1.SIX SENSES DOURO VALLEY PORTUGAL
Six Senses Douro Valley covers 8 hectares (20 acres) and comprises 57 guest accommodations which range from Superior, Deluxe, River rooms to spacious suites and villas with one, two and three bedrooms. With a décor of light greys and sandy tones, New York based Clodagh Design has created glamorous rooms with eco-friendly materials blending nature with Portuguese traditional design. The use of natural stone, wood and water is emphasized throughout the property.
The expansive Six Senses Spa measures over 2,200 square meters (24,000 square feet) and comprises 10 treatments and heated in-door swimming pool with water jets, steam room, Sauna and Laconium. The spa menu includes locally-inspired, grape-based treatments freshly picked from the Douro vineyards and citrus fruits picked from the Douro orchards. There is also a Visiting Practitioner programme which features over 100 of the world’s best wellness healers, practitioners and experts. The group’s popular Yogic Detox and Yogic Sleep Programmes are also offered appealing to different levels of yoga practitioners.
2. LE BRISTOL HOTEL, PARIS
Since 1925, Le Bristol Paris has been celebrated for its unique definition of luxury, and for offering service of the highest order. The world’s most discerning travellers choose Le Bristol for a first-class Parisian experience, and this illustrious palace has become a benchmark for luxury hotels all over the world.
A stone’s throw from the Elysée Palace, its grand limestone facade overlooks the super-chic rue du Faubourg St-Honoré. Close to outlets for some of the world’s best fashion houses and art dealers, this hotel has long attracted a well-heeled following of celebrities, politicians and diplomats.
188 rooms, many overlooking the inner courtyards and well sound-proofed from city noise. Refurbished rooms are feminine in style with fresh, floral fabrics reflecting the hotel’s trademark colours, vivid green and dark pink, with co-ordinating bedspreads, and a classic mix of chandeliers, Regency-style furniture and neutrally-toned walls. Bathrooms are in pale marble with large showers and big bathtubs.
3. HOTEL DU CAP-EDEN-ROC
Over the years, artists, writers, world leaders, guests and their families have been touched by a unique aura that makes Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc a legend. The elegant hotel stars alongside Natalie Portman in the new Miss Dior film and once again the hotel will host the world glitterati at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Eden-Roc Restaurant has been completely refurbished to the greatest comfort and is the place where executive chef Arnaud Poëtte and chef Olivier Gaïatto continue to direct proceedings with their deft gourmet interpretations.
Bar La Rotonde, has also been lovingly redesigned, and promise all its original charm is preserved. Dining with the sea lapping the rocks below, or sipping a cocktail with the sun, dressed in its prettiest candy-colored outfit, dipping behind the Lérins Islands, are magical Cap d’Antibes’ moments.
4. AMANZOE, GREECE
Set on a hilltop, amid olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees, the location is hard to beat. This region is steeped in mythology, with several important archaeological sites, including the Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus and the citadel of Mycenae; Spetses and Hydra are within easy reach; and there’s a super-chic Beach Club on the coast just below.
Renowned American architect Ed Tuttle has gone for a 21st-century Acropolis feel (what else?), with an imposing porte-cochère and soaring pillars and colonnades in marble and stone. Mr Tuttle also oversaw every element of the interior design: think sleek, contemporary and serene.
There are just 38 freestanding pavilions, each with its own fragrant garden, large tiled terrace and private pool. And if you think the outside space is generous, wait until you see inside – up to 200 square-metres of pale marble, local stone and wood, with contemporary décor and minimal clutter. There are no operating instructions for anything, but that’s par for the course in luxury hotels these days.
Service is about providing what guests want, when they want it. There are no bath butlers; no endless parade of staff to replace the bath towels or check the mini bar. But leave your room, even briefly, and it will have been serviced by your return. Facilities include two tennis courts, a 25-metre pool with wraparound terrace (there are three more pools at the Beach Club), gym, Pilates studio, yoga pavilion, and, this being Greece, a small outdoor amphitheatre.
The very stylish spa offers treatments based on the healing philosophy of Greek medicine (my facial involved liberal application of local organic honey said to have rejuvenating properties) and a range of holistic therapies, including Pilates, yoga and aquatic bodywork.
5. THE CAPRI PALACE HOTEL AND SPA, CAPRI, ITALY
The Capri Palace Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel of refined elegance that recalls, with arches, vaults and columns, an ancient Neapolitan palace of 1700’s.
The white furniture dominates all the surroundings enhancing the architectural forms inspired by the Mediterranean and is the setting for a fine selection of contemporary art, a true hallmark of this place. The Resort is just steps away from the small and charming center of Anacapri, authentic village in the most exclusive, charming island of Capri, where you can admire a wonderful panorama of the sea and the Gulf of Naples.
The 68 rooms and suites of this 5 star hotel, some with private pool and garden, are decorated in Mediterranean style, offering comfort and privacy.
The hotel has three restaurants, L’Olivo, an elegant and refined restaurant with Two Michelin stars, Il Riccio an exclusive One Michelin star restaurant and beach club just steps from the famous Blue Grotto and the more informal Bistrot Ragù with stunning sea view terrace. The Capri Beauty Farm is a spa of international fame, many times awarded as the best medical spa in the world, and specializes in beauty and medical activities, such as the famous Leg School, invented and patented by Professor Francesco Canonaco.
6. GRAND HOTEL A VILLA FELTRINELLI, LAKE GARDA, ITALY
The hotel is in Gargnano, a tranquil town on the lake’s western shore. About eight miles south is Gardone Riviera, home to the lush André Heller Botanical Gardens and Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, the former home of Italian poet and eccentric Gabriele D’Annunzio. The elegant town of Salò, a 20-minute drive south, has a pleasant waterfront promenade and a charming old quarter.
Built in 1892 by the sons of lumber magnate Faustino Feltrinelli, the Art Nouveau villa has a highly decorated façade painted in warm terracotta and golden hues. Between 1943 and 1945 the villa became the home of Mussolini and his family during the Republic of Salò. It was converted to a hotel in 2001. The entrance hall has coffered ceilings and original 19th-century carved wooden benches, while the library has a wood-burning fireplace and shelves lined with classic works of literature. The elegant salon overlooking the lake has intricate frescoes, antique Venetian mirrors and Art Nouveau lamps. With only 21 rooms, the atmosphere is intimate.
Accommodation is in the main villa and in four guesthouses dotted around the gardens. Rooms in The Villa have original antiques and cream-coloured draperies, while walls are embellished with oil portraits and historic prints. Silver-framed, black-and-white photographs and hand-printed Venetian paper desk sets add a personal touch. Guesthouses are more contemporary in décor, with stylish rustic interiors. Spacious bathrooms have heated marble floors and Acqua di Parma toiletries.
7. BELMOND HOTEL CIPRIANI, VENICE
Belmond Hotel Cipriani sits on the tip of Giudecca island, only five minutes from St. Mark’s. It provides attentive service and luxurious accommodations overlooking the garden, the lagoon or St. Mark’s Basin, many with a private balcony. Guests can relax by the only Olympic-size swimming pool in central Venice, enjoy an excursion with private boat or try delicious specialities at the Oro Restaurant. The Casanova Wellness Centre is located in the flowered gardens. The Smile Club with a dedicated mini-pool is available for younger guests.
It offers 96 Rooms and Suites superbly appointed (many with balconies or terraces), exquisitely decorated with magnificent views over the open lagoon, the gardens and St. Mark’s.
8. CONSERVATORIUM HOTEL, AMSTERDAM
This luxury hotel in Amsterdam has repeatedly been crowned the number one luxury hotel in the Netherlands. Located in the Museum Square district, the true heart of the city, the Conservatorium is an architectural masterpiece that combines a landmark heritage building with graceful, contemporary design.
Guests enjoy a selection of restaurants, a bar, lounge and the 1,000 sq m Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre. In this vibrant and elegant setting, the city’s crown jewels – the Van Gogh Museum, Concertgebouw, Rijksmuseum, Vondelpark and Amsterdam’s most indulgent shopping – are literally at your doorstep. For culture and for business, it’s a location like no other.
9. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL FLORENCE
As soon as you walk into the lobby – a Renaissance loggia, decorated with original bas reliefs and stuccoes – you realise that this is no ordinary luxe kip. The hotel spreads out between the main building – 15th-century Palazzo della Gherardesca – and La Villa, a sixteenth-century former convent on the other side of the eleven-acre park, the largest private garden in Florence. La Villa comes with its own private street entrance, reception, concierge and dedicated butler service. With its oil paintings, antiques and slightly Old Parisian feel, the décor in both parts is elegantly sumptuous, and in the best possible haute-bourgeois taste.
Individually decorated with no sparing the silk, velvet, marble or antique furniture, the 116 rooms and suites are relaxing old-style refuges from the bustle outside. Unless you’re with a big group, you may feel a little isolated in the Conventino annex; the rooms in the main Palazzo would definitely be our first choice. Amenities are by Florentine master parfumier Lorenzo Villoresi.
10. THE GRITTI PALACE, VENICE
The majestic Gritti Palace is where history and culture are met with renewed Venetian style. A place of exceptional art and elegance, the restored Gritti Palace retains its reassuringly intimate and familiar feel. The Gritti is known for impassioned service, a delectable culinary experience and an intimate wellness haven. The reference point for the world’s elite at international city events such as the Biennale, Carnival and the Venice Film Festival.
After a meticulous restoration, explore the hotel’s original wooden ceilings, original entrance flooring, dressing-table mirrors and 18th century wall lamps, hand-made in Murano, and more. The epitome of luxury, the Gritti Signature Suite Collection showcases the hotel’s rich historical past.
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