Illinois Tourism & Travel

Crazy About Travel

Four top travel destinations for 2022

A bedroom at the Hotel Il Tornabuoni in Florence © Stefano Scatà
Restored frescoes in the Beatrice suite at Il Tornabuoni
Restored frescoes in the Beatrice suite at Il Tornabuoni © Stefano Scatà

As locations go, Via Tornabuoni is as mint as it gets in Florence. Pedestrianised years ago, it puts you within about five minutes’ walking distance of everything, from the Marino Marini and Palazzo Strozzi museums to Procacci (mid-afternoon brioche al tartufo, check) to the ravishingly pretty Ginori 1735 boutique – not to mention every other major luxury brand. Now it has its own buzzy hotel: Il Tornabuoni, whose 62 rooms and suites fill the 12th- to 13th-century Palazzo Minerbetti, sitting prettily just across the street from the Palazzo Spini Feroni, aka Ferragamo HQ. The design is full Renaissance maximalist (truly, full; the colour-averse should think twice): jewel tones – stripes, solids, chevrons – cover walls and ceilings, velvet and passementerie are everywhere, and exotic equatorial prints hang throughout. But there’s a certain joy to the whole. And Procacci brioches (it bears saying twice). iltornabuonihotel.it; from €400

Rooftop views of Florence from the Hotel Il Tornabuoni
Rooftop views of Florence from the Hotel Il Tornabuoni © Stefano Scatà

Find your Anguilla

Aurora Anguilla
Aurora Anguilla © Darren Ornitz
The Aurora Anguilla is a reimagination of the former Resorts & Residences by CuisinArt
The Aurora Anguilla is a reimagination of the former Resorts & Residences by CuisinArt © Darren Ornitz

Anguilla may not be as picture-perfect as nearby St Barths, or as easy to access as Antigua, but its beaches, water and corals stack up against anywhere on Earth. This month, the old Resorts & Residences by CuisinArt (an unlovely name, but long one of the finest sites on the island, at Rendezvous Bay) reopens after a complete reimagination by its new owners as Aurora Anguilla. The upgrade is thick with wow factor, starting with the resort’s private air charter service, offered from key markets in the continental US (this means you, NY/Boston/DC/Miami; commercial flights, meanwhile, land in St Martin, a 30-minute ferry ride away). Then there is the Aurora International Golf Club, which sees the championship course – the island’s only one – redesigned by Greg Norman, who is installing a new nine-hole short course on premises as well. Finally, the food: all of it is overseen by Abram Bissell, who led the kitchens at The Modern and Eleven Madison Park in New York (which makes him a five-star Michelin man), and who has created a hydroponic farm and orchard on resort grounds to furnish his five restaurants here. The decor is fresh and modern – white, wood, rattan, scads of daylight. And that beach? Thankfully, it’s entirely unchanged. auroraanguilla.com, from $999


Made in Mexico

Casa Polanco in Mexico City
Casa Polanco in Mexico City

Casa Polanco soft-opens in an early-20th-century neocolonial mansion
Casa Polanco soft-opens in an early-20th-century neocolonial mansion

Architect Claudio Gantuz has restored the hotel over four years
Architect Claudio Gantuz has restored the hotel over four years

Feeling rather like a chic friend’s home – the aspiration of so many hotels with variations on that description – Casa Polanco soft-opens this month in Mexico City, in an early-20th-century neocolonial mansion previously home to a string of prominent Mexican families. Architect Claudio Gantuz has designed a contemporary response adjacent to it, connected by an elegant wood and glass corridor, bringing the guest rooms to a total of 19. All of them face greenery: some the property’s interior garden, others the Parque Lincoln. The four-year restoration maintained enough original architectural design to keep things feeling Old Mexico – tiles; antiques and maps; some seriously ornate plaster and stonework – while the low-slung Italian art and furnishings are all 21st-century CDMX. casapolanco.com, from $380


Your own private Galapagos

Snorkelling in the Galápagos Islands
Snorkelling in the Galápagos Islands © Aqua Expeditions
The 50m, seven-cabin Aqua Mare superyacht
The 50m, seven-cabin Aqua Mare superyacht © Aqua Expeditions

There will be a compelling new reason to move the Galápagos to the top of the 2022 wishlist next spring with the launch of Aqua Mare, a 50m, seven-cabin private yacht from Aqua Expeditions, the outfit that cruises the Peruvian Amazon, the Mekong and Indonesia’s “coral triangle.” It might be a new destination for them, but this archipelago is familiar territory to the company’s founder, Francesco Galli Zugaro, who used to work for a private expeditions company in the Galápagos. That expertise combines with a product offering on the Italian-built ship that is hard to beat: state-of-the-art stabilisation technology, a top speed of 17 knots and a cruising range of 4,800 nautical miles, which outperforms any other yacht in the region. Four decks, huge suites, indoor-outdoor lounges and menus created by Peruvian super-chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino will bring the cosseting; the military-grade tenders, exceptional access; and Aqua’s two onboard naturalists will be there to put land, sea, history and wildlife all into context. aquaexpeditions.com, from $9,450pp for a seven-night cruise

@mariashollenbarger

Aqua’s onboard naturalists will assist on the Galápagos expeditions
Aqua’s onboard naturalists will assist on the Galápagos expeditions © Aqua Expeditions