January city breaks are on the rise. Here are the best locations to book for a long weekend away this month and into spring.
Grey, drizzly old January. Who’d have it, eh?
Well apparently, not us. New research has shown that we’ve stopped settling for the most miserable month of the year, and are no longer content to spend our last post-Christmas pennies on gym memberships we’ll probably never use. Instead city breaks in January are more popular than ever – and they’re cheaper than the rest of the year, too.
City breaks already make up 48% of British holidays, with weekends away long being considered a desirable holiday choice and continuous travel trend. But although we all love the idea of three days in Paris during summer, there’s more reason than ever to book a January break away, thanks to the budget-friendly new year prices.
Voucher Cloud has done extensive research using flight data from Momondo and Trivago’s Hotel Price Index to calculate which city breaks are most financially accessible in January. Findings show that European capitals are on average 32.81% cheaper in January than December when looking at flights and hotels combined, while renowned city break location New York is 31.42% better value at the beginning of the year, too.
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We love the idea of starting off 2020 with a bang, so we’ve picked out the top six most beautiful cities in the world to book trips to in January, and make the most of off-peak season prices.
If there’s anywhere that can warm you on a cold, January day, it’s Barcelona. The city’s passion is palpable, from the spirited people to the late-night eateries, where authentic fare flows until the early hours (as does the raucous conversation). Sure, the beaches may not be as toasty as they would be in June, but a walk along the sea front truly feels like a treat (even in a jacket) when everyone back home is buried under a hundred scarves and hats.
Go exploring. Every street in Barcelona feels loaded with possibility. With so many bars and restaurants mis-matched together throughout the higgledy piggledy streets of the Gothic Quarter, the best plan here is no plan.
Who better to go exploring with than your girl gang? Ditch the hotel and opt for an authentic apartment with HomeAway.co.uk, who have absolutely loads of choices in Barcelona which will fit even bigger groups (did anyone say hen do?).
We particularly loved the Gran Via De Luxe five-star apartment in The Eixample district, next to the old city of Barcelona. Not only is this area one of the safest but it sits parallel to the most vibrant areas like the previously mention Goth Quarter and close to the coast line. Inside the ornate building and up the winding staircase, the floor to ceiling windows flood natural light through the apartment and look out onto the busy streets below, opening up to reveal tiny European-style balconies.
With super high ceilings and absolutely bags of space, this would be the ideal base to explore the city all weekend long, especially if you want to spend a night cooking at home and having some chill out time.
Vancouver, situated in the British Columbia region of Canada, really does have it all. Within the city you’ll find hipster coffee shops, downtown boutiques and street signs that look like they’re straight out of a Hollywood film. But although Vancouver feels cosmopolitan, nature is just a stone’s throw away as majestic mountains sit on the city’s edge.
Take advantage of Vancouver’s passion for the outdoors. This place has a unique ability to combine greenery with great food and shopping spots, so take a break from pounding the streets for sample sales and make sure you give Stanley Park a whirl too. Located Downtown, it’s a sprawling mass of 1,000 acres of trails, wildlife and nature in the middle of the city.
We’re big fans of the Rosewood Hotel group, so we would be sure to pay the Rosewood Hotel Georgia a visit. The décor is chic with a twenties-inspired twist and deliciously luxurious. Plus, there’s plenty of in-house must-sees like the basement Prohibition bar and the sleek spa.
Between gondola rides, fritto misto eaten on the canal side and picture-perfect architecture, Venice is a simply gorgeous place to stay for the weekend.
Make the most of the waterways. Of course, Venice is famous for its canals but boat genuinely is the best way to get around the city in a lot of instances, and it switches things up from your normal commute. For example, if you have a morning to spare, you can visit the isle of Murano, just a 10-minute boat ride away from mainland Venice. There, you can check out one of the many glass-making ateliers that made the island famous worldwide.
Il Palazzo Experimental, part of the Parisian Experimental Group’s hotel chain, has recently opened in the city and provided a welcome sanctuary for design-loving travellers who want a contemporary hotel that reflects their tastes.
The hotel has set up home in the Adriatica di Navigazione building (an old shipping company HQ), which has been stunningly, sympathetically restored, and it manages to cleverly clash old and new; from the eclectic teal and scarlet palette that offers a distinctive splash of colour across every room to the excellent team who offer impeccable service in a relaxed, friendly and unstuffy style.
Ah, our very own Blighty. Whether you prefer skipping through the picturesque mews of Chelsea or getting down with the cool kids in Dalston, London is like 10 cities rolled into one with a new adventure around every corner. It may not be known for having sunny skies in the beginning of the year, but it does have lots of cosy pubs to hole up in while it’s chilly outside.
Enjoy the creativity of London’s events scene. Immersive dining is big here and as one of the best things about the city is that it’s a hub of eclectic people, every week there seems to be a new pop-up with a concept you could have never before imagined. From burlesque bottomless brunch to an around-the-world trip in a make-believe hot air balloon, London knows how to show you a good time.
The Ned is more than a hotel, it’s a real complex. Set in the former Midland Bank building, the space includes 10 restaurants, 250 bedrooms, a library bar and a range of men’s and women’s grooming services.
As soon as you walk in it’s hard not to be wowed by the grade two listed building, which features towering, bottle-green marble pillars, chequered flooring and a central bandstand. Heading up to your room creates further opportunity to be impressed, with vintage-style furniture and lavish décor from the brand’s interior store Soho Home.
2. New York
What would this list be without The Big Apple! With bright lights and plenty of hustle and bustle, New York is unlike any other place in the world thanks to its huge energy and straight-talking people. With so much to do, you could feel like a weekend is too short to explore the city, but if there’s anywhere that will pick you up in the January slump it’s here. Just jump in and enjoy every minute.
Immerse yourself in culture. Between iconic haunts from the entertainment world like Carrie Bradshaw’s famous Sex-And-The-City apartment, national treasures such as The New York Public Library and world-renowned galleries like The Met, this place is good for your soul. And we can guarantee you’ll never get bored. We’ve also rounded up some of our favourite things to do for culture vultures with 72 hours in New York, to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Formerly known as The Standard, the recently re branded The Standard, High Line is an 18-floor high hotel in prime view of the Hudson River and High Line Park. With a beer garden, nightclub and TWO rooftop bars, there’s a high chance you won’t want to leave.
The City of Lights has been named the most beautiful city in the world and it’s easy to see why. With grandiose architecture and landmarks like the sparkling Eiffel Tower, it’s often heralded as a place filled with a unique magic.
Eat! France is world-famous for its cuisine and the capital is home to some of the most fabulous restaurants your taste buds could ever hope to experience. Whether you’re looking for a cool brunch spot or an indulgent evening meal, our dedicated writers have already tested some of France’s finest. It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it.
Could there be anything more typically, more deliciously Parisian than a teensy boutique hotel, hidden inside an ornately fronted former boulangerie? In a word, non.
Hotel Du Petit Moulin sits in the perfect spot on the edge of fashionable shopping area Le Marais, which is home to boutiques, book shops and the best people watching you’ve ever seen.
Inside, every inch of this unique hotel is a treat to behold. Every room is completely different with experiential touches like furry walls, clashing wallpaper patterns and mood lighting, all designed by iconic fashion house Christian Lacroix.
Plus, if you’re looking for somewhere truly authentic, you’ll j’adore the croissant-filled breakfast (seriously, so many types of pastry you won’t be able to fit them in) and courteous staff who are dedicated to making your trip as lovely as possible.
Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.