The Best City Breaks To Book In April
As spring ushers in sunnier days and streets in full bloom, we share our little black book of hotels and restaurants across Venice, Rome and New York.
April signals the start of spring; a heady, scented time of year when mornings brighten and winter layers are shed. The air feels full of promise, moods lighten and it’s easy to fall in love all over again — with people, cities and experiences. It’s also one of the best times of the year to take a city break in Europe and the US, when the sun reliably shows its face and the trees and flowers are in full bloom.
Ahead of the new month, we show you around three of our favourite cities— Venice, Rome and New York — all simply perfect in springtime.
This April, the 59th Venice Biennale — the oldest biennale in the world — kicks off at the Giardini, the Arsenale and other pavilions around the city. It’s a wonderful time to visit La Serenissima, when the sun shines over the archipelago of islands and maze of canals, and the art crowd flock to its palazzos and galleries.
Our favourite place to stay in Venice is always Ca Maria Adele, a lavishly romantic hotel in the Dorsoduro — the modern art district where you can live like a Venetian away from the crowds. Set right on the Grand Canal, just a short walk from the must-visit Peggy Guggenheim museum, it’s run with love by Alessio and Nicola Campa. The charming duo will arrange a classic Riva water taxi to pick you up from the airport terminal and bring you directly to the hotel’s private jetty, greeting you with a glass of fizz. Make sure you ask for the seductive Noir room, which is inspired by the spice routes passing through Venice and designed with a weekend of passion in mind.
Lunchtime is all about cicchetti and spritz stops (made with Select not Aperol) on sundrenched terraces by the water — we love Linea D’ombra on the other side of the Dorsoduro for this. For dinner, book a table in advance at the small but perfectly formed Osteria alla Testiere, where the owner Luca serves up the freshest catch from the lagoon, bought at the Rialto market that morning. Afterwards, weave your way back to the Dorsoduro for negronis at Il Palazzo Experimental’s cocktail den.
Further south in Italy, Rome is equally as fabulous in April, when skies are clear and blue and it’s not yet too scorching to explore on foot. During this month, the Eternal City becomes coated in
waterfalls of wisteria, azaleas and poppies — and the gardens of Villa Borghese are at their most lush and green.
Two of our favourite addresses in Rome are Hotel Locarno and G Rough. Hotel Locarno is one of the city’s most legendary hotels, which has been welcoming the great and the good since 1925 to its incredible location between the Tiber and Villa Borghese. Its rooms are sumptuous, classic and oh-so-Roman and aperitivo hour on its spectacular rooftop is something to be treasured. Just set back from the Piazza Novana, G Rough is a little more intimate and a love letter to contemporary Italian designers, against the backdrop of a stripped back, historic building.
Now for the food. Rome is a city with a big appetite, where pasta rules. Make your first restaurant stop La Matriciana, a wonderfully old-school spot in the Esquilino neighbourhood where you should order a Roman speciality, bucatini all’amatriciana — tomato, guanciale and pecorino — for lunch. After drinks in the stunning courtyard of Hotel De Russie, make your way to the Testaccio area for a true taste of Rome. Our favourites in the area are Felice for timeless local dishes such as tonnarelli cacio e pepe, Da Renzo for Roman-style pizza and Checchino dal 1887 where we always order la coda alla vaccinara, an oxtail stew. For a nightcap, we always return to Jerry Thomas, where you can only go inside if you know the password…
Across the pond, the Big Apple comes into its own come April. Cafes and bars spill onto sidewalks, rooftops are revived and it feels like a time made especially for lovers.
In Manhattan’s Midtown, not far from Central Park, The Whitby is one of our favourites to check into. Light and dreamy with a dash of English country whimsy, its Kit Kemp-designed interiors feel like a breath of fresh air in New York. Over in Tribeca, one of our most loved neighbourhoods, The Greenwich is the place to stay. And in springtime, its Mediterranean-style courtyard restaurant is a true oasis in a concrete jungle.
With one of the best restaurant scenes in the world, it can be hard to pick where to eat in NYC. Not far from The Greenwich, we love King on the corner of Sixth and King, for its intimate vibe and simple, Southern French-meets-Italian cooking — think hand-cut pastas and negronis. Then there’s Crown Shy, helmed by ex-11 Madison Parkers with impressive Art Deco surroundings and fine dining techniques.
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