In Sydney, the beauty on the Bay
It’s hard to get a bad harbour view in Sydney, that world-beating harbour town; a handful of hotels in its Central Business District and The Rocks – in particular the Park Hyatt, with its forever perspective on the Opera House (and unassailable service) – deliver fine ones. If, however, you prefer your harbour view to come with actual harbour access, and also proximity to the vibrancy of a real, non-CBD neighbourhood, look to Contemporary Hotels. It specialises in catered, privately owned properties, from snug-chic Potts Point studios to sprawling Vaucluse estates, evincing gorgeous design and serviced by a team of dynamic young staff who stock bars and kitchens, offer local advice and more.
One of its most spectacular homes is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom flat on Billyard Avenue, in the pretty enclave of Elizabeth Bay. Its owner, who’s based in Brisbane (and one of the more stylish women we know in Australia), knocked two apartments together to create a floor-through space with a huge open living-dining area and beautiful fitted kitchen tucked around the corner. She collaborated with the creative director Briony Fitzgerald on the interiors, which are spare, contemporary and awash in aqueous tones, with light timber floors and the owner’s own collection of art and ceramics displayed throughout. It’s comfortable and eminently tasteful, with two study areas and a master bath with a sexy peekaboo tub. But walk out on the terrace that fronts the length of the flat and look out – and down – for the real USP: one of Sydney’s only private harbour pools, which is exclusive-use for the residents of the building. From A$1000 (about £560) a day, sleeps four; contemporaryhotels.com.au
Loft style in the heart of Tel Aviv
If you’re in Tel Aviv on a long stay, and looking for the comforts of a home – a spacious, loft-style, architect-designed home – then one of the eight one- to four-bedroom flats at The Levee is a good bet. The location is just a few blocks off Rothschild Avenue (and one minute’s morning stroll from excellent coffee and eggs at Herzl 16), at the edge of Neve Tzedek and a 15-minute walk to the beach.
Israeli architects Bar Orian stripped the 1913 Gurevitch House interiors back to their cement-walled, steel-beamed bones, then laid in wide-plank floors and open, cook’s kitchens. Three new floors were added, with the most loft-like accommodations of them all: large, lush, shaded terraces, lined with potted plants, and compact but sun-saturated (and quiet) bedrooms. When I arrived at my flat, there was a bottle of nice white from the Golan Heights in the fridge and a gorgeous assemblage of cheeses and dried fruits; a concierge is downstairs most of the day to help with taxis, reprovisioning, restaurant bookings and any other needs. From £700 for a two-bedroom, sleeps from four to 10; leveetlv.com
Cosy on the water in Cape Town
Location is key in Cape Town, and it doesn’t get much more ideal, or gorgeous, than Bantry Bay, with Clifton’s beaches an easy walk to the south, panoramic Atlantic Ocean views directly in front of you and the green peak of Lion’s Head behind. The cosy two-bedroom Bantry Bay Art Studio, part of the ultra-exclusive Art House Collection of private, exclusive-use properties in southern Africa, is in a landmark modern residential complex perched right above the crashing surf. The flat capitalises on that situation, leveraging those views and that light from a long terrace and through tall windows in a high-ceilinged sitting room.
The owner, a collector of South African art, and textiles from all over the world, has hung the walls with portraits, abstract works and tapestries. The en suite in the master is open to the bedroom, with bright-white sinks and bath and a stunning marble shower. Packed with pattern and colour, the flat radiates the real sense of a home amid all the pretty unique things. From R5,500 (about £277) a night, sleeps two; arthouse-collection.com
Paris pieds-à-terre par excellence
Since its inception in 2010, Onefinestay has led the pack with private digs of all sizes, levels and price points in major capitals, from the Hollywood Hills to the Piazza Navona in Rome. In a few weeks’ time, a clutch of lovely new flats will come online in Paris – located in an array of arrondissements, all very different amongst themselves, but sharing the desirable quality of excellent value for money.
In a sweet 2nd arrondissement building near the Marais and the Centres Pompidou, for instance, is a lovely two-bedroom on Rue Tiquetonne (from £282 a night): it’s a fourth-floor walk up (très bohème, but consider yourself warned) whose payoff is a small but super-chic mansard apartment with tons of natural light, great views, a little Juliet balcony and a master suite snuggled up under the eaves.
Over in the patrician 7th, meanwhile, they will offer a sleek three-bedroom, two-bathroom family flat (from £405 per night) with an open-plan living-dining room and a gorgeous modern kitchen, a fireplace in the master suite, and a prime situation between the Musée Rodin and the Musée d’Orsay. Rue Tiquetonne and Rue de Bourgogne apartments available to book from later this month; onefinestay.com for live links to the full collection