Take a trip away this December. Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to go and what to eat in some of Cayman’s favorite overseas destinations.
Culture: Sydney is a melting pot of nationalities, and although Canberra is the official capital of Australia, there’s no doubt that Sydney is considered to be the epicenter of all things artistic (although those in Melbourne might disagree). Many of the individual cultures that make up the Sydney mosaic are the result of waves of immigration over the years, making it a vibrant, eclectic city.
Shopping: Find the best of Sydney’s shopping style within a few city blocks, at the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), the Strand Arcade, Westfield Sydney, David Jones and Myer.
Food: One of Sydney’s true beauties is its harbor, with the famous bridge, Sydney Opera House and myriad vessels making their way in and out on a daily basis. Therefore, Café Sydney is an excellent choice for a meal, as it offers sweeping views of all of the above. It is located on the rooftop of Customs House and features an outdoor terrace. Raw bar fans will weep with delight at the menu.
Cocktails: Everyone raves about Bulletin Place near Circular Quay. With a fruit-driven, seasonal cocktail menu and expert mixologists creating magic, this little attic is where treasures are found. As Time Out Magazine said: “Just fling your credit card over the bar and yell ‘have at it.’ The cocktails are that good
What’s Hot this month: You cannot visit Sydney without going to see at least one production at Sydney Opera House. The magnificent edifice is home to multiple theaters, so there are often several shows on the schedule at the same time. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city on New Year’s Eve, head to the harbor for a truly spectacular fireworks show.
Culture: Montreal is just a one-hour plane ride from New York and, with a definite European flavor, the city makes for a fairytale holiday trip. Start your visit with a trip to Mount-Royal Park, an extinct volcano and sanctuary in the middle of bustling downtown where views of the wintery city will thrill.
Shopping: Montreal is full of dapper men and they all shop at Frank & Oak’s. The brand came to fame with an exclusive member’s only “salon” approach but now has a physical store, full service barber and coffee shop on-site. Modern design and free consultations on tap at this “fashion start-up.”
Food: Montreal has a name for its architecture and culture, but the foodie culture reins. With weekly restaurant openings, where to start? Do it “like the locals do” at Le Boating Club, where the light nautical theme and the super-popular French Canadian brunch make for a real Quebec culture experience.
Cocktails: If you have ever wanted to be “Big in Japan,” the bar by the same name is for you. This hidden lounge off the Saint-Laurent’s Main strip is marked only by the tiny red Japanese symbol on the door, next to a burger joint. Think of this place as an elevated date night stop and try the special selection of Japanese whiskey.
What’s Hot this month: The kiddies will enjoy a trip to the “Enchanted Village.” Take in the shopping along Saint Catherine Street, then make your way to La Maison Ogilvy’s famous holiday display. Founded in 1866, the store – and its magnificent Christmas display boasting over 100 moving parts – is a season staple.
Cape Town, South Africa
Culture: Cape Town is known for its restaurant, hotel and nightlight scenes but a trip here is best started with an homage to history. At Robbin Island, Cape Town’s version of Alcatraz, tour the facility where Nelson Mandela spent two decades of his 27-year sentence and where the guards are actually former political prisoners.
Shopping: Join the hordes at “Saturday market” at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, where artisanal snacks and handmade crafts are displayed with equal fanfare. The Neighbourgoods Market draws visitors and residents for coffee, strolling and bargaining every week.
Food: Make a reservation at Le Colombe at Silvermist and immerse yourself in wine culture, over your meal. The restaurant is located in the upscale suburb of Constantia in one of South Africa’s first vineyards, dating back to 1685. Local ingredients are the star here.
Cocktails: Long Street is the destination for after-dark fun in Cape Town. Try Julep, one of the city’s best kept secrets, for the best dry martini in town, comfy couches and a great happy hour scene on weekdays. Live, local music acts pop up on weekends.
What’s Hot this month: The Wavescape Festival celebrates all things surfing and ocean in Cape Town. The event kicks off at the end of November and continues through December with film screenings and beach side events with features best described by the website as “surf porn.”
Culture: Bordeaux has all the charm of Paris, but with decidedly less pretension. Start your visit with a stroll on Rue Saint Catherine, the largest pedestrian street in the world. This is an ideal, and very photogenic place to get lost on purpose if travelling alone.
Shopping: Even the chain stores have charm in Bordeaux. Check out Le Comptoir de Mathilde where chocolate, candies, jams and even foie gras are packaged beautifully, making perfect souvenirs for the friends and family who did not make the holiday.
Food: La Tupina on the Rue Porte de la Monnaie has been around since 1968. The scene is that of a warm French farmhouse with rustic, vintage furniture. Enjoy Bordeaux’s best pot-au-feu, foie gras, slow-roasted lamb and roast Bigorre pork with potatoes cooked in duck fat that are so good, you may never be satisfied with the bog standard again.
Cocktails: At L’Universe, lauded widely for the “best wine list in France,” do not look for fussy décor. The largely unadorned location includes over 900 wines and only five percent of them are non-French. Food is matched to your wine selection, so let your sommelier do the talking.
What’s Hot this month: Christmas shop with style at the largest Christmas market in the heart of Bordeaux this month. Over 130 chalets make up the enchanted space, making for a fabulous (and very French) holiday atmosphere. Displays up until December 26th.
New York, New York
Culture: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a stand-by any time of the year but Christmas brings the museum’s longstanding holiday installation: a vivid 18th century Neapolitan Nativity scene—embellished with a festive array of lifelike figures and silk-robed angels hovering above—adorning a candlelit spruce.
Shopping: For those that want to avoid the high-street hype but want to capture some classic New York, arrange an afternoon of shopping at The Plaza Hotel this December. Whether you grab a beloved trinket from the Eloise shop, a bundle of fresh flowers at the indoor market or shop for jewels and fragrance where Princess Grace once did, the atmosphere, service and ambience will put you in a holiday state of mind.
Food: Bobby Flay is known for his ravenous appetite when it comes to competing in culinary competitions and his restaurant in midtown does not disappoint. Bar Americain is a NYC staple with equal parts down home and downtown flair. Try the Deviled Eggs appy for an inventive twist on the old classic.
Cocktails: At Employees Only, you don’t need a job to help yourself to amazing cocktails. What you do need is an understanding of classic drinks. Skip the trends and go with a Manhattan made by some of the city’s finest mixologists.
What’s Hot this month: December is chilly in New York and the perfect time to forgive yourself for bundling up with friends or family and taking the requisite horse and carriage ride around or through Central Park. Be inventive and book a carriage ride in-between Christmas shopping; there is always a collection of carriages in front of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue.