Stay: The Prince: A four-storey boutique hotel nestled in Melbourne’s favourite bayside neighbourhood, with a ground-floor bistro pouring perfect Australian wines.
Breakfast: AU79: This oasis of lush indoor greenery and cool marble is in a former garage in Abbotsford. It serves an unmissable selection of coffee roasted on site and breakfast components that are sourced from the area.
Lunch: Cumulus: In an old rag-trade building, this beautiful all-day restaurant in Flinders Lane serves regional produce and wines.
Dinner: Lee Ho Fook: There was a time in Australian culture when “eating out” meant grabbing a meal at the Chinese nearby. This neon-lit laneway gem proves just how far Melbourne’s food scene has come.
Drinks: Sun Moth: Melburnians love hiding their best places in laneways, such as this delightful bar serving natural wines and craft beers. If it’s too early for a tipple, try the Small Batch coffee.
Buy: Block Arcade: This immaculately preserved shopping arcade opened in 1892 and is still home to some of the city’s finest boutiques. Among them are Haigh’s Chocolates and the retail outpost of Beechworth Honey.
Service: Roberts & Hassett: You won’t find anything ready-to-wear on the shelves of this appointment-only city studio but if you’re after a pair of bespoke leather shoes made of kangaroo hide, look no further.
Culture: Independent cinemas: Some years ago it seemed like cinemas were an endangered species in Melbourne after several multiplexes closed. Thankfully there are now plenty of independents in their place: the Lido in Hawthorn, St Kilda’s Astor, the Sun Theatre in Yarraville and the new Thornbury Picture House are among the best.
Stay: Flushing Meadows: This design hotel has taken over the top two floors of a former telecommunications building. Rooms are individually designed and there’s a lively rooftop bar.
Breakfast: Gartensalon: A green oasis in the bustling university neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt with an equally lush vegetarian menu.
Coffee: Emilo: Up-and-coming coffee roaster that supplies delicatessens and recently opened its second café space.
Lunch: Marais: This laidback café doubles as a secondhand shop selling vintage furniture.
Dinner: Atelier: For a particularly fancy business dinner try chef Jan Hartwig’s celebrated joint, which has three Michelin stars.
Drinks: Chinesischer Turm: This beer garden in the heart of the city’s famous Englischer Garten epitomises why Munich tops so many quality-of-life surveys.
Buy: Bean Store: The store’s buyers deliver an artfully curated concept store offering a mix of German and internationally renowned fashion labels, including Blasy, Face Stockholm, Jan Koenig, Tint London and Veez.
Culture: Alte Utting: It took more than a year to set up this decommissioned ship on a disused railway bridge and transform it into a café, bar and concert venue. But the effort has been worth it.
+49 89 4521 5063
Stay: Wynwood Hotel: Taking its name from Miami’s art district, the new Wynwood Hotel combines forward-thinking hotel design with stunning views of the city. In the heart of St Petersburg, you’re just steps from the famous Singer House, Nevsky Prospect and the spectacular domes of the Church on Spilled Blood.
Breakfast: Teplo: Located in a beautiful courtyard just around the corner from the historic St Isaac’s Cathedral, this café is called “warm” for good reason: its friendly service and atmosphere are second to none. Try starting your day with a steaming bowl of the traditional porridge-like kasha.
+7 812 407 2702
Lunch: Buterbrodskybar: On the embankment of Vasilievsky Island, this terrific lunch destination specialises in delicious Russian-style sandwiches. The name references the famed Soviet poet Joseph Brodsky.
+7 911 922 2606
Dinner: Jungle: This Asian-fusion restaurant features calligraphy from young artist Pokras Lampas, sweeping rooftop views and a profusion of plants to match its name.
+7 921 917 1234
Drinks: Chroniki Bar: The clean lines, strong drinks and great vibe of this tucked-away Scandinavian-inspired watering hole make it a favourite among locals.
+7 911 275 3161
Buy: Porta 9: Get in step with the latest footwear trends while browsing the shop’s global selection of shoes.
Service: Chop-Chop: With four locations in St Petersburg, this pan-Russian barbershop is known for its cutting-edge stylists. If you need a trim before a meeting, this is the place to go.
Culture: Manege: Opened two years ago, this former riding hall for the Tsar’s Horse Guards is dedicated to showcasing work by contemporary artists.
Stay: Park Hyatt: Spacious rooms come with modest mid-Atlantic touches. The Shaker furnishings and wooden mallard decoys will remind you that Washington belongs to a region beyond the Beltway.
Lunch: Maketto: Come for the Taiwanese chicken cutlet or Cambodian noodle salad and stick around to browse the adjacent clothes racks. They’re stocked with brands rarely seen in the city’s otherwise staid menswear shops.
Dinner: Etto: The pizzas are made from flour milled on site, vermouth is distilled in-house, there’s always a clever anchovy dish – and the restaurant manages to avoid being pretentious about any of it.
Drinks: Tabard Inn: The eponymous bar just off this small hotel’s lobby has inventive cocktails and a floor plan for all seasons, from a cosy lounge to an ivy-enclosed outdoor courtyard.
Buy: Politics & Prose: An independent bookshop in expansion mode. Its new Union Market location was designed with events in mind, notably visits from authors of serious, topical non-fiction.
Service: Ledbury: The bespoke shirtmaker from nearby Richmond, Virginia, opened its first out-of-town location in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley.
Culture: Dupont Underground: An art gallery that offers rotating exhibits, lectures and music performances, all in an abandoned streetcar station beneath Dupont Circle.
Move: DC Circulator: While Washington’s Metro falters with age, the District of Columbia is propping up its own shadow transit system: a growing network of buses, all with $1 fares, free wi-fi and USB ports at every seat.