The middle of the year is fast approaching, with the winter solstice landing on 21 June in the southern hemisphere. That’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (so gear up for long days in the sunshine) and the shortest day of the year down south (ideal for cosy evenings bundled up with hearty food in cool cities). Whichever hemisphere you’re leaning towards, there’s plenty to see, do and explore this month. Jump on board.
Check in at Japan’s newly opened Ritz-Carlton Fukuoka
Taking reservations from 21 June, the 167-room Ritz-Carlton Fukuoka is a sleek, sophisticated offering for the tech hub of Tenjin, with views across Hakata Bay. There’s an Australian element too: the hotel’s interiors designed by Australian Layan Architects + Designers, and nods to the region’s weaving tradition (hakata-ori) from wall to wall. If a meal at one of the venue’s five exemplary dining venues (which span from kaiseki to tapas) isn’t indulgent enough, hit the spa on the 24th floor for pampering in the steam room or a body scrub beneath art by Season Lao.
Embrace South Korean cultural traditions at the Gangneung Danoje Festival
This four-week-long festival is recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, celebrating traditional music, rituals and culture. Held in the city of Gangneung, a two-hour train ride east of Seoul and one of the hosts of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Gangneung Danoje Festival features performances, inclusive events, and a huge outdoor market (the largest in South Korea) where you can buy local goods and snacks. The festival celebrates Korea's traditional religions of shamanism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, with lights, colour, dance and fireworks. Venture further into the coastal town and explore its rich coffee culture and history, then base yourself at the waterside Skybay Hotel Gyeongpo for beach access or Gangneung Grey Hotel for generous rooms with views over the city.
Visit Rome’s new accommodation darling at the Bulgari Hotel
Rome is the birthplace and home of luxury fashion house Bulgari, so it’s only fitting that the Eternal City should have a hotel that embodies its rich heritage. Opening on 9 June, 144-suite Bulgari Hotel – placed minutes from the Spanish Steps in the heart of Piazza Augusto Imperatore – blends past with present, pairing traditional materials such as travertine marble with chic furniture from contemporary Italian design houses. Here you’ll find a spa modelled after ancient Roman baths, a 25-metre indoor pool and even a library dedicated to the history of jewellery, as well five incredible dining experiences, including the rooftop terrace bar and its 200-vase homage to the gardens found at ancient Roman villas.
Melbourne rises to the occasion with RISING Festival
Billed as “music, food, art and culture under moonlight”, Melbourne’s RISING Festival launches on 7 June and runs until the 18th. Flinders Street Station is the epicentre of the event and will host the First Peoples exhibition Shadow Spirit within its long-abandoned rooms, but the program offers plenty of shows, music and immersive installations across the city, too. Watch cabaret superstar Robyn Archer perform her Australian songbook; skate to your heart’s content at a riverside ice rink; or play a kazoo with 9999 other people. While you’re in town, stay in a swanky suite at the newly opened Le Méridien on Bourke Street, which gives you prime access to buzzing nightlife.
Soak up the suds for World Ocean Day
The United Nations’ World Ocean Day is 8 June, so mark the occasion with an ocean-inspired holiday at a location that knows how to look after the waterways. The Hawaiian accommodation group Outrigger Resorts and Hotels received a Green Seal certification in January for its eco-conscious accommodation practices, including energy-efficient lighting, water-efficient landscaping and groundskeeping, reusable serving equipment and – since 2014 – the championing of reef-safe sunscreen. Closer to home, the solar-powered Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is located within a marine sanctuary Green Zone, with more than 1200 species of marine life. Splash on.
Eat and drink your way through the Bordeaux Wine Festival
A must-do on any French bucket list, a visit to Bordeaux is not complete without a tipple or two. Make the most of it at the annual Bordeaux Wine Festival, which runs from 22 to 25 June. Watch the tall ships sail into the Bordeaux quays or marvel at the coordinated drone shows while sipping on local wines and nibbling on oysters, cheese and food-truck fare in the Gastronomic Village. Go full relaxation with a stay at the Château Fleur d'Aya, which features meticulously manicured grounds, sumptuous castle interiors and a generous pool. The park on the ground is a small ecological reserve, with many trees well over 100 years old. Enjoy breakfast and then go for a wander before heading back to the main event: wine!