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Amazing Luxury Bed & Breakfast at Canto degli Scali (Florence, Italy)

When I arrived to Florence, I stayed at the luxurious apartment at Canto degli Scali. This place is a beautifully restored and converted from a 14th century palace in the center of Florence into a series of charming apartments. Each of these units has been named after a Florentine “Canto” and they are all furnished with custom fittings. This makes them exquisitely unique and gives our hosts the impression of being in a real home from home. The idea for this project came from two brothers, Marco and Alessio Ducceschi, who were personally responsible for the restyled design of the..

The Danforth Inn (Portland, Maine)

Raymond Brunyanszki, owner of Camden Harbour Inn and its Natalie’s Restaurant — two located in mid-coast Maine — had wanted to open an upscale Southeast Asian restaurant ever since he worked in the region as a tour guide early in his career. He knew he found the right place when he walked into The Danforth Inn while scouting Portland for a second hotel location. The building’s brick exterior and white columns exude elegance. Brunyanszki purchased the Danforth in May 2014 and has been renovating each of the 1823 hotel’s nine rooms, one by one, while keeping the property open and..

Barceló Emperatriz Hotel (Madrid, Spain)

When we were in Madrid, we stayed at the luxurious Barceló Emperatriz. This hotel is just off the Paseo de la Castellana in the upmarket Salamanca district. The smart boutiques on Serrano and its surrounding streets are temptingly close. The Lázaro Galdiano museum, which has one of the best art collections in the city, is a couple of minutes’ walk away. The Prado is a brisk 20-minute walk down the Castellana. (more…)

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel (Lisbon, Portugal)

For a few nights, we have stayed at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, situated in Lisbon, 200 meters from Chiado, Lisboa Pessoa Hotel features free WiFi access and private parking. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Each room includes a flat-screen TV. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Rossio is 200 metres from Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, while Dona Maria II National Theatre is 300 metres away. Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport is 6 km from the property. There are a range of facilities on offer to those staying at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, such as a library and free Wi-Fi...

Varanda Restaurant at Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz (Lisbon, Portugal)

Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital. More than half a century later it is still setting the bar, managed now by the Four Seasons Group, and still renowned for the service for which they have always been famous. Designed by renowned Portuguese architect Porfirio Pardal Monteiro and built atop one of Lisbon’s many hills to maximize city views, this monolithic structure houses Art Deco-meets-Louis XVI interiors embellished by more than 400,000 square feet of Portuguese marble and Norwegian granite...

Historic Elegance at Palacio Belmonte (Lisbon, Portugal)

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 hotel...

Afternoon Tea at Palm Court at The Drake Chicago

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 tea..

Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea at The Langham Chicago

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)

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 as..