Dreaming of returning to one of the most fascinating cities in the world
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!
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.
Fes, the cultural heart of Morocco, has a special selection of small hotels.
Riad Fes is the largest luxury boutique hotel in Fez and is a member of Relais & Chateaux. The hotel comprises 3 old palaces that date back to the 18th century. It’s been opened as a hotel since 2001. It has 26 Rooms and it’s restaurant is considered one of the best in Fes.
A relatively new addition is Hotel Sahrai. Decor is more contemporary, the hotel has two restaurants- one French and one Moroccan. The hotel also boosts a rooftop bar with spectacular sunset views.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
The Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the Danube came into being in the year 1872 when the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (literally “Old” Buda) were united into one city. Occupied by the Soviets until 1989, Hungary saw the end of communism and political freedom through the collapse of the soviet system. Heavily bombed in World War 11, the city has recovered and restored it’s major attractions with careful sense of it’s bountiful history.
Another food, music, and artistic haven, Budapest is a must visit destination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So many activity options for Edinburgh!
Touring Edinburgh Castle, sunrise at Arthur’s Seat- the highest peak of the hills in Edinburgh, walking Old Town and the Royal Mile, visiting the underground streets of Mary King’s close, sampling scotch whiskey,having a kilt made in your family pattern are all interesting experiences.
Visiting the Royal Britannia after hours is a special experience- we toured the ship and had tea.
Extraordinary private visit to Broomhall House was amazing!
The principal seat of the Earls of Elgin and Kincardine, Broomhall House and its surrounding estate has been looked after by 13 successive generations of the Bruce family, lineal descendants of King Robert the Bruce. The Earl of Elgin was famous for bringing the Elgin Marbles to Great Britain. Recently opened for private events, Broomhall House is a must see.
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.
With artifacts found as early as the 1st Century. Edinburgh was established under Scottish rule in 960. To JK Rowling fans, Edinburgh has many structures that draw inspiration in Harry Potter movies. She has a home in Edinburgh, and wrote most of her Harry Potter books in Edinburgh.Edinburgh is a beautiful ancient city filled with clever shops, pubs, churches, charming gothic spires, castles, monuments and loads of amazing restaurants – from Michigan starred to simply good food. We were never disappointed.
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. 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.
Probably the most unique hotel in the world, Giraffe Manor was created by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. They were very interested in animal conservation, and bought the faux Scottish hunting lodge, in 1974. That year, the amiable giraffes, who kept poking their heads interestedly through the first-floor bedroom window were about to be dispossessed, their habitat lost to farmland development and their lives threatened.
Betty persuaded her husband to allow the giraffes to live on their 15-acre estate, and the couple began the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, based in Kenya and Maryland, which later bought an additional 105 acres for the giraffes. They adopted Daisy, one of the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes—which can be as tall as 20 feet, making them the tallest of the species. Daisy’s descendants have since proliferated, and the Leslie – Melvilles added the Giraffe Center, open to the public, on the southern part of the property.
Dramatically set on the ridge overlooking the Masai Mara, Angama Mara brings glamour and extraordinary comfort to the vast Park. The Camp is within walking distance to the burial place of Denys Finch Hatton, a fittingly romantic overtone to one’s sense of Out of Africa.
Here you can live it.
The Staff is well prepared to welcome us and tries to accomplish our every request.
Meals and drinks on the vast deck is just sublime. Rooms are huge with glass windows- floor to ceiling -to capture that dramatic view.
Waking up to a kind voice saying Jambo and bringing hot chocolate, African sunrises and sunsets in that unlimited sky, rain storms rolling across the plains, almost running over a sleeping lion in the tall grass, learning about animal alarm calls when a predator is near, smells of a night fire, adopting orphan elephants, feeding Giraffe from your hand, learning polite words in Swahili, making bows and arrows with a Masai warrior, learning to build a fire from dung, visiting a Masai village, seeing the joy on children’s faces when giving mosquito nets to a school, visiting Karen Blixen’s home, sundowners, hearing the sounds of thousands of wildebeest in the migration, experiencing new food and tastes, the list can go on for days.
Learning and understanding wildlife in their habitat, watching them up closely in their daily activities is the ultimate thrill. There is so much the children expeiienced that cannot be listed. The enrichment was immense and incredibly satisfying to experience. A window in time that will never be recaptured. Traveling with children is priceless.
Sirikoi Lodge- Heaven on Earth – Lewa Downs Conservancy, Kenya
Beautifully managed by Tom and Nikki Hartley, Sirikoi aims to please. We think it is our favorite Camp. The staff is so warm and welcoming, food is amazing, and the setting is unforgettable. Main dining area is off the Lodge right next to a water hole. So there is always action right in front of your eyes. Decor is impeccable with an organic garden that rivals anything we have seen. All food comes directly from the garden. Sirikoi is a hard place to leave.
Both Relais & Chateaux and Virtuoso, Ol Donyo Was is an amazing Lodge in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. One of the few Lodges with it’s own blind, Ol Donyo affords spectacular safe viewing of wildlife, up close and personal. Suites have huge glass doors open up to the plains and unforgettable views. The staff is highly trained and delightful. Our guide Elijah taught the children how to make bows and arrows out of tree branches. He was amazingly good with the kids. They hated to say goodbye. Perfect place for children on Safari, activities include horseback riding. The day of riding was a huge highlight.
What a thrill!!
We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the migration on the Grumeti plains.
We saw thousands of wildebeest, and zebras. I did not realize there was a such a sound factor to the migration- all those animals talking at the same time. We very lucky to see river crossings, and lots of interaction between the masses of animals.
Besides the Tapas Tour in Madrid, we had some incredible dining experiences. Our favorite was Las Tomasas in Granada. They are perched on a hillside directly across from the Alhambra and the light from sunset to full night lighting was spectacular. The food was more family style but the best sweetbreads I have had – ever. Other favorites were Le Olivo and Cafe Miro at Belmond La Residencia – boy, they have their act together!
In Sevilla, we loved Michelin starred Ena at the Alfonso XIII – gorgeous hotel. And Zelai in the historic center of the city. Ramon Freixa in Madrid was expensive but certainly worth the experience.
In Mallorca, we had a fabulous wine tasting experience at Finca Son Bordils.
The most pleasant surprise was a delightful rooftop luncheon at the exciting new Sant Fransesc in Palma, Mallorca. Light Tapas and Sangria- served perfectly.
I realized that with food in Spain, we have only scratched the surface. Already planning a return trip.
Belmond La Residencia, Mallorca. Low key glamour.
On a island full of star hotels, Belmond’s La Residencia is the brightest.
Located in Deia, in the northwest mountainous area of Mallorca, Belmond la Residencia is the ultimate low key luxury destination. With leadership from Ulisses Marrieros, the resort spins like a top. With four restaurant choices, and the village of Deia a walk away, the hotel offers tempting options for all foodies.
Glamorous, classic, Belmond is the ultimate stop on Mallorca.