The Hottest Places to Visit This April
April is a wonderful month for travel, no matter where you are in the world. The change of seasons heralds the return of key festivals on both sides of the equator, the opening of new landmark hotels as well as the occurrence of rare natural phenomena. Here are our top picks on where to travel this April.
Celebrate Easter worldwide
Whether it's high-octane festivals filled with music and food or solemn processions through city streets, Easter is one of the world’s most celebrated religious occasions, and the way the death and resurrection of Christ is commemorated varies dramatically from one area of the world to the next. In Kingston, Jamaica, reggae, calypso and soca music will flood the streets for a week, with over 10,000 visitors and locals descending on the capital city. Soak in the exuberance while bouncing between beach parties, live music events and fetes; and ensure you’re there for when the energy crescendos with the Jamaica Carnival March (12 to 18 April), when masqueraders adorned in jewels, feathers, wings and vibrant colours, parade through the city amidst thousands of dancing spectators.
In New York City, the Easter Parade is a tradition that stretches back to the 1870s. Running from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, hundreds of New Yorkers will don elaborately decorated hats (birdcages, flower pots, woven baskets of Easter eggs) as they march on Fifth Avenue. Place yourself on the steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral for the best views of the revellers.
Lastly, in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Antigua, Guatemala, the Semana Santa processions will take place. On Holy Thursday (6 April), local artists will use stencils, coloured sawdust, fruits, vegetables and sand to construct technicolour-hued carpets (or alfombras) along the city’s cobblestoned roads. The next day will see a procession carrying large floats depicting the 14 stations of the cross – the moments of significance leading to Jesus’ crucifixion – sail across the vibrant works of art.
Jamaica Carnival will run between 12 to 18 April; the Easter Parade will run in New York City on 9 April; and the Semana Santa processions will run 7 April.
See the Total Solar Eclipse in WA
Escape the city to chase natural phenomena this month in Exmouth, Western Australia. For three hours on 20 April, the moon will slowly move across the face of the sun, casting a shadow over the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo region. At 11.27am, for just 62 seconds, the moon, sun and Earth will be in alignment, culminating in the rare Total Solar Eclipse, where only a thin halo of light will be visible in the sky – a visual effect created by the hot gases in the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere.
After catching the show, spend the rest of the day swimming with whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays while spying the 250 species of coral in the nearby waters before unwinding at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort and its coastal-chic rooms, apartments and bungalows. For those who prefer to stay immersed in the wild, campgrounds in Cape Range National Park and Nyinggulu Coastal Reserves will be front row for the spectacular eclipse (note: bookings are essential and the campsite is only accessible by 4WD).
The Total Solar Eclipse will occur at 11.27am on 20 April
Bulgari Hotel Tokyo opens its doors
Occupying five floors of the towering Tokyo Midtown Yaesu building, the new Bulgari hotel (their eighth offering worldwide) consists of 98 rooms and suites, each showcasing the brand’s signature Italian design aesthetic. More than just a place to rest your head, the 40th floor is home to a luxuriously appointed, 1000-square-metre spa with innovative treatments, therapies and grooming options for guests – as well as a high-tech Workshop Gymnasium where bespoke results-driven programming will help maximise performance.
The most alluring of the hotel’s offerings are its fine dining experiences: where else in the world will you encounter two three-Michelin-starred chefs under the same roof? The eight-seat Sushi Hōseki is helmed by chef Kenji Gyoten who will host a special omakase experience where the menu is created according to his whims in an intimate degustation. Conversely, the 80-seat Il Ristorante is headed up by chef Niko Romito who will showcase a wealth of contemporary Italian cuisine guaranteed to fire up your tastebuds.
Bulgari Hotel Tokyo will open 4 April
Experience AfrikaBurn in South Africa
The brainchild of two attendees of Nevada’s iconic Burning Man festival over two decades ago, AfrikaBurn was born of the desire to gather people together in the spirit of art and reinvention. This year’s festival theme is “Space”, an invitation to “forge your own wonders, design cosmic delights and play with your weird and alien crew”. Taking place at Quaggafontein Farm in Tankwa Karoo, between the Northern Cape and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa, the week-long festival is marked by spontaneous, collaborative art experiments and music performances; mobile art or “mutant vehicles”; and “theme camps”, which gather like-minded individuals together to create engaging and entertaining spaces of different inspirations.
AfrikaBurn will run between 24 to 30 April
The Red Centre lights up with Parrtjima
The journey to the Red Centre of Australia is a bucket-list experience and visiting during Parrtjima: a Festival of Light, adds another dimension, as the celebration shines a spotlight on the world’s oldest continuous culture through art and technology. Centred this year around the theme “Listening with Heart”, the free-entry, 10-night-long festival takes place in Alice Springs on the 300-million-year-old sands of the MacDonnell Ranges. The festival’s program spans workshops hosted by Warlukurlangu Artists, who specialise in traditional storytelling techniques with modern, vibrantly-hued acrylic, to musical performances by The Docker River Band, who pair “dreamy vocals with the smooth sounds of desert reggae, with lyrics in their Pitjantjatjara language and English”. The landmark attraction? A large-scale, immersive light and sound installation by Maruku artist Rene Kulitja.
Make yourself at home at the five-star Sails in the Desert. Situated 25-minutes from Uluru, the resort boasts 228 luxurious rooms and suites, all gathered around a swimming pool lined with gum trees. Make dropping into the Walpa Lobby Bar a priority before leaving, with cocktails and Indigenous-inspired cuisine a mainstay on the menu.
Parrtijma will run between 7 to 16 April
Catch a Hollywood star on Broadway, New York City
See Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Jodie Comer (Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel) in New York in the Broadway-debuting play, Prima Facie. Written by Australian playwright, Suzie Miller, the acclaimed piece is a one-woman show about a criminal defence barrister whose perspective of the legal system changes after she is sexually assaulted. Round out a weekend of female creative genius with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the new Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time exhibition. Featuring over 120 works created over four decades and spanning the length of the gallery’s third-floor south wing, the exhibition celebrates the motifs that O’Keeffe developed over her career (florals, skyscrapers and more). Expect everything from organic landscapes to frank nudes, conveyed through charcoal, pencil, watercolour and pencil.
Prima Facie will run between 11 April to 18 June; Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time will run between 9 April to 12 August
Next-level Pampering Lands in Sydney International Airport
Heading overseas? Your pre-flight ritual has never looked more indulgent. Ultra-luxe skincare house La Prairie has partnered with the Heinemann Tax & Duty Free team to launch the Art of Beauty Lounge at Sydney International Airport. For 45 blissful minutes, guests will be transported to a whole new level of Zen in one of the lounge’s minimalist private rooms as a La Prairie beauty advisor massages the brand’s signature cutting-edge products (caviar and gold are key ingredients) into your skin in a bespoke pamper session. If you’re short on time, you can also pop in for an express eye treatment or Skin Caviar Hand and Arm massage.
The Art of Beauty Lounge is now open at Sydney International Airport. Bookings are essential.