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Travel Insider: November 2017

. But it's a no less striking one.



From: Condé Nast Traveller's 

1. MARRAKECH

'The city taught me colour,' said Yves Saint Laurent. 'Before Marrakech everything was black.' Set next to the vivid ultramarine blue of the designer's former home, Villa Oasis, in the famous Jardin Marjorelle, the just-opened Musée Yves Saint Laurent may appear a subtler homage to his love of the Moroccan city. But it's a no less striking one.
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Outside, architectural outfit Studio KO (which like Saint Laurent splits its practice between Paris and Marrakech) has woven a beautiful lace-like lattice of terracotta bricks. Inside, the exhibition space is velvety black, like the lining of a jacket, with one of the designer's 1965 Mondrian dresses making an eye-popping introduction to the collection. Fifty looks from Saint Laurent's 40-plus-year career will be on show at any one time, rotating every six months from a huge archive, charting his evolution and his discovery of Marrakech in 1966.

Tragically, Saint Laurent's long-term partner Pierre Bergé, whose vision the Musée Yves Saint Laurent was (along with the parallel museum in Paris) died a few weeks before the opening. This heartbreakingly beautiful museum is a fitting tribute to both men's creative passions.

The smooth terracotta and intricate brickwork exterior of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent

2. SHANGHAI

Does China ever slow down? With a dizzying run of new hotel openings, its snazziest city is booming right now. Fresh to the scene, the W Shanghai - The Bund opened its neon-lit lobby on the iconic address in July. Looking out to the future-as-imagined-in-the-1980s skyline of Pudong, with views over the Huangpu Rive , bedrooms have flashes of auspicious red (with some slightly odd cushions shaped like chopsticks and dumplings on the beds), while cocktail bar Liquid at Yen was inspired by Shanghai's Thirties-era speakeasies.

[post_ads]Perhaps the polar opposite of the W's shiny skyscraper, Capella has taken over a cluster of historic shikumen houses and turned them into a sensitively restored, all-villa hotel tucked around a courtyard off a plane-tree-lined street in the French concession.

But an even more astounding restoration has been underway just outside the city. Amanyangyun is set amid a dense forest of more than 10,000 camphor trees, some over 1,000 years old and 100 feet tall. A decade ago they weren't here at all, but 400 miles away in Jiangxi Province. Along with the 50 Ming and Qing-dynasty village houses that now make up the hotel, the trees were threatened with being lost underwater with the building of a new reservoir. Instead, locally born entrepreneur and philanthropist Ma Dadong decided to save them, extracting the trees with a team of specialist botanists, and disassembling the houses and rebuilding them just outside Shanghai, where Aman has waved its typically minimal touch over them.

Still to come at the very end of 2017, The Middle House is the latest from Swire Hotels, whose Upper House is the coolest place to stay in Hong Kong. Its Shanghai home will be just as design-focused: Italian architect Piero Lissoni has been drafted in to oversee the work, creating modern reinterpretations of traditional Chinese furniture as part of his Shanghainese minimalist vision.

And there's two more to watch out for in 2018: the Bulgari, which has a rooftop Italian restaurant on the 48th floor, and the boombastic Shanghai Edition, with 145 rooms between two towers and not one but two rooftop bars.

3. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Curiously, this historic Deep South town consistently tops polls as Americans' favourite city. With perfectly preserved antebellum mansions and quaint cobblestone streets, it sure is pretty - but it's the thriving food scene that gives Charleston real bite, mixing up sensational seafood with a hefty dose of down-home comfort fare.

[post_ads]Local star chef Sean Brock, fresh out of rehab with a sleeve of vegetable tattoos, is behind a trio of the most-sought-after spots in town: Husk (for Southern classics made with heirloom ingredients), Minero (try the roasted shrimp tacos) and McCrady's (his most adventurous restaurant, with a tasting menu only).

A brass map of Charleston on the wall of the lobby at The Dewberry

Other essential Charleston pit-stops include: Leon's Oyster Shop for fried-chicken sandwich and chargrilled oysters; the raw bar at The Ordinary for a triple shellfish tower, and FIG (an acronym of 'Food Is Good'), for seasonal dishes such as ricotta gnocchi topped with lamb Bolognese and milk-braised suckling pig.
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We're a little obsessed with the town's latest place to stay, The Dewberry. A little bit TWA Flight Centre at JFK, a little bit Mad Men, the hotel has a Sixties sparseness and warmth that fits the former Federal building perfectly, all matte brass and honeyed walnut. In the lobby, The Fieldshop is curated by the editors at the brilliantly named Garden & Gun magazine (oyster knives, copper cocktail sets, Palmetto bug chocolates), while its restaurant, Henrietta's, gives a French spin to local dishes with the likes of red-wine-poached octopus and Snack River Farms steak-frites

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Travel Magazine: Travel Insider: November 2017
Travel Insider: November 2017
. But it's a no less striking one.
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