First in Service News

Top Destinations for Summer 2019

Ready for summer vacation? Us too! To help, we’ve rounded up our top places to visit for summer 2019. Here, our advisors tell us why they’re great—and what to add to your must-see list while you’re there.

Brittany, France
Check out Le Grand Hotel in Dinard. The property, part of the Groupe Lucien Barrière and a member of Leading Hotels of the World, recently reopened after a complete make over. Dinard, which is on Brittany’s “Emerald Coast” has some of the best family-friendly beaches in the area. Plus, take in history at Mont St. Michel—just an hour from Brittany and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
— Pierre-Alexandre Francin

Basque Country, Spain
Why go in the summer? The weather! It’s nice and cool, while everything south of Madrid is very hot. Plus, it´s a seaside strip that’s not as populated as Barcelona in the summer. And, in my opinion, the food is the best in all of Spain! In Bilbao, check out the Guggenheim Museum. In Vitoria, known as the green city, head to the city center, which is full of public parks. San Sebastian is one of the most beautiful seaside cities in the Basque country (and probably in Europe) and the cradle of the famous pintxos. In Pamplona, try to be there for the infamous running of the Bulls during the first week of July.
And in Bayona/Biarritz, which is French Basque Country, you’ll find a fusion of French Basque influence, lighthouses and long, classy promenades. No matter where you visit: Take long walks/treks—this is the most mountainous region in Spain—go wine tasting, try Iberian ham and sherry, visit the old towns, try surfing and eat pintxos!
—Romana Illera

Evora, Central Alentejo, Portugal
The name Alentejo derives from the phrase “Alem Tejo” (beyond the Tejo river). It is the South central region of Portugal. The capital of central Alentejo is Evora—about two hours from Lisbon—and its history spans from the Neolithic era to Roman times to the Golden Portugal of the 15th and 16th centuries. It’s a must-see city, declared UNESCO World Heritage City in 1986. Since it had very little damage after the earthquake of 1775 that destroyed much of Portugal, the city is the best example of the old Portugal, and today has become a “museum city”.
— John Rios

From May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit Scotland—the hills and roadways are beautifully covered with bright-yellow flowers. The month of August tends to be more crowded, but it brings the opportunity to witness the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and various Highland Games. Here’s an insider’s guide when visiting Scotland: Hike up to Arthurs Seat for great views over Edinburgh; Have a behind the scene experience at the Macallan distillery; Taste a haggis, the national dish of Scotland; Journey through Scotland’s dramatically beautiful highlands; and experience the art of falconry firsthand.
—Liora Manilof

Napa, California
It’s a great place to travel to in the summer because it’s hot—and there’s lovely wine to keep you cool. And since fall and spring are typically the busiest times to visit, summer is not as crowded. My must-do experience is the tasting menu dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood, which has three Michelin stars. It’s a three-hour long dinner and worth every penny.
— Thelma Abhyankar

Chile is the perfect destination for an authentic South American adventure. From Atacama in the north—the driest desert in the world to explore and stargaze—to the vineyards and amazing wines of central Chile in the Casablanca region, to the mountains of Portillo for skiing, to the majestic Patagonia region for amazing natural beauty and exploration, Chile has something for everyone—including fabulous gastronomy!
— Leah Winck

Rwanda, known as “Land of a Thousand Hills,” just celebrated 25 years of peace and prosperity. Home to the highest concentration of mountain gorillas in the world, this nation now proudly hosts luxury lodges in spectacular locations. The most anticipated is the addition of the 8-suite Kwitonda Lodge and the private 4- bedroom Kataza House, opening in August 2019 from Africa’s luxury and conservation leader Singita. Set on a 178-acre piece of land right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, it will easily flow as an extension of their properties in Tanzania or Kenya. Wilderness Safaris also boast their flagship gorilla trekking property, Bisate Lodge, and have added the new Magashi Lodge in Akagera National Park for safari options. In the south legendary One&Only offers an unparalleled stay in verdant forests and coffee plantations with chimpanzee trekking, colobus monkeys and birds galore—best seen from their suspended canopy walk and finished off with a “Rwandan Coffee & Mint” wrap in their spa. This investment from major tourism players benefits communities and wildlife—giving back to a nation which has endured and excelled.
— Muriel Truter

The Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies are a great place to visit in the summer because the temperatures are warm, which enables people to spend most of their days outdoors, taking in the extreme beauty of their surroundings and the endless outdoor activities. Some of the must do experiences: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Columbia Icefields, river rafting in the Kananaskis River, fly fishing on the Bow River, and hiking and mountain biking throughout the Rockies.
— Willa Griffin

Sicily, Italy
The island of Sicily allows you to escape into Italy’s past, offering a truly authentic experience from a less explored region. A visit to the city of Palermo is a must, as it showcases architecture and history from the Romans, Greeks, Normans, Arabs and Phoenicians all in one snapshot. And don’t forget to indulge in Italy’s best cannoli!
—Linda Montemarano

New York, NY
Why? Besides August, New York City is a great destination in the summer. Lots of people are traveling, which means it’s easier to get restaurant reservations, catch a Broadway show with great discounts and sunbathe in Central Park—along with lots of great concerts and movies outdoors. My favorites are MOMA PS1: there is nothing more fun than spending a summer Saturday afternoon dancing around great art. Summer Stage at Central Park is another favorite of mine, as singers from around the world perform there every weekend.
—Mayla Melo

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