Got 24 hours? Then you've got a vacation. Anthony Bourdain hosts his new show The Layover, where he spends 24-48 hours in a city and covers what to do, how to feast, and where to sleep. Bourdain easily turns a travel misfortune -- a layover -- into a travel adventure.
A high-density, vertical city with tourists and locals from everywhere on the planet, New York delivers -- no matter who you are. Times Square bedazzles visitors, Union Square is packed with skateboarding students and the beautiful farmers' market. Shoppers splurge along 5th Avenue and scope out insider boutiques in SoHo, the West Village, or the Lower East Side. Art lovers bask in the grand museums of the Upper East Side or preview up-and-coming imagery at a Chelsea gallery. Remember that in New York, location is everything -- be sure to find the neighborhood that's right for you. Bourdain recommends the luxurious The St. Regis New York in Midtown East and The Jane Hotel in the West Village for a trendy boutique. We recommend the The Waldorf-Astoria, the The Peninsula New York, and The Pierre for old-world grandeur, and Gramercy Park Hotel, 60 Thompson, the Soho Grand Hotel, and The Bowery Hotel for hip downtown spots.
Montreal is the place where Europe and North America meet. The rich French culture, with its historic architecture and 'joie de vivre', blends perfectly with the modern, urban elements of the New World, making this one of the most vibrant towns in Canada. Beautiful parks, wonderful historic and modern architecture, great museums (you can't miss the Museum of Fine Arts), lovely tree-lined streets, stunning cathedrals, a vibrant nightlife, great shopping and dining will all impress you. And, the underground city -- full of shopping centers, movie theatres, restaurants and cafes -- makes life easier when the winter comes. Visitors can spend a whole day underground without having so much as to wear a coat even when it's freezing outside. One of Bourdain's favorites is Le Place D'Armes Hotel & Suites in Old Montreal. For kid-friendly, we recommend Hotel Le Crystal, and for the quaint boutique we suggest Hotel Nelligan.
Like Cuba's ultra-capitalist offshoot, Miami is a sprawling, modern metropolis with a Latino pulse. One of America's most fashion-forward cities, its couture shopping, A-list clubs, renowned art galleries, and innovative cuisine draw some pretty famous faces, with paparazzi (or Secret Service) frequently in tow. But beyond the glitz, Miami is a safe, impressively clean city -- with a touch of small-town charm in neighborhoods like South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Coral Gables. Young families, jet-setters, retirees, and college kids buying six-packs with spare change unite, brave the humidity, and celebrate the Sunshine State in style. Bourdain recommends The Delano for trendy class in a superb location. For your iconic pick, we suggest Fontainebleau Resort and the breathtaking The Setai for luxury.
Scratch beneath the celluloid surface and you'll also find rich cultural and culinary diversity, a thriving visual arts scene, and natural beauty, from beaches and mountains to great parks and un-Botoxed faces. Greater Los Angeles is more a string of vibrant, unique neighborhoods and municipalities than a cohesive city with an urban center. That said, the recent revitalization of downtown has given L.A. something it was sorely lacking: a true downtown with both rich commerce and cultural offerings, including a thriving gallery scene, and a growing resident population that inhabits shiny high-rise apartment buildings. We recommend Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills for top notch luxury and Hotel Shangri-La for a charming, beautiful boutique.
The array of famous landmarks and images is reason enough to go: Alcatraz, cable cars (don't call them trolleys), the Golden Gate Bridge, the pastel boxlike houses packed in, shoulder-to-shoulder, along legendary hills. People come to the City by the Bay for its unsurpassed beauty. San Francisco's peninsular combination of bay and ocean, with steep crests rising in between, creates what is quite possibly the most picturesque natural setting for a major city anywhere in the world. You can find gorgeous panoramic views from half a dozen different spots: Twin Peaks, Nob Hill, Coit Tower, and so on, up and down, peak to peak. For a personal and intimate boutique, we recommend Campton Place Taj Hotel and if you're looking for are looking to splurge on luxury head to the The Fairmont in Nob Hill.