Exploring Close to Home: Europeby Joy Pecknold
In this time of not traveling, destinations have been diligently preparing to welcome guests back at the right time with utmost safety in mind (for easy reference, we’ve built out a growing list of hotels’ enhanced measures). As we now enter this next phase of reopenings, we look to thoughtfully venture out again, seeing our own cities with new eyes and discovering the widest open spaces within reach. Closing out our three-part series, we focus on where to travel close to home within Europe for summer 2020.
As London reopens, celebrate with a swish staycation at Flemings Mayfair (pictured) or St. James Hotel and Club, both available to book as of July 4. At the same time, the countryside is reopening for those longing to step outside city limits and into nature. In the Cotswolds, The Lygon Arms is just two miles from the purple fields of Cotswold Lavender farm, and Heckfield Place (pictured) in Hampshire has its own onsite farm to explore, with flowers, fruit, vegetables, honey and guernsey cows.
For a slice of solace in Paris, staycation at Cour des Vosges in Marais, with its big windows, big tubs and brushed velvet reading chairs. Pastoral escapes are but a short drive away, with Les Étangs de Corot in Ville-d’Avray and Tiara Château Hotel Mont Royal Chantilly tucked inside the Chantilly Forest both 30 minutes or less outside the city. Sea lovers can head south to Tiara Yaktsa Côte d’Azur near Cannes to soak up the Mediterranean sun and salt water as early as July 3.
One needn’t leave Geneva to get a slice of country living. Just minutes from downtown, La Réserve Genève (pictured) is a 10-acre oasis on the shores of Lake Geneva, and there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant too. Lap up more lakeside living and Michelin stars at the historic Park Hotel Vitznau (pictured) on Lake Lucerne or dip into the Bernese Highlands for a weekend of hiking and overnight at Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa.
As Italy reopens, locals are taking advantage of the much quieter landmarks and sights, such as the Vatican Museum, to be tourists in their own city. To make it even easier, the now-open Hotel de Russie in Rome is within walking distance of Vatican City and the Colosseum, with its very own gardens to wander. Road trip to Tuscany, where Il Castelfalfi, or further north to Relais San Maurizio in Piedmont. Longing to see the sea, Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia on the Adriatic Coast and Verdura Resort in Sicily have just reopened.
Take in historic Seville and enjoy strolling the medieval lanes with fewer tourists. Here, the Mercer Sevilla contrasts its 19th-century palace arches with crisp modernity—it reopens on July 1. Nestled in the Catalan countryside, Mas De Torrent, opening June 26, reimagines an old farmhouse into a spa-centred retreat. Long in name and sumptuous style, Anantara Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort (pictured) in the Costa del Sol reopens July 2. For a slice of island life, head to Finca Serena Mallorca (pictured) as of July 4. Surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, the intimate 40-acre estate is just 20 minutes from the beach.
The Portuguese tourism board has created a “Clean and Safe” certification for companies who have committed to enhanced hygiene protocols, providing travelers with greater peace of mind. If staying in the capital, The Vintage Lisbon (pictured) and The Lumiares Hotel and Spa both open in July. Just 30 minutes northwest is Sintra where national-palace-turned-hotel Tivoli Palacio de Seteais gives all its guests the royal treatment. Head south to Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort (pictured) for golf, spa, beach time and all kinds of open space.
With one of the lowest case rates in Europe, Greece is particularly primed to safely welcome back visitors. For those craving a jaw-dropping sunset perch as only Santorini can offer, there’s Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites and Spa. On the quieter isle of Paros, Parilio, an impeccably designed boutique hideaway opens July 1. For resort lovers, oceanfront Abaton Island on the north coast of Crete offers all kinds of space and indulgences. While the party scene might be dampened, Mykonos is as special as ever, thanks to its beautiful beaches and chic hotels, including KENSHO Psarou reopening July 2.