Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam to Belfast: These Were BlackBook’s Best Travel Stories of 2019 – Part I, January – June

The Louvre, Abu Dhabi



BlackBook loves to travel…mostly because sitting still makes us terribly nervous. 2019, naturally, was no different.

Not unusual for us, we spent the early part of the year traversing the Northeast Corridor, where we sipped rooftop cocktails in Philadelphia, ditched the skis for more epicurean adventures in Burlington, Vermont, attended the extraordinarily extravagant opening bash for the plush new Conrad Washington DC Hotel, and followed contemplative songstress and one time Prince collaborator Ingrid Chavez to some of her most inspirational spots around New England.

But springtime also found us dune bashing – and checking out the “other” Louvre – in Abu Dhabi, exploring the Champagne caves and conceptual art of Reims (France), and bearing witness to the cultural and architectural rebirth of a post-“Troubles” and post-Game of Thrones Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Here we’ve gathered some of our fave travel stories from the first half of 2019, figuring we would close out a rather contentious year with some fond memories of the places we’ve been. (Part II is on the way, which will cover the months of July to December.)

If it even need be said, we’ve been thrilled to have you along for the ride.


BlackBook Exclusive: Winter Cocktail Recipes from the Stratus Rooftop Lounge at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia


From Haunted Hotel Bars to Peruvian Conceptual Art: A Genuinely Illuminating Weekend in Santa Fe


Plush Palaces, Maseratis & Women’s Handicrafts: A Weekend in Abu Dhabi, Part I


Dune Bashing, Persian Carpets and a Spectacular Outpost of The Louvre: A Weekend in Abu Dhabi, Part II


Scents & Sensuality: A Fragrant Immersion at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel


Capital C: The New Conrad Washington DC Hotel Wows Beyond Expectations


Après-Ski Season: A Rather Sophisticated Springtime in Vermont – Part 2, Burlington


Catskills Cool: The Eastwind Hotel & Bar is NY State’s Hippest Hideaway


Bohemia, New England – Where Ethereal Songstress Ingrid Chavez Goes to Find Inspiration


Weekend in Reims: The Biggest Notre Dame Cathedral in France + Champagne for Breakfast


Belfast Rising: Has Good Design – and ‘Game of Thrones’ – Ushered in a New Era For Northern Ireland’s Capital?




Claridge’s Unveils New Dior Designed Christmas Tree


First Images: The Artful New LEVEN Hotel, Manchester


Holiday Gifting: Apotheke Launches a Cocktail Scented Candle Line


Openings: Madame Rêve is Surely Paris’ Most Romantic New Hotel


Images: Soho House Paris Opens in Pigalle


London Gleaming: The Connaught Hotel Lights Up its Artful New Christmas Tree


Images: The Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus Opens in Istanbul


BlackBook Does a Revitalizing Weekend at the Andaz Mayakoba Resort, Part II