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Article: Weekend Wanderlust

Weekend Wanderlust

Weekend Wanderlust

Condé Nast Traveller writer, Rosalyn Wikeley, gives us a rundown of her favourite destinations for long weekend escapes, with invaluable insider intel on what to pack. 


Lech Zurs Austria
There’s a quiet glamour to Lech, barely audible compared to St Moritz or Courchevel, with its royal caché and annual returnees bearing more coats of arms and Cordova than the faux lips and Fendi you’ll find in flashier resorts. Aside from the world-leading spas, legendary hotels and raclette-schnitzel-fondue-heavy Stubes, the skiing’s also rather good. Wide, intermediate pistes are dotted with gluhwein pit stops and, after lunch, funnel into a fairly tame aprés scene – less boot thudding, more glasses of Veuve Clicquot in the sunshine. 


Packing Edit - Lech
A Corduroy Weekender
There’s always overspill from a ski suitcase, with plenty of room needed for a laptop, a few magazines, a spare outfit to easily access once you reach the chalet, and a tangle of chargers. I love the colour combinations of London Velvet’s weekenders, the fact that you can add your leather initials to them and, more than anything, that they fit beautifully in the plane’s cabin with their sides folding down. 

A Bottle Holder
I love going for long walks in the mountains (you can hardly call them hikes as I’m usually wearing inappropriate footwear and asking everyone for directions). There’s something endlessly soothing about that pure, slice-with-a-knife silence as you pause, having trudged through Alpine forests, as if the snow and pine absorbs all noisy thoughts. Incorrect footwear is one thing but forgetting water is really quite stupid – London Velvet’s deliciously structured and striped bottle holder serves its purpose. 

Luggage Tag
Cases suitable for your ski gear seem to all fall into the same, masculine and slightly melancholic silver or black category. Someone once walked off with my bag before luckily realising the ubiquitous black case was not actually theirs. I was almost guilty of the same mistake. A London Velvet leather luggage tag in a different colour is the way to go. 


I fell hard for the tired splendour of Sicily’s Baroque towns and cities, and the go-slow rhythms of its surrounding islands, so much so that I seem to end up there every summer, without necessarily planning to go, and have written numerous hotel and destination guides for string of glossies and newspapers. These include a piece on the Aeolians for the Evening Standard, a ‘to do’ for Conde Nast Traveller that I always send friends, and an insider’s guide for Vogue, when White Lotus turned the spotlight on the Mediterranean's largest island. 


The Glasses Case 
Sicily seems to be cast in this soft, nostalgic light, particularly in the late afternoons when its honey-hued palaces glow and its post-siesta streets yawn and stretch over strong coffee. It’s worth having a glasses case that’s small and convenient enough to be invited on your adventures… slotting in your shirt pocket or handbag. London Velvet’s new sunglasses cases are exactly that: svelte, and so SO soft, you can’t help but stroke them. The orange one reminds me of summer. 
The Phone Holder
I like to travel light when I’m moving around cities and researching new destinations for features. I nearly always wear a crossbody bag to free up both hands and I’ve recently discovered London Velvet’s phone holder, which I wear with a thick burgundy strap and am able to squash cards into the back. With some lipstick in my pocket and the rest of my chargers and belongings in my husband’s, I’m good to go… 
The Canvas Weekender
The last time I flew to Sicily for a hotel review, I was able to take a weekender and breeze through arrivals – a perk of the job and a real treat having grown accustomed to checking suitcases in for four people. This bag just delivers on all fronts, from the separate inside pocket for all your loose items (phone, wallet, keys), to the sturdy crossbody strap that allows you to move smoothly through stations and airports. The canvas belongs in the Med, and I’m a big fan of the chunky burgundy initials to give it a personal touch. 


I lived in Paris and have written extensively on the French capital (a guide here for Conde Nast Traveller), and, while it’s been overdone within the travel context on so many painfully banal, clichéd levels, it always surprises me with something new (and old). I’ve vowed to focus on depth over breadth on my next trip, sticking to Montmartre and really getting under its bobo-skin, sniffing out those lesser-known local spots. The Eurostar blink-and-you’re-there journey is also a real treat.

Paris packing

The Laptop Case
I’m usually writing when I’m in Paris, so a chic laptop case comes in handy, particularly as it’s usually out of my luggage and styled like an oversized clutch. London Velvet’s orange laptop case is the one for me – sturdy (my laptop has been hospitalised at Apple on numerous occasions), and with a cool crossbody strap that gives you a hands-free run through St Pancras. 

The Washbag 
One of the joys of travelling Eurostar is the lack of liquid malarkey. Cue London Velvet’s cleverly designed wash bag with enough pockets and compartments for hair grips, jewellery, trinkets and a wipe clean interior that can handle the odd shampoo leak. You’d think a Scandinavian architect was behind its structure when unfolding it all on your hotel sink (nothing falls out, everything’s accessible, and lotions and potions have stayed in place on the journey over. 

The Highflyer Set in Chocolate Suede 
If you’ve finally pinned down that weekend in Paris, it’s worth showing up in style,
non? London Velvet’s chocolate suede tote and weekender smarten up your act, even if you’re travelling in a pretty uncivilised ensemble. 


Winter sun, that warms your bones and wipes away all those cold season blues… oh, and the direct flight, Antigua seems to have some vibrant, intense filter cast over it, with sunsets that burn a surreal pink and hot, heavy air that, to SAD Brits, is a comforting hug. Drowsy afternoons between white sand and glassy water drift into fun, rum punch evenings; and the fried food, burning wood (coffee), and jasmine hang, perpetually, in the air. I find the Caribbean a real tonic for my overheated, tumble dryer of a mind, as if my shoulders lower several inches as soon as the tropical hues fill the plane window. 


Antigua Packing Edit

The Alphabet Clutch 
Antigua feels too beachy for a handbag, and you’ll likely bring little more than your room key and phone to supper. London Velvet’s Alphabet Clutch bridges the gap, while being an invaluable ‘holder’ for all those loose, important items in your carry on luggage. 
The Notebook 
The Caribbean has its way with limiting screen time. I found myself going old school on a recent trip to Antigua, writing notes on hotel writing pads and gripping onto this vintage act as the paper edges lifted in the hot wind, and my retired writing muscles ached after a few lines. London Velvet’s ‘Happy’ yellow notebook feels perfectly Caribbean and a little retro, in the best possible way. 
The Classic Beach Bag 
Consider this an elevated take on the humble canvas beach bag, with clever pockets to keep sand and soggy swimwear out, and even a subtle slot for a beach hat on the front. I love how it’s structured enough to double up as your tote for the flight, and has a tardis-quality for all those lotions, towels and books. 

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