Summer skiers and snowboarders enjoy clear skies at The Remarkables ski area near Queenstown, New Zealand.  (AP Photo/Richard Savoie)

Looking for interesting summer travel ideas? I like to check out festivals and special events that focus on the pleasures of the season. Maybe one of the following suggestions, with dates, will spark your interest enough to create a trip around it.

The World’s Largest Art Festival in Niigata, Japan (July 29 – September 16)

Every three years Niigata offers the largest art gallery in the world during the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. Now in its seventh year, the festival will showcase 50 site-specific artworks that examine the role of architecture and the power of art in the world. Contemporary artworks are exhibited in locations all throughout the Echigo-Tsumari area, including rice terraces, woodlands and former schools, truly blending together art with Japan’s rural landscapes. One of the top cultural and artistic hubs in Japan, Niigita is also known for retaining a "Satoyama" lifestyle, living harmoniously with untouched nature.

Street Parade Festival in Zurich (August 11)

Street Parade is the major house and techno parade in Zurich, with events happening citywide. Inspired by the Berlin Love Parade, the festival dates back to 1992 and brings hundreds of thousands dancing on the streets of Zurich. For a luxury experience of the city’s popular electro festival, the Baur au Lac hosts a “Boum Boum au Lac” celebration on August 11th  in their private lakeside park.

Chef Kenji Gyoten at Soneva in the Maldives (August)

Soneva Fushi, the flagship resort in the Maldives, offers an original dining experience as part of their year-long Festival of Color campaign. "Out of the Blue," the two-story over-water structure, houses five brand-new dining experiences, including a dedicated sushi counter called "So Hands On," which seats just five diners for lunch and dinner. Chef Kenji Gyoten will be taking over in August. He is the youngest three Michelin-starred chef in Japan, and one of only four three-starred sushi chefs in the world. (At his restaurant in Japan, it typically takes six months to get a reservation.)

Miyajima Firework Festival (August 25, 2018)

Throughout the summer, firework festivals paint the skies of Japan, including the renowned Miyajima Firework Festival launched off the shore of a small island less than an hour outside of Hiroshima. The Itsukushima Shrine is ranked one of Japan’s “three best views,” as the fireworks reflect the sea, and outline the giant torii gate. The festival showcases approximately 5,000 fireworks, 200 launched from the water. Around 40,000 people visit Miyajima to see the fireworks festival, and around 200,000 gather on the opposite shores of the nearby cities of Hatsukaichi and Hiroshima to watch from a distance. Perfect for Instagrammers!

Pop-Up Lakeside Transparent “Bed,” Lake Geneva (Summer)

As part of its summer Art of Slow campaign, the iconic Beau-Rivage Palace has launched a Pop-Up Hotel bed nested in the property’s private ten-acre garden adjacent to Lake Geneva. The glass allows guests to view the starry sky and includes a a private terrace with panoramic views of the lake and Alps. In the more than 150-year history of this five-star hotel, artists have sought inspiration, treaties have been signed and royal families and celebrities have found peace and privacy.

Ski Season in Queenstown, New Zealand (August-October)

The Southern Hemisphere’s ski season has begun.  QT Queenstown brings a cutting-edge property to the shores of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. Other events/news for Queenstown:

  • August 2-5 – Clicquot in the Snow – Veuve Clicquot annual Winter event in Queenstown
  • September 1-9 – Winter Pride Festival/Gay Ski Week
  • Queenstown is also getting an iFly indoor skydiving experience
  • The Soho Basin – a private ski slope (capped at 24 skiers per day) on ungroomed backcountry

Chef-Hosted Voyages with Aqua Expeditions (August & September)

Aqua Expeditions, the luxury boutique river cruise company sailing the Peruvian Amazon and Mekong Rivers, is offering unique chef-hosted departures in 2018 with four-night voyages on each boat, with celebrity chefs. Guests and chefs will visit local markets, attend cooking classes, and participate in kitchen tours and Q&As with each chef:

  • Aqua Mekong (Chef-hosted voyage, August 3-7): Aqua Mekong Consulting Chef David Thompson’s restaurants perennially earn Michelin stars and rank on “The World’s 50 Best” list.
  • Aria Amazon (Chef-hosted voyage, September 24-28): Aria Amazon Consulting Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is chef/owner of Malabar, listed in the San Pellegrino World’s 100 best restaurants.

Venice Biennale at San Clemente Palace Kempinski (now through November)

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, the luxury resort on its own 17-acre private island in the Venice lagoon, offers a special package in honor of the 2018 Architecture Biennale, through November 25, 2018.  Centered around the theme of "Freespace," exhibits around Venice will look at the role of architecture in daily life.

Hoshino Resort’s Cloud Bar and Bed, Hokkaido, Japan (launching September)

Over 3,000 feet above sea level, the Unkai Terrace offers attractions in the clouds, such as the “Cloud Walk.” Travelers can take gondolas from the foothill of the Hoshino Resorts Tomamu properties in the early morning to reach a panorama of the ever-changing Unkai (Sea of Clouds) and the mountains of Hidaka and Tokachi in the northern region of Hokkaido.

This September brings two new experiences:

  • Cloud Bar: Walking along the trail of the Unkai Terrace, guests will reach a 14-yard-long bar counter with chairs perched 10-feet off the ground. Climbing up the ladder and looking down from the special seats, up to seven bar-goers can enjoy the sea of clouds at a time.
  • Cloud Bed: Large cushions (15 to 23 inches in diameter) are made in the image of "Cloud Droplets" (the water droplets that form the clouds). Visitors can enjoy the view of unkai while on these cushions, as if sitting on the clouds themselves.

 

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Summer skiers and snowboarders enjoy clear skies at The Remarkables ski area near Queenstown, New Zealand.  (AP Photo/Richard Savoie)

Looking for interesting summer travel ideas? I like to check out festivals and special events that focus on the pleasures of the season. Maybe one of the following suggestions, with dates, will spark your interest enough to create a trip around it.

The World’s Largest Art Festival in Niigata, Japan (July 29 – September 16)

Every three years Niigata offers the largest art gallery in the world during the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. Now in its seventh year, the festival will showcase 50 site-specific artworks that examine the role of architecture and the power of art in the world. Contemporary artworks are exhibited in locations all throughout the Echigo-Tsumari area, including rice terraces, woodlands and former schools, truly blending together art with Japan’s rural landscapes. One of the top cultural and artistic hubs in Japan, Niigita is also known for retaining a “Satoyama” lifestyle, living harmoniously with untouched nature.

Street Parade Festival in Zurich (August 11)

Street Parade is the major house and techno parade in Zurich, with events happening citywide. Inspired by the Berlin Love Parade, the festival dates back to 1992 and brings hundreds of thousands dancing on the streets of Zurich. For a luxury experience of the city’s popular electro festival, the Baur au Lac hosts a “Boum Boum au Lac” celebration on August 11th  in their private lakeside park.

Chef Kenji Gyoten at Soneva in the Maldives (August)

Soneva Fushi, the flagship resort in the Maldives, offers an original dining experience as part of their year-long Festival of Color campaign. “Out of the Blue,” the two-story over-water structure, houses five brand-new dining experiences, including a dedicated sushi counter called “So Hands On,” which seats just five diners for lunch and dinner. Chef Kenji Gyoten will be taking over in August. He is the youngest three Michelin-starred chef in Japan, and one of only four three-starred sushi chefs in the world. (At his restaurant in Japan, it typically takes six months to get a reservation.)

Miyajima Firework Festival (August 25, 2018)

Throughout the summer, firework festivals paint the skies of Japan, including the renowned Miyajima Firework Festival launched off the shore of a small island less than an hour outside of Hiroshima. The Itsukushima Shrine is ranked one of Japan’s “three best views,” as the fireworks reflect the sea, and outline the giant torii gate. The festival showcases approximately 5,000 fireworks, 200 launched from the water. Around 40,000 people visit Miyajima to see the fireworks festival, and around 200,000 gather on the opposite shores of the nearby cities of Hatsukaichi and Hiroshima to watch from a distance. Perfect for Instagrammers!

Pop-Up Lakeside Transparent “Bed,” Lake Geneva (Summer)

As part of its summer Art of Slow campaign, the iconic Beau-Rivage Palace has launched a Pop-Up Hotel bed nested in the property’s private ten-acre garden adjacent to Lake Geneva. The glass allows guests to view the starry sky and includes a a private terrace with panoramic views of the lake and Alps. In the more than 150-year history of this five-star hotel, artists have sought inspiration, treaties have been signed and royal families and celebrities have found peace and privacy.

Ski Season in Queenstown, New Zealand (August-October)

The Southern Hemisphere’s ski season has begun.  QT Queenstown brings a cutting-edge property to the shores of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. Other events/news for Queenstown:

  • August 2-5 – Clicquot in the Snow – Veuve Clicquot annual Winter event in Queenstown
  • September 1-9 – Winter Pride Festival/Gay Ski Week
  • Queenstown is also getting an iFly indoor skydiving experience
  • The Soho Basin – a private ski slope (capped at 24 skiers per day) on ungroomed backcountry

Chef-Hosted Voyages with Aqua Expeditions (August & September)

Aqua Expeditions, the luxury boutique river cruise company sailing the Peruvian Amazon and Mekong Rivers, is offering unique chef-hosted departures in 2018 with four-night voyages on each boat, with celebrity chefs. Guests and chefs will visit local markets, attend cooking classes, and participate in kitchen tours and Q&As with each chef:

  • Aqua Mekong (Chef-hosted voyage, August 3-7): Aqua Mekong Consulting Chef David Thompson’s restaurants perennially earn Michelin stars and rank on “The World’s 50 Best” list.
  • Aria Amazon (Chef-hosted voyage, September 24-28): Aria Amazon Consulting Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is chef/owner of Malabar, listed in the San Pellegrino World’s 100 best restaurants.

Venice Biennale at San Clemente Palace Kempinski (now through November)

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, the luxury resort on its own 17-acre private island in the Venice lagoon, offers a special package in honor of the 2018 Architecture Biennale, through November 25, 2018.  Centered around the theme of “Freespace,” exhibits around Venice will look at the role of architecture in daily life.

Hoshino Resort’s Cloud Bar and Bed, Hokkaido, Japan (launching September)

Over 3,000 feet above sea level, the Unkai Terrace offers attractions in the clouds, such as the “Cloud Walk.” Travelers can take gondolas from the foothill of the Hoshino Resorts Tomamu properties in the early morning to reach a panorama of the ever-changing Unkai (Sea of Clouds) and the mountains of Hidaka and Tokachi in the northern region of Hokkaido.

This September brings two new experiences:

  • Cloud Bar: Walking along the trail of the Unkai Terrace, guests will reach a 14-yard-long bar counter with chairs perched 10-feet off the ground. Climbing up the ladder and looking down from the special seats, up to seven bar-goers can enjoy the sea of clouds at a time.
  • Cloud Bed: Large cushions (15 to 23 inches in diameter) are made in the image of “Cloud Droplets” (the water droplets that form the clouds). Visitors can enjoy the view of unkai while on these cushions, as if sitting on the clouds themselves.