Every now and then, a cheeky city break is just what the doctor should have ordered: treasure-seeking shopping trips, cake-and-coffee breaks, mid-afternoon snoozes in very big beds, lazy lunches, delicious dinners, expert cocktails and a taste of local life. Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have picked three of their fave cosmopolitan city breaks for you to enjoy, in mellow Melbourne, buzzing Bangkok, and intriguing Istanbul… and, of course, the best bedrooms to bunk down in all of them!
Best for colour and culture: The Cullen, Melbourne, Australia
Style Art-shock attitude
Setting Fashion-forward Prahran
Original prints and paintings by the late Australian artist Adam Cullen decorate rooms at The Cullen, so expect vivid shots of colour, surreal creatures and cartoonish prints. Like its muse, the Cullen is a non-conformist – square-box balconies licked with lime-green shoot from the punchy modern façade and, to help guests get around, there are two bespoke lipstick-red Swedish Kronan bicycles and some dinky Art Series-branded Smart cars.
Shopping addicts will love the fashionable Prahran location, opposite the food market, and some of the city’s best bars and restaurants are just a stumble away. Start the day with strong coffee and buttermilk pancakes at the ground floor Gramercy Bistro and finish with dumplings and duck at seductive Chinese restaurant Hutong, which even boasts a custom-built duck oven.
SASSY SAVING: Book the Cullen’s Street Art Sleepover Offer and you’ll get a one-hour Cullen Art Tour with an art aficionado, a limited-edition book on artist Adam Cullen and a bottle of limited-edition Longview wine.
Best for coffee and cake: Hansar Bangkok, Thailand
Style Designer eyrie
Setting Hot shopping quarter
Green grass walls in your bedroom, a sky-high pool, Bangkok’s best coffee and a restaurant called Eve with more allure than an apple-toting temptress… Hansar Bangkok has a whole holiday’s worth of highlights! There’s a masculine feel to this handsome hideaway, thanks to glossy toffee wood, an understated colour scheme and clean contemporary lines.
You can leaf through design tomes in the quiet library or linger over perfect patisserie courtesy of a French-trained chef, plus you’re also right in the heart of the downtown shopping district (with upscale mall Siam Paragon just a skip away) – if you can be bothered to go outside, that is! Extra lures to keep you in your bedroom include very big bath tubs, silk-panelled walls and views of Lumpini Park. Caffeine fiends will love the spa, whose revitalising treatments feature coffee grounds.
SASSY SAVING: Book Hansar’s Early Bird Offer and you’ll get a free room upgrade (subject to availability) and breakfast.
Best for cocktails and shopping: The House Hotel Nisantasi, Istanbul
Style Decadent design den
Setting Sisli’s shopping district
The House Hotel Nisantasi has exactly the kind of calming, coffee-table-book interiors that will have you hating home – but that’s its only downside, we promise! This Bosphorus-facing beauty was styled by Autoban and has the dreamy good looks to prove it: spacious suites, chairs that look like birdcages, cocoa colours, milk-white marble bathrooms… stop us, we’re swooning.
Time for a reviving drink – and luckily, the hotel has a mirrored-wall bar serving white-chocolate martinis, and DIY cocktail kits in rooms. Aspiring mixologists can practise their muddles using the shaker, cocktail glasses and generous supply of liquor left at guests’ disposal.
Bring a long skirt and shawl (trousers for gents) if you plan on visiting Istanbul’s many mosques and remember to leave space in your suitcase for new threads picked up in Sisli’s upscale boutiques.
SASSY SAVING: Get 15% off and free breakfast at the House Hotel Nisantasi, if you book 21 days ahead.
To bed down with Smith, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326.