The best last-minute breaks to book in October
Discover where to travel for a last-minute getaway
We reveal the top destinations to jet off to this October, for everything from shopping sprees and fine fare to unforgettable theatre.
If you haven’t taken a holiday or break this summer, don’t fret. October is just as good a time to get away, with many destinations still enjoying temperate weather and the new season’s cultural calendar coming into play. From New York to Marrakech, discover the best places for a last-minute October trip
For culture – London
There’s never a bad time to visit the English capital, but October has to be one of its finest moments, with autumn hues beginning to show across the city and the weather generally mild and dry. Take in the majestic ‘back garden’ of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London with your pick of audio walking tours. You can choose from a history tour of Knightsbridge, South Kensington and the parks or let BBC sports presenter Clare Balding take you deeper into Hyde Park’s history, with guests including Friends of the Royal Parks, Kensington Palace and The Household Cavalry. Simply check out the explore page before you travel or ask your friendly concierge. It would also be remiss to visit London and not catch a West End show. Thankfully, there are plentiful last-minute tickets to be had. Catch Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt in Eureka Day, which opens on 6 September at the Old Vic and runs until 31 October, or see what is being hailed as the performance of the year from British acting royalty Juliet Stevenson in The Doctor, which opens on 29 September.
For food and wine – Marrakech
Temperatures might still be warm in Marrakech in October but, thanks to the private plunge pools at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech’s villas and suites, you’ll be kept energised and refreshed. Lie supine in a shady cabana by the pool until it’s time to refuel, when you can snag a table at one of the city’s hottest addresses right now, restaurant +61, which has reopened following its summer break. This Australian venue effortlessly blends Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian flavours, which is why ¬– along with its stellar service ¬– it has earned itself a spot on the Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list. If you fancy cooking yourself, reserve a place on a cooking class back at the hotel, where the chefs will help you select ingredients from the hotel’s kitchen garden and then teach you how to prepare them in the kitchen.
For shopping – New York
Hot off the heels of September’s New York Fashion Week, the fashion gliteratti won’t have hung up their gladrags just yet so it’s worth hitting the city’s finest bars and restaurants to get a taste for the glamour. Head to Hav + Mar in Chelsea from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, set to open in October and where the focus is seafood infused with influences of Samuselsson’s native Scandinavia and Ethiopia, or Naro at the Rockefeller Centre for high-end Korean cuisine from the team behind acclaimed 14-seat tasting menu restaurant Atomix. Fans of M.O. should head to Mandarin Oriental, New York’s Danielli Fine Jewelry store on the hotel’s 35th floor to get suitably frosted for their outings ¬– you’ll also receive a one-to-one consultation with one of Danielli’s experts as well as a complimentary jewellery cleaning and a 20 per cent discount on any purchases. Mingle with the New York’s élite late into the night over cocktails at MO Lounge.
For wellness – Barcelona
October is a great time to set goals for the end of the year, be they fitness, learning new skills or simply taking time to recharge. Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona is the ideal place to kick-start your new plans – Fans of M.O can book on to a host of activities, from boxing classes and vinyasa flow yoga to a Valmont facial treatment or a complimentary scalp analysis. Stop by MACBA ¬– Barcelona’s modern art museum ¬– and idle away the hours taking in the art, such as Brazilian multimedia artist Cinthia Marcelle’s exhibition A Conjunction of Factors, which aims to reimagine the ‘dynamics of collectivity’ through photography, motion picture and installations.