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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
Fashion designer-turned-hotelier Georgio Armani opened his second luxury hotel in the heart of Milan, Italy, yesterday. This is the second hotel for the iconic designer: The first was in Dubai, with projects in the works in Marassi and Marrakech. Armani Hotels & Resorts has teamed with Emaar Properties PJSC to create luxurious hotels in keeping with the designer’s aesthetic.
The Armani Hotel Milano is in a palazzo designed by Enrico Griffini in the 1930s, with incredible views of the city. The public areas have panoramic views of the Duomo and city skyline, and the restaurant features traditional Italian cuisine. With 95 rooms and suites – from 485 square feet to 2150 square feet – these rooms are larger than the average Italian hotel room. Rates start at 500 euro a night (that’s nearly $700) and the rooms are equipped with minibars, high-tech gadgets, one-way glass shower doors, and Asian limestone surfaces. The Business Center has a conference room and board rooms, as well as a private kitchen to cater upon request. The hotel is also equipped with a Lifestyle Department, created to fulfill guests’ every wish, discreetly, of course; a spa with six rooms and Couples Suite; and a gym and pool.
In keeping with the fashion theme, the Armani Hotel’s brochure is decked out with stunning, chiseled models wearing fabulous dresses and suits, turning the hotel into a mere backdrop for an Armani photo shoot.
For general-trip planning information, see our Milan 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.
The early bird may get the worm, but the last-minute traveler gets the cheap air tickets to Europe with this sale from Aer Lingus. Travel June 16-30 or July 2-August 22 (depending on the route) from New York, Boston and Chicago to select cities in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy for as low as $348 (each-way). Nine great cities are included in the sale — even Paris, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.
THE VALUE: The same routes cost over $1,000 in summer on other airlines, so this deal saves over $400 on round-trip tickets.
THE CATCH: Tickets must be booked seven days in advance of travel, and taxes and fees are not included.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book online with Aer Lingus.
With a whistle and quick tap of his wooden cane, Giovanni Monchiero sends his sidekick, Lilla, off in pursuit of her pungent prize. After a few leisurely laps up and down a wooded lane, sniffing the ground as she goes, Lilla suddenly cocks her head at Monchiero before pouncing on a patch of dirt beneath a poplar. Nose to the earth, she starts to paw, gingerly at first and then aggressively until a gnarled little nugget emerges buried beneath just a few inches of sand and soil.
Despite its rugged appearance, this fungal gem can fetch upwards of $300 at market – and end up on some of the world’s priciest dinner plates. We’re talking about Italian truffles, of course. But, at the moment, Lilla is far more interested in an obligatory pat on the head and the biscuits Monchiero keeps concealed in his vest pocket.
Anyone with a stylish bone in their body is easily inspired by Milan. It truly is the epicenter of the fashion world and just walking around the city puts you right in the middle of it – store windows along most every block reveal the latest and greatest designer looks, and the Milanese themselves showcase some of the capital’s di-moda styles. Fashion is the art here and, as a rule, these masterpieces come with a price tag to match. My Milan assignment: 48 hours to sniff out some under-the-radar, “value” stores. I can’t say my trip was successful, but I did come back with a list of places you must visit either for the inspiration (to channel your inner fashionista) or to actually pick up something special for a worthy splurge. Read more
British Airways’ Europe air fare sale is the perfect way to spend that languishing Christmas bonus. Starting from just $397, round-trip flights span the breadth of Western Europe from Paris to Madrid to Frankfurt and more, departing from over 15 major U.S. cities on both coasts, with the lowest rates on routes from the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia heading to London and Edinburgh. Reserve your seat by January 27, and soak in Athens’ mild climate and Carnival celebrations or stroll through Florence’s art galleries and cathedrals unhindered by the crowds of summer, all the while paying half the rate of non-discounted flights.
Sample Round-Trip Fares (Before Taxes):
- New York-London: $397
- Boston-Edinburgh: $397
- Houston-London: $472
- Philadelphia-Madrid: $498
- New York-Rome: $519
- Philadelphia-Munich: $530
- Chicago-Amsterdam: $565
- Boston-Prague: $577
- Miami-Milan: $579
- Orlando-Rome: $579
- Washington, D.C.-Barcelona: $549
- Los Angeles-Milan: $649
- Las Vegas-Paris: $656
- Baltimore-Athens: $676
- And more!
THE VALUE: Save over 50 percent on regular airfare.
THE CATCH: The climate is similar to the States, so don’t expect to get too far away from the chill.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.travelocity.com to book your flight by January 27! Travel January 25 through April 12.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Visit our Savvy Flyer blog before you take off for up-to-date advice and news from the skies.
Join Jim Sherman, founder and president of ShermansTravel Media, as he travels through Italy this summer in search of the best smart luxury values. This is the first of several dispatches.
I am leaving Milan today, on my way to Olbia, Sardinia, where a group of us will embark on a tour of that famous island. Milan is a perfect two-day stop off. Most tourists are on their way transiting to someplace else. Lake Como is nearby, and of course one could combine Milan with Venice, Rome, or Florence.
People here in Milan are proud of their city’s status as Italy’s shopping and fashion capital. And I must say the shopping is amazing. Style is in the air as all Italians keep up with the latest smart fashion (observe their sunglasses and shoes). A walk around Via Spiga is like a stroll down Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive combined, but there are no cars, more alleys, and smaller stores. Here one sees haute couture, brand after brand – Prada, Dolce and Gabana, Valentino, Armani, Louis Vuitton . . . you get the picture. Read more
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