Where will you go when things go back to normal? We asked some of our favorite travelers the first places they’ll head for post-pandemic, where they will eat and stay, and what will be on their itineraries
Where will you go after the pandemic? We ask some of our favorite travelers; Bianca Monzon gives a street-level perspective of what's happening in Paris
“I miss authentic Thai food, and I’m excited to buy exotic birds for my new aviary. I will stay at Kempinski hotel, eat at Benjarong, and will go get a Thai foot massage.”
“Japan is an amazing country which blends nature with the metropolis. Its facilities are in contrasting harmony; malls, stores and shops on one side, perfectly mingled with parks, temples and mother nature. When in Japan, we would stay in cozy lodging areas amidst outdoor sanctuaries. Our first activities will include exploring and discovering Japan's famous natural spots like Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Mikimoto Pearl Island, Nara, and Nikko. We will take our first good meal in Guluman's Wagyu Steak House.”
“We never tire traveling to Italy whatever season or month of the year. We love the food, wine, the people's warm and friendly attitude, the beautiful scenery and historic sites. We love visiting the medieval towns and discovering new places to dine in or visit. Shopping, of course, is one of our favorite activities whether it's outlet shopping or stumbling into a local market for fresh produce.
We stay in our fractional owned villa at Castello di Casole. It is the perfect location for us because it is between our two favorite towns Florence and Siena, nestled in this quiet town away from the touristy attractions I would just love to sit by the infinity pool of the villa and enjoy a cup of espresso or a glass of champagne admiring the beautiful and quiet scenery of the countryside. Weather permitting, I usually dip into the pool to help relax from the long journey.
It's almost become a tradition that we like to go to this little restaurant up in the town of Casole d' Elsa called Caffe Casolani. It is a no menu restaurant and the owner serves you a fixed four-course meal made from the freshest ingredients in season. We love the homey atmosphere of the restaurant, the friendly staff and the nice selection of Italian wines. Caffe Casolani is located in Via Alessandro Casolani, 41, 53031 Casole d'Elsa SI, Italy.”
“What I like most about South Africa is its amazing wildlife, stunning coastlines, and picturesque mountainscape. The food in every city we visited was undeniably one of the best in the world. While we enjoyed staying at Thornybush River Lodge and experiencing its personalized service. But we would like to experience the great migration in East Africa on our next safari trip.
Capetown was equally as memorable and will go back to stay at the iconic Cape Grace Hotel. The Saxon Villa and Spa in Johannesburg, meanwhile, was not just a hotel but an impeccable private estate with rich history surrounded by lush greens and forest.
Plan the safari game drive, watch the sunrise and have the best breakfast with your private chef. When in Capetown, you shouldn’t miss La Colombe, rated as one of the best restaurants in the world! Don’t also forget the Delaire Graff restaurant at Stellenbosch with their best selection of fine wines, fronting beautiful mountainscape and vast estate.”
“I have been wanting to go back to Paris and dine at L’ Avenue at Avenue Montaigne. L’Avenue is always part of my itinerary every time I visit the City of Lights. The food is extremely delicious. I always go for the shrimp risotto and apple pie for dessert. I would like to just stroll around Paris, and enjoy its beautiful sights and visit gardens like Jardin de Luxemberg go back to Musee de Orsay with my daughter and go around Le Marais district. I would also visit Giverney, which is an hour-and-a-half drive from Paris. Then have my best cup of hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots.
I will go back to Hotel Le Comtesse. During my last stay, we got a room with incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and we enjoyed every minute of our stay. The hotel staff is very friendly and professional. The cafe downstairs was wonderful and a few times we also opted for room service breakfast overlooking our beautiful view.”
“Paris is one of our favorite cities in the world! Why Paris? There’s always something about Paris. As Audrey Hepburn would say, ‘Paris is always a good idea!’ It is a beautiful, artistic, historical, and cultural city. It is one place that is easy and safe to go around, with great sights, and an amazing French gastronomy.
We usually stay at The Mandarin Hotel. The location is unbeatable specially when it comes to shopping! And sometimes we go to Trocadero area for a quiet ambiance. The first and last thing we usually do in Paris is to pay a visit to our Lady of the Miraculous Medal at Rue du Bac as a gesture of thanksgiving and to pray for a safe trip.
We usually have our first lunch either at Chez L’Ami Jean, which is usually fully booked or at Oyster Place at L’Huîtrerie Régis. Oysters and Champagne for brunch in Paris is just perfect! For dinner we usually go to L’ Arpège by Chef Allan Passard. When the pandemic is over, Paris will surely be our first destination.”
-CARLA & JOEL DEL PRADO
The first country we plan to visit will be Spain. We have a home in the South, at Sotogrande. It is a property developed originally by Mr. McMiking. We can spend about a week here and prepare for our next destination, San Sebastien for our third Camino.
The Camino was planned two years ago pre pandemic. We shall be a group of friends from Manila and no outsiders. We are hoping that by September all of us would have done our second vaccination. And obviously Spain’s tourism would be open at this time. The Camino is safe because most of our waking hours would be spent outdoors.
As we go thru the route to Santiago De Compostella there are always little Bistros, farm-to-table restaurants with excellent cuisine. San Sebastien is known for really good food. We shall be changing hotels almost every night and they will mostly be will be the Fincas, or small Bed and Breakfast places in Spain.
We are very excited and looking forward to this experience with God as our priority. We would be bonding with friends that we would not have seen in almost two years. I can imagine how fun it will turn out to be. And, most importantly, we will be embracing God’s grace for keeping us safe up to this point in the company of my husband.
“We are headed to SF in June, and we probably will see family first. It’s like a second home because my husband’s aunts and uncles and grandma lives there and it’s like a family reunion every time we get together. I love the weather, which is sunny but cool throughout the year, and I love the tech and innovative vibe the city has. There’s always something new whether it’s a robot making coffee or a driverless car.
We stay near Embarcadero so it’s great to walk by the ocean, eat oysters at restos, or grab a coffee and watch people go by. Restaurants we will eat at will probably be those with outdoor dining. There’s oysters at Mission Rock resort, a great lobster roll place in Burlingame, and maybe a trip to Napa.”
My favorite country to visit is France, and I always love visiting Paris. If time allows, I also enjoy driving up north to Normandy or taking a train down to Monte Carlo. Everything is so picturesque! It's just fabulous! The city radiates so much beauty, from the architecture to the people. It brings me so much inspiration especially because it's the center of everything fashion. J'adore!
Since I travel with a big family, I prefer staying at an Airbnb in a good location with a well-equipped kitchen. As much as we like to eat out, we also love to cook for ourselves and take advantage of the produce we don’t have back home. That’s why the farmer’s market is always part of the itinerary.
After settling in, we go to a nice wine bar to get a drink, and then rest. (Last time in Copenhagen, I went straight to a five-course dinner from a flight and fell asleep in the middle of the meal! C'est horrible!) I really enjoyed Clamato in Paris. It's a cool seafood joint that puts creative twists on dishes. The night we went we had oysters, rock crab, whelk, and bubbles—you shouldn’t forget the bubbles!
“It’s a toss up between our second home, which is LA, or Tokyo or Hong kong for our gastronomic indulgence. In LA, we have so many memories with the family including our favorite jet-lagged finds like Leo’s Tacos Truck, Korean Sun Nong Dan, etc. Moving around the block, grocery shopping in our neighborhood at Whole Foods or Bristol Farms, and simply cooking at home is what we really miss. We usually get our coffee fix first from Urth Cafe or Blue Bottle, or walk to Joan’s on Third, our breakfast place. Then we have lunch at Jon and Vinny’s then cocktails and dinner at Mastro’s. We normally stay for a month here, so the list can really go on.
In Hong Kong, the airport alone is a welcome feast. We usually drop by the arrival resto called Ho Hung Kee for their best congee. After that will be a never ending stroll to all our favorite street food and checking out new must eat places. Will never get tired of it
I miss the vibrancy of the city, from street food to the latest Michelin-awarded restaurants is our go-to. I would love to revisit Four Seasons Hotel or Mandarin Hotel while in the Hong Kong side, or the Peninsula Hong Kong, the new Rosewood Hotel, and the W when in the Kowloon side.
In Tokyo, we really indulge, and we are so thrilled every time, from the quality and freshness of their food and the richness of their culture. We prefer staying at Peninsula Tokyo, the Shangri-La Marunouchi, or Grand Hyatt in Roppongi. A trip to Tokyo will never be the same without a visit to Tsukiji market for the freshest seafood and the assortment of stalls choices that are never ending. A late night food crawl is a must too in Ebisu, Shinjuku, and Ropponggi. Not to be missed out are the convenient stores for their delicious local offerings. Few of our favorites are Sakuro, Isomaru, and Nakajima for their best sardines.”