For us at Black Tomato, nothing makes a trip more special than when it coincides with some spectacular annual event or natural phenomenon taking place in the chosen location. There’s truly no better way to get to grips with the culture and ethos of a place than by immersing yourself in such an event, so we’ve compiled a little shortlist of our top events occurring in some of our favourite global cities in the upcoming year.
Chinese New Year – January or February
Traditionally running for 15 days from the last day of the previous year to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month, the Chinese certainly know how to celebrate their New Year in style. Expect delicious and decadent food, fireworks soaring through the sky, and houses ablaze with bright red and glittering gold paper couplets. This huge festival is celebrated anywhere with significant Chinese populations, so we’d recommend heading to The Peninsula hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, or even the Philippines to be guaranteed a world-class celebratory experience. Hong Kong is a particular favourite of ours, with The Peninsula restaurants offering unprecedented views over Victoria Harbour and the legendary New Year fireworks display.
Hong Kong’s Art Basel – March
As a 21st Century metropolis, it isn’t surprising that Hong Kong’s Art Basel serves as a platform for artists and galleries from around the world to exhibit their work. Collaborations with local and international partners ensure a diverse range of arts programming, and with hundreds of cultural events being hosted across the city throughout the week this is prime time to visit a city that is already celebrated for being such a cultural and creative Mecca. Even your beautiful hotel, the Peninsula Hong Kong, is a spectacular place to experience the art and creativity of this magical time. The hotel’s Love Art initiative in particular sets the tone of things to come with a programme of exhibitions and events you won’t want to miss.
Cherry Blossom in Tokyo – Early April
Stay in The Peninsula Tokyo in early April to catch a view of the iconic Japanese cherry trees blushing with their first blossoms from your window. With the Imperial Palace Gardens and Hibiya Park only moments away, you’ll be within walking distance of some of the finest and most beautiful blossom spots in the city. The hotel has even created some delicious bespoke cherry blossom cocktails that you can sip in a lobby decorated with three-meter high cherry boughs, so you can continue to enjoy those pink petals long into the evening hours.
Songkran in Bangkok – April
For one of the most beautiful and surreal festival experiences, head to Bangkok in time for Songkran, the Thai new year. Traditional parades dance through the streets and locals flock from their homes to engage in water fights. We reckon you’ll need a good cosy towel-dry after this, so stay in The Peninsula Bangkok for a little bit of luxury after a day of splashing about on Bangkok’s bustling streets.
Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong – May or June
Hong Kong’s Dragon Boat Festival is an authentic celebration that dates back over 1000 years. Watch as thousands of competitors paddle their colourful and ornate dragon boats as fast as they can across the finish line in Victoria Harbour. The energy and atmosphere is bolstered by live music and marching bands that transform the harbour-side into a frenetic party. The stunning scenery that surrounds the water only adds to this festival’s charm. And the best bit? Stay in The Peninsula Hong Kong and you’ll be within touching distance of the best festivities on offer.
Independence Day in NYC – 4th July
What better reason to visit the U-S-of-A then in celebration of the 4th of July, the country’s national day and commemoration of its independence from British colonial rule. With fireworks, parades, barbeques, carnivals, picnics, concerts and baseball games, you won’t be short of those fabulous All-American activities to fill your stay. With its prime location on Fifth Avenue, The Peninsula New York is the perfect spot from which to enjoy the festivities.
Bastille Day and Tour de France in Paris – July
Every year on the 14th of July France commemorates the storming of the Bastille in the violent French Revolution. Only moments away from the legendary Champs Elysées, The Peninsula Paris is our favourite base from which to enjoy the day’s iconic military parade – the oldest and largest of its kind in the whole of Europe. Hang around for ten more days and you’ll get to see the adrenaline-pumped cyclists taking part in the final leg of the Tour de France, which this year ends in gorgeous Chantilly.
Mid Autumn Festival in China – September
Our favourite harvest festival, head to any of The Peninsula properties in China or Hong Kong for the ultimate celebration of this traditional Chinese holiday. Inhale the glorious scents of burning incense, set your taste buds tingling with traditional moon cakes and let your eyes light up as you watch the swirling reds and ribbons of local dragon and lion dances as paper lanterns fill the sky in a mesmerising display of beauty and culture.
Fashion Week in Paris – September
Head to the fashion capital of the world and observe Parisian chic at its finest in September’s fashion week. The Peninsula Paris offers luxe interiors and svelte designs which will leave you feeling well ahead in the style game, and is often the main hub for many designers to retreat to, so keep your eyes peeled.
Thanksgiving in Chicago – November
For the ultimate American experience, head to the cities in time for Thanksgiving and enjoy perfect pumpkin pies, bacon-basted turkey, and the freshest fall vegetables. New York will provide the festive frost-filled air your Thanksgiving dreams are made of, but we also back Chicago for knowing how to give thanks in style.
Loy Krathong in Bangkok – November
Literally the festival of floating baskets, this beautiful annual Thai festival involves intricate baskets decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a burning candle being set down in waters across the country. With its position perched on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, The Peninsula Bangkok offers unrivalled views of the glowing lantern-spotted waters. Imagine the glow of thousands of little krathongs, illuminated against the shadowy, rippling river waves…