From the iconic to the historic, from the glamorous to the great outdoors, Fairmont has you covered when it comes to unforgettable city breaks.
Hunt for the Unusual in Austin
There’s a reason “Keep Austin Weird” is this cool city’s unofficial motto. Austin prides itself on standing out from the crowd and has an abundance of unusual attractions. One of the wackiest is the Cathedral of Junk, a massive sculpture rising from the suburban backyard of its creator, Vince Hannemann. Made of tossed-out objects, from crutches and bicycles to toys and guitars, this towering artwork continually evolves as Hannemann makes tweaks and additions.
More peculiar is the compact Museum of the Weird, crammed with old-school curios like shrunken heads and a Fiji mermaid. Or, for a piece of weird Austin to take home, rummage through the offbeat wares at Uncommon Objects. This emporium of 24 antiques dealers sells an eclectic assortment of items including taxidermy, Victorian postcards, silver jewelry and vintage signs.
Keep the weirdness going into the evening with a visit to Lala’s Little Nugget, a decades-old bar where it’s Christmas every day of the year. You’ll spot Santa and his reindeer on the roof, while the interior is festooned with colorful lights, holly and glittering baubles.
With its luxe rooms, chic restaurants and stunning outdoor pool, Fairmont Austin is the perfect balance for your Austin adventure on the weird side.
Get Close to Nature in Seoul
Packed with glistening skyscrapers, South Korea’s energetic capital buzzes day and night. But hop on a subway and you can quickly find natural beauty and sensational views at Bukhansan National Park, whose forested slopes, gorges and granite peaks overlook the city. The Seoul Hiking Tourism Center provides maps and tips, as well as hiking gear rentals.
The Olympic Park, built for the 1988 Games, is an unexpected natural gem in the city. In addition to a clutch of sporting venues and a concert hall, this tranquil green space is now home to a wildflower garden filled with blooms in the spring and fall and SOMA Museum of Art. Walking paths weave among a collection of striking outdoor sculptures and One Tree Hill, an iconic site used for film backgrounds.
Exploring the Han River is another opportunity to enjoy natural beauty. A paved bike trail curls alongside the water, or you can jump aboard a cruise. You’ll find bicycle rentals and a boat tour jetty in Yeouido Hangang Park, which also has an open-air swimming pool for refreshing dips in the steamy summer months.
Inspired by Korean traditional palace architecture, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul is a sleek retreat designed by acclaimed architect Richard Rogers. Its elegant rooms offer panoramic city and river views.
Channel Your Inner Celeb in LA
Hollywood. Beverly Hills. Malibu. All are bywords for glitz and glamour, and all are within easy reach of Fairmont Century Plaza, a landmark hotel in the heart of Los Angeles.
Have you imagined making an Oscar acceptance speech? At the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, you can step into the shoes of the stars in a simulated Oscar night. Hear your name called, receive your award, then take home a video to commemorate your experience. Once you’ve gotten past your adoring fans, check out exhibitions covering filmmaking elements from screenwriting to costume design. Keep an eye out for iconic artifacts like Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
To dress the part of a celeb, there’s an endless list of chic places to shop in LA. Head to The Grove for timeless fashion from brands such as FRAME and Maje or browse names like OAK + FORT and California’s own Bearfruit Jewelry at Westfield Century City. Feeling more Malibu than Beverly Hills? Stroll hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard for sunglasses, sneakers and its beachy vibe.
See Montreal With a Local
Touring Montreal with a resident is a fabulous way to gain insider tips and lore. On Spade & Palacio’s guided walk along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, you’ll spot colossal murals as you learn about the city’s dynamic art scene. Or you can get the lowdown on the best gourmet treats in town with Montreal On Wheels. Its Bike and Bites tour shows off the city’s culinary prowess with stops for bagels, gelato and wine.
For a peek at the greenery and graffiti of Montreal’s back alleyways, join 16/42 on a behind-the-streets tour of Plateau Mont-Royal. When the tour’s over, take the time to explore the rest of this artsy quarter, famed for its lively cafes, vintage clothing stores and quaint townhouses.
On the water, you can paddle the Lachine Canal by kayak with H20 Adventures before pitching up at the St-Ambroise brewery for a pint and a flight. Find out about the history of the canal and its nearby neighborhoods before floating back at sunset.
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has stylishly designed rooms just steps from Montreal’s finest shopping, dining and nightlife. For smart recommendations and insider tips, you can rely on the hotel’s concierge team.
Delve Into the Past in Francisco
Rich in history, San Francisco has long been the landing point for migrants crossing the Pacific. A trip to Angel Island Immigration Station offers a fascinating, yet sobering insight into the 500,000 newcomers who arrived here between 1910 and 1940. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West,” the facility was notorious for enforcing America’s Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Today, you can discover the immigrants’ stories in its museum and detention barracks. The Golden Gate Ferry runs several trips daily.
Another familiar sight is Coit Tower, the fluted white column built in 1933 on Telegraph Hill. Look for the bold murals depicting the Great Depression before riding the elevator to the top for sweeping views of the city, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then pop into the cafe afterward for paninis and pastries.
The city also boasts two exceptional hotels for your visit (or divide your time between them). Fairmont San Francisco offers classic luxury and panoramic views from a storied building atop Nob Hill and Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square and its spacious, multiroom residences located near Fisherman’s Wharf.
Isn’t it time you booked a Fairmont hotel for an urban escape to remember?