Two cities, one trip: holiday-planning made simple
For centuries-old bazaars and coastal chic
Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans have all called Istanbul their home, while the Silk Route’s merchants flocked here, to sell their exotic wares. All have left their mark on this vibrant, East-meets-West metropolis, with its unique architecture, culture and food. Experience it all from the waterfront Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul, set in the chic Kuruçeşme neighbourhood. Three pools, multiple restaurants and a 3,500sqm spa will keep you occupied, but beyond the hotel, there are all kinds of marvels to explore, from mosques and hammams to the centuries-old Grand Bazaar. Ask the concierge to arrange a bespoke arts and culture tour, or browse Turkish carpets, jewellery and ceramics on a private shopping spree.
Do a car-ferry combination, or take a plane to the Aegean coast – it takes just over an hour to Bodrum. It’s hard to believe that this sprawling city was once a sleepy fishing village. While the old quarter is all cobbled streets and tumbling bougainvillaea, the waterfront is lined with sleek yachts and clubs. The coastline that stretches away to the north is quieter, and it’s here you’ll find Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum. The five-star retreat hugs Paradise Bay and has two private beaches, while an off-road safari will take you into the craggy, pine-covered mountains. Come the evening, head for a private dinner in the ruins of Bodrum Castle, for an atmospheric end to your stay on the Turkish Riviera.
For bright lights and baseball
Glittering skyscrapers, bright yellow cabs, the Statue of Liberty, hot-dog carts… Walking around New York, it feels as if you’re on a movie set. Take a bite out of the Big Apple by strolling through leafy Central Park, catching a show on Broadway, or splashing out at Bergdorf Goodman. In a city that never sleeps, escape the 24/7 hustle and bustle at Mandarin Oriental, New York, set on Columbus Circle, by Central Park. Everything here dazzles, not least the MO Lounge, with its crisp Martinis and sweeping Manhattan views.
The rail journey from NYC to Boston, Massachusetts, takes around four hours. The largest city in New England is steeped in history, from its 17th-century Puritan roots to its part in the American Revolution – a story told via the extraordinary, 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Boston and you’ll be at the heart of the action, with the Boston Public Library, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts just blocks away. For baseball fans, meanwhile, Fenway Park is a 20-minute stroll, whether you’re in the bleachers for a game, or taking a guided tour. After a day’s exploring, head back for dinner at Ramsay’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, for buttery Connecticut-style lobster roll, served on toasted brioche.
For picnicking beneath the stars and shopping
Begin your Southeast Asian adventure in Singapore, just off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The first thing you’ll notice is how incredibly clean it is. The second? How much there is to do. Whether you’re into culture (don’t miss the National Gallery or Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay) or nature (trekking in the wetland reserves, botanic gardens and mangroves is lush), there’s something for everyone. On Marina Bay, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is a lesson in luxury. Service here is second to none, and nothing’s too much trouble, from starlit picnics looking out across the bay to the spa’s muscle-melting Teh Hijau treatment.
It’s an hour by air to Kuala Lumpur (aka KL), the national capital of Malaysia. Like Singapore, it’s a heady mix of futuristic infrastructure, colonial buildings, temples, street-food stalls and quaint cafés. While a visit to the district of Bukit Bintang and its famous shopping malls is a must, so, too, is Batu Caves, a series of temples built into the rocks accessed by 272 rainbow-hued steps. Amid all the fast-paced fun, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur is an oasis of calm. It’s set between the flowering gardens of the KLCC Park and the soaring Petronas Twin Towers – best admired from the infinity pool, or over a Jungle Bird at the bar (rum, Campari, lime and fresh pineapple, since you ask). Impress friends back home by signing up for a cooking lesson with the hotel’s chefs – will it be durian pancakes or a spicy Malay feast? Either way, you won’t go hungry here.