This is your go-to list of all the chicest things to do, see, eat, drink and explore in our favourite cities. It's not pulled from any sources other than our own experiences or those of our fussiest fashion friends with their fingers firmly on the pulse. So whether you are lucky enough to live in New York, Paris, London or Sydney or are planning a visit soon, don't go anywhere without our cut-through-the-clutter insider tips.
Corso Venezia, 15, +39 02 7601 1154.
Via Santa Marta 11, +39 02 8645 1991.DOLCE VITA:
Join well-heeled Milanese locals at Cova for your espresso and sinfully sweet pasticceria. You’ll need the calories to get you through fashion week (and to sustain you while you work your way through the stores in the famed Golden Quadrangle). Splurge on delicious gianduia chocolate for pressies. Via Montenapoleone, 8, + 39 02 7600 0578, www.pasticceriacova.com
DRINK: If you have a penchant for bright, young things … or dazzling peacocks … then Armani/Nobu for aperitivo hour won’t disappoint. And unlike its international sibs in London and NY, the Milanese outpost still attracts a chic crowd and a gaggle of catwalk models. Via Gastone Pisoni 1, +39 02 7231 8645, www.noburestaurants.com
STAY: Hotel Bulgari.
The Bulgari is a study in understated luxe: from it’s handsome suites, to the state-of-the-art hammam and its breathtaking garden oasis. If your budget doesn’t extend to a night’s accom here – then satisfy your curiosity with a bloodorange and Campari in the leafy giardino. Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7/b, + 39 02 805 805, www.bulgarihotels.com/en-us/milan
Other notable mentions: The Gray (www.hotelthegray.com); Maison Moschino (www.maisonmoschino.com/en)
EXPLORE: Bleecker Street, West Village.
Charming leafy streets filled with cute cafes and cupcakeries, cosy restaurants, and a plethora of cool boutiques.
SEE: MoMA, http://www.moma.org
If there’s one cultural thing you must do in NYC ... let it be this. Follow with a visit to the excellent gift shop to pick up souvenirs.
BRUNCH: Café Gitane, http://www.cafegitanenyc.com
Nolita hipster hangout that serves a decent brew and delish French-Morrocan fare. Oh, and the eye candy isn’t bad either.
This achingly hip boutique offers the best edit in runway-hot clothing, lust-worthy accessories and emerging design talent.
LISTEN: Jay Z & Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
SWEET TREAT: BabyCakes NYC, http://www.babycakesnyc.com
Offers tantalising and decadent morsels that are practically guilt-free. And if it’s anything to go by, Madge and Gwynnie are fans.
CHILL: Seeking a green zone downtown? Then nip up to the verdant High Line, nestled amongst Manhattan’s gleaming skyscrapers. http://www.thehighline.org
DRINK: Boom Boom Room, http://www.standardhotels.com
Where’s the party at? The Standard’s Boom Boom Room. Populated with actors, beautiful thin-hipped girls and their entourage.
STAY: Crosby Street Hotel, http://www.firmdalehotels.com
Suite dreams were made of these ... Arguably NY’s most desirable address, located in the beating heart of fashionable SoHo.
SCENE AND BE SEEN: Kenmare
Paul Sevigny (Chlöe’s elder sib) is behind NY’s latest hotspot. You can dine here, but the subterranean lounge downstairs is the ticket ... on the proviso that they let you in.
STAY: Four Seasons GEORGE V, http://www.fourseasons.com/paris/
When only the very best will do ...
It’s not a wonder that this store has a global cult following. It’s a veritable Aladdin’s cave that sells everything your heart ever desired – and more.
SWEET TREAT: Pierre Hermé, http://www.pierreherme.com
Come here for pure pâtisserie porn. Hermé’s mouthwatering macarons are touted as Paris’s best and flavours run the gamut of ridiculous and sublime. Expect rose; jasmine; wasabi; choc-passionfruit and more.
SEE: Rodin Museum, http://www.musee-rodin.fr
Whether it’s art appreciation or quiet contemplation you’re seeking ... this intimate little museum is one of Paris’s finest. And the jardin is lovely too.
EAT: L’Entrecôt, http://www.entrecote.fr
There’s only has one thing on the menu at this iconic French resto and that’s Steak Frites. That said, it really is worth coming for.
DRINK: La Perle
The fashionable Marais café transforms into a lively watering hole in the evening; and it’s the perfect place to people-watch with an aperitif in hand.
PERUSE: Marché puces de St-Ouen
Tout de Paris head to St-Ouen flea markets to find objet d’arts, antiquities and vintage fashion. Get an early start to find the best treasures.
WATCH: Paris Je t’aime
INVEST: Didier Ludot, http://www.didierludot.fr
Stylists, ladies who lunch and magazine editors shop at Ludot’s stores for serious vintage (there are three). Expect to find breathtaking couture pieces, Balenciaga ball gowns, genuine Vionnet and Birkin bags in mint condition.
SCENE AND BE SEEN: Hôtel Costes, http://www.hotelcostes.com
There’s never a dull moment at this terribly chic hotel. And if you’re going for cocktails or lunch, make sure you put on your Sunday best darlings!
SCENE AND BE SEEN: Shoreditch House, http://www.shoreditchhouse.com
Lara Stone is a fan ... and there are ample distractions for even the most jaded jet setter. Think rooftop pool and bar, spa, lounge, bowling alley and restaurant.
SHOP: Dover Street Market
More contemporary art museum than your garden-variety boutique – admire (or splurge on!) avant-garde designer fashion and quirky installations from owner Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.
EXPLORE: Portobello Road, Notting Hill
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely amble down Portobello Road. Its colourful market offers trinkets galore.
PAMPER: Cowshed spa, http://www.cowshedonline.com
Weary globetrotters seeking pampering treatments can join the rest of the herd at the well-appointed Cowshed spa, and don’t panic, its prods are totally organic.
DINE: E&O, http://www.rickerrestaurants.com/eando
Join the Notting Hill set for dinner at this super-slick pan-Asian eatery, and rest-assured; while the fare is tasty, locals also come here for the scene.
BRUNCH: Electric, http://www.electricbrasserie.com
The brasserie is part of the hip Soho House stable and the preferred place to settle in for a long brunch on weekends. Make sure you book.
SWEET TREAT: Hummingbird Bakery, http://hummingbirdbakery.com
You will need an iron will to resist the offerings from our favourite bakery in the world. Their scrumptious old-fashioned iced cupcakes are truly a thing of beauty.
SEE: Saatchi Gallery, http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/
So many museums so little time ... The Saatchi Gallery always holds interesting exhibitions and is conveniently located near Sloane Square.
DRINK: Claridges Bar, http://www.claridges.co.uk
You don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy the delights of its glorious Art Deco bar ... or killer Lavender Martinis. Need an occasion? Your LBD called and said it needed a proper, grown-up outing.
STAY: The Berkeley Hotel, http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk
Dress-circle address, fabulous fine dining, swank Blue Bar ... and probably the wittiest afternoon tea (think cookie and cupcake couture) in all of London.
SCENE AND BE SEEN: North Bondi Italian, http://www.idrb.com
A perennially buzzy beachside trattoria that serves a mean Campari cocktail and great Italian eats. The crowd? Bikini babes, visiting international celebrities and boys with artfully tousled hair and chiseled cheekbones.
PLAY: Tamarama Beach
Is this the prettiest beach in the world? Quite possibly. And there’s a reason why locals have nicknamed it glama-rama; it doubles as a casting couch for ridiculously good-looking talent.
EXPLORE: The intersection at Glenmore Road, Paddington
Seeking retail therapy? Glenmore Road is home to Australia’s top boutiques. Check out Zimmermann; Willow; Scanlan & Theodore; Parlour X; Josh Goot et al.
DRINK: Tokonoma, http://www.toko.com.au
This sexy (and deceptively cavernous) bar offers tasty saketinis and superlative sushi. It’s advisable to book a comfy booth if you’re travelling with an entourage.
DAY TRIP: Palm Beach
What the Hamptons is to New Yorkers, Palm Beach is to well-heeled Sydneysiders. Rent a convertible for the day and book into Jonah’s for lunch. Better still, book a seaplane to take you.
BRUNCH: Bills, http://www.bills.com.au
There are a plethora of great places to brunch in Sydney but the original Bills serves the best ricotta hotcakes and scrambled eggs in town.
SEE: MCA, http://www.mca.com.au
Culture vultures will want to swing by Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art for the hottest, latest, and newest in the global art scene.
LONG LUNCH: Manly Pavilion, http://www.manlypier.com
Sure there are Icebergs, Pier and Pilu, but the newest kid on the block (touted as this year’s best new restaurant) really lives up to its hype ... and the view isn’t too shabby either.
DO: Bondi-Bronte coastal walk
For jaw-dropping views (and we’re not just talking about the beach) do as the locals do and join them on their scenic stroll. Don’t forget your bikini!
SWEET TEMPTATIONS: Adriano Zumbo, http://www.adrianozumbo.com/
There’s always a queue for the precocious pastry chef ‘s heavenly concoctions. And the array of dainty gateaux and macaroons will make you weak at the knees.
MelbourneDINE: Il Bacaro, http://www.ilbacaro.com.au
A well-loved Melbourne institution that is populated with sartorially resplendent diners… and interstate interlopers. This super-slick establishment demands you put on your sharpest little black dress and smart heels for the occasion. Classically good-looking Euro interiors; sexy ambient lighting courtesy of flickering tea-light candles; and a slick yet compact little bar that makes a fine Negroni. And what of the food? Well, that’s pretty damn good too. Which is why you’ll need to book ahead darlings. 168-170 Little Collins Street.
SHOP: There are countless stellar little boutiques in Melbourne… so much so that it’s hard to nominate just one. Our two faves…
DRINK: Little Press & Cellar, http://www.pressclub.com
Sophisticates gravitate to this stylish fit-out like moths to a flame. Linger over its impressive wine list… and suitably moreish bar food that will tide you over until you mosey on to its elder sibling, The Press Club, for dinner. 72 Flinders Street, (03) 9677 9677
STAY: The Prince, http://www.theprince.com.au
No two rooms are the same at this fabulous boutique hotel. Think achingly-modern suites filled with contemporary art, Aurora Spa Rituals (the hotel’s personal spa brand) toiletries; bottles of Louis Roederer champagne, and a Bose radio for starters. The hotel also boasts a sumptuous (and sceney) restaurant, Circa, which is the perfect way to kickstart a romantic weekend for deux.
2 Aceland Street, St. Kilda, (03) 9536 1111.
NIBBLE: on baked Goods from Melbourne’s excellent Baker D. Chirico… or stay for brunch. Organic loaves are highly sought after here – as is the ambrosial coffee. Prepare to queue. Shop 3-4, 149 Fitroy Street, St. Kilda.
CYCLE: urbanites will love this nifty rent-a-cycle operation. Located all over the city… and offers an iPhone app so you can find out availability. What’s not to love? From $2.50 a day. http://www.melbournebikeshare.com.au
EXPLORE: Royal Botanic Gardens.
Retreat to this lush oasis when you’ve spent too much time in gritty laneways and the bustling CBD – it’s just a few minutes walk away. Accessorise with a good tome and picnic (Shannon Bennett’s Café Vue do a neat little number to go). Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra
PAMPER: Style-conscious folk who are devoted to Aesop’s apothecary-style prods can check in to the South Yarra outpost for botanical-based facial treatments (and do a spot of shopping while they’re at it). 153 Toorak Road, South Yarra. (03) 9866 5250; http://www.aesop.net.au
EAT: You're spoilt for choice in this town… and while there are plenty of high-falutin’ establishments where you can spend money like water… our favourite eateries are the cool, cosy, more intimate digs such as…
Named after an Italian pornstar (and artist Jeff Koon’s ex-wife). Welcoming if not slightly chaotic, and the much-loved home-style cooking brings in a dedicated crowd, week after week. 130 Acland Street, St. Kilda, (03) 9525 3333.
Cutler & Co.
Foodie haven. Almost impossible to get a table without booking. Well worth the effort – it lives up to the hype. 55-57 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, (03) 9419 4888; http://www.cutlerandco.com.au
DETOX: Como Shambala, http://www.comoshambhala.como.bz
Head for the hills to the heart of Eat Pray Love country for what is arguably the most luxurious boutique hotel and health retreat in Asia. Raw food, yoga, Pilates, Ayurvedic spa treatments… all in the most gorgeous setting… a lush tropical jungle. Bliss.
FINE DINE: Mozaic, http://www.mozaic-bali.com
After your week-long detox… treat yourself to a sublime alfresco dinner at Ubud’s most charming resto. But book ahead, the degustation menu is popular with the jet-set (and uber chefs)… and it’s no surprise really, who wouldn’t want to have dinner under a canopy of perfumed frangipanis and twinkling stars?
SPLENDID ISOLATION: Villa Sungai, http://www.bali-villasungai.com
For those really wanting to get ‘away from it all’ – book into the stunning Villa Sungai (Indonesian for ‘river’). Expect around-the-clock butler service, terribly chic-yet-welcoming interiors (which you will want to emulate back home!), an 18-metre pool, in-house spa treatments, fragrant Acqua di Parma toiletries … basically, everything you’ve ever wished for ... and more.
… on foot to discover Bali’s best boutiques, which offers all manner of artisan homewares, clothes, jewellery and more. Plus, there’s plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to check out when the sun gets a little too warm … and for when you just need to stop, revive and imbibe yet another mango-and-coconut smoothie.
STRETCH: Desa Seni, http://www.desaseni.com
Svelte yogis make the pilgrimage to Desa Seni for the island’s best yoga classes: and rest assured, the school offers a wide variety (in addition to cosy dwellings and a holistic day spa). Bend it like Madonna at Desa Seni’s Ashtanga class or wind down with lovely Hatha.
HIDDEN GEM: Métis, http://www.metisbali.com
This cavernous oasis in the middle of bustling Seminyak is all things to all people. It’s a gallery-cum-boutique-cum-restaurant that serves up fine French fusion, along with covetable Balinese homewares, artworks and gorgeous jewels to boot. Just don’t forget the Amex.
AFTER EIGHT: Sarong, http://www.sarongbali.com
Head chef (and former Jimmy Liks alum) Will Meyrick has attracted a loyal following for his exquisite pan-Asian fare and it would simply be remiss of you to skip this stylish Seminyak gem. Kick start your evening with a killer caprioska or the house’s delectable bloody mary, before grazing on betel leaves and spicy delights …
PLAYA: Karma Khandara’s Beach Club, http://www.karmakandara.com/nammos-beach-club
Karma Khandara’s exclusive Nammos beach club has been voted as having the best beach on the island. Think turquoise waters, white sand, flamboyant Schiaparelli-pink bougainvillea. Feels like your own private Greek isle, well, almost. At any rate, it’s worth a day trip. BYO your own Adonis.
BEFORE SUNSET: Ayana’s Rock bar, http://www.ayanaresort.com/rockbarbali/
For jaw-dropping views (or a hot date), make a beeline for the Ayana hotel’s salubrious Rock Bar. Imagine, if you will, infinity pools carved out of a dramatic cliff face … overlooking a private white sandy beach, clubby chairs and lounges to nestle in… oh… and of course there’s that sunset.
DRINK: There’s a glut of great watering holes in Canggu and Seminyak. Check out Ku De Ta; Cocoon, Potato Head and The Living Room for starters…