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Yes, there are balconies at Palazzo Victoria, the recently opened 71-room luxury hotel in Verona, Italy, the city famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s enduringly romantic Romeo & Juliet. Located in northern Italy’s Veneto region, about halfway between Venice and Milan, Verona is a wonderful spot to spend a night or two absorbing the literary legacy of the Capulets and Montagues (said to be inspired by actual families and a real young couple – read on for details) as well as a revolving calendar of operas and concerts in the striking Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater that dates to the 1st century.
Without the tourist surge of summer but still plenty of warm days, April is our sweet spot month for when to find great value in San Diego. Newly opened Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar’s advance booking savings combined with April and May’s low prices are a great example of how to save money by knowing when to go. Booking at least 14 days in advance will get you 20 percent off current rates, and combined with sweet spot savings (rates in April and May with the discount are as low as $128/night, whereas in June they climb up to $209/night), that’s a total savings of up to 38 percent.
The Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar is located only a few minutes outside of San Diego, in Del Mar, and had its grand opening on April 12. Formerly the Stratford Inn, the property has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation and its chic 94 rooms incorporate Del Mar flavor from Del Mar Racetrack murals to ocean-view terraces. Amenities include HD flat-screen TVs, iHome stations, Aveda bath products, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and free high speed Internet access in all rooms, and a fitness center. It’s also the only Hotel Indigo to boast a full-service day spa.
Book online to guarantee you’re getting the best available rate, and remember that you have to book at least two weeks ahead of your stay for the advance purchase savings.
While Paris doesn’t have the upcoming Olympics to hurry hotel openings along (though we’re expecting many Olympics-attendees to tack on a few nights in the City of Lights to their London trip), the city is welcoming a handful of exciting newcomers at a respectable clip. And, boy, are they swanky.
Mandarin Oriental The luxury brand opened its much-anticipated Parisian outpost in the First Arrondissement (a stone’s throw from the Louvre and the Garnier Opera) in June 2011. Two restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Theirry Marx. Rooms range in style and color schemes, but are all tres chic and come with humungous bathrooms. Rates from €795/night. www.mandarinoriental.com Read more
We’ve talked about designer hotels before (see our Top 10 List and Armani Hotel Milan blog post, for example), but the trend for fashion-branded hotels is really taking off, and the new year brings a notable upcoming opening in London from well-known fashion house Bulgari, and several hotels from Versace and Missoni are in the works.
Bulgari London is set to open in the spring of this year, making it the fourth Bulgari hotel, with the first three in Milan, Bali, and Tokyo. According to the vision of Bulgari hotels, “each property shall be located in the most prime luxury neighbourhood [sic] in the city,” and the London property is no exception – it’s located on Knightsbridge in the heart of the city. And of course, the hotel is nothing if not luxurious, with custom-built details, luxurious and rare materials, and Italian cuisine. www.bulgarihotels.com
Surfcomber The totally renovated and rebranded Surfcomber (now a Kimpton Hotel) opened yesterday on Collins Avenue. The 186-room oceanfront hotel has a playful vibe, stylish accommodations, and Kimpton’s personalized service and amenities. The pool deck and bevy of cabanas look inviting, as do the opening rates from only $149/night. www.surfcomber.com
Shelborne South Beach This Art Deco mainstay which spent the last two years under renovation reopened Wednesday. The look is retro glam, the vibe is sexy. The hotel’s own exhibition “Art of Night” features intimate celebrity images from nightlife photographer Seth Browarnik, but the catwalk runway connecting the two beachfront pool decks seems like the ultimate stage for eye candy. Opening rates here start from $159/night. Note: not all rooms have been renovated so be sure to request one. www.shelborne.com
For general trip-planning info, see our Miami Travel Guide.
Aloft London Excel
Aloft’s first property in the United Kingdom has opened with time to spare before the 2012 Olympics. Located close to Olympic Park in East London, the 252-room Aloft comes with the brand’s namesake loft-like guest rooms, signature grab-and-go food pantry, free Wi-Fi, and, best of all, affordable nightly rates averaging around $200.
Every self-respecting adventurer must do an African safari at least once. While it is a quintessential travel experience, it’s also pretty tough on the body and the mind. So, if you’re wrapping up a safari in Kenya, we recommend you tack on a few days on gorgeous Lamu archipelago in the Indian Ocean – a perfect antidote to the thrill-packed bush experience.
Once a major player on the Arabian trade routes, the islands of Lamu have turned into an off-the-radar travel destination and a secret celebrity hideout. It’s quite common to see Hollywood stars and random royalty wandering around Lamu Town, East Africa’s oldest and best preserved “living” Swahili settlement, protected as a World Heritage Site. Many of the rich and famous own homes in nearby Shela village, a prime locale for those who prefer not to be found.
Thanks to two recently opened luxury beach hotels, mere mortals can also have their share of this island paradise with its signature mix of African and Arab flair.
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