City Escapes

Time for a Spring break? We are heading to Amsterdam, Vienna and Lisbon to view and do, meander and play



The outstanding Vermeer retrospective at the Rijksmuseum is one very good reason to head to Amsterdam which is now home to Pillows Maurits at the Park. This capacious yet seductive new five-star hotel is housed in a former 1908 university building in Oosterpark  reinvented by architectural practice Office Winhov.

Tiled corridors hung with contemporary art, the wood panelled Fritz Bar, and serene sage and ivory hued bedrooms are a delight. 

View & Do

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum comprises of 28 paintings from worldwide collections never previously curated in one space. It charts Vermeer’s motivations and peerless artistry while transporting one back to the 17th century and Amsterdam’s golden age. Tip: for jump the queue access purchase an annual museum membership.


VanOost: Pillow’s fine dining restaurant by chef Floris van Straaten offers a thrilling menu starring seafood and native vegetables served up on curvaceous stone and hand-blown glassware. Try the 62c egg with oscietra caviar. 

De Kas: Located in a greenhouse dating back to 1926; de Kas has both a Michelin star and Green Star for sustainability. The 5-course meal by chefs Jos Timmer and Wim de Beer features dishes from radicchio and oysters to celeriac and veal cheek. 

“We look for an architectural vocabulary that on the one hand will respect the old and at the same time allow for the new,” says Uri Gilad co-founder Office Winhov. The former auditorium space was transformed into Van Oost while the 88 rooms boast full height windows and curvilinear forms. The hotel and its new wing are integrated into the park and landscaped gardens. “It is a monument transformed from an out of use building, into an inviting place. Amsterdam Oost is already one of the most vibrant places in the city for locals,” adds Gilad.



The Bairro Alto, a family-owned hotel in the breezy Luis de Camoes Square, was renovated by Pritzker Prize architect Eduardo Souto de Moura and reopened after the pandemic. The building dating back to the 17th century, was once the Grand Hotel de L’Europe and the wood panelled lobby and adjoining Tagus patisserie evoke an elegance that Wes Anderson would be enthralled by.

View & Do

The MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) is housed in a former power station with a wave like façade designed by British architect Amanda Levete. A visit to Sandra Rocha’s current exhibition From the Calm, the Wind was Made that takes water as a muse, is a good excuse to stroll along the newly energised waterfront. 

Joalharia do Carmo: The jewellery shop dates from 1924 and is covered in a beautiful gold façade. Inside, find the finest artisan made fine filigree jewellery in 19.2 carat Portuguese gold. The Princess Earrings need nothing more than a sweetheart neckline top.


ALMA: Chef Henrique Sa Pessoa heads up the menu at double Michelin-starred ALMA in Chiado, where experiential fans come for a classy twist on Portuguese cuisine via his innovative Coast to Coast menu. Housed in a former warehouse and bookstore, Alma is a handsome affair.

“It’s all cream-coloured, milky and soft. I didn’t do a colour study, but I chose soft colours,” says Atelier Bastir, who created the interiors featuring sculpture by Rui Chafes, and artworks and photographs by Rui Calçada Bastos, Julião Sarmento and Pedro Cabrita Reis amongst. Member of the Leading Hotels of the World, Barrio Alto boasts a roof top terrace for sunsets over the river Tagus, a menu conceived by Nuno Mendes and Susanne Kaufmann Spa treatments.



Think of The Sacher as The Carlyle or Claridge’s of Vienna. It is remarkable that the legendary LHW hotel dating from 1876 remains as family owned and run by Alexandra and Matthias Winkler heading up the establishment. The interior is fabulously opulent with rich damasks, Belle Époque antiques, and sculptures. The chandelier illuminated Red Room is the magnet for everyone from presidents to Justin Bieber while the plush Blaue Bar a favourite of creatives including Vienna dwelling designer Petar Petrov.

View & Do

Saunter to the Albertina Museum for The Great Masters of Printmaking: Dürer, Munch and Miro that tells the story of printmaking across six centuries. Head to Galerie Eva Presenhuber for excellent contemporary shows from Eva’s impressive artist roster.


The Palmenhaus: Located inside the beautiful botanical house overlooking the Burggarten park, the genteel space is an ecological education with delicious dumplings too.  And don’t miss the Loos American Bar, a sultry cocktail bolthole designed by Aldof Loos.


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