Venice Carnival: February 11-21
Carnivals are obviously ten-a-penny at this time of year. But not many of them have the sense of drama and, lets face it, the fashion sense, of Venice Carnival. During the day elegant floats drift slowly along the canals and waterways, while balls of the masked, huge hat and dress-ed variety take over come nighttime. Touristy it may be, but its also seriously spectacular, and the annual closing ceremony, particularly, is something that has to be seen to be believed.
Where to stay? San Cassiano-Ca'Favretto. Cheap places to stay in Venice are nigh-on impossible to find at any time of year, but this pleasingly old-fashioned (if rather) grand little hotel has rates as low as £73 in February. Read our review of San Cassiano-Ca'Favretto.
Salvador Carnival: February 16-22
Over on the other side of the globe, the second of our pick of 2012 carnivals is not in Rio, but Salvador on the Bahia Coast. Salvadors carnival offering which, with over four million annual visitors, is the worlds biggest street party leaves Rio in the shade with its wilder, more organic-feeling vibe. Afterwards, when youre all danced out, there are miles of beaches stretching away for a sun-soaked recovery period. Perfect.
Where to stay? Hotel Villa Bahia. This beautiful boutique hotel is right in the thick of the action, in Pelourinho, and has its own swimming pool to retreat to, tucked away discretely in the courtyard. Read our full review of Hotel Villa Bahia.
Marrakech Biennale: February 29 - March 4
Carnivals aside, next in our list of must-attend events for February 2012 is the Marrakech Biennale. Marrakech is a place thats always been on the ELLEuk radar for the fab shopping hidden away in its labyrinthine souks, but culturally its gone through something of a renaissance in recent years, too. The first five days of the every-other-year cultural gathering (which go by the name of Surrender) will feature a series of performances, talks and film screenings alongside the opening of the Higher Atlas, an exhibition of artists, musicians and performers from around the world curated by Nadim Samman and Carson Chan.
Where to stay? One of our pick of the best Marrakech riads, Dar Darma is a blend of dramatic 17th-century premises and stunning interiors bursting with antiques and opulent fabrics. Read our full review of Dar Darma.
St Anton Skiing Break
The snow reports from across the continent are (finally) pretty good. St Anton is one of the best ski resorts in Europe for those who value what goes on off-piste as much as if not more than all that sliding down the hill business. And this year it got that much more appealing when the MooserWirt (St Antons most legendary après ski bar, where its rumoured upwards of 3500 pints of beer a day are served) opened a new hotel. Whats it like? Very cool indeed. Read our full review of The Mooser.
London Cultural and Fashion Events in February
Whats on in London in February? A lot is the answer. The month kicks off with a Flamenco Festival (February 7-19) at Sadlers Wells, before moving onto a Picasso Exhibition (February 15). Finally, of course, all eyes are on London Fashion Week (which kicks off on the 23rd) after the spectacular that was last season. Proof that this is the city to watch comes as new, meteoric names from Paris and Milan are added to the schedule. Stella McCartney presents a one-off line; Alexander McQueen shows its diffusion collection, McQ, while Moschinos Cheap & Chic label touches down. This wont detract, of course, from the London stalwarts: Burberry, Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders, Peter Pilotto, Christopher Kane, Erdem and more, are world-class. Watch them flock. (To find out more about London Fashion Week, head over to our Catwalk channel.)