Monday, July 15, 2024
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Where to Go Now That the You Don’t Need a Covid Test to Enter the U.S.

According to a recent poll by luxury travel agency network Virtuoso, 84% of consumer respondents are more likely to travel internationally now that the U.S.’s Covid-19 testing requirement has been lifted. So, here are a few ideas to help kick the planning for your next international vacation into high gear!  

For Queer American travelers contemplating a trip across the Atlantic to Europe. You’re purchasing power with the U.S. dollar may go slightly further… slightly.  Why? The euro is at its lowest against the dollar (currently at $1.04 to €1). So, here are a few European travel destinations that might be of interest to you.

Ireland

Fly to Shannon for a quick trip to Dromoland Castle for a weekend of golf, and yes, even surfing in nearby Lahinch is known for luring surfers all summer. Golfers should plan ahead to make sure they have the opportunity to play on the 18-hole course before the area gets busy with the Women’s Irish Open in September.

Another option is to fly to Dublin for a weekend at The Westbury to the Guinness storehouse, listen to music outside of a pub, and a stroll through the Georgian neighborhoods. 


Greece

The cobalt blue sky against the pristine white architecture of Kalesma Mykonos is an Aegean summer personified. Faithful to its Greek roots and local traditions, the hotel has unveiled the artistic re-interpretation of the small church of Agios Dimitrios on the property. Graphic designer and illustrator Gerasimos Chatzis curated the murals on the walls. And a bespoke soundtrack was also created mixing sounds of water and air with European orchestra instruments and voices of a choir.

Greece has also seen a rise in luxurious five-star hotels that focus on gastronomy such as the new Xenodocheio Milos in Athens, where celebrated Greek chef Costas Spiliadis of the Estiatorio Milos empire is returning to his roots. Straddling the historic area of the Plaka and the trendy Kolonaki district puts it in a prime location for exploring old and new.


France

Nestled within a Mediterranean garden overlooking the Cote d’Azur is the cliffside retreat, La Réserve Ramatuelle opened for the season following last summer’s refurbishment courtesy of Jacques Garcia. It’s perfect timing for a French Riviera getaway, especially with the all-business-class airline La Compagnie’s new seasonal route from Newark to Nice.


Spain

Just off Passeig de Gracia, Almanac Barcelona recently launched VIRENS, a new vegetable-forward restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Rodrigo de la Calle of Madrid’s acclaimed El Invernadero. Guests can expect dishes that spotlight seasonal ingredients like fried artichoke hearts with liliaceae cream and white asparagus with black garlic demi-glaze and capers.


Italy

In Italy, Belmond has partnered with internationally acclaimed art gallery Galleria Continua to host a series of large-scale artworks in its landmarked gardens across Italy. Indian artist Subodh Gupta kicked off the partnership with his “Cooking the World” installation in Cipriani’s Casanova gardens a couple of months ago. The final three major installations were revealed: Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich’s “Window & Ladder” at Florence’s Villa San Michele; Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Accarezzare Gli Alberi” (L’Etrusco) at Castello di Casole in Tuscany; and a garden installation by Cameroonian artist Pascal Marthine Tayou in Sicily’s Grand Hotel Timeo. The works will be on display until the properties’ seasonal closures in November.


And you can miss out on the new Dior pop-up spa available at Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, in Portofino. The spa will officially close its doors at the end of September. That’s why you should book your stay now or at least check out this pop-up retreat. The hotel’s serene gardens overlooking the Portofino Bay provide the perfect setting for two Dior spa gazebos, offering the brand’s signature skincare treatments, including a new Dior Bronze Signature Massage, which focuses on boosting radiance and glow while also repairing the skin from the effects of the Italian sunshine.

Parfums Christian Dior Spa at Hotel Splendido in Portifino, Italy (Photo Credit: Kristen Pelou)
Parfums Christian Dior Spa at Hotel Splendido in Portifino, Italy (Photo Credit: Kristen Pelou)

United Kingdom

It’s the perfect time for Americans to visit the U.K. Why? The Great British Pound is also at its lowest against the dollar since Covid began (currently at $1.22 to £1, compared to $1.41 to £1 last June). Also on July 19, JetBlue offer direct flights between Boston and London – perfect for New Englanders looking for a summer escape. 

The Dalloway Terrace at The Bloomsbury is awash in colorful flowers with a partnership with The Botanist Gin. Guests can sip summery tipples like the Dalloway Collins, a cocktail comprised of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, earl grey syrup, lemon juice, mandarin foam, and LE soda water. Now, that’s worth a trip if you’re if handcrafted cocktails.

On July 15, The British Pullman, a Belmond Train, will journey roundtrip from London Victoria Station through the English countryside while guests indulge in Simon Rogan’s seasonal five-course tasting menu. Rogan is the owner of the Michelin-starred Umbel restaurant group and a pioneer of the farm-to-fork movement. The dinner series will continue with Michel Roux Jr., two-Michelin star chef at the helm of Le Gavroche in London, in September; and Raymond Blanc, founder of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire, in October. And for a more private affair, the historic Cygnus carriage was recently completely reimagined by filmmaker Wes Anderson.


Japan

If you’ve wanted to make your first trip to Asia, now is probably an opportune time to do so, now that Japan is beginning to reopen for the first time since Covid began.

Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar, 52-flights above Tokyo, was immortalized in Lost in Translation. This summer, its corresponding restaurant, New York Grill, is offering Olive-fed Wagyu Beef. The cattle are raised on an olive farm. After the olives are pressed for oil, the leftovers are fed to the cattle who then fertilize the trees (with nothing going to waste). At New York Grill, Chef Paul Gajewski serves the rich, buttery, supremely marbled meat with its high oleic content which improves the tenderness and umami flavor.

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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