Dreaming of returning to one of the most fascinating cities in the world
Category Archives: Virtuoso
Past Travel Adventures
Dreaming of the road I have traveled. Can’t wait to continue
Looking to getting back on the road!
At the Beverly Hills Hotel, Everyone is a Movie Star
Hard not to love the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The Pink Palace never fails to please. Part of Dorchester Collection, the iconic hotel is better than ever. Undergoing selective renovation- of which I never saw or heard evidence, the hotel has kept the 1912 original decor but added all the 2019 conveniences. Staff is happy and welcome is warm. Beautifully led by GM Edward Mady, the hotel spins like a top. Can’t wait to return!
Impossible to Choose the Top Hotel in Marrakech!
Hotel Selman, located about 20 minutes outside of city center is palace on 15 acres also home to an impressive collection of Arabian thoroughbreds. A place where the horses are as glossy as the 75 metre swimming pool. The stunning interiors were designed by iconic designer Jacques Garcia. The hotel’s aesthetic is best described as French Second Empire luxury meets Arabian tradition: lustrous chandeliers, purple and gold upholstery meld with ebony-stained tadelakt plasterwork and miniature monochrome zellige tiling.
My personal hotel favorites are Royal Mansour, La Mamounia, Mandarin Oriental, Selman, and Villa des Orangers.
Morocco- Haunting Images
Morocco – A Kaleidoscope of Color
Morocco – Exotic, Glamorous and Friendly!
One of the most exotic and secure places to visit in the world is Morocco. The welcome and warmth of people in general is warm and from the heart. Hotels here are a dream.
Craftsmanship in leather goods, jewelry, fashion, textiles, furnishings, decorative accessories, lighting, and just about anything you can imagine buying, is excellent. A food lovers dream, the country is a choice place to sample French, and Moroccan influences.
Maria Cristina Hotel, San Sebastián Spain -Top choice!
Classical Grande Dame in San Sebastián.
Opened in 1912, the restored Hotel Maria Cristina has been closely linked to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. We experienced gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel.
Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology and a dazzling range of services which combined, make for an unforgettable stay.
Any visit to elegant La Posta Vecchia is a special treat. Once the residence of Jean Paul Getty whose collection of antique furniture, tapestries and century old objects remain part of what is now a 19 room luxury hotel complete with every comfort and amenity. This 17th century jewel is one of the most prestigious hotels in Italy. Delightful GM, Marco Filippi runs a tight ship. Service is flawless. Perfect for small weddings, honeymoons or simply a magical romantic place to experience. A palatial seaside villa located within an easy 30-minute drive of Fiumicino airport.
Eden Hotel Rome – Spectacular after a 17 Month Renovation
With awe inspiring panorama views, Legendary Hotel Eden is like a shiny new penny after a 17 month renovation. Rooms are bright and elegant. The hotel retained those gorgeous white marble spacious bathrooms. Makes anyone feel like a movie star!
A Dorchester Collection hotel, the staff Is masterfully run by GM Luca Virgilio.
Staff Is enthusiastic and sincerely welcoming. Rooms are bright and large location at the top of the hill near Via Veneto, makes for easy walking. And those BEDS! Unforgettable!!
Still has the michelin starred restaurant, La Terrazzo and Eden bar with incredible views overlooking the entire Historic center of Rome
Hotel Hassler- Updated Glamour
Dispatch from Rome: lovely experience with the Hassler Hotel. Established in 1939 by Oscar Wirth, guests feel the family atmosphere and service immediately when entering the lobby. There is a sense of pride and sincere welcome from the doorman to the desk. I had the privilege of meeting the present President and Managing Director, Roberto Wirth and his son, Roberto who is the heir apparent. Many staff have been there for as long as 30 years. Service is impeccable refreshed decor is bright, contemporary and luxurious. The location, at the top of the Spanish Steps is perfect. The Hassler added a small group of rooms hidden beside the Spanish Steps – Il Palazzetto – in 1999. Roberto acquired Il Palazzetto with the intention of expanding the brand name of the historical hotel located two steps away at Piazza Trinita dei Monti. He wanted to unite his hospitality skills with his love for good wine, and established Il Palazzetto.
Il Palazzetto includes the Wine Bar on its two panoramic terraces overlooking the Spanish Steps, four boutique hotel rooms and a special location for memorable private events.
The Beaumont Hotel- Art Deco Gem in the Heart of Mayfair
Inspired by the great hotels of the 1920’s, the Five Star Beaumont is much admired for it’s unique character and high level of personal service.
Occupying a 1926 Art Deco building in the heart of Mayfair, the Beaumont is steps away from high level shopping, and London’s finest galleries and museums. The intimate size of the hotel – only 73 rooms and suites – means every guest benefits from a very personal touch.
Noteworthy London – Master of Off the Beaten Path
Private visit to the HM Belfast- and shooting the cannon that fired the first shot from the water on DDay, Hidden subways- where many of our favorite movies were filmed, private visit to the Churchill War Rooms, walking the rooftops of Hampton Court, private visit to Windsor Castle’s Chapel(with a view of the never open to the public Albert Chapel), preopening visit to
Highclere Castle, private meeting with the head of the Royal Guards at Windsor, the list is far too long to name all of the choices Noteworthy offers in Grest Britain.
Hidden Subways London[/caption]
Noteworthy London adds Paris to its tour offerings.
The ultimate tour designer, Noteworthy, has added Paris to it’s repertoire.
Always known for top guides and imaginative touring, we were blown away by the insider knowledge of our guides and special entrances in Paris. Fast track Louvre and behind doors at the Sacre Cour were just a drop in the bucket to what Noteworthy can offer clients in Paris and London. It is all about their personal connections and the access is brilliant. Most importantly their activities are FUN! We never stopped laughing.
Laulhere is the last great Beret shop in the city, totally dedicated to making the hat most identified with France. We were treated to a beret making demonstration and got to choose a beret for ourselves. Typical clever noteworthy experience.
Lanesborough London- All the Bells and Whistles
Lanesborough London- Glamorous Grande Dame
If you want to feel like a movie star, stay at the Lanesborough.
All rooms and suite guests have their own personal Butler, and the ultimate service.
I found the hotel elegant-decor beautifully and lovingly restored, with a warm residential feel.
For all that glamour, the hotel did not feel stuffy
Staff, from the GM on down were sincerely welcoming. That seems to be a theme with Oetker Collection hotels. They genuinely care about your well being
The most pleasant surprise is the humor of the British. We had a really delightful demonstration on the selection of teas at the Lanesborough, and importance of their butlers.
Le Bristol Paris- Where The Magic Happens
Legendary iconic hotel, in the heart of the fashion, design, and art district. Hôtel Le Bristol opened in 1925. Owned by the Oetker family, who also own among others,Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Chateau Saint-Martin,and Brenners Park, the hotel clearly reflects a family vibe. Managed by Leah Marshall the hotel brings a freshness and energy not often seen in a royal, palace hotel. Staff are all happy and the welcome is from the ear. No wonder the client return rate is around 63%. They sincerely make you feel at home. No stuffiness here. Rooms are large, bright and comfortable.
Paris- a pleasure in the winter!!
No lines at museums, no crowds on the streets, easy dinner reservations! What a delightful time to visit Paris! Sales are running in all the shops! Prepare to dress warmly, inside it is cosy and warm. Our visit was impeccably planned by London based Noteworthy and Oetker Collection.
I have to pinch myself,we are privileged to be staying at the fabulous Bristol Paris, Oetker Collection. Magnifique!!
Beautifully Designed -Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach
World renowned architect, Bill Bensley, designed the Dorado Beach property for Ritz Carlton and this is definitely one of his best. No detail was left untouched. It is a thoughtful, powerful product with a perfect sense of destination. The spa a particularly special scene and a must destination for any Ritz Carlton guest.
San Juan is Up and Running on All Cylinders – now open Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach
Hello Gorgeous! Four Seasons Orlando!
The five year old Four Seasons Orlando is stunning. Quite the destination for families, it is a stones throw from Disney World. They offer complimentary fast track passes. More coming…
Polar Bear Adventure -Polar Rovers and Dog Sledding
I am amazed at the scope and superior caliber of Natural Habitat Adventures. Among other things, they supplied our parkas, boots, charter to Churchill, and our viewing vehicles: polar rovers. The rovers were comfortable, roomy, and afforded us amazing up close and personal views of polar bears, foxes, birds. We were blessed with the ultimate guide, Justin Gordon, who regaled us with the area history and in depth lectures on the local wildlife. This has been one of the best educationals I have ever had the privilege of attending.
If you have a chance to travel with Nat Hab, jump on it!
Polar Bear Adventure – first stop Winnipeg
Natural Habitat Adventures has set up headquarters at the hotel and there is where we pick up our heavy boots and Parkas
Polar Bear Capital in October- Churchill Manitoba
In October, polar bears converge in Churchill Manitoba, after spending the summer foraging in the countryside.
The rivers start freezing and the ice flows into the Hudson Bay. Polar Bears’ major food source are seals, and as the ice on the bay freezes over, the bears can get out to the seals. Churchill was founded in the 1600’s as a trading post for the fur trade by the Hudson Bay company. Located on the southwestern side of Hudson Bay, Churchill turns into the Polar Bear Capital starting around October.
Thanks to Natural Habitat Adventures, our Brownell group of advisors had the privilege of experiencing the adventure of a lifetime.
Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Top Choice for Summer Break
Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee is offering a offering a series of concerts and fireworks on selected Sunday nights this summer.
Next concerts are Sunday, July 29: Jon McLaughlin
Sunday, August 5: Nathan Angelo
Sunday, September 2: Ansley Stewart (Labor Day Weekend)
Ansley Stewart and friends will be closing summer in style by playing hits from the 70’s through today. As one of Atlanta’s top cover bands, Stewart and friends will have you rocking the night away.
The Ritz Carlton on Lake Oconee is an easy to reach in the southern US. A great choice getaway for kids, Ritz is emerging as a top family destination.
Offering an extensive kids program with Junior Explorer, Spy Camp, and Field day, along with multiple lake and pool activities, the resort aims to please. The new and improved Ritz Kids Program is based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine[new and improved Ritz Kids Program based on the Four Pillars of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society:
Water: Emphasizes the importance of sea life and health
Land: Encourages exploration and discovery
Environmental Responsibility: Promotes our role in the health of our planet for the future
Culture: Exposes young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs, history and cuisine
A few of the different activities they offer at their vacation resort include: nature hikes or scavenger hunts, fishing, making pine cone bird feeders, shooting hoops on their court, exploring their tree house playground or performing plays in their Pollywog Theatre.
Definitely worth a visit!
Top Hotels Budapest
Originally built as the Gresham Life Assurance Company in 1906, the Art Noveau beauty was acclaimed by the world even then. It was built with the skill provided by the most acclaimed craftsmen of the time.
Nearly destroyed by World War II, it was restored over a 5 year period matching every single piece of existing historical part of decor to bring it back to its original glory, even returning to the original manufacturers when possible. Bought by Four Season Hotels in 1997, and with the support of the Hungarian government, the doors reopened on June 18, 2004. Host to celebrities and royalty, the Four Seasons Budapest is the top choice for Budapest.
An interesting tidbit: the chandelier is not by Chihuly, it is by Presciosa Lighting from the Czech Republic. Chihuly uses glass, the chandelier is crystal.
Ritz Carlton Vienna – superb location and love the club lounge.
With restaurants, shops, parks and important sights all around it, the Ritz Carlton is in a prime location. We found drinks to average 17E a pop, which made the Ritz Club lounge pretty appealing. Loved the rooms and again, service was warm and spot on.
Vienna – Nirvana for Food Lovers
Small cafes and a confectioner that was patronized by the Emperor
Vienna is packed with options for Michelin dining, small cafes, shops that offer desserts, pstries,confectioneries, coffee selections that have a minimum of 4 different ways. The choices are everywhere
Restaurants we love:
Steirereck im Stadtpark is the top choice for a memorable but pricey dining experience in Vienna.
Ranked number 10 in the world, Chef Heinz Reitbauer, traditional Viennese cuisine with a twist was one of the best dining experiences ever.
Rouge Bar, Sacher Hotel romantic, relaxing, impeccable service. Impeccable all around.
Fabio’s – Vienna’s top rated Italian
Nautilus Naschmarkt -if you are visiting Nashmarkt, this seafood restaurant is a delight.
Hotels We Love Vienna
Top choice for Hotels:
Sacher Hotel Wien
Ritz Carlton Vienna
Two completely different hotel experiences from a decorative standpoint. Sacher is traditional, glamorous and as old world as a classic hotel can get. Ritz Carlton is contemporary and with their club lounge and rooftop bar- hard to beat.
Other top contenders are the Bristol with a stellar location across from the Opera, and the Imperial Hotel with their old world glamour.
The brand new Park Hyatt is a restored bank and they kept the classical features with a contemporary decor.
All hotels are Virtuoso had impeccable service.
Scenes -Vienna, Austria
Sacher Hotel Vienna
Brenner’s Park Hotel, Baden Baden
Iconic Hot Springs Destination, Baden Baden is in Full Bloom
Heinz Beck returns to London to launch Beck at Brown’s This April
Heinz Beck returns to London to launch Beck at Brown’s Hotel this April
Beck at Brown’s comes to Mayfair on the heels of Beck’s hugely successful takeover of the space last December as part of the hotel’s celebration of Italian conviviality where he took up residence alongside drinks maestro Salvatore Calabrese. The restaurant will have, at its epicentre, Heinz’s Italian pedigree, refined over his years running kitchens in Rome, in the lauded La Pergola and Attimi- his recently opened more casual outpost. With a focus on a light, healthy menu featuring the highest quality produce – with Norfolk chicken and lamb from the organic Rhug estate. Each dish is crafted by Heinz to create a hearty Italian menu perfect for a swift lunch, formal dinner or private party. Beck at Brown’s brings dishes from throughout Italy, showcasing the diversity in cooking techniques throughout the country, from the hearty meat and fish dishes found in the mountainous north to the fresh citrusy flavours in the sun-drenched south. Copy courtesy of Brown’s Hotel press Department.
Driving the West Coast of Japan
Dream Destination for Art Lovers -Benesse House, Naoshima
Benesse House was a hotel/ museum concept, started in 1992.
Based on the concept of “coexistence of nature, art and architecture.” Designed by Tadao Ando, the facility is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and features large large glass expanses that serve to open up the interior to the natural surroundings. In addition to exhibiting the painting, sculpture, photography, and installations in its collection, the Museum also contains permanent site-specific installations that artists have created especially for the building, selecting locations on their own and designing the works for those spaces. The hotels consist of Park- 47 rooms, Beach – 8 suites, Oval 6 rooms and 2 suites and the museum hotel- 8 rooms. Among the artists featured are Claude Monet- Water Lilies, Jean Michel Basquiat, James Turrell, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Yayoi Kushama, and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Beniya Mukayu- A Relais & Chateaux Gem
A marvelous addition to the Relais & Chateaux Japan collection is the beautiful Beniya Mukayu. Tranquil rooms with open-air baths in a hot springs hotel offering a garden setting, spa, and spectacular dining. The rooms have a traditional Japanese Mineral Spring tub. Located near the western coast of Central Japan, the drive offers spectacular coastal views.
Iconic Miyajima Island
Sasayuri-Ann, a Villa in the Japanese Countryside
Sasayuri-Ann is one of about 8 small villas and Ryokans we are going to experience. Owned by a village Buddhist priest, Tetsuji Matsubayashi, the villa was surpassed all expectations! Hosted by he and his family, we were most pleasantly surprised to have a flute serenade by his teacher- who plays all over the world. Then the topper was having dinner prepared by another friend, a Michelin Chef.
Japanese Countryside and Temple visits.
Ritz Carlton Kyoto- a Japanese Jewel Box!
One checks in and gets an immediate sense of Kyoto. Japanese culture is on display in every corner. Rooms are luxurious with a floor to ceiling window view of the city. Japanese design with an extreme sense of luxury. Both 5 Star hotels in Kyoto, the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons are superb choices for an experience in Kyoto.
Kyoto – Cultural Heart of Japan
Japan – Amazing Ancient Culture
Japan- amazing ancient culture!
Polite, respectful, serene. We are finding the people of Japan to be warm and welcoming! I am privileged to be on a 16 day journey planned by Windows to Japan. Today we are in Kyoto at the incredible Four Seasons Kyoto. Typically the FS service is over the top, and this hotel was perfect.
Golden Pavillion Kyoto[/caption]
Rocco Forte Balmoral- Top Choice for Edinburgh
Hotel clock lit red to honor their veterans
Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel is a no brainer for one’s hotel choice in Edinburgh
The stately five star Grand Dame opened in 1903 and has been greeting Queens, Kings, statesmen and celebrities ever since.
Situated by Waverly Station, hotel porters meet guests at the train station, and whisk them from the station hall to the reception desk in the hotel in no time. The award winning hotel is brilliantly managed by Richard Cooke. Mr. Cooke has the hotel spinning like a top. Staff is happy, enthusiastic and completely engaged in providing each guest with a top notch experience. No wish is too difficult to accomplish. The tireless Mr. Cooke seems to be everywhere. The standard starts at the top and it is quite evident this hotel is run beautifully.
Interesting aside- JK Rowlings wrote her last Harry Potter book on premises, and her suite is marked by a purple door. She was a regular guest.
Le Meurice Paris
Opening in 1815 and welcoming Kings and Queens since 1855, Le Meurice is considered one of the most beautiful and opulent hotels in Paris. The decor of every bedroom and suite are unique, many with views of the Eiffel Tower. Located across from the Tuileries, the position is perfect. Philippe Stark recently renovated the public rooms and Bar 228. We found the staff and service to be outstanding.
Hotels We Love In Paris
Hotels we love in Paris. While there are hundreds of options for hotels in this spectacular city, we wanted to look at the top iconic properties. We aimed for Virtuoso hotels, because Virtuoso standards and amenities give our clients the cream of the crop and the best value with their amenities. Among the multiple Virtuoso choices, our favorites were Le Meurice, Peninsula Paris, Mandarin Oriental, and Shangri La.