Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama spent two decades locked down in Lisbon between voyages to India. 500 years later, the Lisbon City Guide is now live, matched by another mid-millennium story in the shape of the Florence City Guide. Balance renaissance with current day – an eco hotel in Cape Town and a pioneering road cycling itinerary from Pyonyang, North Korea. We’ll also be using this period to keep an eye on environmental projects by reviewing one per month. Right now dam builders are tinkering in the Balkans, completing contentious projects while inspectors remain homebound.
In the final moments of the decade, we returned to altitude with a Mexico City Guide and routed outdoor gyms. A more thoroughbred triathlon city is addressed in another city guide – Zurich. Latest property reviews include the new Whitworth Locke in Manchester, also the best hotel gym we’ve seen. On England’s south coast in Brighton, the creative Artist Residence is a short sprint from a prime open water swimming spot. A third hotel would have been a favourite for both Montagues and Capulets, Cinque Rooms in fair Verona. Stepping beyond facilities and infrastructure for athletics: Patagonia’s ARTIFISHAL raises the alarming health and habitat implications of eating farmed salmon and trout.
As fashionable crowds descend on Lombardy to recline on designer sofas, we’ve gathered together the on-trend athletic facilities in our new Milan City Guide. Things are less refined in South Africa where a combination of infrastructure, altitude and competition made the Johannesburg City Guide a joy to write – enough to justify its reputation as a town for endurance athletes. At the end of 2018, I spent my own brief moment reclined and strapped into a massage table in Manhattan, the outcome being a documented assisted stretch experience. In other post: a recent trip to D.C. allowed for a diversion to nearby Baltimore, a legacy town that is going through urban renewal sufficient for Joie de Vivre Hotels to open Hotel Revival.
Now a year into Zafiri City Guides, with the recent publishing of Denver, Copenhagen and Durham, NC getting us to a total of 22 metropoles. Keeping to this cadence in 2019 will ensure that the collection soon meets the needs of a good volume of athletic travellers in Europe and North America. Other items from the past two months include the reviewing of Sweat Equity, a business book for those baffled by the continued growth of fitness clubs like Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel. A trip to the East Coast of the U.S. presented an opportunity to try out the socially conscious Eaton DC, a new hotel brand from the same group behind The Langham.
A weekend in the Bavarian Alps at vegan hotel SeinZ, substituting the clamour of Munich’s Oktoberfest for cold water skinny dipping and mountain biking. Earlier in the summer, some time in Geneva was enough to try out La Cour des Augustins, a centrally located design hotel. A more local excursion to a tiny pub-hotel in the Chiltern Hills, 30 miles west of London was another summer highlight – drop in for the night, or swing by for a meal. New city guides includes an assessement of Baron von Hausmann’s work in Paris, and a salute to fast-footed Eliud Kioproge, who recently set Berlin alight in the city’s marathon.