FOR YEARS, IT WAS the picture of post-Soviet decline.
The former capital of Kazakhstan and the country’s most populous city, Almaty was dreary and run-down, a sprawling, cheerless urban center in the shadow of the Tien Shan mountains.
And then there was oil.
Flush with petrodollars, the Kazakh economy expanded by half in the span of five years, setting off a building boom that would transform Almaty. Suddenly, the city known, if at all, as the birthplace of the apple became a destination with stylish nightclubs and rooftop bars, exotic restaurants and luxury hotels — like the Almaty JW Marriott, once the tallest building in Central Asia.
That boom long since faded, but Almaty’s appeal endures, and with Kazakhstan’s recent easing of visa restrictions, it’s emerged as one of Europe’s most intriguing new hot spots, welcoming not just business travelers but tourists from around the world.
A big reason for that is Almaty’s edgy, all-night entertainment, including a highly regarded live music scene with everything from hard rock and hip hop to folk, jazz, blues and more. During summer months, the city’s main stage is Sky Bar Street, a collection of rooftop bars where well-heeled Kazakhs go for people-watching and pricey cocktails.
You’ll find a more casual crowd at Chukotka. Long a fixture of the city’s nightlife, the bar is situated in the Park of 28 Panfilov Guardsmen, so named for the 28 soldiers of an Almaty infantry unit killed by Nazis in a key 1941 battle outside Moscow. It’s LGBTQ+-friendly, popular with locals and foreigners alike, and features live music from 9 p.m. to midnight, at which point the DJ takes over until dawn.
For a quieter night out, sample some of the world-class wines at Arba wine bar and learn about the recent revival of Kazakhstan’s viniculture. Or take in a show at the Abay State Opera & Ballet Theatre, Almaty’s premier cultural venue with performances four times a week and tickets starting at less than $2. Save the rest for shopping at the Green Bazaar, Almaty’s most famous local market which sits, it’s said, on the old Silk Road — or to the Mega Alma- Ata, the biggest mall in town.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
There’s an aspirational rustic chic/farm-to-table restaurant genre often associated with Northern California’s wine country. When you drive down the main street of Napa, Sonoma or any of the other towns, it appears there are as many of them as there are vineyards. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this genre, as the quality of the food is consistent and ambitious chefs earnestly endeavor to elevate home-style dishes to a higher standard.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco announced a new amenity for guests in collaboration with Porsche. Porsche electric vehicle charging stations will now be located in the valet area of the hotel’s parking deck, allowing guests and visitors to top off the batteries of electric vehicles while enjoying a cocktail at Top of the Mark, enjoying farm-to-table fare at Nob Hill Club or staying overnight at the property.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Reykjavik with us.