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Historic Elegance at Palacio Belmonte (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Built on the fortress walls of the medieval São Jorge Castle, Palacio Belmonte the oldest palace and the city’s first hotel in Lisbon. The house had been in the same family for more than 500 years. It is a stunning building, a 2197-year-synthesis of Portuguese history and culture. They rediscovered all the different layers of construction, hidden frescos, walled rooms and found fabulous archives, letters of queens and kings of Portugal, an escape dating from the Roman time leading to the Tagus, cisterns, Roman tower, and original 18th-century Azulejo tiles during the process of renovating the palace to a..

Afternoon Tea at Palm Court at The Drake Chicago

[Translate] If there’s a place to be to have afternoon tea in its most classic form and have great people watching, you should head to Palm Court at The Drake Chicago. There’s a harpist performing on certain times of the hour. Since its opening in the 1920’s, The Drake Hotel has maintained a British vibe becoming the home away from home for many of Britain’s royal family starting with the Prince of Wales who stayed there in 1924. Other royals — both British and non-British — have continued the tradition including Princess Diana and the Empress of Japan. Drake’s afternoon..

Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea at The Langham Chicago

[Translate] For those who celebrate, Happy New Year and 恭喜發財! When we were visiting Chicago two weeks ago, The Langham Chicago was intuitive enough to serve Chinese New Year afternoon tea. The menu is generally inspired by Chinese cuisine while still maintaining the familiar format of tiers of food, served in separate courses, and the pots of very good tea of choice. (more…)

Paradise at Ritz Carlton Okinawa (Okinawa, Japan)

[Translate] For the final portion of our visit to Asia, we flew over to Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa feels, in some essence, like what Hawaii is to the United States — the islands have its own culture, climate (it’s warm or hot year-round), strategic location for the U.S. military, and the food is a little bit different from the mainland. During our visit to Okinawa, we stayed at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Okinawa. If I had to sum up this hotel stay in a few phrases, it’s a stunning property surrounded by shallow pools, ocean and country club and the hotel..

Marriott Taipei (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] The Marriott Taipei is one of the newest luxury hotels in Taipei. The largest complex of its kind in Taipei, the Taipei Marriott Hotel comprises a five-star 320-room hotel, restaurants, lounge, convention center, shopping mall and apartments. It is located on the north bank of the Keelung River, in the Dazhi district, near Songshan International Airport. As part of Marriott’s “Green Hotel Development” initiative, indigenous shrubbery and flowering plants are found throughout the hotel grounds and are interspersed with pieces of nature inspired art and sitting areas. (more…)

Fantastic Stay at W Taipei (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] For the first portion of our time in Taipei, we stayed at W Taipei. The first thing that is great about this hotel is centrally located the Xinyi District that makes it easy for me to drop off my shopping bags (there are many shopping malls surrounding the hotel). It’s also a few blocks from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Taipei 101, the world’s second-tallest building. Nearby subway stations mean you can be whisked to the city’s shopping districts and mountain hot springs. Entering the lobby of the W Taipei, it’s technically not their lobby. As confusing as..

Lunch at Le Cinq (3* Michelin, Paris)

[Translate] We had lunch at Le Cinq at the very posh Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris. I was generally excited for this particular meal is because of Executive Chef Christian Le Squer currently cooks here and I recalled of the wonderful lunch I had in 2010 when he worked at Ledoyen. We opted for the 4-course lunch (145€ per person) since we still have a long day of eating. Starting off our meal was a “mises en bouche” of a plate set with a ginger jelly balloon, raspberry truffle has a liquid center, and a crispy jigsaw shaped..

Luxurious Dim Sum Afternoon Tea at La Chine at Waldorf Astoria (NYC)

[Translate] La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria is a grand, luxurious haute Chinese restaurant. Renovated in colors of black, gleaming gold and silver, fuzzy banquettes and a black marble bar. The layout is like an old-school power room surrounded by orchids and dim lighting. I’ve been in the search for solidly good high-end Chinese food in New York City (I’m speaking of the ones I’ve eaten Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong) and based on this dim sum afternoon tea experience, I think this is a good bet. The service was professional and friendly. The plush atmosphere feels comfortable. The food..

Lovely Stay at Hôtel du Louvre (Paris, France)

[Translate] When my traveling companion and I were in Paris, we stayed at the grand Five Star Hôtel du Louvre, a Hyatt property. The hotel is located at the busy intersection of the Avenue de l’Opera and Rue de Richelieu near the famed I.M. Pei pyramids at the Louvre. It’s very conveniently close to the Opéra Garnier and the Palais Royal. Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, the Marais neighborhood, and the Tuileries Garden. Built in 1855, this hotel is one of the oldest in the City of Lights (it was a former mansion of the Champagne family Taittinger). It..