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Best art festival destinations


When you fuse beautiful art with equally beautiful locations and then add incredible food into the mix, you’re well on your way to creating the perfect Stylist holiday…

Stylist’s Anna Hart selects the best three festivals to indulge your love of art.

Art Basel Miami Beach, 5-8 December 2013

See the spoils of more than 250 galleries from around the world at one of the hottest events in the international art calendar. You can expect to see everything from original Warhols and Picassos to sculptures, photographs and films from emerging artists.

This year also sees a new interactive exhibit added to the jam-packed schedule: ‘Viewpoint of Billions’ is a collaboration between Google Glass (Google’s internet-connected eyewear) and NYC-based artist David Datuna.

If you need to take a break from admiring works by the hotly tipped Latin American painters Beatriz Milhazes and Amelia Peláez, try a bout of celeb spotting; last year’s Art Basel Miami Beach drew a string of high-profile names including Diane von Furstenberg and Demi Moore. (artbasel.com)

Savour: a deeply Southern supper at Yardbird, just a few blocks from the Miami Beach Convention Center. Fried chicken restaurants are a fully fledged trend in the US right now, and Yardbird Southern Table & Bar has a queue out of the door every night. We tucked into highly addictive Fried Green Tomato BLTs (£9) and followed it up with Chicken ’n’ Watermelon ’n’ Waffles (£22), the very definition of a decadent dish which sounds so wrong but tastes so right. (runchickenrun.com)

Sleep: at the Setai, a quietly seductive, coolly Oriental-style hotel set a little bit back from the southern end of beach. With decor in rich tones of chocolate, cream and slate, and teak floors accented with raffia panels, the Setai feels like a welcome retreat from the bling, neon and Lycra of the beach and has become the hotel of choice for big names craving a haven from the late-night parties that besiege other Miami Beach hotels during Art Basel. At the end of a long day and night of culture, celebrities and cocktails, you can close the wooden shutters on your window (nope, no curtains) and recover sufficiently to do it all over again.

Suites start at £310 including breakfast (thesetaihotel.com)

Vivid Sydney, 23 May-9 June 2014

See: the largest ‘light, music and ideas’ festival in the southern hemisphere. Vivid stretches over 18 days during the relatively mild Sydney winter and the 800,000-plus annual visitors are treated to mesmerising sights such as the Sydney Opera House transformed into something even more spectacular by neon lights, as part of the now-legendary free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures. Throw in an immersive music programme and talks by (this year) the likes of Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley and you’ve got a Sydney like you’ve never seen before. (vividsydney.com)

Savour: the incredible dim sum at Mr Wong. When Singaporean dim sum chef Eric Koh (formerly of London’s Hakkasan) is involved in creating your dinner you know you’re in for a treat, but it’s the decor (an atmospherically lit warehouse space with a Thirties Shanghai teahouse vibe) at this new hotspot that is the main draw. Order a Cantonese roast duck (£34 for a whole duck, £19 for half), served on the bone, and spoon the juices over a bowl of jasmine steamed rice. (merivale.com.au)

Sleep: in a corner room at the Shangri-La Hotel, for truly trippy views of the illuminated Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Museum of Contemporary Art. Sydney’s Shangri-La was given a major overhaul in 2012 and now every room comes complete with an inviting window seat, making this sleek, modern tower the smartest booking in town during the Vivid period. Doubles start at £200 per night including breakfast (shangri-la.com)

Fiac, Paris, 23-26 October 2014

See: a rigorously selected mix of the works of around 3,000 international artists, with a distinctly European flavour and a reliably strong French contingent. The Fiac International Contemporary Art Fair has a long-standing reputation for prizing quality over novelty and celebrated its 40th year in 2013, with notable names including the Chinese provocateur Ai Weiwei. One of the main thrills, however, is seeing celebrated Parisian landmarks such as the Jardin des Tuileries and the Museum of Natural History transformed into outdoor exhibition spaces – this year saw Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata’s tribal huts take over Place Vendôme. (fiac.com)

Savour: a mango lassi (£5) with Pierre Hermé macarons at the neon-lit, Brutalist-style Tokyo Eat restaurant at modern art gallery Palais de Tokyo. It’s filled with impossibly chic collectors and curators every Thursday and Friday night, but during Fiac the coolness factor goes into overdrive. Main courses such as gazpacho or Shanghai chicken salad will set you back £5-£10. (palaisdetokyo.com)

Sleep: at Onefinestay (it’s like a swish Airbnb, where properties are thoroughly vetted). It’s just launched in Paris with a string of 24 covetable homes for hire. WiFi, L’Occitaine toiletries and a helpful concierge on the end of the line come as standard and owners leave a list of local insider tips to help you make the most of your pretend-Parisian life. We love the Rue Charlot property in the ridiculously hip Le Marais district, with fittingly arty haphazard bookshelves and a vast skylight in the sleek kitchen.

From £256 per night, sleeping up to five people (onefinestay.com)



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