As state premiers bicker and the Federal government plays it safe with a border ban backing on to Christmas, Australians have been voting with their fingers on where are dreaming of taking their frirst holiday.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce nominated Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada as the first destinations on his target list.
There is plenty of proof on what travel-hungry Aussies are looking forward to when we can head overseas again. Expedia, one of the world’s largest bookings platforms, revealed it saw an increase in searches for some of the key destinations Qantas has marked for its initial take-off.
Interest in the United States jumped by almost 50 per cent, while searches for the UK jumped over 110 per cent and for Singapore they increased 165 per cent.
It will be two years or more since most Australians have been overseas. And many of our favourite cities have new hotels and restaurants, art exhibitions, attractions and more. Here are some new things in our favourite cities.
The quick seven-hour flight to the Lion City makes it a prime destination for Australians. Given that Singapore now has the world’s highest vaccination rate, the Australia government has often cited the country as one it is keen to open to first.
As well as fantastic hawker food, Singapore is known for its high-end dining. South Korean culture is big at the moment and new eatery Nae-um elevates the humble Korean bibimbap dish to the new heights of innovative and modern Seoul cuisine. Chef Louis Han uses the finest seasonal ingredients from Korea and is a big fan of sashimi.
Hailing from Barcelona, popular Spanish joint Tapas, 24 has opened its first outlet in Asia at the Quayside in Robertson Quay. Try the “Tapas 24” Bikini Sandwich which is loaded with black truffles, Iberico ham and buffalo mozzarella.
For families, there are a range of new attractions that will appeal to the kids. Resorts World Sentosa has reopened the Adventure Cove Waterpark where there are plenty of slides, the region’s first hydro-magnetic coaster or you can cruise down the Adventure River instead for something more relaxing.
If you’re looking for a fly-and-flop holiday to Sentosa Island, stay at the new Village Hotel Sentosa which is located near S.E.A. Aquarium, Universal Studios and the shopping district of VivoCity.
The United Kingdom was one of the first to open to the fully vaccinated. Britain’s “Freedom Day” on July 19 saw a wave of summer festivals, markets, restaurant openings and West End shows debut. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Cinderella, thankfully is running until February 2022. The show about the classic fairy tale of the little cinders’ girl has been hailed by critics as a big, colourful production that is well worth the wait.
There have been a throng of new hotel openings, including Broadwick Soho which is tipped to be the West End’s most fabulous new boutique lodging. Scheduled to open in June 2022, the hotel has been described as “your eccentric godmother’s Soho townhouse” with designer Martin Brudnizki taking inspiration from “the gritty glamour but also eclectic and diverse history of Soho”. The 57-room property boasts an Italian restaurant and rooftop cocktail bar.
London’s buzzing food scene has also seen a burst of life, from new high-end restaurants to slick takeaway. The Pem at the Conrad London St James hotel comes from a Michelin-award winning team led by Sally Abé. The menu features the best of British produce plated in contemporary cooking styles. One of the star dishes is charred mackerel with salad cream, wild mushrooms with herb mousseline, truffle and egg.
Tate has announced major exhibitions for 2022. The star attraction at Tate Modern is set to be Surrealism Beyond Borders which will aim to offer a more global outlook on surrealist art, with works by artists from Tokyo, Mexico City, Cairo and Martinique.
New York City’s official tourism body, NYC and Company, says new hotel and accommodation offerings will result in 144,000 hotel rooms in the Big Apple by the end of 2021.
One that has tongues wagging, even amongst New Yorkers, is the TWA Flight Centre Hotel. The swanky retro hotel is a reboot of the former John F Kennedy Airport terminal designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. The new hotel has a rooftop pool, a roller-skating rink and even a Paris Café by Jean-Georges.
Venturing towards the city, luxury group Aman has opened its first hotel in New
York on 5th Avenue, near Central Park. It boasts 83 spacious guest rooms and suites and a Japanese eatery serving freshly prepared sushi and sashimi.
The new Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center will be opening this year. It will be a space for cultural dance and music as well as art displays. But even if you’re not watching a performance, the building, which is currently under construction and features translucent marble and glass, will be a sight to behold.
New restaurants are constantly opening in the city that never sleeps. Visit Contento, a Peruvian wine bar in East Harlem for mahi mahi ceviche with a leche de tigre juxtaposed with a jenga tower of pork katsu with a vinegary slaw.
If you’re walking past the brownstones on the Upper West Side, visit Chick Chick, a new casual Korean restaurant which serves a play on Korean-Nashville Hot Chicken. It’s crunchier than it is fiery.
At the Met until September 2022, America: A Lexicon of Fashion is the Costume Institute’s two-part exploration of fashion in the United States. Inspired by a patchwork quilt, the design of the galleries will feature about 100 individual ensembles encased and arranged as ‘squares’ in horizontal and vertical rows, representing the qualities that define American fashion.
The City of Angels is putting on a great show since America has opened up. There are slick new hotels, beautiful boutiques and swanky bars. The new luxury Pendry West Hollywood opened in the past few weeks and offers rooms and suites with a hot tub and terrace. There’s a luscious outdoor swimming pool and retro dining room with a strong 1970s’ feel.
If you’re looking for something by the water, the Venice V Hotel is Venice Beach’s only beachfront hotel. The hotel, which was redeveloped from a 106-year-old historic building, includes a rooftop bungalow and is about five blocks from Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The rooms all have a surfy, beatnik chic style with exposed bricks and black and white photographs.
At Los Angeles County Museum of Art there are a number of very special exhibitions. The Objects of Desire: Photography and the Language of Advertising starts next July. It focuses on tracing the artistic manipulation of advertising and features works from artists Adbusters, Sarah Charlesworth and more.
And up until January 2022, The Obama Portraits Tour exhibition features the National Portrait Gallery’s piece depicting former president Barack Obama and Mrs Michelle Obama. The touring exhibition also features curatorial tours and teacher workshops.
The past 18 months have been incredibly challenging for the hospitality industry but the LA food scene has bounced back. One of the most highly anticipated openings is Matu, a Beverly Hills steak restaurant that offers a daily tasting menu, but might include star dishes such as the grilled rib-eye, wood-grilled maitake mushrooms and iceberg lettuce salad.
It will have been a year since the Tokyo Olympics and the city has opened the new Japan Olympic Museum. It takes visitors through a hands-on interactive learning experience about the games’ long history.
Go back in time to the Olympics’ origins in ancient Greece, then come all the way to the present, and ponder the future. You can try out Olympic sports and see how you measure up to an Olympian. Sports enthusiasts and casual fans alike have much to learn at this cutting-edge museum.
But Tokyo has so many things to offer. Duck into the city’s hidden side streets to get a glimpse of local drinking culture. Yokocho is Japanese for “alleyway” but it has grown in meaning to refer to the narrow streets packed with izakaya, bars and eateries.
Visit the new Tateba Tengoku which combines influences from Thailand, India and China with a Japanese twist. Small plates are a bargain, priced from ¥200, including specialities such as Yonezawa beef giblets, tomato in dashi broth and chicken marinated in a house-made spicy mala sauce.
And while there has been a throng of new hotel openings since 2020, stay at the AC Hotel Tokyo Ginza, 200 metres from the Azuma Inari Shrine. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Coicorin Statue, Ginzashusse Jizoson and Mimeguri Shrine and Ginza Six. The sleek hotel offers well-appointed rooms decked out in black and white.