Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Editor´s Letter - RHEA SARAN Edi­tor in Chief @rheasaran

here’s no city quite like New York City.

I’ll ad­mit I’m bi­ased, hav­ing lived there for sev­eral glo­ri­ous years, at­tend­ing uni­ver­sity and then em­bark­ing on my adult work­ing life. In fact, that’s where I first got a start at Condé Nast Trav­eler (with one L, as they do in Amer­ica), back when the of­fices were still at 4 Times Square, right at the beat­ing heart of it all. I’d jump on the sub­way from my place, then walk a few blocks crosstown, paus­ing right as I neared the build­ing to swap out my bal­let flats for heels – when you’re 20-some­thing-years-old and have been looked up and down by the Vogue girls in the cafe­te­ria, you learn to keep stilet­tos in your over­sized hand­bag – be­fore whoosh­ing up in the el­e­va­tor to our floor and my desk, where I spent many happy hours learn­ing ev­ery­thing I could from the se­nior ed­i­tors and, con­se­quently, fall­ing more in love with both travel and Trav­eler. So you can un­der­stand my fond­ness. If there had been no New York, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be sit­ting here, years later, writ­ing this let­ter to you.

To say that New York im­pacted my life pro­foundly is to un­der­state things. It was, of course, the best pos­si­ble train­ing ground for a job in me­dia and lux­ury. Yet it was so much more. It was the first place I lived as an adult with­out safety nets – no par­ents, no col­lege cam­pus – this was the real world. And, boy, was it real. New York is the most ef­fec­tive sink-or-swim city for gen­eral adult-ing; if you’re ir­re­spon­si­ble or lazy, it can eat you alive, but if you’ve got your wits about you and you’re cu­ri­ous and driven, it’s pretty much the best city in the world. I grew up well trav­elled and cul­tur­ally ex­posed, yet New York took my knowl­edge, con­tacts and ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­panded them three-fold.

I fell in love – mul­ti­ple times – in New York and I fell in love with New York. So I can well un­der­stand our cover star, and all-round su­per­star, He­lena Chris­tensen’s feel­ings about this city, which she ex­pands on in this month’s cover story along with her list of can’t-miss spots ( p 90). You want to ex­pe­ri­ence this city like the stars? Here’s your chance.

On the sub­ject of travel ro­mance, it doesn’t get much more fairy-tale-like than rent­ing a château in the heart of the French coun­try­side. Writer Steve King has the low-down on just such a place in the Loire Val­ley, with price­less art on the walls and bub­bly sun­down­ers in the gar­den, which can be rented as it is for a lim­ited time be­fore it’s turned into a (no doubt still charm­ing) bou­tique ho­tel next year ( p 102).

And for all the mil­len­ni­als out there, we see you: check out our list of 23 In­sta­gram-wor­thy ro­man­tic breaks you’ll want to take with your sig­nif­i­cant other

( p 34). Or with­out them – af­ter all, ro­mance means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Ro­mance in travel can be about a cou­ple’s re­treat, or about rekin­dling your love af­fair with a des­ti­na­tion on a solo trip, or about bring­ing the fam­ily you love to­gether for a new ex­pe­ri­ence. Any way you slice it, we’ve got plenty of ideas within th­ese pages.

Feel the love.

Clock­wise from far left: The the­atre dis­trict was near CondéNast’s old of­fices in Times Square; Man­hat­tan street scene; hang­ing out in SoHo; dish at Tem­ple Court by TomColic­chio, one of the city’s top chefs

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