Dreaming of returning to one of the most fascinating cities in the world
Dreaming of the road I have traveled. Can’t wait to continue
Dreaming of the road past traveled. Can’t wait to return.
For the next few weeks I am going to post images of some of the destinations I have been privileged to experience. We are all dreaming of getting back on the road.
Looking to getting back on the road!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seabourn Odyssey -Cruise heaven!
Where do I start? Food, Spa and Dr Andrew Weil wellness focus, elegant, attentive service, large suite sizes, and great off ship excursions are all top notch. I could go on and on, and on. There are some great cruise lines out there, but Seabourn has the edge.
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.
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.
Thank you Africa Inscribed!
Our Safari was the most memorable experience of Will’s, Lily’s and my life.
The plan went like clockwork. Not one misstep. Dylan, Bernadette and team Africa Inscribed created and planned a spectacular experience from the minute we got off the plane till we got back on.
A big shout out goes to Warren Wright, our private label guide. He was so attuned to the children, they loved him. They learned so much and a huge part of our amazing experience was because of Warren. For a family traveling with children, I heartily recommend Warren as your private label guide.
No words to thank Team Africa Inscribed enough. Treasured memories for a lifetime.
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.
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.