I know, I know, it’s sad that summer is coming to an end. But do you know what is not sad? The end of peak travel season—and its overpriced airline tickets, jacked up lodging costs, and crowds.
Fall, with its calmer—and cheaper—charms is, in my opinion, the best time to travel. But where to go is quite the loaded question. To make deciding easier, here are a set of destinations to consider from the get-go. They’ve got new, interesting hotels or events that will have you ahead of the pack, should you go.
Kingston, New York
Summer may belong to the Hamptons, but autumn is best spent in the Hudson Valley. Stay at Hotel Kinsley in Kingston New York, a new boutique property that stretches across four historic buildings, two of which date back to the 17th century.
The designer behind it is Robert McKinley, the creative interior mastermind behind The Surf Lodge and Montauk’s McKinley Bungalow. He’s designed each building to be different, with a mixture of Scandinavian and bohemian touches, vintage furniture, and lots of greenery. Bonus: each room comes with a self-serve bar—so a nightcap is never out of reach.
The food is by Taavo Somer, of perennially trendy Gemma in the Bowery Hotel and perennially divey bar The Rusty Knot (their pretzel dogs: if you know, you know). Restaurant Kinsley serves up a locally sourced menu of feel-good food like lamb meatballs and pasta with stracciatella.
Plus, the town of Kingston is only two hours away from New York City—perfect for anyone with wanderlust, but also for those with just a weekend.
Downtown Los Angeles
The resurgence of downtown L.A. continues with a wave of new hotel openings: The Hoxton (open for business come October), the Wayfarer, the Kelly Wearstler-designed The Proper (opening fall 2019), and the 110,000 square foot Soho Warehouse, the Soho House’s latest club-slash-lodging location. According to the Los Angeles’s visitors bureau, visitors to DTLA—which is made up of diverse areas like the Arts District, Little Tokyo, and El Pueblo—is at an all time high: 30 percent of visitors to Los Angeles are now exploring Downtown.
And with good reason: DTLA has been positioning itself as a dynamic district for a few years running, with 2015’s arrival of The Broad, the streetwear hub of Sneaker Row, the food stalls of Grand Central Market and, come 2020, the arrival of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. While the city is still struggling to address affordable housing, the area is bound to be increasingly populated, not just by tourists: hundreds of residential units are in development in addition to the area's hotels.
Setouchi Islands, Japan
Every three years, the Setouchi Islands of Japan (aka the “art islands”) hold the Setouchi Art Triennale, a contemporary festival where works by 150 international artists are scattered across 12 different islands in the region. The last of the festival’s three sessions runs from September 28 through October 4, and includes outdoor works propped up in fields, along the coast, and even in abandoned homes. Then there’s the Setouchi Island’s “permanent” collection, which includes earthworks by artists like Yayoi Kusuma, James Turrell, Walter de Maria and architect Tadao Ando. Stay at the Setouchi Aonagi, which includes suites designed by the latter.
Florence isn’t exactly a secret spot. But the historic city is still a must visit for anyone looking to understand the origins of Western culture and society—and to enjoy a good dish of pasta while they’re at it.
Come fall, the tour groups will have subsided, and the baking Italian sun waned. That’s when you should book a room at Hotel Calimala, a new accommodation in Florence’s Centro Storico neighborhood that opens in early October. Designed by Alex Meitilis, who worked on all the Ottolenghi restaurants in London, Calimala boasts entirely custom-made furniture and a curated art collection. There’s also a three-story restaurant which includes a floral garden patio, a lounge, a pool, and breathtaking views of the city.
Namib Desert, Namibia
The Namib Desert is seeing something of a luxury eco-tourism boom. This August, there was the arrival of Sonop Namibia, a five-star property designed to evoke an explorer’s camp from the 1920s. In October, andBeyond Sossusvlei reopens its set of ten solar-powered suites after a nearly-year long renovation. It’s not your typical safari trip, but the opportunities for a unique adventure are endless. Much of the sky above the Namib Desert is an International Dark Sky Reserve, meaning it’s some of the best stargazing in the world. Travelers can also see cheetahs, jackals, and hyenas. And for the truly intrepid, there’s a multi-day trek to see where the dunes meet the sea—which feels like the end of the earth.
Originally Appeared on Vogue