Hippie Chic - Luxury Travel Magazine
Hippie Chic Destinations
|By: Hansika Bhagani, Issue 44 – Spring 2010|
|(India, Spain, England, USA, Morocco, Canada)|
|DAISY CHAINS, TIE-DYE, BARE FEET AND FREE LOVE WERE ICONS OF THE HIPPIE SUBCULTURE IN THE 1960S. HANSIKA BHAGANI FINDS OUT THAT THE DESTINATIONS WHERE HIPPIES ONCE VISITED TO “TURN ON, TUNE IN AND DROP OUT” ARE TODAY SUPER CHIC HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS.|
|When the hippie movement exploded in the 1960s, the flower children carved their own path around the world. Along the hippie trail were places where travellers could get away, bond with nature or immerse themselves in the exotic experiences of another land entirely. Today, these far-off places are still essential stops for travellers looking to plunge back into that iconic time or simply to pay homage to the places that inspired a generation. |
|GOA – INDIA|
|Tropical beaches, Indian mysticism and friendly locals meant that Goa was the place for hippies looking to get away back in the 1960s. Today it still retains much of the same charm and a few more options for the indulgent traveller. Goa abounds with picturesque beaches, but Anjuna Beach in North Goa is still where hippies of all ages and persuasions congregate to enjoy the chilled-out atmosphere during the day. |
Markets and food stalls help cement the casual, relaxed vibe. At night, Goa comes alive with bars, clubs and raves on the beach. Trance music, psychedelic drugs and free love are all on the menu for travellers looking to revisit the heady days of the 1960s.
|Stay: The Leela Kempinski is in a more secluded area of South Goa. When travellers have had enough of exploring the 75 acre estate with its own golf course they’ll find they also have the best of South Goa and famous Mobor Beach right on their doorstep. www.theleela.com|
|Rates: prices from A$253 (low) to A$692 (high) in a Pavilion Room. |
|When to go: From November to March the weather is perfect and the waters clear and calm. The area truly comes alive on New Year’s Eve with parties and beaches full of travellers from around the world.|
|IBIZA – SPAIN|
|Ibiza has come to be known for party tourism – all night raves followed by all day bleary-eyed sunbaking. But in the far north of the island, in San Joan and on the beaches at Benirras the old bohemian vibe of the 1960s is alive and kicking. In the good old days fiery full moon parties, outdoor raves and drumming gatherings were common. These days the culture is a bit more laid back – the occasional trance parties play second fiddle to a more eco-friendly and community-based philosophy filled with music, vegetarian food and an exploration of the stunning natural environment. It’s a testament to the island that many of those on the hippie trail never moved on from its dazzling shores – they can still be found living in ramshackle farmhouses and selling knick-knacks at the Hippy Markets in San Carlos. |
|Stay: Hotel Hacienda in northeast Ibiza is perfect for exploring the serene landscapes. It has 65 rooms all with Jacuzzis and stunning sea views over the Mediterranean. www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com|
|Rates: Prices from A$334 (low) to A$640 (high) for a double room. |
|When to go: Peak season in Ibiza runs from May to October. For an authentic experience away from the tourist hordes, September is the best time to explore the island.|
|GLASTONBURY – ENGLAND|
|40 miles from ancient Stonehenge, Glastonbury retains an earthy charm for hippies more interested in druids than drugs. In recent years, the Glastonbury Festival has attracted travellers from around the world including regulars Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. Every summer the town celebrates all things music and performing arts, but it’s also a must visit site for its mythical history. Medieval and Christian legends thrive in this 9,000 strong town; it’s thought to be the burial site of King Arthur and a place where Joseph and Jesus once visited. The town is also thought to lie at the centre of ley lines – sources of psychic energy that when assembled at the town give it a magical atmosphere. |
Travellers to Glastonbury can fall back into hippie culture by shopping at the alternative shops, drinking from the sacred Chalice Well and partaking in the many celebrations for summer and winter solstice.
|Stay: Fly Glastonbury provides the ultimate experience for visitors to the esteemed Glastonbury festival. It can arrange festival tickets, a helicopter or limousine ride to the site and “luxury” accommodation in a six berth trailer. www.flyglastonbury.com|
|Rates: A luxury six berth trailer starts from A$8,316 + VAT. It’s another A$374 to stay on site and about A$224 for festival tickets.|
|When to go: The Glastonbury festival kicks off on June 22 next year for five days. Tickets usually sell fast with headline acts for 2011 rumoured to include Coldplay and Madonna.|
|GREENWICH VILLAGE – USA|
|Just south of bustling midtown Manhattan, Greenwich Village is still home to the creative, rebellious elements born there during the beatnik movement. Since the early 20th century, it’s been the place for starving artists, and in the 1960s it exploded onto the hippie scene. |
It continues to play a vital role in advancing political ideals – including support for gay and lesbian movements through iconic institutions such as the Stonewall Inn. A lot of its laid-back appeal can be found in the diversity on Bleecker St – home of the famous Magnolia Bakery and Le Poisson Rouge but also home to nightclubs, city parks, antique shops and authentic delis.
|Stay: The Mercer is the first hotel to offer visitors to New York a taste of the city’s signature living style, “loft living”, with plenty of space and natural light. Those features were exactly what attracted the artists and bohemians who first gave Soho its distinctive character. www.mercerhotel.com|
|Rates: From A$556 for a Courtyard Room.|
|When to go: New York is always buzzing, whatever the weather. But it’s at it’s most special during December when Christmas cheer permeates the frosty air. Festive shop windows, toasty drinks and fairy lights abound for travellers to soak in.|
|SAN FRANCISCO – USA|
|It’s in San Francisco, the true birthplace of the movement, that hippie culture remains the strongest. Back then songwriter Scott McKenzie advised travellers: “If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. If you’re going to San Francisco you’re gonna meet some gentle people there ...” In the Haight-Ashbury where it all started, travellers are still welcomed into the bohemian ambience. The culture has moved on since the likes of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead lived around the corner – these days the neighbourhood is home to a mix of high-end and independent stores, hip restaurants and a fashionable nightclub scene. The Golden Gate Park was the site of a happening in 1967 called the Human Be-In which was a prelude to San Francisco’s Summer of Love and made the Haight-Ashbury district the centre of the American hippie counterculture and introduced the word ‘psychedelic’ to suburbia. The Golden Gate Park is still home to eclectic influences. Amateur performers, locals, medicinal drug users and tourists all converge on Hippie Hill, keeping San Francisco’s famous liberal reputation alive. |
|Stay: The Palace is located a hop, skip and a step away from Haight-Ashbury in downtown San Francisco. It’s as steeped in tradition as the iconic area, opening as the world’s largest and most luxurious hotel in 1875. Its classic rooms have recently been resorted, combining old-fashioned elegance with new-world technology. www.sfpalace.com|
|Rates: Prices from A$242 (low) to A$285 (high) in a standard double room. |
|When to go: Indian summer hits in September when the weather in the often chilly, foggy area brightens. It’s then that locals head to the beaches and parks creating a true community ambience.|
|MARRAKECH – MOROCCO|
|Marrakech was once a compulsory stop for those on the original hippie trail to India. With the heady smells of incense filling their lungs, travellers settled down here to enjoy the illustrious desert oasis. They smoked kef in cafes till dawn and studied Eastern and Islamic mysticism. The place still boasts the same allures; the locals in the souks and medinas still hawk the same old wares although travellers these days can explore the city in a grander style. Luxury travellers have the choice to sip strong black tea beside elegant gardens and sparkling pools in sumptuous riads or head into the centuries-old pungent and exhilarating city. |
|Stay: The Royal Mansour is the newest luxury hotel to open in Marrakech. It’s located within the walls of the old city, and designed with classic Morrocon influences including individual riads, winding alleyways and ornate furnishings. www.royalmansour.com|
|Rates: Prices from A$2,124 in an individual riad. |
|When to go: Avoid the oppressive heat in the summer months by visiting from March to June when the weather is more temperate. Clear blue skies, warm nights and a genial atmosphere make it perfect for travellers.|
|VANCOUVER – CANADA |
|As the hippie movement spread in the 1960s outward from San Francisco, it headed directly north to Vancouver. Kitsilano in downtown Vancouver, known as the birthplace of much of the movement, is today home to colourful coffee shops, yoga studios, fusion restaurants, and fashions. Despite the encroaching urbanisation, poets and artists try to keep the vibe alive in Vancouver. The town’s just instituted a hippie walking tour which takes visitors around the infamous district that inspired a political movement and the birth of Greenpeace. |
|Stay: The Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver is an ideal base for exploring the continually evolving city. www.vancouver.suttonplace.com|
|Rates: From A$320 (low) to A$362 (high) in a Deluxe Room.|
|When to go: Vancouver is rainy all year round, but the damp, chilly weather goes away in high summer. From April to September the sun comes out and people pack the parks, beaches and coffee houses.|
|THE HIPPIE TRAIL|
|With the explosion of free love, psychedelic drugs and an immersion in nature came the birth of travelling in liberated, boundless ways. The hippies of the 1960s discovered the lure of continental Europe and spread to the Middle East and the Orient. |
Starting in western Europe, Amsterdam provided a refuge from the nay-sayers back in London or the States. It was the place to indulge in the anti-establishmentarism vibe that characterised the period. From western Europe, it was on to the Middle East, crisscrossing Europe, through Spain, or south towards the Mediterranean and Turkey.
The Middle East proved to be a Mecca for hippies on the trail. Travelling by Kombi vans and as cheaply as possible, they parked themselves in places like Kabul or Peshawar for months at a time, taking in the heady influences of ancient mysticism, readily available narcotics and windswept desert landscapes. From there the colour and freedom of India called and they found themselves en masse bathing in the ghats at Varanassi or indulging in the clear blue waters in Goa.
From Australia the hippie trail went north through South-East Asia. Australian hippies made their way up through Darwin or Cairns, and forged the first tourist trails through Bali, Vietnam and Thailand. These days the hippie vibe is still in full swing in south-east Asia at the Full Moon parties in Ko Pha Ngan (Thailand) every month, river tubing in Laos or on the temple trail in Angkor Wat (Cambodia).