you can also expect beautiful marble baths in the rooms and a calm color palette. The kitchen is not only beautiful, but a Brazilian chef also serves a delicious breakfast there. The shampoo bars you get in the room are also a nice touch. They smell wonderful and are a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles of shampoo.
sun, cocktails and off-the-grid cabin
The temperature in Cape Town in January fluctuates somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees. The winter coat can be taken off, the summer dress, or even bikini, can be worn. Start your day with breakfast at Between Us and look out at Table Mountain. Bree Street is certainly a nice street, where Aperitif recently opened its doors and is the place for a good cocktail and a small snack. The Norval Foundation has a beautiful sculpture garden and recently restaurant Grub & Vine, known for their good wine selection, also opened a restaurant there. Oh and don’t miss Pauline’s, a well-known coffee cafe in Sea Point that opened a new location at Goodman Gallery in Greenpoint.
Where to stay: Gorgeous George is a boutique hotel in the center of Cape Town. With a somewhat hidden entrance, everything happens here on the top floor where the restaurant and rooftop are located. The floors below are reserved for the rooms: all spacious with many industrial details and art by David Brits. If you want to get out of Cape Town, I found Suidster, a great off-grid cabin with panoramic views and an outdoor shower, from 160 euros per night (!) in January.
architecture, coffee and Kelly Wearstler
In Los Angeles there’s sunny Venice, industrial and art-loving Downtown LA and exuberant Hollywood, but the places where the American oatmeal elite (a free translation of the Dutch word for Havermout Elite, the new elite who loves oatmeal, yoga and podcasts) show themselves are of course in cool new neighborhoods. So we get in the car and head to the high-end yuppie district of Silver Lake for the new Café Kitsune, for example, or Cafe Nido. To upcoming Highland Park for the second location of Highly Likely. Or to eclectic Echo Park for Laveta, Bacetti and Canyon Coffee. Architecture lovers can indulge themselves in the city too: The Stahl House, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Eames’ Case Study House and the LACMA need to be on your list.
Where to stay: not even open for that long, but a real icon in the hospitality industry already: the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, it features a lobby that anyone with an interior design fetish will want to see. The rooms are luxurious and serene, and on the roof terrace you can listen to soothing music while enjoying the view with a cocktail in your hand. The hotel is not located directly on the sea, but you can rent a bicycle and explore the area. In January, on-site restaurant Siete will host a new edition of East Comes West, inviting a chef from a restaurant in the east of the city. This will be Alimento on January 12 and 13.
Credits: all images by Petite Passport, except The Comodo by PION Studio