Re­dis­cover Miami, Las Ve­gas and Brook­lyn—with a nos­tal­gic twist.

ELLE (Canada) - - Travel -


It’s an Instagram-wor­thy scene—with no fil­ters re­quired: Striped deck chairs line two pris­tine pools where cock­tails are served in panda-shaped mugs. Bob Mar­ley’s “Could You Be Loved” head­lines the playlist dur­ing the day, and celebri­ties like Pit­bull and Mi­ley Cyrus take over at night. This is the new Thomp­son Miami Beach, where you can take in ocean views from a 1940s-in­spired suite (we’re talk­ing geo­met­ric prints, mid­cen­tury fur­ni­ture and a bal­cony over­look­ing the coast) while you nosh on a jumbo-shrimp cock­tail from top chef Michelle Bern­stein’s in-house restau­rant, Sea­grape. Think of it all as your own per­sonal ode to the fi­nal sea­son of Mad Men.

EX­PLORE If you aren’t in town dur­ing Art Basel, get your cul­ture hit at the Pérez Art Mu­seum Miami (PAMM), which over­looks the im­pres­sive Bis­cayne Bay. Re­live your child­hood on Kon­stantin Gr­cic’s steel hang­ing-swing ex­hibit (#throw­back), just one of the high­lights of PAMM’s ex­pan­sive 20th- and 21st-cen­tury con­tem­po­rary-art col­lec­tion. EAT Stop for lunch at PAMM’s Verde resto, where hang­ing gar­dens sway over­head as you dig into Chicken Un­der a Brick and gulp down frosty fruit-filled san­gria. DRESS UP Ditch the flip-flops: A floor-length gown and bold lip­stick are re­quired at the Forge, one of Miami Beach’s old­est fine­din­ing han­gouts. (Frank Sinatra and Judy Gar­land were reg­u­lars in the 1930s, natch.) Or­der the pep­per­corn-crusted filet mignon and lis­ten to “Zou Bisou Bisou” on live pi­ano while you se­lect a glass of red from owner Sha­reef Mal­nik’s 25,000-bot­tle col­lec­tion—Justin Tim­ber­lake and Jes­sica Biel pur­chased a (pre-baby) $6,000 bot­tle of liqueur for a birth­day party here last year. DANCE You have to pass through a se­cret blue door to see the club that’s in­side Bodega Ta­que­ria y Tequila, Miami Beach’s new­est hot spot. By day it’s a taco truck for surfers; by night it’s a bar the Kar­dashi­ans would go to. Must-try: the Pico y Pi­cante cock­tail, a heady mix of cilantro, jalapeno, or­ange bit­ters, cu­cum­ber, tequila and mescal. It packs quite a punch. SARAH THOMP­SON h


It’s hard to imag­ine that the swish new SLS Las Ve­gas stands where the once-fa­mous (then-gritty) Sa­hara casino stood from the 1950s un­til it closed in 2011. To­day, the Frank Sinatra-led Rat Pack that once held court here has been re­placed by a new gen­er­a­tion—Joe Jonas was spin­ning at LiFe night­club when I vis­ited. The 1,600-room ho­tel (bou­tique by Sin City stan­dards) is one of the first out­posts of the “new Las Ve­gas,” which starts at the for­merly des­o­late north end of the strip and reaches down­town. While there are roulette ta­bles and slot ma­chines chim­ing at the SLS, this Philippe Starck-de­signed prop­erty prides it­self on its suite of L.A.-chic restau­rants and killer nightlife. Dare we say it? Las Ve­gas isn’t just glitzy; it’s get­ting cool again. EAT Is it pos­si­ble to have a hip­ster meal in Ve­gas? Al­most. Stop by the SLS’s Moroc­can-tile-clad Cleo and grab a ta­ble near the wood-burning oven for flavourful Mid­dle Eastern shared plates. Be sure to or­der the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Al­monds, Le­baneh with Feta and Ar­ti­choke Flat­bread. They’ll go fast. RIDE Take in a breath­tak­ing panoramic city view on the High Roller at the LINQ, which is the world’s high­est ob­ser­va­tion wheel. But this is no fair fare: Kanye plays as you take in the neon scene from a glass pod more than 160 me­tres up. SHOP Al­ready had your week­end’s worth of lo­goed shop­ping? Head be­yond the strip to the Down­town Con­tainer Park, where ac­tual ship­ping con­tain­ers have been re­pur­posed into mini bou­tiques for lo­cal de­sign­ers, artists and crafts­peo­ple—not to men­tion a hip­ster bar­ber­shop. DRINK Set be­neath mil­lions of draped crys­tals, the Chan­de­lier bar at the Cos­mopoli­tan of Las Ve­gas is the place to start your night—or end it, if you can’t re­sist drink­ing your way through mixol­o­gist Mariena Mercer’s cre­ative cock­tail menu. You can­not leave with­out try­ing the sur­pris­ing, spicy Ver­bena cock­tail. ROCK OUT The City of Rock is a new per­ma­nent fes­ti­val site (which trans­lates into “Yay, no porta-pot­ties!”) just off the strip that is home to the Rock in Rio fes­ti­val this May, with head­lin­ers like Tay­lor Swift and Bruno Mars. The best part? The zip line that sends you fly­ing right past the main stage. EX­PLORE Take an evening tour of the Neon Mu­seum Las Ve­gas to see the real old city. Lit­er­ally. This down­town mu­seum’s Neon Bone­yard is a jumble of his­toric signs that have been cast aside but, luck­ily, not forgotten. If you’re stay­ing at the SLS, give a spe­cial wave to the retro-chic Sa­hara sign. KATHRYN HUD­SON h


Since Brook­lyn has been chris­tened “the new Paris” and so many world-class cities are clam­our­ing to be­come just like it, why not just head di­rectly to Williamsburg—ar­guably Brook­lyn’s coolest ’hood and the de facto home­land of plaid-wear­ing, craft-brew-sip­ping cre­ative types. Drop off your bags at the McCar­ren Ho­tel & Pool (its 64 sleek ’60s-in­spired rooms come com­plete with mir­rored head­boards) and head straight to the salt-wa­ter pool for the retro party that will be un­der way on any given hot sum­mer night.

EAT Let David Naczycz, of Ur­ban Oys­ter Tours, be your guide around the lo­cal foodie scene, which spans nearly ev­ery cul­ture and di­etary re­stric­tion. (As a gluten-free pesc­etar­ian, I was de­lighted when he di­rected me to an as­sort­ment of spe­cialty mom-and-pop shops.) At Stinky Bk­lyn, try cheese (the Mo­hawk Mist, made from goat milk from New York’s Mo­hawk Val­ley, is a stand­out) paired with honey that’s har­vested on the rooftops of lo­cal brown­stones. Over at Green­point Fish & Lob­ster Co., the fish tacos (with corn tor­tilla wraps) are del­ish, and Vinny, the owner, will talk you into try­ing an oys­ter shot.

DRINK At Brook­lyn Win­ery, sip a house-made Zinfandel at the rustic bar, which was con­structed from re­cy­cled church pews and is in a room ac­cented with ’40s-style wall­pa­per. The win­ery opened in 2010 in a space that was pre­vi­ously an aban­doned night­club. “Ev­ery­thing in this city was once some­thing else,” says owner Brian Leven­thal.

HANG OUT Grab a pint of lo­cally brewed craft beer at 61 Lo­cal in Cob­ble Hill and get your cre­ative juices flow­ing like the lo­cal writ­ers who fre­quent hip­ster cafés and bars. You might even spot Jonathan Safran Foer, Ni­cole Krauss and Paul Auster, who call this bor­ough home. They con­tinue the lit­er­ary tra­di­tion of for­mer Brook­lynites Henry Miller and Walt Whit­man, whom you can learn more about via NY­’s self-guided lit­er­ary walk­ing tour of the area.

SWEET SNACK For a treat, stop in at Brook­lyn Far­macy & Soda Foun­tain, which is lo­cated in an old phar­macy and serves clas­sic 1950s egg creams: a de­li­cious (and gluten-free!) con­coc­tion of club soda, egg whites and flavoured syrup. AVA BAC­CARI h

For a glimpse of the kind of place Brook­lyn was nearly 20 years ago, head to Long Is­land City (LIC) in Queens. Just one sub­way stop from Mid­town Man­hat­tan, LIC is poised to be­come a hot­bed of lo­cal cul­ture, fu­sion cui­sine and, of course, the trendi­est ren­o­vated ware­houses around. Case in point: the Pa­per Fac­tory Ho­tel, a con­verted 19th-cen­tury pa­per mill that’s dec­o­rated with vin­tage type­writ­ers and a wind­ing book in­stal­la­tion. Make one of the prop­erty’s loft-style rooms your home base while you check out the up-and­com­ing scene.

EX­PLORE Dis­cover the city’s top spots with the help of Big Ap­ple Greeters. Let a lo­cal vol­un­teer—like Dan Abatelli, who showed me around—point out the 1936 land­mark Pep­siCola sign on the East River, walk you through the block-long Hun­ters Point His­toric Dis­trict (an ar­chi­tec­tural oa­sis of mar­ble-faced houses that date back to the Civil War) and take you to the much-touted Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art’s PS1, a con­tem­po­rary-art ex­hibit set in­side a for­mer public school.

EAT On any given street, quaint ’70s-era fam­ily-owned Ital­ian restau­rants are scat­tered among off­beat hole-in-the-wall spots like Man­d­u­catis Rus­tica, where lo­cals (like renowned fash­ion pho­tog Tony Vac­caro) stop in for espresso in the morn­ing and wood-fired-oven­baked pizza in the af­ter­noon. For din­ner, head to the buzzy M. Wells Steak­house, where Québé­cois chef Hugue Du­four’s con­verted garage space is a pa­leo-oa­sis of Flint­stones pro­por­tions: Think steak with a side of foie gras (sans pou­tine). A sec­ond out­post, M. Wells Dinette, lo­cated down the street in­side MoMA PS1, has (sort of) lighter op­tions—like a spaghetti sand­wich. A.B.


From top: The Vista ter­race and a panda mug at the Thomp­son Miami Beach; thehang­ing gar­den at PAMM; the Forge dining room; BodegaTa­que­ria y Tequila

From top: The VIP check-in area and the pool at the SLS Las Ve­gas; the LINQ’s High Roller ob­ser­va­tion wheel; the Cos­mopoli­tan’s Chan­de­lierbar; a vin­tage sign at the Neon Mu­seum Las Ve­gas

A Pepsi-Cola sign that dates back to 1936; the lobby of the Pa­per Fac­tory Ho­tel; the Mu­seum ofMod­ern Art’s PS1

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