During a year that commenced with an early morning Alpine snowshoe expedition to the peak of Muottas Muragl in Engadin St. Moritz, Switzerland and ended with a (pre-election) Jazz Era, Gatsby-themed weekend at Glenmere in the Lower Hudson Valley, we wandered the planet from the West Coast of Sweden to San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard, with stops in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, Montreux and Punta Cana, as well as Stockholm, Gothenburg, Condado in Puerto Rico, and Santa Rosa in Sonoma, all of which provided numerous opportunities for celebrating the many joys of travel.
Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite travel memories from 2016, which was prompted by our editor at OutTraveler, where this feature was originally published.
Best City You Visited: Stockholm, Sweden
Why you chose it: Because it feels like my home away from home. No matter how many times I return to Stockholm, I am awed by the archipelago’s natural beauty and the social progressivism of the city, which has championed LGBT equality, not only in Sweden but around the world—and all of this complemented by a citizenry with innate style and savoir vivre.
Best Hotel: Kulm Hotel
Location: St. Moritz, Switzerland
Why you chose it: Because the history of this glamorous alpine resort is inextricably bound to the five-star superior Kulm, St. Moritz’s original luxury hotel, which dates to 1856—and because the hotel’s recent multi-million-dollar room renovation was overseen by French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon who created sumptuous suites notable for Swiss pine interiors, a hallmark of the Engadin.
Why you chose it: Because this extraordinary eight-table restaurant is an exemplar of haute cuisine and the virtues of Germany’s “dual-training system,” with a kitchen helmed by Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp, who received his third Michelin star in 2007, and ably supported by Thomas Brandt, Gault Millau’s Maître of the Year and sommelier Jürgen Fendt, the three of whom are a formidable triumvirate of talent and taste—and because I’m still dreaming of that langoustine with imperial caviar and that trolley of post-prandial mignardises.
Best Bar (gay, mixed or otherwise): Wynand Fockink
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Why you chose it: Because this ribald gin mill (with its suggestive name) was founded in 1679 as a liqueur distillery and specializes in artisanal liqueurs such as “Hansel in the Cellar” and “The Longer the Better,” which can be enjoyed in the historic tasting room or the authentic 17th-century tavern that spills out into the arcade just off the Dam.
Best Experience: Snow-shoeing atop the 8,058-foot summit of Muottas Muragl on the southern slopes of the Swiss Alps
Location: Pontresina, Switzerland
Why you chose it: Because the views above the clouds are spectacular, particularly if you are fortunate enough to witness the unique cloud formation known as the “Maloja Snake” (depicted in the Kristen Stewart film “Clouds of Sils Maria” (2015), which wends through the mountain pass)—and most of all because being atop a mountain surrounded by nothing but snow is my idea of heaven.
Best Surprise: M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark
Location: Just north of Copenhagen, in nearby Helsingor, home to Hamlet’s castle (also known as Kronborg)
Why you chose it: Built in a former dry dock, this extraordinary subterranean structure designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) opened in 2013 and has been the recipient of numerous awards for its innovative design that mirrors maritime life. Furthermore, exhibitions such as “Sex & the Sea,” co-created by film director Peter Greenaway, investigate the sexuality of sailors. Need I say more?