Travel

Holiday Escapes: HL Editor Tiaan Nagel Shares His Top 5 Spots

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations.

Unsplash.com, Air Pano, Paul Raeside, Fondation Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent

Although it feels as though 2018 was just yesterday, this year is already in full swing. I'm back at my desk at House and Leisure, dealing with a growing to-do list, back-to-school carpooling and beginning of year admin – and am already dreaming of a holiday. Unlike most people who enjoyed the festivities over December, I stayed at home unpacking boxes from our recent move – which now makes me even more resentful that I stayed behind and have to hear everyone’s holiday stories in the office. So I've compiled a round-up of my favourite holiday destinations – both those I've visited and those that are on my wish-list- for you to enjoy.

1. Berlin

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations | House and Leisure

I'm currently reading a book about great creative directors and one of my favourites – Italian fashion designer Stefano Pilati – has just moved to Berlin. The last time I was in this amazing German city was during a terribly hot summer over Berlin Fashion Week, when I was rushed from one show to another, not getting enough time to take it all in. But, reading this book, I’m reminded that Berlin packs a seriously stylish punch.

My favourite area is undoubtedly Mitte, with its contemporary art galleries, beautifully curated bookstores and, off course, an epic Acne shop in which I spend way too much money. As a holiday destination, Berlin is a seriously progressive city that's easy to fall in love with. Check out some other Berlin holiday hot spots you have to visit.

2. Saint Petersburg

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations | House and Leisure

I've never been to Saint Petersburg – or Moscow for that matter – but the pictures I've seen of this city in Russia make me happy. The architecture alone is a feast for the senses, with ornate details, Baroque interiors and saturated colours everywhere. And, as Russia's largest cultural centre, it's home to some astounding institutions, including the Mariinsky Theatre. This world-renowned ballet and opera theatre dates back to 1806 and boasts a richly decorated auditorium complete with gilded finishes, sumptuous upholstery and delicate murals.

There's also the State Russian Museum, where you can see works by Russian artists ranging from the Old Masters to modern creatives like Wassily Kandinsky. Explore this holiday spot in the most picturesque way possible with a tranquil river cruise from Saint Petersburg to Moscow.

3. Yangtze River

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations | House and Leisure

Speaking of great boat trips,  travelling down the Yangtze river in China can only be described as one of the most magical cruise experiences ever. Stretching 6 380km from the border of Tibet to Shanghai, the Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world. A cruise along its waters not only offers breathtaking views of abundant plant life and natural wonders like the river's infamous Three Gorges, but a rare opportunity to see the traditional Chinese way of life for many of the villagers living along the water's edge.

There are also numerous cultural stops along the way, such as Fengdu Ghost City with its shrines, temples and monasteries dedicated to the afterlife, and the ancient White Emperor City, with its plethora of historical relics.

4. London

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations | House and Leisure

London may not be the newest holiday destination or the most adventurous city to explore, but it's still one of my favourites to visit for a quick cultural fix. I love strolling down to Liberty London department store and taking in all the flowers in the foyer, then walking down Regent Street to the new Dover Street Market and admiring all the installations.

For art, there's the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern and Serpentine Galleries; for collectables, there's The Conran Shop and Alfies Antique Market; for fashion, there's Margaret Howell and Simone Rocha; and as for food, nothing beats Venetian tapas at POLPO. To get lost in this cosmopolitan city is a real treat and a great opportunity to stumble across these other must-see spots.

5. Marrakech

Whether you were working during the festive season or are planning a trip for mid-year, here are HL's Tiaan Nagel's favourite holiday destinations | House and Leisure

This is another holiday destination I haven't been to, but it's definitely on my wish-list – if only to see the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and Jardin Majorelle. As its name suggests, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum is entirely dedicated to the life and work of the iconic French fashion designer, with exhibitions of his collections on permanent display. Even the building by Studio KO is inspired by Saint Laurent's archives, with the faćade designed in a shape and pattern reminiscent of fabric.

A short distance away from the museum is Jardin Majorelle, an enchanting garden created by French painter Jacques Majorelle. With its burbling streams, lush foliage, vivid imagery and alluring hues, it's no surprise that this is one of the most visited sites in Morocco.

READ MORE: Marrakech 101: practical tips for a happy visit