Reasons to Go
7 Places for an Incredible Sundowner
The Serengeti, Tanzania
Let’s start at the beginning, in Africa, where both Abercrombie & Kent and the sundowner were born. The sky seems boundless above Tanzania’s Serengeti, a vast ecosystem covering 12,000 square miles of rolling plains and open grasslands dotted by the occasional umbrella-like acacia tree. Here, the classic East African safari was immortalized by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Isak Dinesen. Nothing in the written word compares, however, with experiencing it in person, the afternoon sun hanging low over a sprawling, golden-hued panorama, as you sit back, relax and — literally and figuratively — drink it all in.
Aswan Islands, Egypt
The Aswan High Dam, which spans the Nile River over two miles across, is a modern-day feat of engineering to rival Egypt’s ancient man-made marvels, such as the pyramids and the tombs in the Valley of Kings. Below the dam, a tamed Nile flows gently onward, no longer causing floods as it once did, but providing a relaxing body of water for boating. Step aboard a lateen-sailed felucca, a traditional vessel ideal for small groups of adventurers, and glide among the Aswan islands, propelled by gentle desert breezes and sipping on your favorite cocktail as the sandy shore drifts by.
Naila Fort, India
Any luxury India tour is filled with enchanting temples and palaces, each with a story to tell, and one of the most unique is Naila Fort. Set high on a ridge overlooking an austerely beautiful valley just outside Jaipur, this150-year-old former fortress was completely refurbished to serve as a luxurious retreat. Today, you can take a relaxing stroll through the fort to admire its pleasantly eclectic blend of Rajasthani architecture with European and Asian furnishings, and gaze out from its ramparts at the surrounding vistas, as you raise a glass to the glories of bygone eras.
The Shanghai Skyline, Shanghai, China
Sprouting up virtually overnight, the skyline of Shanghai, China, rivals that of any great metropolis. The skyline of its waterfront district, Pudong, has already taken on icon status, instantly recognizable for its fanciful, bulbous Oriental Pearl Tower; the soaring, spiraled Shanghai Tower, tallest building in China; and the Jin Mao Tower, with its pagoda-influenced design. Toast it at sunset from the rooftop of a swank Shanghai hotel, as the glimmering lights of nighttime turn it into a dazzling, carnivalesque spectacle.
Snowy peaks that jut skyward above flower-carpeted meadows, picturesque wooden chalets nestled beside icy, crystal-blue lakes — it’s an alpine setting that could easily pass for parts of Western Europe. Instead, the locale is Bariloche, Argentina, known to visitors as “Little Switzerland.” The architecture here reveals the influence of the Germans, Austrians and Slovenians who colonized this part of the Andes in the late 19th century. After an exhilarating day on the slopes or trails, raise a stein of local microbrew and watch the sun slip behind a jagged crest, or stand on golden Playa Serena, beside the rolling Pacific, and salute the beauty of twilight on the waves.
For the past 10,000 years or more, the Aboriginal people of Australia have revered a large monolith made of red sandstone that they call Uluru. Local tribes living nearby believe it was formed by the activities of ancestral beings when the world was being created, in what they call the Dreamtime; geologists offer a more practical explanation. What is indisputable is the beauty of this majestic stone wonder at sunset, when the day’s waning rays cause it to shift in color and tone, from a rich rust red to a deeper burnt umber. It’s a sight worth toasting, perhaps with sparkling wine and canapés.
Whether you walk its narrow streets alone or glide along its canals in a gondola for two, you won’t find a more compelling blend of history and romance on a luxury Italy tour than in Venice. There are great artworks like Bellini’s Madonna and Child to be admired at Frari Church and many a bacaro, where you can enjoy the rich flavors of local Venetian cuisine. Everywhere you go, and virtually anywhere you look, there is something remarkable to see — lovely, inspiring sights made all the more so by the glow of the setting sun and the Italian red in your glass.
This post was originally published on December 30, 2015. It has been updated with new information.